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It’s time to grab the factor 50 and put on your sunnies, because summer is here! Now, we know a socially-distanced summer might not have been what we’d all planned for, but there is still plenty of free, outdoor activities we can all enjoy. This month we’re mapping the city with our feet, bringing you the best outdoor walks and adventures (socially-distanced, of course!) to enjoy in Norwich this Summer
On Earlham Road, flanked by The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, look out for one of Norwich’s best-kept secrets – The Plantation Garden. Known as ‘The Secret Garden’ to many in Norwich, its a beautifully restored Victorian garden established over 100 years ago in what was originally a chalk quarry. Explore Gothic fountains, flower beds, lawns, an Italianate terrace, ‘Medieval’ terrace walls, woodland walkways, Victorian-style greenhouses and rustic bridges. The Plantation Garden is a tranquil spot just 600 yards from the rush of Norwich city centre, making it a perfect spot for a peaceful summer picnic. Visitors are kindly asked to pay £2 entry (placed in an honesty box on arrival), which is more than a fair deal to experience this stunning Grade II, 3-acre garden.
Not much further on from Earlham Road you’ll find Eaton Park, a beautifully kept heritage park. A true community space and popular haunt for locals, Eaton Park offers a plethora of truly great activities for all ages. Enjoy a large model boating lake, tennis courts, or just simply take a stroll around this beautiful 80-acre park. And with the news of Eaton Park Crazy Golf open once more, there are hours of fun to be had at the 18-hole course or the putting greens. The golf course is currently accepting groups of up to 4 people, find out more here.
Head on past Eaton Park and you’ll quickly arrive at the University of East Anglia (UEA). On this 320-acre campus you’ll find the stunning Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, set against a backdrop of meadows and a large lake. Currently, the Sainsbury Centre is closed, but you can still take a walk around the home of the Avengers and admire the fantastic artwork installations dotted around. There’s actually a free sculpture trail on campus, with over 20 installations for you to enjoy. And no trip to UEA is complete without a walk around the ‘University Broads’. Teeming with wildlife and covering roughly 1.5 miles, this lakeside walk is great fun for families and dog walkers.
Just on the outskirts of Norwich city centre you’ll find Whitlingham Country Park, Norwich’s very own gateway to The Broads. This hidden gem is acres upon acres (over 200 in fact) of countryside walks and cycling routes, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature after months of being stuck staring at the TV. Surrounded by riverbanks and wildlife, its hard to believe just how close you are to the city centre.
Another place you have to look hard for. Marriott’s Way is a cycle and walking route stretching 26 miles into the market town of Aylsham. From Norwich, the journey begins where Barn Road meets Barker Street. Following a disused rail track, you’ll quickly go from city to countryside and become submerged in a haven of wildlife and stunning foliage. Make sure to look out for the art installations dotted along the route.
Let’s face it, we all fancy ourselves as a private detective when we’re snooping on social media, but could you handle the pressure of solving a real-life case? Well now’s your chance to put your hard-earned detective skills to the test, with The Mayor Murder Mystery from City Escape Games. This outdoor, self-guided city adventure separates the Sherlock’s from the Clouseau’s, as you travel around the city of Norwich in a bid to crack the case. All you need is a mobile phone and an observant eye, as you work your way around Norwich solving cryptic puzzles and hunting for clues. Play with up to 6 friends or go it alone. Make sure to keep an eye out for their upcoming game, Midtown Mural Madness, where you’ll be tasked with tracking down a notorious art thief in the city of Norwich.