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Looking for amazing outdoor activities in Norfolk? Look no further! It’s time to get up and get out, as we run you through our top picks for outdoor adventures in Norfolk this year. Grandiose gardens, adrenaline-fuelled adventures, historic walks, and landscapes that’ll take your breath away. That and so much more in Norwich and Norfolk!
No visit to Norfolk is complete without a trip to the Norfolk Broads. With over 117 square miles of woodland, walkways, and navigable waters to explore, there’s hours of outdoor adventure to be had. We’d recommend hiring a day-boat and discovering the waters for yourself. Or if you prefer a slower pace, sit back and enjoy a guided cruise experience.
With stunning grounds and a rich 400-year past to discover, Holkham is the perfect outdoor activity in Norfolk. Enjoy woodlands, tree-top walks, zip wires, and even a Deer park! The Holkham Estate is full of amazing walks and cycle routes, and in the summer guests can hire canoes or kayaks to explore the lakes.
Pensthorpe Natural Park
Explore 700 acres of woodland walks, nature trails, and lakes at Pensthorpe Natural Park. The former home of BBC’s Springwatch, Pensthorpe is a modern day nature reserve that aims to inspire a new generation of wildlife lovers. Enjoy pond-dipping, bird watching, nature-inspired crafts, and more. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the hugely-popular resident Flamingo flock.
Another stunning Palladium hall for you to enjoy. Houghton has stood proudly in the Norfolk countryside since the 1720s – it was built by the country’s first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole and no expense was spared. Today it is the private home of the Marquess of Cholmondeley and his wife and family as well as home to world art, sculptures, and an award-winning 5-acre garden. Visitors can also enjoy the Soldier Museum, which houses the largest private collection of model soldiers in the world! This is a true Norfolk hidden gem.
Holkham Nature Reserve & Beach
Nothing says ‘outdoors’ quite like sandy beaches and pinewood forests. Holkham Nature Reserve is one of the largest reserves in the country, stretching from Burnham Norton to Blakeney and covering roughly 3,706 hectares. Keep an eye out for the beautiful pink-footed geese, who are often seen flying between feeding grounds. And down at the beachfront the high tide forms a spectacular shallow lagoon, which is a must-see for any photographer or nature lover. The beach was also where the closing scenes of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ was filmed, so you can have fun retracing Gwyneth Paltrow’s steps!
Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden
A firm-favourite amongst Norfolk residents, Fairhaven is a stunning 130-acre site that’s open 364 days a year. Visitors can explore ancient woodlands, waterways, and gardens teaming with wildlife. And if you’re a keen ornithologist (a fancy name for someone who studies birds, which we just found out!) then this is a must. Home to over 95 species of birds, many of which are rare and only found in The Broads, you’re in for a treat at Fairhaven.
A perfect outdoor family fun adventure! BeWILDerwood is an award-winning adventure park packed full of unique experiences. Enjoy adventure play areas, nature trails and more. There’s even some great activities for older children and adults to get involved in, like tree-top walks, zip wires, and a boating trip. Make sure to check out BeWILDerwood’s amazing range of seasonal activities and experiences too.
Whitlingham Country Park
Just a short walk or drive from Norwich city centre is Whitlingham Country Park, our very own gateway to the Norfolk Broads! Here you can enjoy hours of riverside walks, cycle routes, and immersive nature experiences – you can hire Beryl bikes in the city centre to bring here. Visitors can also enjoy a great range of water sports and nature activities at Whitlingham Adventure (subject to the latest Covid restrictions). Activities include kayaking, wind surfing, archery, and climbing.
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure
Another family favourite adventure park that is a must for your next Norfolk visit. Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure has been welcoming guests for over 60 years, with amazing Jurassic-themed family fun. Enjoy dino trails, high ropes, splash zones, and a newly-added dino raceway.
Paul Dickson Tours
Local historian, Paul Dickson has been inspiring and entertaining visitors to Norwich and Norfolk for years. With an incredible range of tours including historic Norwich pubs, Shardlake’s Norwich, and Boardman & Skipper, there’s hours of historic fun to be had on a Paul Dickson tour. If you’re looking to explore Norfolk’s history a little more, we’d recommend Rails, Trails and Sails, or the Fairhaven tour.
Following two disused railway lines between Norwich and the historic market town of Aylsham, Marriott’s way is a popular route for walkers and cyclists. With over 26 miles for you to explore, this is a true escape to the country. We’d recommend starting in Norwich city centre, where Barn Road meets Barker Street, for the best experience.
Located just a short drive from the Norfolk coastal town of Cromer, Amazona Zoo is a truly unique experience. Enjoy 200 animals from tropical South America including jaguars, parrots, moneys, snakes, flamingos, guinea pigs and tapirs. With acres of parkland and play areas to enjoy, Amazona Zoo is a perfect family day out.
Raveningham Gardens & Tea Room
If you’re looking for a quiet place to unwind, then Raveningham Gardens is the place for you. Enjoy 10 acres of gardens, parkland, and even a newly-refurbished rose garden. It’s a great spot for a peaceful outdoor walk and well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome too.
Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse
Gressenhall is a family-friendly venue with a recreated workhouse, museum of life on the land and rare breeds farm. Discover the history of this famous site and the people who lived here. There’s also some great outdoor garden spaces and parks for you to enjoy.
Home to tigers, leopards, sea lions, giraffe and monkeys, Banham Zoo offers hours of immersive fun. Banham pride themselves on amazing visitor experiences and exceptional animal welfare. With over 50 acres of parkland and gardens, and more than 2,000 animals from around the world, this is a truly unique Norfolk day out.
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens
Ken Sims opened Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in 1979, with the simple aim of protecting endangered species from across Asia. Today, Thrigby Hall is a thriving wildlife preservation garden that’s home to Sumatran tigers, red pandas, snow leopards, and more. Explore acres of stunning parkland and immerse yourself in beautiful Asian wildlife.
English Whisky Company
Famed for their delicious single malt, The English Whisky Company have been producing award-winning and small batch whiskies since 2006. But what many people don’t know is that their St George’s distillery site is also home to some amazing countryside walks. Visitors can enjoy beautiful walks along the river Thet, before heading off on a distillery tour.
Okay, so technically this one is in Suffolk, but it’s still a must-visit! Immerse yourself in the incredible sights and sounds of Africa, at Africa Alive! Home to lions, giraffes, meerkats and more, this 100 acre park offers a fantastic day out for all ages.
Thursford is famous for having the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs. But it’s also home to a brilliant outdoor adventure play area and picnic area. Enjoy zip wires, climbing frames, and more!