The Best Outdoor Activities in Norwich

2 September 2022

The Best Outdoor Activities in Norwich and Norfolk

A terrific city for lovers of the outdoors, Norwich has plenty of fun activities to keep you busy. Here’s some of our favourite outdoor activities in Norwich:


Whitlingham Country Park (boating, biking)

Test out your balance by hopping onto a paddleboard at Whitlingham Country Park for just £15 an hour. For something a little more sturdy, you could instead opt for an open canoe for up to three people (£20 an hour). Or if you really fancy a challenge, why not learn how to single-handedly sail a yacht on a day course for £230. There are a number of watercraft activities to choose from at Whitlingham available between April to October.

If you prefer to stay on land, then why not hire a Beryl Bike from the Flint Barn car park. An e-bike is only £20 for 400 minutes plus a £1.50 unlocking fee. You can’t reserve a bike, but the Beryl app shows you how many bikes are available at the stand that day. Cycle round the Great Broad and other lakes in the park, and perhaps stop off for a picnic during your day of exploration.

A group of boys get off their bike to look at a Swan at Whitlingham Country Park

Whitlingham Country Park.
Photo: Simon Finlay ©

Eaton Park (Crazy Golf)

Channel your inner child at Eaton Park’s popular 18-hole crazy golf course. It’s open from 10am daily, with the last round 30 minutes before sunset (or 5.30pm depending on the time of year). It’s only £5 for adults. And if you’re a bit of a sore loser and end up wanting a rematch, then the next round that day is half price! Situated in the lovely 80-acre Eaton Park, it’s the perfect place for a stroll too. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more energetic, then book a slot on the tennis court online for £6 an hour. Just don’t forget to bring your racket!

The Plantation Garden

Explore three acres of woodland walkways, rustic bridges and the Victorian-era greenhouse at the ‘Secret Garden.’ Known officially as The Plantation Garden, in this quirky but beautiful setting, you’ll also find Gothic fountains, flower beds and an Italianate terrace. Certainly, it’s one of the more unique things to see in Norwich city centre. A great spot for a quiet picnic, the gardens cost £2 to enter via an ‘honesty box’.

The Plantation Garden

The Plantation Garden

Pub and Paddle

Rent a canoe from Pub and Paddle at their Elm Hill Quay pontoon and weave your way through the water to Thorpe St Andrew, where you can stop off at a pub for a quick drink or maybe even some food. Or why not wait until you’ve completed the route to get yourself a congratulatory cask ale, wine or cider at The Ribs of Beef Pub. We recommend sitting out on the riverside terrace to make the most of the gorgeous views, and tucking in to a home-cooked burger if you’re feeling peckish too. Canoes can be hired between 10am to 5pm. Book online to see availability. The Thorpe St Andrew route costs £20 per person for five-hours canoe hire.

Maids Head Hotel

If you’re staying at the Maids Head Hotel on your visit to Norwich, you can make use of some brilliant complimentary acticities. You can take out one of the hotel’s bobbin bikes, a great way to see the city and to have fun! The cherry on the cake though is the free 30 minute sightseeing tour in a classic Bentley, courtesy of the hotel chauffeur. The perfect way to acquaint yourself with the city in style.

Bentley's outside the Maids Head Hotel

City Escape Games 

One of the more unique Norwich outdoor activities can be found with City Escape Games. Sign up for the Mayor Murder Mystery to see if you can solve the murder of a local high official within 90 minutes. You’ll get issued with a set of clues taking you around the city while you solve cryptic puzzles en route. All you need is a phone, and a team of detectives (2-4 people). Book online for £24.99.

Norwich Tours

Tours are a great way to get to know a city, as well as its history and culture. And there’s plenty of options to choose from.

Local historian Paul Dickson has several different tours to tickle your fancy. How about a tour of Shardlake’s Norwich, inspired by the best-selling C.J. Sansom Book Tombland? Or why not head on a little adventure starting with a train journey from Norwich to Reedham in the Broads National Park, during which you’ll hear tales of beer, Romans and railways. See the website for the range of tours available and prices.

The Forum Tours cover the medieval – and later – history of the city and cost £6 (adults). See times and dates until October on their website. Or, why not try something different and head out on a Historic Food and Drink tour with Beer & Cheese Sommelier Cheryl Cade? It’s £45 for four hours of taste and exploration.

Cheryl Cade Tours: a group sit at an outdoor table with drinks in hand

Cheryl Cade Tours

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Sculpture Park

Enjoy an hour or more admiring the incongruous outdoor art installations at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Sculpture Park. Located at the University of East Anglia’s 320-acre campus, it’s a fascinating exhibit to explore on a lovely day (or at least one where it’s not raining). Afterwards, stretch your legs even further by taking a 1.5-mile walk around the lake.


The Norfolk Broads 

Hire a day boat and have a lovely, leisurely day exploring the waterways of the Norfolk broads. With Broads Tours, half-day and full-day hires can be booked in advance online. A standard boat takes up to eight people and prices start from £19 per hour – making it the perfect activity to enjoy for the whole family. There’s also a whole host of guided trips available to choose from, including themed cruises. Most last 1.5 to two hours. Prices vary depending on the boat and cruise.

The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads

Holkham Hall nature reserve

One of the best places of interest near Norwich as far as we’re concerned, Holkham Nature Reserve & Beach is a veritable paradise for outdoor lovers. There’s woodland to explore and miles of beach too – enough reason to spend the whole day there! Fantastic for wildlife and bird spotting, as well as general sight-seeing, there’s also fun activities to be had in the grounds of Holkham estate. From boating on the lake and cycle high, to a high ropes course for the kids – what’s not to love?

Escape the Everyday in Norfolk

Holkham Nature Reserve & Beach