Norwich is surrounded by tranquil Norfolk countryside, but there are also over 150 green spaces within the city itself, including 23 parks, 59 natural areas and nature reserves and 10 kilometres of riverside walks. You will find secret gardens, heritage gardens, parks, woodland, activity centres and space to relax and unwind or run around and let off some steam.
Some of Norwich’s best parks hold fantastic historic value and are very well maintained. They offer fantastic leisure activities such as; model boating, pitch & putt, miniature railways, nature reserves, skate parks, children’s play areas, bandstands, tennis, water pursuits and of course are perfect for walking, running and picnics!
Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, NR1 3BF
Chapelfield Gardens is located in the centre of the city of Norwich. Its present gardens opened to the public in 1880 and now they are a popular meeting-place. There is a toddler and juniors' play area, somewhere for teens to hang out with their friends and areas for games of petanque, giant chess and draughts. The gardens are used, particularly in the summer months, for different outdoor events hosted by Norwich City Council including bandstand concerts, Lord Mayor's Celebration and funfair.
Eaton Park, South Park Avenue, Norwich, NR4 7AZ
Eaton Park is a large park with special historic interest and many leisure facilities. The circular pavilion, with its distinctive domed bandstand, is next to a lily pond and model boating pond. There is a children’s play area, a fun crazy golf course, an 18-hole pitch and putt course, tennis courts, gardens, bowls, model railway (Sundays), cricket, attractive seating area, cafe and plenty of open space.
Earlham Park, Earlham Road
Once the grounds of Earlham Hall, this large riverside park is next to the University of East Anglia. It has wide open spaces, woods and walks beside the river Yare. The park connects with numerous nature reserves, UEA Broad and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. It offers horticultural interest, toilets, attractive seating area, wildlife interest, woods and river walk, café and is often used for open-air events. On certain dates the park is a base for hot air balloons taking off!
Mousehold Heath, Gurney Road
Mousehold Heath is 180 acres of undulating woodland and heath, crossed by tracks and footpaths. Because of its elevated position adjacent to St James’s Hill it offers fantastic unrivalled panoramic views over Norwich. There is an 18-hole pitch and putt course, toilets, football, seasonal ice-cream vendor, attractive seating area, wildlife and a bandstand.
Waterloo Park, Angel Road, NR3 3HX
Another of Norwich’s beautiful parks! Opened in 1933, it claims to have one of the longest herbaceous borders in the UK. Many of the parks original features still remain including the pavilion, the bandstand and the hard landscaping. Comprising almost 19 acres the park has great facilities including; bowls, tennis (hard & grass), putting, junior and toddler play area, children’s paddling pool – refurbished in 2011, informal football, herbaceous borders, seasonal ice cream vendors and toilets.
Wensum Park, Drayton Road, NR3 2DW
Wensum Park was completed in 1925 and still retains Captain Sandys-Winsch's pavilion and architecture. The park has much historical value and has been well cared for and invested in. Today you will find a superb wildlife interest natural area, attractive seating area, junior and toddler play area, children’s paddling pool and an attractive river walk as well as a charming labyrinth installed as part of Norwich’s millennium celebrations. The park is on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England Grade II.
- Enjoy the bandstand concerts in summer and open-air theatre at Eaton Park.
- Mousehold Heath is great for running and dog walking if you fancy some exercise whilst in Norwich!
- Children will have great fun in the paddling pool at Waterloo Park – and it’s free!
The wildlife and natural area at Wensum park is particularly pretty and exciting for explorers of all ages.
Image - credit Harry Herring.