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Thetford Forest

7 wonderful ways to escape the everyday in Norfolk

After months on your quarantine couch you can be forgiven to wanting to escape the everyday and get outdoors. Then look no further than Norfolk for your Autumn break.

It doesn’t matter where you go across the county, we think you’ll definitely Fall for Norfolk.

And here's our top reasons why...

Know Before You Go

WEST NORFOLK

Welney swan feeding

Wildlife and Wetlands Trust Welney in the flat Fens in West Norfolk becomes a magical place when the annual migration of whooper and Bewick's swans begins.

You can explore the reserve before sunrise to see the swans fly out in the early morning, or later in the day catch the swan feedings after dusk.

Another early morning sight you won’t want to miss is the morning take-off of thousands of wading birds from the mudbanks and salt marshes of The Wash at RSPB Snettisham. From now until January is the best time of year to see up to 50,000 fly overhead. 50,000!

The Wash itself is a great example of Norfolk's dynamic coast - it's changed considerably over the millennia, from when the Romans and Vikings were here to when The Fens were drained to create agricultural land.

Birdwatching in Norfolk

Deer swimming at Holkham

Go explore… head to Holkham and you might hear the clash of antlers as fallow deer stags fight each other during the rutting season. The stags and bucks grow antlers to fight each other for dominance and to attract females. Or you might find having a swim!

Autumn wildlife in Norfolk

King's Lynn and West Norfolk

BRECKLAND

Horses in Thetford Forest

We reckon the Brecks are one of the most under-rated eco-adventure parks in the country. Two reasons.

Firstly you have the majestic Thetford Forest, planted just 100 years ago, where you can see wild deer and horses, go off-road cycling, orienteering, walking, enjoy aerial experiences on the high ropes or head out on the Pingo Trail.

Secondly, enjoy the splendid Autumn colours of the wild gorse-strewn heathlands. Look out for stone curlew, with their big yellow eyes, before they migrate for the winter.

Brecks Natural Wonder

Whisky barrels at St George's Distillery

Go explore… the 4,500-year-old Neolithic flint diggings of Grime's Graves, 57 feet below ground. This is one of Europe’s first industrial centres and a unique source of hard black flint which were expertly fashioned into all kinds of blades, from scrapers and knives to axes and spearheads, and later, flintlocks for firearms – they were mass-produced here in the Brecks for the Napoleonic wars.

Grime's Graves is a misnomer. There are no burials to be found here. The word graves actually means pits or mines and Grime’s is named for the pagan god Grim.

Nearby is the wonderful moated Oxburgh Hall, managed by the National Trust. If you enjoyed going down the flint mine at Grime's Graves, you might like to hide in the Priest Hole or peek behind the secret doors!

While you're here you must take a tour of St George's Distillery, the first English whisky distillery in more than 100 years.

Look out for… game on the menus at local pubs and restaurants. The countryside here is perfect for them to thrive.

Breckland and Thetford Forest

SOUTH NORFOLK

Burgh St Peter

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun’. Keats could have had south Norfolk in mind when he wrote these words. This is a land of water meadows and pastureland in the Waveney Valley, gentling rolling scenic and peaceful countryside and traditional market towns, picturesque villages and welcoming pubs. Perfect for cycling and walking. 

Here in the countryside you’ll discover the old Roman settlement at Caistor St Edmund, Venta Icenorum, ‘town of the Iceni’, named after Boudicca’s tribe.

Thorpe Abbotts

Go explore… The Friendly Invasion, when more than 350,000 Americans came to the East of England during the second world war with The Mighty Eighth Air Force, had its epicentre here. Visit the 100th Bomb Group Memorial and Museum at Thorpe Abbotts.

Friendly Invasion

South Norfolk and Waveney Valley

GREAT YARMOUTH

Winterton-on-Sea beach

Renowned as one of the top seaside resorts on the East Coast, Great Yarmouth has a quieter vibe in the Autumn but still with plenty of interest. There are fifteen miles of pristine sand to discover, with some of the best tucked-away beaches to be found anywhere in Norfolk. We’d recommend Winterton with its marram-topped dunes and funky beach café, and Horsey where you’re likely see sunbathing seals.

Secret beaches in Norfolk

Time & Tide Museum of Great yarmouth Life

Go explore… Great Yarmouth’s maritime history in its excellent Time & Tide museum, a former herring curing works. The town is famous for having the first Nelson column. Once in the town our greatest naval commander was asked if a local inn could be renamed The Nelson Arms: ‘That would be absurd,’ retorted Nelson, ‘seeing that I have but one’.

Nelson in Norfolk

Norfolk museums

Great Yarmouth

NORFOLK BROADS

Thurne windpump

You can walk and cycle around picturesque villages but there’s only one way to really see the Broads National Park, 125 miles of navigable waterways – and that’s by boat. Hire a picnic craft for the day, with galley, loo and heating, and enjoy tranquil boating while looking out for wildlife like booming bitterns, kingfishers and maybe otters. Or go the whole hog and hire a cruiser for a week.

Day boat hire

Boggle boat at BeWILDerwood

Go explore... Lovely villages like Reedham, Wroxham and Salhouse. At Woodbastwick, visit the brewery tap of Woodforde's Brewery. For nature-lovers you can't beat Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden and the kids will love BeWILDerwood.

Although the Broads are best seen on water, if you don't have sea legs they're easily explorable by foot and cycle too. 

Beer and brewing

Broadland and Broads

NORWICH

Norwich skyline
Want to see the country's best-preserved medieval city? Then look no further than Norwich, with its magnificent Norman castle and cathedral. Explore northern Europe's largest permanent covered market and The Lanes, choc-a-block with local independent stores.
Sainsbury Centre

Go explore... just outside the city, visit the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts for superb contemporary art and a sculpture park which will take you around the University of East Anglia's picturesque Broad.

Norwich

NORTH NORFOLK

Grey seal pup at Blakeney Point

You can really indulge yourself outdoors in north Norfolk, enjoying stunning coast and countryside, a Premier League birdwatching reserve at Cley-next-the-Sea and a boat trip to see the country’s largest seal colony at Blakeney Point. Afterwards retreat to a country pub for a roaring fire, superb seafood and a pint of foaming ale in the area that grows the best malting barley in the country.

Seals in Norfolk

Cromer

Go explore… don’t miss the Victorian splendour of Cromer where you’ll be able to enjoy the eponymous crab or fish and chips or nearby Sheringham where you can take the heritage steam railway to the lovely Georgian market town of Holt. Or you could go crabbing... but remember to look after them and put them back safely!

Crabbing in Norfolk

North Norfolk

Autumn waves
Look for great accommodation when you Visit Norfolk and make sure you Know Before You Go.

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