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Beach huts at Wells-next-the-Sea in snow

Top 12 things to do in Winter in Norfolk

Winter and the festive period are a fabulous time to visit Norfolk, with the amazing natural world of the Winter Wildlife Safari, superb shopping in Norwich and our market towns, plus delightful shows and events. It's a great time to go walking and cycling on Norfolk's coast and in the countryside. And this is where the Royal family spend their Christmas. Enough said.

There's magical countryside, tinged with sparkling hoar frost, beautiful coast bathed in winter sunshine, all under those huge, never-ending skies – it's a great time to explore Norfolk, when you feel as if you’ve almost got the county to yourself.

It’s a great time to…

Enjoy Christmas with the Royal Family at Sandringham

Her Majesty The Queen

Be like Her Majesty the Queen… and visit Norfolk for Christmas and New Year!
The Queen spends every festive period on the Sandringham estate, joined by her family. Of course, just around the corner, at Anmer Hall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live with their young children – which means the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in line to the throne, as well as our monarch, are all here, so you couldn’t be in better company.

Sandringham itself isn't open while the Queen is in residence, but you can join the Royal family outside St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day, where they go traditionally for the 11 o'clock service.

Take a walk on the coast

Walking on the coast

Wrap up warm and brave the great outdoors for a bracing walk. Head to the Norfolk coast and it’s likely it’ll just be you, the shoreline, the sea and sky – and perhaps your partner, the kids and a dog or two! If you’re up for it, there are some longer walks too. Afterwards find a welcoming pub with a roaring fire for a well-earned pint and a hearty meal, or a friendly café for a warming mug of hot chocolate or a cream tea.

Best beaches in Norfolk

Best secret beaches in Norfolk

Dog-friendly beaches

Walking in Norfolk

Enjoy the sand dunes

Watch the sun rise with the birds

Wildlife on the Wash

Get out early and watch the sun rise at 7am – this is the sunrise coast, after all! And in north and west Norfolk we have the brilliant migratory birdlife – watch the birds leave their overnight roost as the light cracks and they fly overhead. AMAZING! We recommend watching the geese at Snettisham on The Wash as an unbelievable experience.

Birdwatching in Norfolk 

Take a boat trip to see the seals

Grey seal pup

Norfolk’s amazing Winter Wildlife Safari is completed by the Grey Seals who pup during the Winter at Blakeney Point – at this time of year there’s a THOUSAND of them! Honestly, you’ll simply be cooing at their cuteness!

Seals in Norfolk

Winter Wildlife Safari

Top 10 wildlife in Winter

Take in a fabulous festive show

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

There's lots to do in Norfolk, including pantos and festive shows, plus Norfolk has the country's largest Christmas Spectacular at Thursford and the country's only end-of-pier Christmas Show at Cromer.

What's On in Norfolk

Head out on the water

Broads in the Winter

Take a trip out on the Broads in this wonderful National Park and get a heron’s view of the world. The birdlife is great and with the vegetation died back, you’ll get a better view than during the summer. Broads Tours have dayboats but you could also take a cruiser out – they have very good heating!

Explore the Broads 

Experience our Deep History Coast

Happisburgh lighthouse

Walk in the footsteps of the first people ever to come to our country, and where mammoths, hyenas, bison and lions used to roam! Hunker down in the sand dunes on the coastal stretch between Hemsby and Happisburgh (you can't miss the candy-striped lighthouse) and watch the sea whip up a swell and unleash its power as giant waves explode on the shoreline. Remember that only a few thousand years ago the sea in front of you was a land link to the Continent.

Deep History Coast 

Norfolk's dynamic coast

Enjoy our visitor attractions

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich

Get a taste of Norfolk’s history with a trip to a medieval castle, a stately home, a Neolithic flint mine, a Norman cathedral or one of our many museums or exhibition spaces such as the Sainbsury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Most venues in Norfolk are open all-year and the big attractions all have indoor facilities as well.

Attractions in Norfolk 

Eat mussels in a cosy pub

Fresh, local mussels

Find one of the many coastal pubs that serve steaming bowls of fresh north Norfolk mussels. Yes, you can call them moules et frites if you wish. Scoop the meat from the shell and dunk your bread into the garlicky, creamy broth. Uhm… Oh! And be sure to try the local beer – we have more microbreweries than any other county and the best malting barley in the country.

Norfolk food and drink

Great Christmas and New Year shopping

Jarrolds department store, Norwich

Market towns are lit up with festive lights, and there's great Christmas and New Year shopping to be done, especially in Norwich, which has an eclectic mix of High Street, mall and independent stores.

Explore Norwich

Cycle and walk in Thetford Forest

Horses in Thetford Forest

Take a bike out into Thetford Forest – it’s a great time for a gentle pedal or a more lung-busting adrenaline thrash through the woods. Or you could just pull on your hiking boots and take a walk in the woods. Enjoy the wildlife, including wild horses.

Explore the Brecks 

Watch swans have their supper

Bewick's swans at Welney

Head out into the Fens to watch the swans come in to feed! At WWT Welney on the Ouse Washes there’s activity every afternoon – the sight of hundreds of white swans punctuating the inky black of twilight is something you won’t forget.

WWT Welney

Birdwatching in Norfolk