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15 brilliant Winter things to do outdoors in Norfolk

Magical countryside, tinged with sparkling hoar frost, beautiful empty coast, nature reserves, a National Landscape and a National Park, all under our huge, never-ending skies. Winter is a wonderful time to explore Norfolk, when you feel as if you’ve almost got the county to yourself.

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 and piece of cake.

And don’t forget, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

It’s a great time to…

Winterton Dunes

1 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! Maybe a seal or two. We recommend the north beach at Great Yarmouth, Winterton-on-Sea, Happisburgh, Wells-next-the-Sea and Brancaster.

2 Hire a day boat and take a trip out on the Broads 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. (The bigger day boats have heating, galleys and toilets).

Blakeney Point Seals

3 Take a Beans Boats trip from Morston Quay to see the seals at Blakeney Point. When the Greys are pupping in the New Year you’ll marvel at the largest seal colony in the country. Honestly, you’ll simply be cooing at their cuteness!

RSPB Snettisham The Wash

4 Get up early to see the migratory birds on The Wash at Snettisham. Watch the geese leave their overnight roost as the light cracks and they fly in skeins overhead inland for breakfast. AMAZING! There’s more than 100,000 of them from their breeding grounds in the Arctic. Above the water you’ll also see waders twist and turn in aerial `ballet.

5 Norfolk is famous for its big blues skies, but it’s at night when it gets interesting. With little light pollution on the coast, away from Great Yarmouth and the other resorts, you can enjoy dark and wide skies – perfect for stargazing. Wait for a cloudless night, wrap up warm, and get set for a magical natural experience. Enjoy Norfolk’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites at Wiveton Downs and Kelling Heath in north Norfolk and Great Ellingham in the Brecks, or head for the deep countryside of the Broads.

6 Spend a day in our Fine City, just bimbling. Norwich is a very walkable city. Explore the cobbled streets around Elm Hill, walk along riverside to Pull’s Ferry and through the Cathedral precinct and defo try the chips on Norwich Market, liberally doused with vinegar and salt.

Feet first in Norwich, Naturally

Best things to do in Norwich

7 A little outside the city take a walk around the inland Broad at the University of East Anglia and enjoy the Sainsbury Centre’s sculpture trail. Another good Broad walk near the city is Whitlingham.

WWT Welney Swan feed CREDIT David Featherbe

8 Head out into the Fens to feed the swans on their annual migration from the Arctic! 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.

Fallow Deer Rut at Holkham Hall, credit Darren Williams

9 Book up on a wild deer safari at Holkham Hall – hundreds roam the estate and woods and are an amazing sight! Or take a buggy tour at Watatunga Wildlife Reserve – a unique experience.

Cromer surf school

10 Okay, Norfolk’s not Hawaii, but we still have ample waves to try surfing. You can learn to surf at Cromer or head out on your own at West Runton, or down the east coast at Winterton-on-Sea or Gorleston-on-Sea. The coast here is also perfect for windsurfing.

Sheringham Park Mother and son on an autumn walk NTI John Miller

11 Take a walk in the grounds of one of our many National Trust properties, such as Sheringham Park, Blickling, Felbrigg and Oxburgh.

Happisburgh beach

12 Discover the Deep History Coast between West Runton and Happisburgh. At the former a 600,000-year-old mammoth skeleton was found, the oldest and best preserved in the world. At the latter, 850,000-year-old human footprints were found, the oldest evidence of mankind found outside the Great Rift Valley in Africa.

13 Brace yourself… there are Boxing Day swims along the coast, notably at Cromer and Hunstanton.

Thetford Forest High Lodge cycling

14 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.

15 Visit one of our outdoor attractions and experience nature at Pensthorpe, BeWILDerwood, Fairhaven or Gooderstone Water Gardens.