School’s out, sun’s out, Summer’s here… it’s time to do some rites of passage of any Norfolk holiday, from eating ice cream to riding a rollercoaster. How many will you do?
1 Eat fish and chips on Cromer Promenade, sitting on a bench, looking at holidaymakers enjoying the beach and swimming in the sea. Lashings of salt and vinegar. Go on, you’re on holiday.
2 Take a day boat on the Broads. It’s one of the simplest pleasures you can imagine, pootling along at walking pace, enjoying the views and wildlife. Take a picnic or stop off at a pub for lunch. The Southern Broads are quieter. Hire a boat from Hipperson’s and enjoy the journey through Beccles, past The Lido and stop at Geldeston Lock for refreshments.
3 Take a swim at Holkham. At low tide the sea leaves behind shallow lagoons… perfect for a dip. If the weather’s been nice, the water will be warm. Don’t miss visiting Holkham Hall and Estate too.
4 Eat donuts on Great Yarmouth seafront, freshly cooked while you wait. The last bit, when they get rolled in sugar… uhm. Bet you can’t eat one without licking your lips. Or an ice cream, with a Cadbury’s Flake.
5 Walk along The Run at Wells-next-the-Sea beach at low tide… you’ll wonder if you’re ever going to reach the sea! When you do, take a swim. Exhilarating. And it’s likely there’ll just be you.
6 Having a pint of beer in a beer garden in the sun. We recommend a pint of Woodforde’s outside the brewery tap, The Fur and Feather at Woodbastwick. Or sit by the river Bure at The Rising Sun, Coltishall.
7 Ride the wooden rollercoaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. Okay, it’s not as scary as many others and there’s no loop-the-loop, but then again, this ride doesn’t have automatic brakes… eek!
8 Enjoy the Summer Variety Show at The Pavilion Theatre at the Grade II listed Victoria Pier at Cromer, Europe’s last end-of-pier theatre. It’s what seaside evening entertainment is all about.
9 Have a lunch in the sun with the sea in the distance. Wiveton Hall Café is lovely and you can do a PYO while you’re there. Or how about The White Horse at Brancaster, sitting on the deck, with the salt marshes and Scolt Head Island for a view.
10 Take a rummage around a rockpool. Learn more here.
11 Try to convince someone that the land you can see in the far distance standing on Hunstanton seafront is actually Holland. Someone always falls for it! (It’s actually Lincolnshire. Look out for St Botolph’s Church, otherwise known as The Boston Stump). As Hunstanton is the only east coast resort that faces west, you get spectacular sunsets too.
12 Find a hostelry in Cromer that serves a sandwich or salad of the eponymous crab. You will not taste better, more succulent crab anywhere because they feed off the world’s longest chalk reef.
13 See the Summer Show and Water Spectacular at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, the country’s last complete circus building. The clue is in the title… Water Spectacular. 177,000 gallons of it.
15 Buy an ice cream (make it a 99, you know you want to) at the Lower Esplanade at Gorleston-on-Sea (the quieter sister of Great Yarmouth) and then take a leisurely stroll along the Promenade. Maybe have a paddle? If you’re with anklebiters, perhaps a cheeky jaunt through the Splash Pad?
16 Enjoy the beach walk from Happisburgh to the lovely sandy bays at Sea Palling. See if you can find 850,000 year old human prints. Archaeologists from the Natural History Museum did back in 2013. Who knows, you might get lucky on Norfolk’s Deep History Coast.
17 Take a trip on the North Norfolk Railway, otherwise known as The Poppy Line, from Sheringham. Imagine you’re one of The Railway Children. Wave at the players on the Sheringham Golf Course.
18 Pay a visit to the 32-acre East Ruston Old Vicarage gardens. Just a mile and a bit from the sea, you’ll be amazed that the delicate plants and succulents can survive! But the really amazing thing is that these 20 or so gardens, all with varying sizes and styles, were the creation of just two men, Alan Gray and Graham Robertson, who did it all on their own!
19 Go crabbing! Here are the rules.
20 Play beach cricket on the wide expanse of Old Hunstanton beach and marvel at the striking pink and white striped cliffs, formed from a combination of Norfolk carrstone and chalk.
21 Visit the Royal dacha at Sandringham and see how the other half live… quite modestly as it turns out. Don’t miss the museum and wander the lovely gardens.