We’ve all got our bucket lists, haven’t we? That list of things to do and achieve before we kick the… well, you get the picture. As Norfolk has such a huge wealth of unique experiences we’ve created our very own Visit Norfolk Bucket (and Spade) List… things to do before you lie, on the beach. And all eminently Instagrammable.
Take a boat trip from Morston Quay to see the seals at Blakeney Point – it’s the largest seal colony in the country. Nothing more magical than having the inquisitive seals come up to your boat or wave at you as they loll on the seashore.
Hire a day boat from Wroxham and enjoy the unique Norfolk Broads National Park. It’s the only way to properly appreciate the 125 miles of navigable, lock-free waterways. The modern day boats have all the mod cons. Buy your picnic from Roys of Wroxham – it’s the world’s largest village store!
Go on the 8-mile Pingo Trail in the natural adventure playground that is The Brecks. Pingos are unique to this neck of the woods, or should we say this neck of Thetford Forest. They’re nothing to do with penguins by the way – they’re actually collapsed hillocks from the last Ice Age.
Cycle on the quiet lanes of the Cromer Ridge, one of the highest points in East Anglia. There are stunning coastal views from Sheringham Park and Kelling Heath.
Spent a traditional seaside day in Great Yarmouth. Eat donuts and ice cream. Imagine you’re Gulliver in the model village. Go on the Pleasure Beach’s wooden rollercoaster, one of only eight left in the world and one of only two that use a brakeman because… there are no brakes on the track! Build a sandcastle. Dip your toes in the briny.
Visited Blickling Hall, ancient home of the Boleyn family, and taken a stroll around the gardens and lake to discover Norfolk’s mausoleum pyramid.
Counted the multi-coloured, higgledy-piggledy beach huts at Wells-next-the-Sea. You’ll soon run out of the fingers and toes. We reckon there are 200. At low tide the beach is mahoosive!
Seen the multi-coloured cliffs at Hunstanton and then stayed to the watch the sunset. Sunny Hunny, as we call it, is the only east coast resort that faces west. Tell the people you’re with that the land across the water is Holland. Someone always falls for it. It’s actually Lincolnshire, on the other side of The Wash.
Walked in the footsteps of the first ever tourists to visit Norfolk – 850,000 years ago – at Happisburgh. Part of our Deep History Coast.
Appreciated the fine medieval buildings and trading and fishing heritage of King’s Lynn – it has more Graded buildings than any other town in the UK. Our picture shows Purfleet near the Custom House in the film The Personal Life of David Copperfield.
Enjoyed a pint of Woodforde’s wherry sitting outside the brewery tap, the thatched Fur and Feather at Woodbastwick. It’s as quintessential an English country pub as you’ll find.
Spent some time on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea. Along with 5000 extras, it’s a star of the Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis film Yesterday. Along with Lily James. ‘It’s one of the great secrets of England, Gorleston beach,’ sad Danny. ‘It’s beautiful.’
Still with films, walk in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola in the closing credits of Shakespeare in Love on Holkham Beach, voted the best beach in Britain by readers of BBC Countryfile magazine. Natalie Portman has also filmed here. And Keira Knightley as well, in nearby Holkham Hall. And All Saints filmed their Pure Shores video here too.
Visited Sandringham, the royal datcha in north west Norfolk which also has an excellent museum. This is where Meghan Markle spent her first English Christmas, as guests of her future in-laws.
Birdwatched at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes Nature Reserve. If reserves were the Premier League, Cley would be the champions. Norfolk is the birdwatching capital of the UK!
Discovered Nelson’s County. He was born at Burnham Thorpe where his father was rector, and the Nelson Museum and Nelson Monument in Great Yarmouth will help you learn more about Britain’s greatest naval commander. He learnt to sail at nearby Burnham Overy Staithe.
If you’re here in June, don’t miss the Royal Norfolk Show, two days when the county comes together in one place. A great family day out, it retains its strong agricultural links.
Admire what the Stormin’ Normans created in Norwich – a magnificent cathedral, with the second highest spire in the country and the largest cloisters, and an imposing castle, that sits atop a huge earth mound and dominates the city centre.
Three things to tick off in Cromer: enjoy a Cromer crab sandwich for lunch – they’re so tasty because they feed off the world’s longest chalk reef; see a show at the Pavilion Theatre, the world’s last end-of-pier theatre; enjoy fish and chips from the wrapper while sitting on the promenade, enjoying a spectacular sunset.
Get a photo of the Deal Rows in the Brecks – these lines of Scots pines are unique to this part of the country. They remind us of acacia trees on the African savannah.
Head into the mine shaft of Grime’s Graves – this is where in Neolithic times flint was mined to make weapons and tools. It’s Europe’s earliest industrial site.
Visited the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the University of East Anglia campus, build by architect Norman Foster in 1973 to house the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. You might recognise it as the futuristic Upstate New York HQ of Marvel’s Avengers in Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and Spiderman: Homecoming.
Driven the A149 coast road of north Norfolk… it’s like Cotswolds-by-the-Coast. You’ll discover charming flint-built fishing villages, quaint quays and tiny ports, soaring cliffs, tidal creeks and saltmarshes, brilliant beaches and more.
Walked some of the Peddar’s Way in the west of the county and imagined what it would have been like when the Romans built it. This is the route King John would have taken to go north when he famously lost the Crown Jewels in The Wash.