It’s that time of the year when you want to get outside after the dark Winter. So whack on the wellies, grab a warm coat and squelch around Norfolk to your heart’s content…
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
There’s 130 acres of ancient woodland to explore, with more than 3.5 miles of paths, and wildlife to look out for such as deer, otters and kingfishers. Plus, this is in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, so expect stunning waterside scenery.
Run by the National Trust, Blickling Estate has formal gardens and a wonderful hall, of course, but it’s the vast tracks of countryside and forest that you’ve come for, with lots of waymarked trails. See if you can find the pyramid mausoleum! Dogs are welcome, but must be on leads in signed areas. Afterwards, there’s cafes (one called, appropriately, Muddy Boots!) and a pub for refreshments.
Another National Trust property, Felbrigg has some great opportunities to hike in lovely countryside. Afterwards, the Walled Garden is a real treat.
One of the jewels of Norfolk, and often voted the best beach in Britain, Holkham is a great place to splash around in the shallow sea, in the tidal marshes or in the huge pine forest.
University of East Anglia
The university has its own broad, linked to the River Yare, with lots of trails in the woods. Dogs will love taking a dip! There’s an outdoor sculpture park to follow too. Afterwards, you could enjoy a little culture with a visit to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts – otherwise known as the HQ of Marvel’s Avengers. Yes, really!
Thetford Forest Park
Park up at High Lodge, stride out into over 20,000 hectares of lowland pine forest, and marvel that this natural adventure playground was actually only planted by the Forestry Commission after the first world war.
Burnham Overy Staithe
Be careful where you park the car here, as the tide takes precedence in the car park! At low tide you can probably walk across the River Burn to the tidal creeks and salt marshes and Gun Hill, but otherwise head out on the trail that’s part of the Norfolk Coast Path. This is where Nelson learnt to sail. If you’re really in an adventurous mood you could get to Scolt Head Island, a delight for mudlarks!
Snettisham Nature Reserve
Where better to splash around in the mud than The Wash! At Snettisham you can combine your welly walk with some of the best birdwatching in the country. Afterwards head to the nearby Rose & Crown for refreshments.
Walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans at this wonderful location near Great Yarmouth and imagine a time when the east coast’s top seaside resort wasn’t even a sandbank! When this castle was built, it was on the south bank of a mile-wide estuary that allowed ships to be sailed all the way to Norwich. Nowadays, you can look across to Halvergate Marshes and Berney Arms windmill.
Come here at low tide and explore the rockpools, marvel at the multi-coloured cliffs, maybe head over to Holme Dunes Nature Reserve and finish your day with a trip to the Sea Life Sanctuary to see the seals.