So much of Norfolk’s enduring appeal as a holiday destination lies in the tranquil charm of its countryside and villages. The bucolic rolling landscapes of the county’s rural interior form the heart of Norfolk, and there’s so much to explore and enjoy. Delve into the region’s rich cultural heritage and see for yourself the country traditions such as Village Fetes and seasonal festivals that imbue that region with such a rustic beauty.
Visit the historic market town of Fakenham, voted one of the top ten places in the country to live in Country Life magazine. Hunt for a bargain at its popular flea market, or sample some hearty local produce at the monthly Farmer’s Market. The town’s wide variety of restaurants, pubs and cafes provide something to savour for those of all tastes.
Or why not stop in at Castle Acre? The rural village is named after the 12th Century Norman ruins, which are open free of entry all year. The village is also home to Castle Acre priory, home to a community of monks until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, and The Bailey Gate, a 13th century structure which still serves as an entrance to the town.
A truly breathtaking expanse of coastline, perhaps best experienced by walking or cycling along the coastal path, the North Norfolk Coast is home to some of England’s most picturesque natural landscapes, from the family-friendly-beaches of Sheringham, Cromer and Mundesley to the striped cliffs of Hunstanton. Walsingham is another not-to-be-missed spot, with its quaint light railway linking abbey, farm shop and chocolate deli for a easy day of family fun. The region is even home to some of the earliest signs of human habitation in Europe at the rural enclave of Happisburgh, which features the UK’s only independently-operated lighthouse.
Perhaps Norfolk’s best-known region, these truly unique inland waterways form one of Britain’s premier holiday locations, but even at the busiest times of the year the Broads are provide the perfect space the enjoy some peace and quiet in a tranquil natural setting. The Broads National Park offers an unparallelled location for bird-watching and experiencing the Broads huge variety of wildlife. Or why not hire a day cruiser from Broads Tours and explore the waterways and lakes, making sure to stop off at one of the region’s many waterside pubs to sample some delicious local food?
Norfolk’s east coast is a fantastic place to enjoy the county’s wonderful beaches away from the hustle and bustle that can characterise some of England’s other popular holiday destinations. The serene hideaway of Horsey is an oasis of calm, and boasts not only a picturesque stretch of untouched coastline, but also an opportunity to see some of the area’s seals basking or sunbathing on the beach.
The coastal town of Great Yarmouth has been a seaside resort since 1760, and features a wide range of traditional seaside activities, including crazy golf, trampolines, boat trips, donkey rides, arcades and amusements. The town itself includes The Tollhouse, with its infamous dungeons, said to be the oldest civic building in Britain, as well as two piers: Britannia Pier and Wellington Pier.
Still structured around its Medieval street plan, the historic city of Norwich boasts a fantastic range of boutique, independent and specialist shops alongside a variety of malls, retail parks and department stores. As Norfolk’s County town and England’s first Unesco City of Literature, Norwich is a vibrant cultural centre, with the Norwich Arts Centre, Maddermarket Theatre and The Norwich Playhouse providing plenty of opportunities to experience the creative arts. Norwich’s famous cathedral and castle are both stunning examples of immaculately-preserved Norman architecture, and give the city a truly unique atmosphere.
An enchanting region steeped in heritage, the West Norfolk Coast boasts the Queen’s Country estate at Sandringham, private home to four monarchs since 1862 and home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The estate’s museum and gardens, as well as the house itself are open to the public, offering a relaxed day out in a truly idyllic setting. Holkham Hall estate offers another opportunity to enjoy a family getaway, featuring an adventure playground, nature reserve and award-winning beach, as well as hosting year-round events in its expansive grounds, such as outdoor theatre productions and the Norfolk Food Festival.