Our top family friendly activties
There is an abundance of family things to do in Norfolk if you're looking for an exciting adventure.
Yes, Norfolk may not have mountains. Yes, it's a county which is predominantly flat. And yes, it doesn't have the largest theme parks, BUT it is a super family friendly destination, here are our favourite things to do:
Before we start, here are some great Norfolk facts which you may not be aware of...
- Blakeney point is the home of the largest seal colony in England. Every Winter, around 2,500 seal pups are born here.
- Norfolk was the birthplace of Horatio Nelson and it also has a royal residence, Sandringham.
- The chalk reef which is just off the coast of Cromer and Sheringham is the largest chalk reef in the world. It is more than 100,000 million years old
Some of those stats are enough to make your eyes pop! Norfolk really is a county full of history and culture that is waiting to be explored, it's the perfect UK staycation and family destination.
Where should we visit as a family?
Holkham Hall and beach
We often mention Holkham Hall as a top place to visit along the north Norfolk coast. Perhaps we mention it too much? But seriously, it's just wonderful, it's a great place to visit as a family as there is so much to do:
- Beach - which also happens to be a great dog friendly Norfolk beach. Think wide, sandy beaches and sand dunes
- Woodland walks
- Stately home
- Woodland adventure park and high ropes
- Boat hire
- Bike hire
- Walled garden
- Plenty of events throughout the year and so much more
The estate is also iconic for its roaming deer and wildlife. As well as the beach and the Hall, there is a high ropes challenge, an amazing park for the kids, bike hire, cafes and so much more. It could easily be a whole day trip and THIS is exactly why we mention it so regularly. The endless miles of unspoilt golden sands, huge blue skies, sand dunes to play amongst and when it starts to get a little too hot (or the rain comes along) then you can duck for shelter amongst the pinewoods.
Sandringham is the much-loved country retreat of the Queen near Kings Lynn and Hunstanton. Exploring the 600-acre Royal Park can be done by foot, by bike or with your furry friend. It is ideal for buggies and has two waymarked trails winding through woodlands and parkland with further unmarked paths for you to enjoy. Sandringham Estate is a perfect place to take the family. There's a brand-new adventure playground to run, slide, swing and balance around as well as a great café and shop, you may even see the Queen. If you're in the area around Christmas then make sure you grab a ticket to Luminate Sandringham.
Picnic at Stikkey Freshes
Whilst you could enjoy a picnic on any beach, we love this peaceful and solitary beach at Stiffkey for a more private picnic with family and friends. The easiest way to get to Stiffkey Freshes is across a creek, which is only passable during low tide.. We promise you won't be disappointed.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary
Norfolk plays host to 2 centres of the UK's largest horse sanctuary, Redwings. If you are around Aylsham or Caldecott then a visit to see their rescued horses and donkeys is always a winner with the little ones. Just beware - you may be sweet talked into adopting a new horsey friend. If you're considering staying nearby then we have just the place for you.
Pettitts Adventure Park
If you're around Norfolk and fancy a day trip to an attraction then Pettitts Adventure Park is great for children. The park is home to a number of different species of animals. There are snakes, ferrets, parrots, macaws, reptiles and birds of prey. Plus red squirrels, raccoons, lemurs, meerkats, ponies, wallabies and alpacas. Alongside the animals, Pettitts has a number of rides as well as play areas dotted around the park. These include a play beach, a construction playground and a Robin Hood playground with plenty to climb, slide and play on. There is also a theatre with live shows, a ball pool and Pettitt’s driving school. An all-round fun day out!
Seal watching at Morston
Seal spotting is a real favourite in north Norfolk. There is a huge, protected colony of common and grey seals on Blakeney Point which is a nature reserve looked after by the National Trust. Book a boat trip from Morston out to The Point for a great hour of seaside fun.
Go wild at BeWILDerwood
BeWILDerwood is an award winning wild and imaginative adventure park with magical treehouses and a hint of intriguing characters, bringing a curious difference to the Norfolk Broads. The setting for the book 'A Boggle at BeWILDerwood', by local children's author Tom Blofeld, it's a wonderful, mystical land of brave adventurous creatures who you may never see anywhere else in our world. Parents are encouraged to play alongside their children, which makes for a fabulous and brilliantly exciting day out for the whole family.
The perfect place to head with your family when the weather isn't on your side. Stompers hosts a large indoor play area, bowling alley, American style diner and 'Stomp Out' which is a colourful outdoor play area. If you need somewhere for your little people to run off some energy then this would make for a great stop over.
North Norfolk Railway
From the smart Victorian seaside resort of Sheringham to the Georgian town of Holt, the North Norfolk Railway runs through the county’s most stunning coastal scenery and it is a wonderful experience for all ages, especially children. The North Norfolk Railway runs various experiences and special trips throughout the year, most notably the Norfolk Lights Express over Christmas. It is a beautifully and lovingly run Heritage Steam Railway that gives you the chance to lose yourself to nostalgia and forces you to just sit back and enjoy the slower pace of life that once was.
If you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise. Thetford Forest, in particular the High Lodge area of the forest is a haven for play, exploring, adventures and simple, wholesome family fun. Large play areas, themed trails, toddler towers, learning opportunities, alongside fun for the teens in your family such as Go Ape, segways and archery. Exploring the 18,730 hectares with your little ones is a must.
The Norfolk Broads
For children big and small, boating on The Broads National Park is a great way to explore over a hundred miles of calm, lock-free waterways, wildlife, Norfolk life and more. Hire a boat from one of many boat hiring sites or book a boat tour to enjoy the area with your loved ones. If you fancy hiring a more luxury boating experience then The Norfolk Cottage Agency recommends checking out Broadland Charters who can create a bespoke day for you. All in all, a day on The Broads will be one you'll remember for a long time, that's a promise!
Rhododendrons galore - have you visited a rhododendrons park before?
Sheringham Park and Sandringham Estate will be blooming with Rhododendrons in early May, which really make for the perfect photo opportunity. Gather your Norfolk produce and take a picnic to your favourite rhododendrons park for a relaxing afternoon.
Family fun in Norwich
Norwich City Centre is a hive of activities. For history loving families, Norwich Castle is a great place to visit as it shows the history of the castle, it even has a mummy. However, If burning off some energy on a wet day is what you need then places such as Gravity trampolining park and High Altitude are the perfect places to visit. Norwich is full of independent shops, eateries, restaurants and cafes - whilst the little ones may prefer to zoom around high energy places, it's also worth a few minutes to browse some of the amazing local businesses.
As you can see there are many things to do with your family, too many things! If you're looking for a holiday cottage on the north Norfolk coast to base yourselves from to explore all that this fine county has to offer, then please do take a look at our holiday homes.
The Norfolk Cottage Agency team