Days out in Norfolk are a favourite for us Brits. If you’re not quite sure what you can do in a day in Norfolk, here’s your guide to the eastern county.
Expect seals, boat rides, a stunning city centre, and days out in Norfolk wandering the stunning north Norfolk coastline.
Hemmed in by the coast on one side and out into the lush expanse on the other, is the charming county of Norfolk. Ambling countryside landscapes merge with old-school architectures to keep your days out in Norfolk an adventure in diversity.
Norfolk’s beach encompasses an untouched pier while the avenues are lined with England’s traditional red-bricked buildings. Moody pubs present hearty fare and a comfortable atmosphere to relax in after a day out in the marshes; there are plenty of things to do in Norfolk to fill your days, from circus shows to stunning countryside.
History tours in this county reveal a fascinating past. Norfolk is embedded with a multitude of historical monuments and heritage sites. So don’t just stick to the more developed towns on your day out in Norfolk!
Many of these Norfolk attractions are out in more suburban or rural spaces, so it helps if you have a car to look around. There are of course buses and trains in Norfolk, but you’ll definitely get more of an insider scoop if you have your own wheels.
If you’re looking for essential things to do in Norfolk, here’s a list of sights you won’t want to miss.
I hope you enjoy your first of many awesome days out in Norfolk!
- 1. Clap with the seals at Blakeney Nature Reserve
- 2. Wander the postcard-perfect Norwich Cathedral Quarter
- 3. Walk along Cromer Pier
- 4. Learn about Norfolk’s history at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
- 5. Catch a thrilling performance at Hippodrome Circus
- 6. Bask in tranquil nature at the Sheringham Estate
- 7. Explore the Holkham Hall estate
- 8. Sign up for a magical night at Thursford
- 9. Enjoy a locomotive ride around Bressingham Steam & Gardens
- 10. Grab delicious bites at Norwich Market
- 11. Cruise the Norfolk Broads
- 12. Walk on Old Hunstanton Beach
- 13. Wander round Eaton Park
- 14. Relax on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea
- 15. Enjoy the Plantation Gardens
- 16. Wander the River Wensum
- 17. Explore Hindringham Hall
- 18. See the Devil’s Punchbowl
- 19. Day trip to Grime’s Graves
- 20. Day out in King’s Lynn
- Best days out in Norfolk
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20 Best Days Out in Norfolk
1. Clap with the seals at Blakeney Nature Reserve
The Norfolk special, ladies and gentlemen: Blakeney Nature Reserve and its collective of seals.
Situated along the north coast of Norfolk, this patchwork of salt marshes, tidal mudflats, sand dunes and tufts of farmland is one of the most popular things to do in Norfolk.
Recognised for its natural beauty and as a World Biosphere Reserve, many naturalists and conservationists come to explore its trails. There’s plenty of history behind the Blakeney Nature Reserve’s protected status too; the area once housed a medieval monastery and formed natural harbours.
Make it a point to visit Blakeney Point for close-up views of seals flopping about on shingled beaches on your day out in Norfolk. Hundreds of them occupy this land to happily flip their tails at visitors, or lounge lazily in the sun.
There are a few companies offering tours out to see the seals, and it’ll cost you around £13 for the pleasure. All leaving from the pretty Blakeney Harbour.
As you’ll see in this article, if you’re looking for days out Norfolk is a great choice.
2. Wander the postcard-perfect Norwich Cathedral Quarter
Prep your camera for some snaps around Norwich’s Cathedral Quarter. This historic and quaint area captures the community-focused charms of township living in Norfolk’s biggest city.
No doubt you’ll snap away at this fairytale-like set, cobbled streets lined with matchbox cafés, stores and eateries. Brushed over in sun-worn colours, each building retains a sense of individuality.
Of course, spare a decent amount of time to ogle at Norwich Cathedral, after which the area was named after. The 1096 construct was stunning – you’ll be enamoured by its cream-coloured limestone exterior and imposing spires. Pay close attention to the cloisters as it displays some of the most ornate carvings in the country.
Norwich Cathedral is a beautiful landmark to enjoy tea around. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Norwich, and you can spend the day mooching the vicinity afterwards.
The Norwich Cathedral Quarter is an absolute must-do for a day out in Norfolk.
3. Walk along Cromer Pier
The old-fashioned Cromer Pier extends 151 meters out towards the North Sea with a surprising attachment on one end – a Pavilion Theatre from early 20th-century.
It’s not your usual boardwalk-over-water for sure. This seaside town on the north Norfolk coast makes for a great day out in Norfolk.
Enjoy the brief stroll up to the theatre and the tangy ocean spray after lunch for some slapstick entertainment. West End ballads (complete with dramatic costumes) will keep you well-occupied before you retire for a hearty British supper at a nearby pub.
Cromer Pier provides the quintessential day out in Norfolk for you to enjoy the great British seaside.
4. Learn about Norfolk’s history at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
There’s nothing better than understanding the history of a place before touring it; this way, you’ll get a better sense of what makes it so special and how each landmark contributed to the growth of the region. When you’re planning your days out in Norfolk, schedule Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery to be one of the first on your list.
Founded after the Norman Conquest, what was originally a medieval royal fortification later become the official home to Norwich Museum in 1894. It’s one of Norwich’s 12 heritage sites, and one of the city’s main attractions.
You’ll find archaeological exhibits alongside natural history galleries and a staggering amount of art from the region. The castle itself is of course, also a historical monument to be admired.
You can spend quite a few hours taking in all the artefacts and information boards to learn more about this, one of the top things to do in Norfolk. You definitely need to go for a day out in Norwich!
5. Catch a thrilling performance at Hippodrome Circus
No day out in Norfolk is complete without catching a show at the famous Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth – it’s definitely a few hours of magic you don’t want to miss out on.
As Britain’s last-surviving full circus building that was put up in 1903, the Hippodrome has all the elements of a classic circus spectacle. You’ll get a kick out of its circular design and cozy audience seating for sure!
The lively entertainment within is a huge contrast to the languid seaside atmosphere outside, making it a great schedule insert when you’re done with garden walks.
It once hosted magicians like Houdini and the mime master Charlie Chaplin. You’re guaranteed a riveting show for your day out in Norfolk.
6. Bask in tranquil nature at the Sheringham Estate
‘Peaceful and invigorating’ sums up a day out in Norfolk – more specifically, the stunning Sheringham Park. If you’re in need of some quiet and space, set off for this landscape park and garden to discover mature woodlands and diverse plant life. Rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolia clusters are sure to cheer you up.
Support the park with a vegan ice cream from the on-site coffee shop as you wander the canopied trails.
And, if you have the time, drop by the nearby Baconsthorpe Castle, Sheringham Hall or Sheringham Beach to make the most of your day out in Norfolk. They’re all lovely places to enjoy a picnic at.
7. Explore the Holkham Hall estate
Built in the 18th century is one of England’s most stunning Palladian style architecture: Holkham Hall. Commissioned by an earl, its stately pillars and stocky frame ensured that the building lived up the wealth of its owner; the interior is understandably opulent.
If you’re looking for a lovely walk outdoors at one of the top things to do in Norwich, Holkham Hall’s fresh lawns and carefully maintained grounds are perfect for the casual wanderer. You’ll find many pet owners taking their little ones out on a stroll.
To seal the deal, there’s even an on-site café with varied food and drink options, catering to guests with quality service. Definitely an afternoon itinerary to check off your Norfolk list!
8. Sign up for a magical night at Thursford
Thursford is the pinnacle of Norfolk tourist attractions, a spectacle of sights that never fails to amaze. A wonderland that houses the Thursford Garden Pavilion, Steam Engine Museum, Christmas Spectacular and Santa’s Magical Journey into Christmas – things are always twinkling, twirling and never dull.
Make sure to book ahead for an extravagant show of music and dance; Thursford’s famous stage heats up the area even in the winter. This is one of the best family days out in Norfolk.
Santa Claus makes a personal journey to see you, bringing with him busy elves, giant teddy bears, penguins and a magical snowman family. If you prefer something more science-y, the Steam Engine Museum is a blast.
9. Enjoy a locomotive ride around Bressingham Steam & Gardens
Bressingham Steam & Gardens promises multiple attractions, especially geared towards families with kids. Steam museum and garden in one, the site boasts a collection of steam engines and vehicles for you to gush over.
Colourful rails take you around the magnificent gardens and woodlands; there’s even an old-fashioned Fairground. Another great day out with the kids in Norfolk.
Those who like to chase the olden days will be happy to know that Bressingham is home to the Dad’s Army exhibition. Fictional set-ups depict nostalgic post offices, butcher shop and other iconic sights from the television series.
Don’t tell him, Pike!
10. Grab delicious bites at Norwich Market
What better way to blend with the locals than meeting them on their turf?
One of the best things to do in Norfolk is to grab a bite at Norwich Market. Here you’ll find fresh produce and some 200 stalls of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Italian delights. Since it’s an outdoor market, you’ll have to plan around the weather.
You can trace the market’s roots back to the 11th century and up until the plague in late 14th century, it was one of the most prosperous trading hubs across the country. Now, it’s close-knit stalls and mix of both processed and fresh products nets a loyal network of customers.
As for visitors like us, the market is a charming attraction not to be missed on your day out in Norfolk.
11. Cruise the Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads are one of the top things to see in Norfolk for a day out. Hire a boat and this web of lock-free waterways make for the perfect day trip. Pack a picnic, and go explore the 125 miles of the Norfolk Broads – more than Amsterdam and Venice!
You’ll find cute villages and market towns to stop off at along the way – maybe a pub dinner. You’ll also pass through marshland fields, feathery reeds and tangled woodlands, and all the amazing wildlife that comes with them.
If you have your boat for a bit longer you can make the most of the many peaceful paths and cycle ways too.
12. Walk on Old Hunstanton Beach
This is one of the more ‘rustic’ beaches for a day out in Norfolk – if you want white sands and pretty seas they have that too.
I could totally imagine a winter’s breezy walk along this one though, with the wind in my hair, and a dog lead in my hand. Not that I have a dog, but you can bring them here for a runabout. A great dog friendly day out in Norfolk.
13. Wander round Eaton Park
If you’re looking for free things to do in Norwich then go to Eaton Park. This historic park is an active sporting and recreational park with a rose garden, sunken lily pond, boating lake and a tree-lined walkway too.
It’s free to enter and open year round. It’s also in Norwich so if you need an escape from the city for a few hours, Eaton Park is a great option. There’s a little cafe here, and boats and trains for the kids to play on too.
14. Relax on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea
And we’re back on the North Norfolk Coast for our next idea for a day out in Norfolk. Wells-next-the-Sea may have a strange name to anyone not in the know, but it’s all part of the quirkiness of the area.
Wells Beach is award winning and famous – there’s the quay and harbour to enjoy and all the delights of one of England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Birdwatchers and seal spotters will love it here!
15. Enjoy the Plantation Gardens
The Plantation Gardens in Norwich are also known locally as ‘The Secret Garden’ and you only have to find it to know why. It’s kinda magical, and feels like a personal find in the city.
Another alternative to Eaton Park if you’re looking for an escape – look at that palm trees!
16. Wander the River Wensum
The River Wensum is known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Norfolk. The spring-fed chalk river provides a fertile home for birds, plants, insects, mammals and fish.
Walking along the River Wensum is a great idea for a day out in Norfolk as you’ll get to see all kinds of creatures who call the waters home. Unfortunately some of the river goes through private land so you’ll need to do some research to where and when you can go, but I just wanted to plant the seed!
17. Explore Hindringham Hall
Hindringham Hall makes for a great day out in Norfolk. If you just want a super chill day, without the craziness of Norfolk’s biggest attractions, then you can take a wander here and admire all the work that’s gone into creating this oasis.
18. See the Devil’s Punchbowl
The Devil’s Punchbowl in Norfolk kinda looks like a meteorite impact crater – unfortunately it’s not quite that exciting though. Norfolk’s Devil’s Punchbowl originated as a depression formed by dissolution of chalk bedrock over thousands of years. The water levels in it are linked to the rise and fall of groundwater.
It’s one of the areas designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) so is one of the top things to do in Norfolk. To be honest, it’s not quite my jam so I’ve never been, but I wanted to include it in case you’re into that type of thing. Let us know how you get on!
19. Day trip to Grime’s Graves
This might sound like a bit of a weird day trip in Norfolk, but Grime’s Graves are one of the top English Heritage sites in the county. It’s not actually a set of graves, but a Neolithic flint mine which the public can look round.
There’s an exhibition and visitors can descend 9 metres (30 ft) by ladder into an excavated shaft to see the jet-black flint. Ermmm, that’s probably not how I want to spend my day out in Norfolk to be honest, but you go and have fun!
Grime’s Graves are another one of Norfolk’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest – giving a home to all kinds of rare plants and fauna.
20. Day out in King’s Lynn
And finally for this list of the best days out in Norfolk, a day trip to King’s Lynn. This vibrant town centre is filled with places to eat, drink, shop and look around.
The historic town has merchant’s houses to admire, cobbled lanes, a pretty harbour and a weekly market too. There’s a pedestrianised shopping area and plenty of attractions and entertainment to enjoy too.
Best days out in Norfolk
As you can see, there are lots of days out in Norfolk and things to do in Norfolk for you to enjoy on your trip. If you can only manage a day, then you have some tough decisions to make, but if you can stay over in the county, then you can make the most of the amazing wealth and variety of days out in Norfolk to enjoy.
We hope you have a great time exploring Norfolk on a day out, do let us know how you get on!