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A stunning coastline and scenic inland landscapes makes Norfolk the perfect location for a staycation in UK, whether you’re after a cottage break by the beach or a countryside hideaway for two.
It’s easy to keep to the coast on a Norfolk staycation: with 145km (90 miles) of coastline, there’s plenty of fabulous beaches to discover, from the sweeping sands of Holkham beach to the golden stretch at the fun-filled, traditional seaside town of Great Yarmouth.
But you’ll be missing out if you stick to the seaside. On a drive around the gently rolling countryside, you can admire its patchwork of green fields (keep an eye out for the occasional windmill), and stop in on charming villages and market towns such as Burnham Market and Wymondham along the way.
The Norfolk Broads National Park, where you can relax in the peace and beauty of Britain’s largest protected wetland, is also worth heading inland for. There are plenty of guided boat trips available, but for an added adventure, why not hire your own boat for the day and explore some of the 200km (125 miles) of waterways for yourself?
Norfolk staycations tick all the holiday boxes, whether you’re planning an action-packed family getaway with activities galore or a rejuvenating seaside break to recharge your batteries.
Best things to do on a weekend break
You can pack a lot into a weekend break in Norfolk. Get behind the wheel to make the most of it, and explore the north Norfolk coastline along the A149, which takes you from Hunstanton to Cromer. You’ll travel through pretty villages lined with flint cottages and find beautiful beaches and cosy pubs along the way.
Alternatively, swap your car for a boat and explore the peaceful waterways of the Broads National Park – it’s a haven for wildlife. If you prefer to get active, walk part of the Norfolk Coastal Path, which starts at Hunstanton and runs on to Sea Palling.
Round out your weekend break in Norfolk with its other main drawcard: seafood. Sample the delicacies the area is renowned for, including Cromer crabs and Brancaster oysters.
Best things to do for families
Family holidays in in Norfolk are bound to be action-packed, with plenty to keep little ones engaged. For special animal encounters, take a boat trip from Morston Quay to see the seal colony at Blakeney Point, or discover an amazing underwater world at SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth, where you’ll see everything from sharks to jellyfish.
At adventure park BeWILDerwood, children can explore treehouses, roam around the treetop ‘Sky Maze’, zoom down zipwires and listen to engrossing stories, while Thetford Forest offers bike hire so you can cycle through the pine trees and healthland. It’s a must for family holidays in Norfolk.
Best beaches in Norfolk
Close to a wide range of amenities and with fun attractions such as crazy golf and amusements close by, the long, sandy beaches at Great Yarmouth are among the best in Norfolk. Families also enjoy setting up for the day at Wells-next-the-Sea. Lined with colourful beach huts and backed by pinewoods, this sweeping stretch of sand has lots of space to play beach games and there’s a great café too.
At the beautiful Winterton-on-Sea beach, meanwhile, you can walk amid the dunes and marram grass before relaxing on the soft sand, while the shallow waters at Hunstanton (dubbed Sunny Hunny) make it a popular spot with kite-surfers. As the region’s only west-facing beach, it’s a great place to watch the sunset too.
Best restaurants and bars in Norfolk
It will come as no surprise that seafood fans will be in their element in Norfolk. Sample local oysters minutes from the source at The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe. Nearby, at the cosy Wells Crab House in Wells-next-the-Sea, meanwhile, you can indulge in specialities such as dressed crab and garlic buttered lobster.
More local specialities can be found at Nip and Growler Craft Ale House in Kings Lynn. Here, you can try local ales and ciders from small brewers.
In Thornham on the north coast, the stylish and contemporary Orange Tree is known for its excellent food and great selection of cocktails and fine wines. And if you’re staying by the Broads, Acle Bridge Inn does classic pub food well.
Best attractions in Norfolk
Holidays in Norfolk aren’t just about the outdoors. Here, you’ll find stately homes, retro railways and culture galore. Royal Family enthusiasts should stop in on the much-loved country retreat of the Queen, Sandringham House and Gardens, to learn about its history and admire its treasures. And at the 18th-century Holkham Hall, you’ll find even more extravagances – its Statue Gallery and Marble Hall are just the beginning. To round out your cultural experience, head to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery for galleries of archaeology, natural history and fine art.
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, near Norwich, is one of the best attractions for children. Follow the dinosaur trail through the woods, tackle the maze and have a high ropes adventure. The whole family, meanwhile, will enjoy the glorious countryside views on a steam train ride along the North Norfolk Railway, which runs from the seaside town of Sheringham to the Georgian town of Holt.