Norfolk Overview

It is vast, it is breathtaking and it has everything - it is the county of Norfolk! This stunning county is a wide and diverse area of sweeping countryside, spectacular coastline and unique inland waterways, which lies to the east of the England. There is so much to see and do and so many things to explore throughout the county that visitors return again and again to wonder at the amazing wildlife, the beautiful tranquil countryside with all it's pretty villages and of course miles and miles of sweeping coastline with soft sandy beaches.

There are many cycle tracks, nature trails and walks, including some long distance routes which cross through Norfolk. Serious walkers and novices alike will find plenty of routes which take advantage of this delightful area and pass through a natural wonderland full of amazing plants, flowers, birds and animals on the way.

Not least on any visitors list are the Norfolk Broads. This area of unique inland waterways and rivers attracts tourists and nature lovers from all over the world. It is an area of great importance for natural history, has numerous nature reserves and is home to many rare species of birds, plants and small mammals. Sailing and fishing are amongst the many traditional water sports available, but there are plenty of other activities on offer for the outdoor enthusiast. Waterside nature trails offer the chance to watch wildlife in its natural habitat, with numerous viewing towers and hides along the route. Boating holidays are very popular in Norfolk and there is always somewhere lovely amongst the quiet backwaters to moor up and explore the surroundings or take a stroll to the local pub.

Norfolk also boasts many historic towns and buildings, with ancient market squares, narrow cobbled streets and places of interest to visit. Many of the town centres have a collection of antique shops, book shops and curio shops where a little piece of Norfolk history can be found. The world famous Norfolk Lavender is produced here and draws thousands of visitors each year to see the wondrous fields of purple flowers which are distilled and turned into hundreds of fragrant products. There is a visitor centre and cafe as well as a well stocked gift shop. There are also a number of country houses and beautiful parks and gardens around which are open to the public and provide a full day out for all the family.

The Royal Sandringham Estate is a favourite place for visitors with Sandringham House, ornamental gardens and a fascinating museum amongst the attractions which are open to the public.

There are a number of traditional seaside resorts around the Norfolk coastline offering visitors all the fun of the fair in bustling Great Yarmouth or a tranquil and traditional experience in the more sedate towns like Cromer and Sheringham. The towns are filled with reminders of Victorian times when coastal holidays first became popular and there is still a wonderful atmosphere to be experienced amongst the markets and auction houses where all kinds of treasures can be found.

For indoor entertainment Norfolk is home to a number of craft centres which includes Wroxham Barns, a multi craft centre where beautifully hand made goods and homemade delicacies are on sale and skilled craftsmen can be observed making and painting pottery and glass and wood turning. Situated within a medieval church the unique Inspire Discovery Centre has lots to see and do for all the family including interactive exhibits and many interesting scientific and technological facts to discover. The Norwich Arts Centre and Puppet Theatre are a great and fun place for children to visit, where they can make their own puppets and produce their own films. With cafes and shops, interesting and inspiring exhibitions there is more than enough to keep everyone happy.

For outdoors if the weather is good, there are family friendly animal parks, a zoo and a number of nature reserves where animals can be seen in their natural habitats. For some of the more exotic species Banham Zoo and Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens hold a collection of big cats as well as a host of native African animals and a very interesting Africa Alive exhibition. All the family enjoy the farm parks which are home to friendly goats, pigs, lambs and ponies which can be fed and petted in safety.

To experience all that Norfolk has to offer from the comfort of your seat there are numerous trips and tours by steam train on the heritage railway which takes in the Broads and the stunning coastal lines. For a delightful and sedate afternoon on the water there are several companies offering passenger boat trips through the broads and rivers. A trip on the Edwardian Electric Eel or the solar powered Ra is certainly something different and takes in the wonders of How Hill nature reserve and Barton Broad. The Belle of the Broads is an informative way of discovering the backwaters and quieter parts of the broads and with a commentator included is the perfect way to travel.