There isn’t much that Norfolk doesn’t have. A natural haven, it’s brimming with wildlife, sweeping beaches and lush forests. Combine that with the county’s wealth of history and culture, and you have the perfect recipe for a fun-filled family day out from your peaceful Norfolk base. The only trouble is, how do you choose between exciting attractions?
Let us help you out – here’s our pick of the very best things to do in Norfolk.
Lose yourself in the world of BeWILDerwood
This ‘curious treehouse adventure’ is an enchanting day out for the whole family. Follow your little ones through treehouses, across jungle bridges and even along zip wires as you explore this magical world. As you navigate the Tricky Tunnels and cross the Sccaaaaary Lake, you can even take part in activities like den building and story time. Of course, adventuring through the deep dark wood is hungry work, so there are plenty of places to fill up on your way round. Why not treat the kids to a locally-made ice cream?
Explore Pensthorpe Natural Park
Pensthorpe Natural Park isn’t your average nature reserve. With a strong focus on education and conservation, both children and adults can spot some of our most iconic species while learning more about Norfolk’s natural heritage.
The reserve is a diverse mix of woodland, wetland and farmland habitats, each offering an exciting adventure! As well as having the chance to spot rarities like turtle doves, red squirrels and corncrakes, you can enjoy wildflower meadows and beautiful gardens, take part in outdoor activities and tuck into some delicious grub.
Get back to nature at a wildlife garden
What could be more magical than a day out in the famous Norfolk Broads? Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden offers 130 acres of natural beauty. Why not explore the area’s woodland pathways or hop onto a boat trip? It’s a great way to spot the resident otters and kingfishers.
Nature buffs will love the chance to bed down in the bird hides with their binoculars, while kids will adore getting hands on with pond dipping. And at the end of your visit, there’s even a gift shop and tearoom to add the perfect end to a wonderful day. Homemade scones with jam and clotted cream, anyone?
Splash, scream and giggle at a theme park
What could be better than a fun-packed theme park that’s nestled right on the coast? Thursford Collection is the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs: an authentic blast from the past. It isn’t every day you can get up close and personal with such impressive machines, or let your ears fill with the nostalgic tinkle of fairground organs. The Thursford Collection even includes two vibrant fairground rides (one of which is hand-cranked), and an original Wurlitzer! Don’t miss The Mighty Wurlitzer Show.
Meet exotic animals at Africa Alive!
Motor safaris are so last year. What you want is a walking safari! Africa Alive! is set in 100 acres of beautiful parkland, home to big cats, lemurs and a whole range of other African wildlife.
After all of that walking around and gasping in wonder, you can rest your feet in one of the park’s fab restaurants, let the kids burn off some steam in the Wild Zone or even take them to meet some fascinating critters in the Discovery Centre.
Let little ones be pirates for the day
Shiver me timbers! There’s nothing like a day out at Adventure Island Play Park. Kids will love getting in touch with their inner Long John Silver in inflatable pirate ships that would put the Jolly Roger to shame! They may even want to take on the challenge of the inflatable Fun Run – who can sprint through the fastest?
There’s also a laser tag area, so there’s no danger of youngsters making you walk the plank to cure their boredom!
Visit a real life Jurassic Park
Well, it might not go as far as ‘real life’, but Norfolk’s Dinosaur Adventure is the closest you’re going to get. Look out for your favourite dinosaurs as you stroll from activity to activity, but watch out for T Rex: he’s been known to move!
Outside you’ll find carting tracks, mazes, animal encounters and an amazing deer safari, letting you get up close to these elegant animals. Elsewhere you can enjoy crazy golf and a zipwire, and you could even get your face painted like your favourite dinosaur. Get practising that raaawwwwr!
Go down to the zoo, and get a big surprise
Banham Zoo is an award-winning attraction home to more than 2,000 fascinating animals. Including species from right around the world, families can meet creatures they may never otherwise see. Spectacular birds like the bald eagle and scarlet ibis bask in their aviaries, creepy-crawly invertebrates live alongside beautiful snakes and lizards, and countless mammals roam the park. If there’s one creature you must see, make it the stunning snow leopard.
Get your skate on at RetroSkate
With multiple skating rinks, roller discos and a soft play area, RetroSkate is the perfect outing for fun-loving families. Strap on your skates and challenge one another as you whizz around the rink, all before retiring to Café Retro to refuel.
Smaller children will love learning to skate in the complete safety of the Roller Tots rink, while older children can even take part in special lessons. They’ll be skating rings around you before you know it!
Learn all about Lord Horatio Nelson
“I am a Norfolk man and I glory in being so!” Nelson once said at The Wrestler’s Arms pub in Great Yarmouth, now you can find out more about this national hero at the Nelson Museum. Telling his story through original letters, stunning paintings, medals, models and more, this fascinating museum is one attraction you could easily while away an entire day.
Discover Broadland life
From food and transport to leisure, the Broads have been a gateway to Norfolk for centuries, and The Museum of the Broads is a great place to find out more about this beautiful corner of the world. The collection brings to life the area’s industrial heritage, illustrating how people have used the Broads’ land and waterways, to shape the landscape forever. You can even take to the water yourself on a boat trip down the river, keeping a sharp eye out for the local wildlife, of course.
Where will you explore on your next trip to Norfolk? We’d love to know! Why not leave us a comment, below?