25 years of providing exceptional Norfolk holidays

25th anniversaryBack to Blog

25 x winter highlights

Whilst Norfolk in summer is stunning, there is something quite majestic about Norfolk in winter. Crisp, fresh mornings when the sun is low and you can see your breath, these are some of the best days to be out and about in this beautiful county. You might well feel like hibernating but be assured that If you do you will miss out on some brilliant days out. So with this in mind, dust off your winter blues, grab a cosy scarf, dig out the wellies, fill your flask with something warming and get out in the open! Oh…and let us not forget that Christmas falls within winter, you had better pack a nice frock for a smart occasion or two!

Here are my top 25 Winter Highlights

1. Bracing beach walks…

Forget sandcastle building & paddling and enjoy the beaches of Norfolk in winter which have a very different feel. Wrap up warm and take a walk through the woods and onto the vast sandy beach at Wells-next-the-Sea where you may be lucky to see seals basking on the shoreline. Visit Beach Café for a hot chocolate to warm up afterwards!

2. Otter spotting…

Winter is a great time to see Otters, particularly along the Broads. They can often be seen hunting in daylight along the rivers’ edge. Pack up a winter picnic full of delightful locally sourced produce and head to the floating Broads Wildlife Centre at Ranworth. It is reached by a boardwalk so is suitable for the less abled, and has a panoramic vista across the water.

3. Christmas Entertainment…

Norfolk provides some of the best in festive entertainment and yuletide joy! Three ‘must sees’ include the Christmas Spectacular at Thursford, Cromer Pier Christmas Show, and the Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show at the Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth. Lots of fun to be had for all ages.

4. Blickling Hall at Christmas…

From the 1st to the 10th of December, Blickling Hall celebrates Christmas throughout the estate. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful Jacobean Hall which will be home to 50 decorated Christmas trees. Delight at the twinkling lights of the garden illuminations in the evening, and pick up a present or two from The Loft Galley with its unique non high-street gifts.

5. Happy New Year– New Year’s Day Fireworks…

Following a night of partying what better way to kick off the New Year than to celebrate with family and friends and watch the stunning fireworks display at Cromer Pier. The spectacular event is really a ‘must see’. Arrive in town early and enjoy a spot of lunch before ‘reserving’ your spot along the clifftop to watch fireworks being let off from the pier, and reflecting in the sea. 2018 Fireworks are at 5pm on Monday 1st January.

6. Pink Footed Geese…

More than a third of the world’s population of this species spend their winter in Norfolk, with numbers in their peak between January and February. You can enjoy watching for Pink Footed Geese within the picturesque surrounds of Norfolk Wildlife Trust sites at Hickling Broad, Cley Marshes and Holme Dunes. 

7. Go behind closed doors at Hoveton Hall…

‘Invitation to View’ offers visits to privately owned houses and other places of interest, many of which rarely open to the public. On 14th February 2018 go behind closed doors at Hoveton Hall, near Wroxham, where you will likely be showed around by the owner, and can enjoy viewing the main reception rooms, gardens with glasshouse and woods. There will also be an opportunity for afternoon tea and biscuits. 

8. Square Box on the Hill – Norwich Castle…

Norwich Castle stands proud as an iconic part of the city’s rich heritage. The Square Box on the Hill is an exhibition which illustrates Norwich Castle’s rich history through a mixture of prints, photographs, paintings, memorabilia and archives, and will showcase the latest designs for the Castles future project ‘Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England. The exhibition opens on 10th February 2018.

9. Adventurous ant walk…

Park at How Hill, near Ludham and from How Hill Staithe walk south along the footpath which hugs the edge of the River Ant. Stroll through wide open countryside, with the reed beds to the right and farmland to the left. Soak up the views and watch out for an array of wildlife, count how many windmills you see along the way. The path leads to Ludham Bridge, then continues to the stunning historic remains of St Benets Abbey, a beautiful spot at any time of the year. 

10. Snowdrop walks…

Ahhhh……the lovely moment when you see the first signs of spring. Said to be the symbolism of the renewal of life, the Snowdrop is the first plant to awaken after the depths of winter and acts as a reminder that spring is on its way. Walk amongst the carpets of Snowdrops within the 18 acres of historic ground, at Walsingham Abbey between January and March. 

11. Pretty Pensthorpe…

Popular Pensthorpe Natural Park brings you ‘Hibern8’, from 20th December 2017 to 3rd January 2018, make a visit to the park and learn about the animals that tuck themselves up for a long winters sleep, there will be craft activities and a winters trail too. The 700 acres of gardens and trails, together with bird hides and restaurant makes for a nice day out for all the family.

12. Comfort food…

A definite must on a cold winter’s day is a visit to a pub to warm your cockles! We are spoilt for choice here in Norfolk, I wouldn’t want to pick a particular one, but if I had to... would recommend…The White Horse, Neatishead, The Fur and Feather at Woodbastwick and St Andrews Brew House, Norwich; each of them offer great food and brew their own beer- so you can take a little taste of Norfolk home in a keg…or two!

13. Take a boat out on the Broads…

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a trip on the Broads is purely a summer activity, the winter months are a great time to hit the water and some boats have heating! Take full advantage of the somewhat quieter waterways and soak up the tranquil surroundings. The area is rich in wildlife including Herons, Cormorants, Kingfishers and Otters. Hire a heated day boat from richardsons boating or for those with disabled needs the Nancy Oldfield Trust in Neatishead offer disabled friendly boat trips. 

14. Lets go fly a kite…

There are sure to be bright, windy days which are perfect for flying a kite. Brancaster beach is a favourite spot for this activity.

15. If you go down to the woods today...

Don your wellies, bobble hat and head out to Sheringham Park, Holt Country Park or Thetford Forest. Each have signposted trails so you can walk for as little or as long as you like, the children and can hunt for bugs or simply play hide and seek.

16. Be wild…

Hurrah! During February half term award winning Bewilderwood, a forest of adventure, re-opens. There are tree houses, zip wires, boat trips, marsh walks – plenty to keep all entertained, and a jolly good café at which to buy a warming drink/snack and take a breather- If you can get the children to sit down for 5 minutes!

17. See the seals…

In the winter months Common and Grey Seals can be seen basking with their pups at Blakeney point. Book onto an organised boat trip where the skipper will take you out to the point and tell you about the seals and the headland. On a sunny winters day this is a real treat, don’t forget to take your camera.

18. Cycle...

If you over indulged during the festive season why get out on a bike. Not only is cycling a great form of exercise it makes for a pleasant and ‘green’ way to explore the county. There are some good cycle paths along the north Norfolk Coast and the Broads Bike Trail maps provide good guided cycle routes.

19. Fossil hunting…

The beach at West Runton is renowned for a spot of fossil hunting and makes for a nice way to blow off the cobwebs.

20. Nostalgic Norfolk…

The museums of Norfolk each offer a pleasant day out for when you wish to stay dry! Time and Tide in Gt Yarmouth is well worth a visit and tells the story of Great Yarmouth.

21. Feed the ducks…

The ducks are well fed by visitors during the summer months, please look after them in the winter months too! A good spot to purchase duck food and spend a few minutes feeding our feathered friends is Wroxham, and, for a little something in it for you, there are several outstanding places for a good wedge of cake and a cup of tea afterwards.

22. Watch the sunset…

There is nothing quite like a winter sunset. As February is the month of love why not find a special spot to watch the sunset with a loved one, Hunstanton beach is a good one!

23. Shop until you drop…

Spend a day doing a spot of ‘seasonal sale’ shopping. With plenty of boutique shops in the pretty Georgian town of Holt or the large range of shopping facilities in Norwich, there should be plenty of bargains to be found, and you could treat yourself to afternoon tea in the meantime.

24. Star gaze…

There are some real treasures in the skies in January and February, and because the skies get darker much earlier than at other times in the year, you don’t need to stay up really late to see them. Vast open unspoilt areas like Morston Quay would be an ideal place to spend an hour or two seeing how many constellations you can identify.

25. Hibernate…

Let’s face it, there are days during the winter months that are simply for getting cosy in front of a fire with a glass of red wine and a book in hand whilst the children play scrabble – what better way to relax and unwind in readiness for spring, than at one of our lovely properties!

By Emily Greves

Tags: