Norfolk A to Z
Ales - Norfolk has more micro-breweries of anywhere else in the country, so it’s not surprising that a delectable pint or two can be enjoyed at the various pubs in the county. Names to look out for include Woodfordes Wherry, Jo C’s Norfolk Ales and Sharpie by Brancaster Brewery.
Broads and the Burnhams - now, we know this is strictly against the rules, but how could we not mention both? The Broads is a National Park and a must visit, whilst the Burnhams is a trio of rather special and unique villages.
Crabbing – this should be an Olympic sport as it can get very competitive, especially between parents. Our top tips are to head to either Blakeney, Wells-next-the-Sea or Cromer Pier and try fresh fish heads or smoky bacon to lure your catch. Please also remember to gently release them near the water’s edge – crabs aren’t that keen on free-falling!
Dalegate Market – on the coast road, this group of independent local shops and national favourites, together with a café, gives a welcomed rest after a day’s sailing, mud-sliding or walking. Its thriving Christmas Market is simply brilliant and worthy of a short break alone.
Eating – Norfolk is not somewhere to visit if you’re on a diet as you’ll find plenty of restaurants and local producers making scrumptious goodies to whet your appetite. We have two female charcutiers – Jackie of Marsh Pig and Lisa at Creake Abbey Food Hall. Catherine of Mrs Temples is renowned for her cheese, whilst Sally makes the delicious King Harry liqueur from her locally-grown saffron. Farmers markets, food halls, delis and honesty boxes all await you.
Fakenham Racecourse – the only national hunt racecourse in Britain, horseracing provides an excellent reason to take a short break either side of summer. Ladies day is an opportunity to dress up, whilst other events are perfect for all the family.
Gone Crabbing – one of our favourite shops, this local store has a fantastic array of innovative, seaside inspired clothing, gifts and kitchenware to brighten up your day. With messages including ‘Be happy not snappy’, ‘Totally Clawsome’ and ‘Pure mussel’, you’ll be stocking up on plenty of birthday gifts.
Holkham - it can only be Holkham with its fabulous beach, hall, estate and nature reserve. Hire a bike and explore the car-free paths through the pinewoods to Wells-next-the-Sea, or feast like a ‘queen’ at The Victoria.
Ice cream – preferably enjoyed in a cone by a crowd with sandy toes and salty hair after a day on the beach!
Jolly – this is a word perfectly suited to Norfolk. The Jolly Sailors pub in Brancaster Staithe boasts over 40 rums (now, you will feel jolly after sampling those!), whilst you’ll find that locals are generally jolly folk. Jolly’s also how you’ll feel within hours of arriving.
Kites – sometimes in Norfolk the wind can blow and when it does our long stretches of beach and green parks and estates are perfect for kite flying. More adventurous folk can be found kite-boarding at Hunstanton or kite-surfing at various spots along the coast. Not for the faint hearted!
Lord Nelson – this royal hero was Norfolk born and bred. Learn more about him at the Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth and the superb exhibition at The Hoste in Burnham Market, where Nelson used to drink and recruit his crew.
Market Towns – old pumps, squares and excellent shopping are part and parcel of these historic hearts of rural life. Two of our favourites are the chic Georgian town of Holt and the National Trust market town of Aylsham with its weekly Monday auction.
Norwich – a fine city to rival European favourites, Norwich offers fantastic shopping amongst enchanting architecture. Spend your days exploring the cathedral, castle, museums and galleries and your evenings catching a show and eating your way down St Benedicts Street.
Oysters – visit the Fish Hut in Brancaster Staithe and gather some local oysters or mussels for supper or dine in The White Horse overlooking the oyster beds, boats coming in and mesmeric Scolt Head Island. We also have a bird called the Oyster Catcher – see if you can spot it out on the salt marshes (its long beak and legs are giveaways!).
Pilgrimages – Little Walsingham with its shrine and abbey is famed for the mass pilgrimages it attracts. The village also boasts quaint tearooms, a chocolate deli and remarkable farm shop to tempt you.
Queen – yes, HRM Queen has her country home at Sandringham, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge now call it home too. Plenty of other royal figures have lived or holidayed in Norfolk over the centuries, which you can discover as you visit our many stately homes including Blickling, Felbrigg, Houghton and Holkham.
Rainfall – or lack of it in fact. Did you know Norfolk is officially the driest area of the country, and one of the sunniest too, making it an ideal holiday destination throughout the year.
Seals – catch a boat from Morston Creake and see the seals at Blakeney Point. Don’t be surprised if an inquisitive seal pops its head up from the water for a nosey. Horsey is also excellent come breeding season, when you can coo over the new-born pubs.
Trains – steam, diesel, miniature and, well, quite frankly huge, trains come in all shapes and sizes in Norfolk. The vintage North Norfolk Railway runs between Sheringham and Holt, The Bure Valley Miniature Railway between Aylsham and Wroxham, and the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway between its namesakes. Bressingham, Thursford, Africa Alive and Norwich’s Eaton Park, all have their own trains too. Travelling by train, either into Norwich or Kings Lynn, is also encouraged!
University of East Anglia – Our university in Norwich is not only known for crafting some of the country’s most acclaimed writers (think Naomi Wood, Emma Healey and Ian McEwan), but also showcases some of the best live music in the region.
Victoria Nostalgia - this comes in bucket-fulls in Cromer, Sheringham and Great Yarmouth. A charming pier, theatres and heaps of history go hand in hand with fish and chips, sticks of rock and days spent digging sandcastles and sculpting relatives into mermaids
Wells-next-the-Sea – a seaside gem featuring everything you could ever wish for; a charming beach flanked with beach huts, beach café, miniature railway, Staithe Street shopping, award-winning eateries and crabbing on the quay.
X marks the spot – whether you’re hunting for rare fossils in East Runton or digging for pirate treasure at Hunstanton, there’s plenty of potential for children to lose themselves in a world of daredevil shipmates, dinosaurs and more.
Yachts – many hidden harbours are tucked away along the coast. Brancaster Staithe regularly hosts the Sharpie European Championships, and Morston is a sea of clinking masts. Look out for the tan sails of the locally crafted Norfolk Oysters and Urchins boats, made by local boat builder Neil Thompson.
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah – because that’s how you’ll feel after a holiday in Norfolk!