Family Days Out
“the breathing space for the cure of souls” – Ted Ellis, local naturalist
The Norfolk Broads is a network 7 rivers and 63 lakes (known locally as broads) covering 188 square miles. For many years the broads were regarded as natural features of the landscape. However, in the 1960’s it was proved that they were artificial features caused by flooding on early peat excavations by the Romans who first exploited the rich peat beds of the area for fuel.
Over the course of time, sea levels began to rise, and the pits began to flood. Despite the construction of windpumps and dykes, the flooding continued and resulted in the typical Broads landscape of today, with its reed beds (used by the reknowned Norfolk Thatchers), grazing marshes and wet woodland.
The Broads have been a favourite boating destination since the early 20th century. The waterways are lock-free, although there are three bridges under which only small cruisers can pass. The area attracts all kinds of visitors, including ramblers, artists, anglers, and bird-watchers as well as people “messing about in boats”. There are a number of companies hiring boats for leisure use, including both yachts and motor launches. The Norfolk Wherry, the traditional cargo craft of the area, can still be seen on the Broads as some specimens have been preserved and restored.
Banham Zoo is the premiere zoo in East Anglia having been rated amongst UK’s top three Zoos by WHICH? Banham Zoo is set in 35 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens with innovative and exciting enclosures, providing sanctuary for almost 1000 animals ranging from big cats to birds of prey and siamangs to shire horses. Experience at close quarters some of the world’s most rare and endangered animals. Plan your day around the fascinating daily animal feeding talks!
New to Banham in 2008 was the Giraffe House and Zarafa Heights Walkway. The Giraffe House currently has 5 giraffe (4 adults and 1 baby!) and the Zarafa Heights raised walkway allows visitors to walk around the giraffe enclosure at eye-level with these beautiful creatures.
The Dinosaur Adventure Park offers a fun-packed day out for all the family. The park is littered with life-sized impressive dinosaur models hidden in the woodland. Be prepared for a loud roar when you least expect it!!
There is also a whole host of other activities such as taking part in a Scavenger Hunt, Track T-Rex, ride on Raptor Racer pedal-karts, dig for fossils and follow the Dinosaur Trail! A deer park, fun barn and dinosaur themed crazy golf course make this theme park a really good value for money day out which the kids will love.
You can also get a bite to eat at Dippy’s Diner and visit the well stocked Gift Shop.
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve
A truly superb attraction! With such a beautiful spot right at Manor Mew’s doorstep, Pensthorpe is a must for a family day out.
For the last 2 years, Pensthorpe Nature Reserve has hosted BBC’s Springwatch. The skilled BBC wildlife production team have made TV stars out of our local wildlife and when it comes to variety and abundance of flora and fauna, Pensthorpe delivers in spades! In addition to the wildlife, Pensthorpe also has some stunning gardens designed by award winning garden designers. There is a wide range of activities for the whole family and a good restaurant/cafe and gift shop.
Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary
At the Sanctuary you can embark upon a fascinating journey beneath the sea and
come face to face with species as diverse as Sharks, Otters, Penguins, Rays and Seahorses within the 30 permanent displays.
They also have a busy rescue and rehabilitation centre for both common and grey seal pups.
Bircham Mill is the only windmill in working order in the area open to the
public and offers fun for all the family with a variety of petting animals,
tearooms, bakery and child friendly grounds.
Visitors can climb the 5 floors up to the fan stage and on a windy day see the sails and milling machinery turning. The mill sells a wide range of delicious breads and cakes in the original bakery.
The Mill also offers bike hire to suit all the family, including burley trailers, tag alongs, child seats, tandems and all sizes of bicycles from small 5 year olds to adult frames.
A fabulous family day out where children have so much to do from the great new indoor play area set alongside the tearooms to the outside play area with
miniature tractors, diggers in giant sandpits and strawhouse. Church Farm specialize in rare breed sheep, pigs, cattle, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, horses, donkeys and poultry for everyone to enjoy.
Either bring your own picnic or take advantage of the tearooms that serves delicious home made cakes, biscuits, scones etc, which you can enjoy with a real fresh coffee or a cup of tea. There are also snacks and drinks available which you can eat there or outside in the under cover seating area or the picnic area. From past experience the clementine cake and the courgette cake always seem to disappear quickly, but what about those epic brownies.
Wells & Walsingham Light Railway
The longest 10¼” narrow gauge steam railway in the world and see the unique Garratt locomotive “Norfolk Hero” which was especially built for this line and provides a great adventure for all the family in the delightful countryside of the North Norfolk coast.
The timetable service from the seaside and harbour town of Wells to the picturesque town of Walsingham, famed for centuries as a centre of pilgrimage. A scenic journey with five bridges through lovely countryside. Halts at Warham St Mary and Wighton. With the regular service you have ample time to explore Walsingham with its shops, restaurants and inns as well as the famous shrine before catching the train back.
Poppyline North Norfolk Railway
The North Norfolk Railway offers a 10.5 mile round trip by steam train (vintage diesel trains on some journeys) through a delightful area of North Norfolk designated as being of outstanding natural beauty. Enjoy a ride on an historic steam train – you can break your journey to look around the stations and marvel at the steam laden atmosphere from a bygone age.
But the North Norfolk Railway is much more than a train ride. There are historic stations, a museum of the railway’s history, a museum signal box and a children’s activity carriage. There are also buffets and souvenir shops.
Sheringham – The railway’s headquarters there is a museum signal box, children’s activity coach, souvenir shop and a buffet, as well as an attractive booking hall and a ladies’ waiting room. Weybourne – A delightfully preserved country station and our locomotive and carriage maintenance and restoration centre. Kelling Heath Park – This is our smallest station and due to the steep gradient steam trains do not stop here on the journey to Holt but will stop if a clear signal is given to the driver on the return trip from Holt to Sheringham. Holt – About 1 mile from the centre of this lovely Georgian Town. The ‘Holt Flyer’, a London Routemaster Bus service meets most steam trains in the summer. Whilst on the station be sure to drop in and see ‘Broad Sidlinch’ a 300 square foot model railway, which was featured in the Railway Modeller magazine. Dogs and cycles are welcome on our trains although there is a small additional charge. Buffet facilities are available on some trains. A wide range of hot and cold drinks are available in addition to sandwiches, light snacks, cakes and confectionary. Sip your freshly made tea as you watch the countryside roll by.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary
Formerly known as the ‘Norfolk Shire Horse Centre’, Hillside now offers the opportunity of its visitors not only meeting all the heavy horses that live here but also the newly rescued animals.
Amongst some of the interests are the 5 breeds of Heavy horses, Blacksmith days, Children’s play and activity areas, Indoor area for wet days, souvenir gift shop and café. Visit their Farming Bygones Museum and take a nostalgic trip into the past to see the farming ways or yesteryear with their extensive Countryside Collection of Carts, Wagons, Caravans and Farm Machinery.
Talks at West Runton about the history of heavy horses and demonstrations by David Bakewell will be held at 11am & 3pm EVERY SUNDAY, MONDAY & WEDNESDAY during JULY & AUGUST
It has taken 2 years for Amazona Zoo to emerge from 10 acres of derelict woodland and the abandoned brick kilns just to the south of Cromer town. It is now home to a wide range of animals from
Tropical South America including Jaguar, Otters, Spider Monkeys and Flamingos. All the animals have arrived from other British Zoological Gardens and therefore none have been imported from the wild.
BeWILDerwood is based on the magical children’s books written by local author and creator of BeWILDERwood, Tom Blofield.
Deep in the woods and way beyond the pongy marsh, is a land of Boggles, Twiggles and thorny Crocklebogs. A magical, mystical place laid out as a huge forest of family fun and adventure with treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, marsh walks, boat trips and yummy food.
Wroxham Barns is the perfect way to spend a day all year round. Whether you want a relaxing day with friends, fun with the family or to indulge in some retail therapy the barns has something for everyone.
Meet crafts people at work, specialist studios and shops committed to the highest standards in the products they sell. Some interests include; Junior Farm which has many daily activities – feeding rabbits, grooming ponies, bottle feeding spring lambs and collecting eggs from the henhouses, there is a superb range of plants and unusual rose relating gifts at the Bill LeGrice Rose and Plant Centre and the Children’s Funfair and ideal spot for any child to play around with trampolines, giant slide, Indian canoe and gripping ride. And don’t forget the retail therapy and gorgeous food.
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve
Sculthorpe Moor is a peaceful place with a rich variety of wildlife located in the beautiful Wensum Valley, the reserve is nationally and internationally recognize as an important for its wildlife.
The easy access boardwalk guides you through the reserve with bird feeders and nestboxes sited along the way along with viewing platforms where you may be able to glimpse some of the birds, mammals, insects etc that have made it their home. The reserve also prides itself on it wildflowers, fungi, woodland, reed beds, pool and ditches it’s definitely a great place for a stroll.
A-Maize-ing Maize Maze
Open: 18th July to 6th September
Compton Hall at South Creake, near Fakenham is a working arable/livestock farm and since the year 2000 they have been growing the Amazing Maize Maze!
The maize is planted at the end of April, or early in May and it takes until mid July to reach 4ft. By the end of the season in September, the height of the maize can reach 9ft! On a hot summer’s day, the plants can grow up to 1 inch in height and you can actually hear the corn growing! There is a quiz to complete as you go around the maze, just pick up your question sheet as you arrive.
The field of the maize maze covers 7 ½ acres, and the pathways of the maze are designed carefully into a special theme and then pulled out by hand. Visitors are asked not to cut through the corn as this will damage the pattern and spoil the fun for other people, and are warned that they will be watched at all times by our resident cheat-spotter … ThE mAzE mAsTeR! !
The finest working factory in Norfolk, for live glass-making demonstrations. Langham Glass welcomes many thousands of visitors every year who come to witness the ancient craft of glass making – a craft that has changed little in the past three hundred years. However, we understand that many of you are simply unable to come and see us ‘in the flesh’.
Langham Glass is in direct descent from King’s Lynn Glass. Paul Miller (Master Glass-maker) learned his trade there as a young man, from a group of top European glass-makers brought in to work in the company. Working with these fine craftsmen laid the foundations upon which he has built his experience and his skill and upon which the hallmark and reputation for excellence that Langham Glass posses are based.
The Butterfly & Wildlife Park
Whether it is a visit to the walkthrough Tropical House, where you can see hundreds of colourful butterflies flying around you, or Reptile Land with crocodiles to snakes, the Creepy
Crawly House or the famous Ant Room, there is plenty to do whatever the weather.
Outdoors there are fifteen acres of fun and enjoyment including The Lincolnshire Birds of Prey Centre, with flying displays twice daily, Animal Centre with Llamas to wallabies, possums to ponies and lots more. The large Adventure Playground and toddlers area and the Ride-On Tractors for four year olds up to Granny and Grandpa will keep everyone amused.
Woodhouse Farm Park & Indoor Play Centre
Woodhouse is a working farm and has been home to the Flint family for five generations. Sam and Kim Flint who currently own and run the Farm Park have two young children of their own. They understand the great benefits and pleasures that families can gain from experiencing animals and wildlife in a traditional environment.
The farm has been designed to meet the needs of eager, young explorers! There are outdoor and undercover play areas – including a children’s activity centre – to keep them occupied and active, and many fascinating ‘hands-on’ activities to stimulate and satisfy their curiosity.
Hilltop Outdoor Activities
A family run outdoor cenre that offers a range of outdoor activities for everyone 6 years and over. Some of the supervised activities include: The Big Zipper, Climbing Wall, Mountain Bikes, Assault Course, High Ropes, Archery, Super Swing and Power Fan. Full or Half Days Available although booking is essential.
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens
After returning from Malaya where he had been a rubber planter, poisonous snake farmer and a crocodile keeper, Ken Sims opened Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in Inspired by the first David Attenborough TV programme and the early writings of Gerald Durrell, Ken had chosen to work in Asia as a way of learning more about the wonderful wildlife of that region.
Supplying zoos in Europe and America with rare species, and helping with the National Zoo of Malaysia, he gained valuable experience which he put to good use in the design of the Gardens.
The hall is now home to Crocodiles, leopards, monkeys, gibbons, a wide variety of birds, a forest house, children’s play area, cafe and gift shop.