Norfolk is a very diverse county with historic market towns, quaint coastal villages, the Broads, the coast and lots in between. The Norfolk coast has clean, sandy beaches around half an hour's drive to the east, and about an hour to the north the coastline is more rugged with charming fishing villages where you can buy fresh, locally caught shellfish.
Norwich is the most complete medieval city in England with a stunning Norman Castle, two Cathedrals, the largest open-air market in the country and many historic churches and buildings. The city also features in the UK's top 5 shopping destinations with an eclectic blend of independent retailers and multiples in two shopping malls and in the Norwich Lanes. There is an excellent choice of theatres, museums and galleries, cafés and restaurants and sports and leisure facilities, including Whitlingham Outdoor Centre for sailing and water sports.
Within a short distance are many nature reserves where you can watch wildlife in all sorts of settings ranging from woodland to heathland, and Broadland to coasts and marshes. Some of the country's rarest species including the Bittern and the Marsh Harrier live in the region.
If parks and gardens are your thing, there are dozens of private gardens which open to the public under the National Gardens Scheme at various times throughout the year. Blickling Hall and Sandringham have very grand gardens, whilst Sheringham Park and Fairhaven Water Gardens have beautiful rhododendrons. There are also nurseries galore including Peter Beales Roses, Blooms of Bressingham and Reads Nursery near Loddon which houses the National Plant Collections of citrus, ficus and vitis vinifera.
There are walking routes a plenty to choose from including the Wherryman's Way, a 35 mile route along the River Yare from Norwich to Great Yarmouth, the ancient 93 mile Peddars Way, and the Weaver's Way, a 61 mile route from Cromer to Great Yarmouth. For something a little less challenging, there is the 9 mile Bure Valley Path which runs from Wroxham to Aylsham along the old railway line or you can take a gentle amble around some of our pretty Norfolk villages. We have lots of information, routes and maps in the hotel and we can pack you up a picnic to take out for the day.
There are too many heritage sites to mention with historic houses, churches and museums galore but whatever your taste, you will certainly find something of interest. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk, www.english-heritage.org.uk, www.norfolkchurches.co.uk or www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk for more details of local properties and events.
Thinking of bringing cycles? Norfolk is a great place for cycling although it's not quite as flat as you may think! There are quiet lanes, marked trails around the Broads, or Thetford Forest for a bit of off-road adventure. You can take your bicycle on Bittern Line trains and follow any of nine routes from Bittern Line stations. And if you don't fancy bringing your own bike, there is a network of hire points around the county which also have tandems, child seats and trailers, safety equipment and more.
For the sailors and boaters amongst you, the Norfolk Broads offers a network of waterways on which you can slow down the pace of life and watch an array of wildlife including birds, butterflies and dragonflies and maybe even an otter. You can hire sail, electric or motorised day boats from a number of locations. If you fancy something a little more energetic, you can hire a canoe to paddle you way along some of the more shallow channels which are inaccessible to larger craft and there are guided canoe trails during the spring and summer.Whenever you visit us, you will find something of interest...