It strengthens your heart, helps you lose weight and tone up, keeps you feeling fit and energised, boosts your vitamin D levels…
We could wax lyrical about the benefits of walking outside for ages, but we know that’s not what you’re here for! Most of all we love walking for the simple reason that you get to see more of your surroundings – and Norwich has plenty to gaze in awe at. Plus the city centre is very compact in size and easily accessible, making it perfect for a stroll.
Here’s a few our favourite routes, so if you cover one a week over the next month you’ll be guaranteed a great exploration of the city and its surrounding countryside, AND get some exercise at the same time!
Image: The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Image: Marriott's Way
This is a 26 mile footpath, bridleway and cycle route which runs alongside two disused railway lines between Aylsham and Norwich. Along the way you'll see sculptures, monuments and memorials, as well as wildlife and beautiful countryside! The route also has an interesting history, starting by what used to be a railway station in Norwich which was bombed during WW2 - visit their website to find out more - and most of the path is accessible for wheelchairs and prams. It's the perfect route if you fancy walking through woodland, meadows and open fields, and promises a lovely route to cycle, walk or ride along, and there are events throughout the year which take place on the route!
This route stretches all the way from Norwich (start it near Whitlingham Country Park, which in itself provides a nice and short circular walk – see below) to Great Yarmouth. You’ll pass by the Broads and via some great heritage highlights, along with opportunities to spot some amazing wildlife!
The route also has some brilliant circular routes along the way which are ideal if you don’t fancy walking the full route; try Whitlingam (2 miles), Loddon (1 – 1.25 miles), Rockland St Mary (7 miles) or Reedham (4 miles) plus many more on this page.
Image: High Ash Farm, along the Boudicca Way
We love the intriguing history of this area (find out more here in our blog post) and the changing landscape which you’ll experience along this route – picturesque villages, unspoilt South Norfolk countryside and farmland, lovely pubs, and plenty of places to stay along the way (if you fancy walking the whole distance over a few days). If you’re after shorter routes, however, then you’ll be pleased to know that the Boudicca Way route is split into four manageable sections, so you can walk the whole route or just part of it. There are shorter circular walks to be enjoyed too! Fund out more on the Boudicca Way website.
Image: Pulls Ferry
Of course, you don’t need to leave the city to enjoy a fantastic walk and some interesting views! Start at Riverside (parking is available here) and follow the river back towards the city centre. You’ll pass plenty of historical buildings, sights and key areas of the city as you go. Keep an eye out for Pull’s Ferry, the Cow Tower, Bishopgate Bridge and the Cathedral – and that’s just for starters!
If you fancy moving out of the city a little, then why not head in the opposite direction, past Norwich City Football Club and towards Whitlingham Country Park? Sitting only a few miles outside of the city, Whitlingham covers 280 acres of countryside and is a great location for walkers, cyclists, runners, bird watchers, and wildlife enthusiasts – anyone who fancies getting outside in the fresh air!
Image: the ziggurats on UEA's campus
If you fancy a change but don’t want to stray too far from the city centre, the University of East Anglia’s campus is the perfect compromise. Spreading out over 320 acres and featuring the well-known ziggurats, sculptures by Antony Gormley, and a huge broad (well stocked with carp, if you fancy a spot of fishing!), the campus has plenty of parkland which is ideal for walking around.
The campus is also home to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, and we’d hugely recommend visiting; they have a fantastic permanent collection featuring art spanning 5,000 years, but the building itself is quite amazing! One of the first major public buildings designed by world-renowned architect Norman Forster, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts building is an impressive piece of architecture (also used as a filming location for Avengers: Age of Ultron), and the area around it features a sculpture garden and work by Henry Moore. Well worth a walk around!
Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £9 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.