If you’re eagerly counting down the days to the imminent May Bank Holidays (two of them, hurrah!) or the hot-on-their-heels half term holiday, then a city break is the perfect way to celebrate those much-anticipated extra days off.
Barnham Broom Hotel, Golf & Spa makes a great base offering a mix of countryside and easy access to Norwich. Their great ‘Spring Escape’ offer throughout April and May includes a 3 course dinner, bed & breakfast for two people from only £139! This includes complimentary use of their health & fitness club too. Whilst you’re there enjoy twilight golf for 2 people and hire of a buggy for only £35.
Norwich’s compact size means it’s the perfect city to explore on foot. Pick up a Norwich map (or view it online here) from various outlets including the TIC in The Forum and guide yourself around, or book onto a walking tour with a guide who’ll fill you in on the area’s amazing history as you walk. Wander down cobbled streets and past historic buildings, such as Jarrolds and the 15th century Guildhall (remember to look up!) juxtaposed with the millennium glass-fronted building of The Forum and brightly-roofed stalls of Norwich market. Walk to the top of Castle mound and take in the stunning city skyline from this impressive vantage point!
Assuming the weather holds out- fingers tightly crossed- there’s an abundance of green open spaces to explore; try the picturesque Plantation Garden or walk around the beautiful grounds of Norwich Cathedral (visit on Monday 2 May for their free Bank Holiday Organ Recital, no tickets required- perfect for spontaneous itineraries!) and the Castle gardens. Kids can earn their dragon wings at Norwich Castle’s fun event by conquering the beasts’ quest (2 May) or try a spot of crazy golf at Eaton Park! Alternatively travel a little further afield to explore Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden, Raveningham Gardens or Holkham Hall – keep an eye out for their recently restored Grade II listed fountain. Kids will love Mildred’s Maypole Mayhem atBeWILDerwood (30 April – 2 May).
Catch the last few days of Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery’s exhibition A Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons (ends 30 May). Inspired by Cressida Cowell’s hugely popular How to Train Your Dragon series of books, get fired up by this excellent touring exhibition which explores the way the series was created and provides both a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages! Take a leisurely tour on the City Sightseeing bus, which runs from 10.30am until 3.30pm and offers on-board commentary. A ticket for this hop on, hop off service is valid for 24 hours so you can really make the most of the various attractions it covers! Afterwards take the number 25 bus direct from the city to UEA and see the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts’ ground-breaking new exhibition, Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time. It’s the UK’s largest collection of the hugely influential artist’s work, and sitting perfectly alongside it is the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition of beautiful photographs from Paris.
Finish off a fun day with a round of tea, cake and homemade food at the Britons Arms, Louis’ Deli or Delice, where you’ll find as many locals as visitors, or- as the dark creeps in- meet your host, the Man in Black, for a ghost walk around Norwich complete with spooky stories!
Craving time in the great outdoors? Head outside of Norwich and book a room at Dairy Barns, an award-winning B&B located on a working farm, or delightful Country House Hotel Stower Grange; both are situated within easy reach of the coast and Norfolk Broads, so are ideal for exploring! Visit the North Norfolk coast to take a spring tour of Holkham Hall’s beautiful private gardens (2 May) which are usually closed to the public, or visit Amazona Zoo, Banham Zoo, Africa Alive! and Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, all of which house fascinating and unusual animals spanning multiple continents between them. For a real ‘high’ try the dual course at Go Ape, which now offers visitors the choice between a moderate or extreme course!Curious Crocklebog Costume Caper at BeWILDerwood is perfect for crafty kids- they can make a costume to whiz around the woods in- or drop in at Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden.
Hiring a bike from Waveney River Centre or Broadland Cycle Hire is a great way for all the family to exercise whilst exploring the county, and are ideally located for exploring the amazing countryside around the Norfolk Broads; both offer very reasonable hire rates. Once you’re back in Norwich, Abellio Greater Anglia also offers cycle hire from the train station, meaning you can whiz around the city in no time!
Once the excitement of both bank holidays has come and gone, some of us are lucky enough to look forward to a whole week of leisure time during the May Half Term break. The annual City of Ale festival promises 10 days of beer-related events and activities, culminating on Sunday 5 June; experience brewery tours, tutored tastings, food and drink pairings and lots of live music to enjoy your pint to. Events take place all over the city and help celebrate Norwich’s long and lucrative history of beer brewing, spanning hundreds of years. Clear your diary for City of Ale: Behind Bars (3 June) at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, when attendees can go ‘behind bars’ to taste various beers and learn more about Norwich’s breweries and pubs.
If you’re visiting with the family in tow, there’s plenty to entertain every age and interest.Norwich Puppet Theatre have a varied programme of half term events, from puppet shows to creative workshops, whilst Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery offer tours of their keep(it used to be the county gaol- we all know kids love a bit of ghoulish history!) Kids can meet their favourite storybook character at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse’s Story Festival (30 May) or put the family’s weaving skills to the test at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell’s ‘From Fleece to Fabric’ event (31 May – 4 June).
For more ideas and inspiration visit our website: www.visitnorwich.co.uk.