There are some activities that just need to be enjoyed over the summer months, and Norfolk – with its wide variety of landscapes and attractions – is the ideal location to work your way through as many of these as possible!
Here’s our top 10 (the ultimate edit, we feel):
Well, this one is a must for the summer, isn’t it? Get outside, make the most of the sunshine and stretch your legs with a leisurely walk. If you fancy exploring the Norfolk countryside and all of its lovely towns and villages, then we recommend checking out the Norfolk Trails for inspiration - a collection of short, long, and circular walks around the county. There’s lots of information about each route on their website, so you’re bound to find one that fits your current mood! If you’re after a city walk, however, we’ve got you covered in this blog post.
Image: one of the murals included on the Murals Trail, on the VisitNorwich app
Why not follow a trail - tailored to your interests - around the city? You can do it in your own time, at your own pace, and you’ll discover lots more about Norwich! Download the free VisitNorwich app and take full advantage of the brilliant City Trails section. Using GPS technology, you can digitally ‘unlock’ locations on the app using your phone as you follow trails on a range of subjects, including art (the murals trail is a great way to discover some of Norwich’s street art), literature (try the Norwich Literary trail to learn about local literary heroes) and even booze (the City of Ale trails are available to complete all year round)! It’s a fun way to get everyone involved in exploring the city and, best of all, it’s FREE. Find out more about the app here.
Image: take a tour up to the top of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist's tower
A guided tour is another great way to explore the city, and perfect for summer days when the sun is shining and Norwich is looking splendid! There are oodles of tours taking place in different locations across the city as well as free tours internally, of some of Norwich’s most iconic buildings; for example, at both Norwich Cathedral and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. At the Cathedral of St John the Baptist you can also take a tower tour, with amazing views out over Norwich. There are also tours of the permanent collections at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, as well as ad hoc special tours round the collections at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell – keep an eye on our website for details. Norwich Ghost Walks are also ideal if you want to mix evening ghostly tales with a city tour, and they’re lots of fun – tickets are £7!
For tours led by City of Norwich guides, we’d suggest booking a tour from Norwich Tourist Information Centre (located in The Forum). There are tours covering a range of subjects and areas including 'protestants, martyrs & rebels', ‘words and wanderings’, ‘empire, epidemics and industry’, The Cathedral Quarter and many more. See the full list here.
Fruit picking is an ever-popular way to spend a summer’s day, and it has become quite trendy in recent years. July and August are generally the best months for fruits being in season. Try Blofield Pick Your Own and White Horse Farm if you fancy doing a spot of fruit picking yourself this summer without straying far from Norwich.
Many of the routes and areas mentioned in our ‘walking’ section can also be explored on two wheels. Grab your bikes (or hire one from Greater Anglia at Norwich train station or Broadland Cycle Hire) and get pedalling. Norwich has some great cycle paths to help you ride around the city safely, and you can head out of the city using some of the area’s best routes, including Marriott’s Way (check out our blog post here) and Wherryman’s Way. For more information about cycling in the area visit our website.
Image: Eaton Park
Whilst the weather is a little milder, make the most of picnic season! First, ensure you’ll have a feast to rival all others by picking up food from Louis’ Deli, Cupcakes & Bubbles, Jarrolds’ deli, Norwich Market or Amaretto. Then head to the Plantation Garden, Norwich Castle’s gardens, Mousehold Heath, Chapelfield Gardens, Waterloo Park, Eaton Park, Earlham Park… there is no end of perfect picnic locations in the city, so make it your aim to visit in at least 3 of them over the summer.
10 weeks of exciting, vibrant entertainment on Thursday evenings (29 June – 31 August, 4.40 – 8pm) return this year. Expect live music from brilliant bands (many of which are local) including Lovin’ Handful, Rabo de Foguete, Vagaband and the Georgia Shackleton Trio (to name but a few), as well as Covent Garden performers; look out for performances from Betty Brawn the Strong Lady, Her Majesty’s Secret Circus, Dan the Hat, Ian Marchant and Jason Maverick plus many more. It's taking place in various locations around the city: Gentleman’s Walk, Hay Hill, London Street, St Gregory’s Green, Timberhill and - new for 2017 - Westlegate. And it’s all free!
One obvious place to take to the water is the Broads – an interconnected network of rivers and lakes which make up this amazing National Park. There are plenty of opportunities to walk and cycle in the area as well as plenty of boats for hire – whether you fancy a guided tour, or would prefer to rent a boat and create your own Broads-based story. Check out Herbert Woods and Norfolk Broads Direct for a great range which can be hired for a day, a long weekend or several weeks, and also Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden which offer daily boat trips (April – October) around their private broad.
Another great way to get out on the water is to try your hand at sailing; Whitlingham Country Park is a great place to do this, or why not give wild water swimming a go – Fritton Lake Outdoor Centre hold weekly sessions and there are plenty more spots in the area. Find out more in our blog post here and read The Guardian's review of The Frittons Arms here,
Get on the train – Greater Anglia run regular services from Norwich rail station to a number of destinations – and head over to somewhere you’ve not been before. Perhaps that’ll be a historic market town such as Wymondham or Diss (both served by direct routes via Greater Anglia) or the seaside – Cromer or Sheringham are both lovely coastal towns with plenty to see and do!
Image: Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre
Of course, we can’t forget about some of the great festivals and events which are taking place this summer. The annual Lord Mayor’s Celebrations (7-9 July) is always well worth planning a trip for – there’ll be plenty of entertainment, parades, activities and general fun taking place across the city centre, and on the Sunday (9 July) the Lanes Summer Fayre will return better than ever! Enjoy outdoor cinema at the Plantation Garden, and for large-scale music events there’ll be the Royal Norfolk Show (28 – 29 June), Let’s Rock Norwich (24 June), Tom Jones at Holkham Hall (23 July), Sundown festival (1-3 September), and many more – check our website to keep up to date with everything that’s going on.
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.