Things to do - Ideas for a Memorable North Norfolk Holiday

Whether you want a holiday packed with activity or peaceful solitude, North Norfolk has such a wealth of attractions, activities and beautiful scenery to offer something for everyone. Here are some ideas:
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Local Village Concerts, Drama, Cinema & Festivals

In late July / early August Southrepps hosts a week of superb classical musical concerts attracting top names. In December, Santa and his sleigh tour Southrepps. For real ale lovers, the Vernon Arms offers a Beer Festival whilst St James’ Church hosts flower and Christmas Tree festivals and frequently opens the bell tower for those who wish to climb to the top for the amazing views. The village hall hosts many events. Details of Southrepps events may be found in Southrepps Mardler and Southrepps Community Facebook page.

Similarly, the nearby local villages of Northrepps (2 miles), Trunch (3 miles), Mundesley (4 miles), Overstrand (4 miles), Ingworth (8 miles) and towns of Cromer (5.5 miles), North Walsham (6 miles) and Sheringham (11 miles) host classical, theatrical and artistic events throughout the year so there is always a concert, play, panto, exhibition, fayre or festival to enjoy without going far, for example

Our Facebook page is a good place to check for what's coming up. For a full list of events, festivals, activities, and things to do – the tourist advice centres at Cromer, Sheringham and Mundesley-on-Sea are worth a visit as is the North Norfolk Tourist Board web site and North Norfolk Radio - What's On.

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Beach Life

North Norfolk boasts miles of sandy beaches perfect for lazy days, more strenuous surfing or just seal watching. Many of the beaches have sections for dog walkers and restricted areas for safe bathing.

Mundesley, Cromer and Sheringham all have RNLI life guards in high season and year round RNLI life boat / in-shore rescue services.

Fun on the Water

The waterways of the Norfolk Broads offers fantastic fun whether one wind surfs, dingy sails, hires a day boat (Stalham - 15 miles / Wroxham - 18 miles) or just sits watching the world sail by. Certainly canoeing on the Dilham and North Walsham canal is a way to forget your troubles and you may see a kingfisher to boot.

A perfect day out is to hire a hamper from The Corner House Café, Mundesley and then escape into The Broads on a day boat without worry of having to find a mooring near a pub / restaurant when hunger catches you. Of course there is the danger of the marauding swan wanting to eat the delicious strawberry cream scone provided for your afternoon tea!

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Children / Family Days Out

Southrepps has a village playground including a zip wire and football pitch adjacent to the village hall just 5 mins walk from the cottage.

Children all love BeWilderwood (17 miles), an adventure playground, Hillside Animal & Shire Horse Sanctuary in West Runton (8 miles) and Amazona Zoo with over 200 animals from South America including jaguars, monkeys, snakes and iguanas - Cromer (4 miles) - look out for the animals sponsored by Coach Cottage!

If you plan a day at the seaside, Mundesley has a pirate themed Crazy Golf course and popular skate park. In February there is a fantastic pantomine and during August, the entertaining small human Circus Ferrel in Mundesley's Gold Park.

Other activities include:

Throughout the year the Poppy Line put on murder mystery themed evening dinners aboard the steam train which are very popular.

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Historic Places & Wonderful Gardens

Local historic houses include Felbrigg Hall (6 miles), Blicking Hall (10 miles) with Anne Boleyn’s ghost, and Wolterton Hall. Further afield is Holkham Hall (29 miles), and Houghton Hall (36 miles). The amazing Tudor house Stranger's Hall in Norwich city centre (22 miles) is fascinating and should not be missed nor should Norwich Cathedral.

When visiting the seals at Horsey, take in the iconic Happisburgh Lighthouse (10 miles), often open for visits, the magnificent Elizabethan Great Barn at Waxham (19 miles), and Horsey Wind Pump (23 miles).

Other buildings of note include the many fabulous North Norfolk churches. Knapton church (5 miles) with its amazing double hammerbeam roof adorned with angels is not to be missed. Further afield the exquisitely beautiful Walsingham Village & Shrine (25 miles) with its famous religious heritage makes a serene day out; travel to Wells (26 miles) and then take a return ticket to Walsingham on the Wells to Walsingham Light Railway.

Agricultural history buffs should make a visit to Hillside Animal and Shire Horse Sanctuary , West Runton (6 miles) where there are barns full of historic agricultural equipment and paraphernalia. Similarly the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum at Gressenhall (30 miles) is both sad and fascinating.

For those who want to travel further back in time, Southrepps is well placed to explore Norfolk's Deep History Coast. Budding geologists will enjoy fossil hunting on the beaches. The most complete 4m tall woolly mammoth skeleton was found in West Runton, and now resides in Norwich museum. A palaeolithic hand axe was found in Happisburgh. Whilst East Runton (6.5 miles) is the best location for mammal remains from the Pastonian age. It also is one of the only locations where you can see younger pleistocene beds below huge chalk cliffs.  Guided fossil tours are available.

For garden lovers, then an absolute must is East Ruston Vicarage Gardens (11 miles) and the wonderful walled garden at Felbrigg Hall (6 miles). There is also Priory Maze and Gardens (9 miles), Sheringham Park (10 miles), Mannington Gardens (11 miles) and Hoveton Hall at Wroxham (16 miles), aswell as Pensthorpe (26 miles) known for hosting BBC Countryfile.

Many local private gardens are also opened as part of the National Garden Scheme and the Red Cross Open Garden Scheme. In the winter the snowdrops at Walsingham Abbey (25 miles) are wonderful. In spring there are many bluebell walks (Blicking Hall is especially wonderful) and in summer the Norfolk lavender beds at Heacham (43.5 miles) are spectacular.

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Military Life & Aviation

North Norfolk has strong military associations due to its close proximity to Europe. WW2 pillboxes and gun emplacements may be seen along the coast. Disused airfields are scattered through the county. Fascinating places to visit include:

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Angling, Cycling, Golfing, Walking, Horse Riding, Ballooning

Cyclists can take advantage of numerous quiet lanes and cycle trails. The SUSTRANS regional cycle route 30 passes through Southrepps village. The nearest train station is Gunton Station (1.5 miles) on the Bittern Line from Norwich and Sheringham. Bikes may be hired in Cromer from Pedal Revolution or for the ad hoc cyclist, a lovely jaunt is to hire a bike for few hours to explore Upper Sheringham and Sheringham Park from The Dales Hotel which will also provide a picnic at a very reasonable rate.

Golfers can tee off at 4 local courses: Mundesley Golf Club (4 miles) with its countryside views or at the 18 hole Royal Cromer Golf Course (5 miles) located by the side of the sea, the Links Country Park Golf Course at West Runton (8 miles) or Sheringham Golf Club (11 miles). Further afield are the courses at the Royal Norwich Golf Club (20 miles), the Marriott Sprowston Manor Golf Club (20 miles) and the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club at Brancaster (36 miles).

Anglers have the choice of coarse and carp fishing in Gimingham Lakes (2.5 miles), Roughton Fishing Lake (3 miles), Mundesley's Puddle (4 miles), Felbrigg Lake (6 miles); beach line fishing at Mundesley (4 miles) where you may catch sea bass – a common gastro pub dish – or, for the whole family, crab fishing off Cromer Pier (5.5 miles). In late March is the Norfolk Sea Angling Festival.

Walkers will enjoy exploring Norfolk's Deep History Coast following the many footpaths around Southrepps, along the beaches (but do check the tides), across the cliffs, through the countryside and along the many historic routes such as Weavers Way, Paston Way, Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path. Norfolk Trails has a wonderful interactive map showing nearby walks - laminate copies of local walks and ordinance survey maps are in Coach Cottage.

There are also municipal country parks, such as Bacton Woods (7 miles), and private woods such as Tilly's Wood (3 miles) and Pigneys Wood near Knapton (5 miles). These also provide good dog walking.

Local Horse Riding is available at Squirrelwood Equestrian Centre Weybourne(13 miles).

For those who like to take in the views without the exercise, then Ballooning is a must. Gliding silently over North Norfolk is a fantastic experience, and as you are blown by the wind, it is a surprisingly warm activity. Broadland Ballons and Virgin Balloons operate out of Norwich - alas they don't tend to fly north in case they are blown out to sea!

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Wildlife - Bird, Seal & Whale Watching

Bird watchers can delight at the flocks to be found at Cley Marshes (18 miles), Pensthorpe (25.5 miles) nature reserve best known from the BBC SpringWatch series, the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh (43 miles), or the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Weeting Heath nature reserve (60 miles).

A visit to Happisburgh Owls is a wonderful way to be introduced to the majesty of these incredible birds of prey.

Grey seals are wonderful creatures to watch and can be seen during the breeding season (November to early February) all across the beach and sand dunes at Horsey or, if you prefer taking to the water, off Blakeney Point where there is the National Seal Sanctuary. Seals can be aggressive, so keep your distance. They also carry diseases that can infect dogs.

Just as exciting have been the various whale sightings in November 2014 of a pod of pilot whales and a humpback whale between Sea Palling and Cley. Whale sightings are rare and as the whales are swimming about 2km off shore a strong pair of binoculars is required.

Walking amongst the Patagonian Hares at Amazona Zoo is delightful. Look out for the animals sponsored by Coach Cottage - though this might be a challenge with over 200 animals from South America including jaguars, monkeys, snakes and iguanas - Cromer (4 miles)!

Support the welfare work of Hillside Shire horse Centre which has given sanctuary to 1400 horses, ponies and donkeys since 1995. Most recently it has rescued herds of dairy cows and many other animals - West Runton (8 miles)

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Markets, Shopping & City Life

Shoppers will enjoy the many seaside towns and villages along the coast as well as the market towns further inland - North Walsham (6 miles), Aylsham (10 miles), Holt (14.5) and Wroxham (15 miles). A quieter shopping experience may be found at Wroxham Barns (13 miles), and Alby Crafts (5.5 miles). Langham Glass gives demonstrations.

Thrifty shoppers will love the many car boot sales at Aylsham, Stalham, Overstrand, Mundesley, Cromer, Trimingham to name but a few. From time to time Southrepps hosts a car boot sale or market in the Village Hall. Keys auction sales in Aylsham are fun to visit; you may even be tempted to bid.

Of course the beautiful city of Norwich (22 miles) is a must with two cathedrals, Catholic and CofE and museum castle high on the hill, this compact city has a lively street market, all the major shops and department stores as well as many independent shops in the hidden lanes that give the city its charm, plus theatres, churches and restaurants a plenty. The local train goes to Norwich, so one can either drive or leave the car at Gunton (free parking), North Walsham (free parking) or Cromer stations and travel at leisure. Direct buses go from Cromer, North Walsham and Roughton.

A sample of what is available in Norwich includes:

· The amazing Tudor house Stranger's Hall
·  The Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May.
·  City Boat Tours - a fun way to see the city by day or on an evening cruise.
· The Theatre Royal, the internationally renowned Maddermarket Theatre and the Norwich Puppet Theatre, one of only two dedicated puppet theatres in England, offer ambitious programmes.
·  The Plantation Garden, Norwich, a grade II English Heritage registered garden.
·  The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts , Norwich, is a marvellous opportunity to discover parallels between masterpieces of Giacometti, Picasso, Bacon or Moore and art objects from other cultures.
·  Vintage Norwich - for those who like something a bit retro!

For a full list see Norwich What's On

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Christmas & New Year

Throughout the Christmas season (which seems to start in mid November these days) there are many special events - Christmas markets, craft fayres, carol concerts and services, pantomimes and Christmas Shows, and beach activities. Those not to be missed include:

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Wheelchair / Mobility Friendly Activities

Year on year the accessibility of North Norfolk improves. The councils are investigating the provision of thick wheeled beach buggies, so hopefully better beach access will be offered soon. North Norfolk District Council provide a very useful leaflet with accessible walks, theatres, nature reserves and other attractions. Similarly Accessible Countryside provide a wealth of information on the accessibility of local beaches, eateries and attractions. Other ideas from our own, and guest's, experience include:

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On a Budget Activities

North Norfolk, with its diverse scenary and nature, offers many opportunities to have fun on a budget. Mid week some of the hotels, such as the Overstrand Sea Marge, West Runton Links Hotel and Upper Sheringham Dales Hotel offer specials lunch deals. The ideas below are low cost or free but may incur parking charges: