Pack your bags, we’re off to Norfolk for a weekend break. We’re going to explore forests, beaches, and the famous Broads. We’re going to discover the unsung delights of Norwich, visit royal residencies and have family fun. We’re going to…well, come on and see.
Friday evening…and relax
For your weekend break, you’re staying in a log cabin at Thorpe Forest, at the southern edge of the county, where the River Thet borders a woodland meadow, and nature instantly soothes away the stresses of the working week. Get settled and then take a walk in the woods to get acclimatised to the clean, Norfolk air. Drop into the Forest Retreat while you are out and order a Pizza Night pack for delivery to your cabin later.
Spend the rest of the evening enjoying your cabin comforts - the outdoor hot tub, underfloor heating to keep you cosy, movies on the TV - it’s going to be a busy enough day tomorrow…
Saturday morning…city living
Today we’re heading to Norwich. It’s a seriously underrated city with great shopping, culture and hospitality. Start at the beautiful cathedral, the most complete Norman cathedral in the country. Wander through the magnificent cloisters, enjoy the Japanese gardens and stop for refreshments in the Refectory Café. Admission is free, but you will be moved to donate, such is the magnificence and the welcome.
While we’re on the history tour, the next stop is Norwich Castle. Built as a medieval royal palace, it provided a roof over a Norman king’s head only once, when Henry 1 came for Christmas in 1121. Castle tours take you from the dark recesses of the castle dungeons up to the spectacular views from the battlements.
Saturday afternoon…shopping and dinosaurs
After a quick lunch - try The Library, a child-friendly restaurant in a converted Victorian library - it’s time for some shopping. Have a mooch around the quirky, independent shops in the old Norwich Lanes or wander through the Splendid Royal Arcade.
Alternatively, if the kids are beginning to get grumpy, head out of town for a Dinosaur Adventure at Roarr. They can wear themselves out on the Assault-0-saurus, the Dinomite indoor play area and the exciting Dinosaur Trail, where they will come face to face with fearsome, life-size dinosaur models.
Saturday evening…theatre and hot tub (not together)
Sneak over the border into Suffolk (we won’t tell) for a show at the Theatre Royal in Bury St. Edmunds, an architectural gem and the last remaining Regency playhouse in the country. Indeed, if you want to stay close to base tomorrow, Bury St. Edmunds is a gorgeous town with medieval roots, and the Abbey Gardens is a lovely spot to relax on a sunny day.
Finally, back to your cabin for a well-earned rest. The hot tub awaits, and you can sink into the bubbles and gaze at the night sky before heading off to bed.
Sunday morning…the famous Norfolk Broads
An early start with get you over to the Norfolk Broads just as the mists are lifting. A more intriguing and beguiling landscape is hard to imagine. Explore it on a cruise with Broads Tours or enjoy the views from the windows of a steam train on the Bure Valley Railway.
Sunday afternoon – natural beauty and royal connections
Leave the Broads behind and head to the North Norfolk coast. A half-hour drive gets you to Cromer, where a Cromer crab salad at the Jetty Café is quite possibly the best lunch you will ever eat. After that a play (or snooze) on the beach and a wander up the famous pier, before heading round the coast to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that surrounds the ancient coastal village of Blakeney. This stunning natural playground is considered to be the birdwatching capital of England.
If man-made splendour is more your thing, then another half an hour along the coast is the Sandringham Estate, the Queen’s winter residence. The house, museum and gardens are open during the summer and to enjoy it to the full you should allow about four hours. Don’t miss the amazing collection of royal vehicles, including a Daimler Phaeton from 1900, the first ever royal car.
Sunday evening…time to wind down
Your weekend break in Norfolk is almost over. And, after another day of exploring this most varied and beautiful of counties, your hot tub is calling once again. The peace of the meadow setting on the edge of the forest is a fitting end your adventures, a wind-down to a full weekend of fun.
But before you leave…
Monday morning…English whisky?
After you have checked out, there’s one more little gem to add to your itinerary. Just five miles down the road from Thorpe Forest is St. George’s Distillery, home to the English Whisky Company and some very fine whiskies indeed. It is one of only six English whisky distilleries. Tours are on the hour every hour and include a £5 voucher to spend in the shop. One day, long after your break is over, you can take a sip of your whisky and transport yourself back to a golden weekend in Norfolk.
Book your cabin at Thorpe Forest today, and line up a truly great weekend in Norfolk to look forward to next year.