Places we love to visit in Norfolk that are off the beaten track
Mike and I wanted to share with you 10 of our favourite lesser known places, that Norfolk has to offer. Many of these are hidden gems, that once you have visited you will definitely want to return. They are not all in North Norfolk so if you are staying in Blakeney, you may need to take a day trip to visit them. Some of them make very good rainy day trips.
Hidden gems and places to visit in Norwich
We will start in Norwich with the wonderful antiques emporium Looses on Magdalen street. A real treasure trove for vintage and antiques hunters. You can easily spend a couple of hours just browsing around, and then go for lunch in Norwich lanes where there are lots of cafes and restaurants. If you walk a little further into Norwich city centre, Norwich market has lots of sellers selling incredible street food, which is sure to delight. You can sit on the steps of the forum and eat it or head to the little pretty park by the Chapelfield centre. If you fancy something a little more up market head to The Ivy.
Hidden gems in North Norfolk
Aylsham is a lovely traditional georgian market town, just down the road from the magnificent Blickling Hall. You will be spoilt for choice as there are lots of coffee shops and tearooms. Our favourites are Bread Source which has the most wonderful sourdough bread, and if you want a full afternoon tea then head to Biddy’s tearoom. Cakes are amazing, and they have lots of loose leaf teas for you to try. Go on the farmers market day, for an extra treat and meet lots of local producers. In bluebell season visit the bluebell woods in Blickling woods.
Holt Antiques And Interiors Centre-just outside Holt on the road to Thornage this is well worth a visit. Browse this 3000 square foot antiques centre and you’re sure to find something to interest you. Afterwards you can pop into the pretty Georgian town of Holt where you will be spoilt for choice for lovely places to eat or have cake and tea.
A walk at Wiveton Downs-this must be one of North Norfolks best kept secrets as there is very rarely anyone there. Park at the bottom and walk up to the top of the downs and there is the most wonderful view down on the the North Norfolk coast. Probably one of the highest points in North Norfolk.
Hidden gems in West Norfolk
Oxburgh Hall near Swaffham is a treasure we have only discovered in recent years thanks, to our latest dog who goes to dog training nearby. Owned by the National Trust both the halls and gardens are a real treat, and well worth a visit. The gardeners are also very knowledgeable and happy to talk about the restoration work they are doing to the gardens. The gardens are also dog friendly.
Hidden Gems on the Norfolk Broads
We will continue in a shopping vein with the fabulous Roys of Wroxham a traditional department store in Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads. Always worth a visit and lots of free parking. One of our favourite rainy day activities.
Hickling Broad is another treasure at the quieter end of the Norfolk Broads. Spectacular scenery, and lots of wildlife abound as this end of the broads is kept peaceful because the large boats can’t get under the bridge at Potter Heigham. Best way to explore is by a day boat, which can be hired from Martham Ferry Boatyard.
You can walk along the beach at Horsea to see the seals. It is one of the few places in Norfolk you can walk to see the seals, and something we only discovered by accident, after living in Norfolk for over six years To get there you can either go by car, or hire a boat from Martham Ferry Boatyard, and motor up to Horsea. For boat hire on the Broads it is advisable to always book in advance.
If you are looking for somewhere for lunch on the Norfolk Broads, The Horning Deli is another of our favourite places to gather items for a posh picnic or for a sit down lunch. Their quiches made fresh each day are wonderful and they even have a license so you can have a mini bottle of prosecco with your meal or buy a leger bottle of wine to take home. Horning is a very pretty lesser know Norfolk broads village, about a mile from Wroxham with lovely views over the water.
Waxham beach followed by tea and cake at the magnificent Waxham Barn (the largest barn in Norfolk ). Great beach for walking dogs particularly in winter, followed by coffee and cake to warm up. You might even spot some grey seals swimming in the water.
Hidden gems to visit just over the border in Suffolk
Somerleyton Hall-not actually even in Norfolk, but just over the border in Suffolk is one of our most recent hidden treasures that we have discovered, and is just wonderful. The gardens and grounds are undergoing a restoration, and it has been lovely to see the progress this far. Closes to visitors over winter but definitely one to put in your diary.