Norfolk is a beautiful place to visit in the autumn. Whether you want a dose of nature and experience the changes of the seasons, or if you are here for your family’s half term holiday there is plenty to do whatever the weather. Here is my local guide to the best places to head to this autumn in Norfolk. This blog post focuses mainly in East Norfolk. It’s a great place to visit it as you can access both the Norfolk Coast and the Norfolk Broads. I am based in Winterton-on-sea.
Norfolk is a great place to be if you want to watch the seasons change and experience wildlife.
Visit the seals and coast.
A must visit if you are in the local area. The seal colony at Horsey has been growing steadily for some years now. The colony has harbour seals also known as common seals as well as grey seals. In Autumn we see both types of seals on the beach at Horsey in large numbers (and increasingly at Winterton-on-sea). If you visit Horsey this autumn you should get to see both types of seals on the beach. Grey seals have their babies on the beach from mid-November to January. Last year over 2000 grey seal pups were recorded in the colony. The beach at Horsey will be closed to the public from the end of October, to reduce the risk of disturbance and to protect the pups who can’t go into the sea until they are at least 6 weeks old. You can view the seals from a number of viewing platforms on the dunes, something we’ve covered in detail in our blog about seeing the baby seals at Horsey. Top tip: Tracking the seals down can be tricky. I ask people when I arrive at Horsey where they are and then head to the right part of the beach. Please note there is no public toilet at Horsey. Poppylands, the 1940s tea room at Horsey Gap, is a great stop-off point – they do great cake.
Visit the Broads National Park
The beautiful Broads make for excellent wildlife spotting and days out in nature. I’d recommend hiring an electric boat from Martham Ferry Boat company and experience Martham Broad, Horsey and Hickling. At dusk you can hear the pink footed geese and watch the cranes fly over. Ross’ Wildlife Tours, operating out of Horsey to rave reviews, are back for half term (kids and dogs welcome). Text Ross on 07791526440 for availability. Or visit Hickling National Nature Reserve. At Strumpshaw Fen nature reserves you can book your own personal wildlife safari with one of the RSPB wardens. Tip: If you hire a boat, always go electric. Quiet and no fumes – why wouldn’t you?
Top picnic spot and place to see brilliant autumn colours
My favourite place in the Broads. It has everything (apart from a tearoom) that you could want for a picnic spot including mini museum, boat trips, and nature reserve. I made a one minute film of my friends and daughter enjoying How Hill. On October 23 there is a delightful craft fair on at house at How Hill. 11am-4pm with refreshments, craft, and activities for kids. Tip:There’s a lot to How Hill, but it’s easy to miss. Check to see if the main house and gardens are open. It will say on a notice board outside the house and seek out the ‘Secret water gardens’ which will be beautiful in autumn. To find them head north from the house via the woods.
Bacton Woods is a lovely mature woodland inland from Bacton which is a great place for a family walk
Great options for kids over the half terms weeks.
October 18-26 – Norwich Science Festival at the Forum
I love the Norwich Science Festival. This year it has nine days of inspirational exhibitions, sensational shows and hands-on science activities for all ages and all levels of knowledge. It is an absolute must to visit with your young scientists. There are, mostly, free shows for kids but book in advance. Tip: The Forum in central Norwich has drop in events. These tend to be busy but good to dip into either side of a show or workshop.
October 19-31 – The Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade at BeWILDerwood
Always one of my top recommendations for kids from 3 – 11 years old especially for the half term week. Apparently, as dusk falls, BeWILDerwood will glow in a magical light extravaganza. See the woods in a fantastical new light as all the inhabitants come out to celebrate a Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade! Check out this short film on the parade Tip: I’d recommend arriving around 1 or 2pm if you want to take part both in the lantern parade and visit the rest of the park. There is a good 5 hours of fun on a normal day. Sadly, BeWilderwood will close until Feb half term from November.
October 23 – Family Survival School 10:30am – 3:30pm at Sheringham Park
Our friend, Rob at Sheringham Park puts on marvellous family days at the National Trusts beautiful Sheringham Park and this event sounds great. “Hone your survival skills with a bitesize bushcraft adventure! Build a shelter, light a fire, forage for food and learn how to navigate with a map and compass. Cooking on a campfire is one of the ’50 things to do before you are 11¾'”Tip: You need to book. Sheringham is a great place to take bikes for kids or just wander around the beautiful park land and then head into the town for fish and chips on the beach at dusk
October 18-27 – Halloween Hoot at Hirsty’s Family Fun Park
If you are looking to entertain your family and want the pumpkin carving to not happen at home, try the Halloween Hoot at Hirsty’s Family Fun Park. Pick and carve your pumpkin on site, wheel it back to the carving tent and start creating your own masterpiece – then try out other craft activities before playing in the Fun Park. Tip: Alternatively you pick your own pumpkins at the Tacons Farm Shop in Rollesby and even take part in their pumpkin fun run on the 26th October.
October 19-November 3 – Fang-tastic Family Fun at Trick or Tweet at Pensthorpe Natural Park
We love Pensthorpe’s beautiful gardens and brilliant indoor and outdoor play areas. This half term you can join Pensthorpe Natural Park’s Trick or Tweet which will allow families to discover the grim and gruesome side of nature and celebrate the magic of autumn.
October 19-27 – Fairhaven Fairy Folk Halloween Trail
These guys always put on great events. Throughout half term you and your kids can hunt for little fairy doors in the trees and discover which fairies and spirits live there. Fairhaven helps reveal how in recent centuries, Halloween has replaced the ancient celebration of Samhain, when our Celtic ancestors celebrated the end of summer and the beginning of winter. The Fairy Folk Halloween Trail is free with garden entry plus 10p for the trail sheet. Tip: Their café is great and reasonable. Dogs allowed on leads.
October 19-27 – Spooky Fun at Pumpkin Festival, Wroxham Barns
Perfect for younger children, combine a visit to Wroxham Barn’s junior farm with their pumpkin festival. You’ll be able to make potions and wands with your kids. There are prizes for the scariest costumes.
October 19-November 3 – Halloween Spooktacular 2019 at The Hippodrome Circus
If you are anywhere near Great Yarmouth we’d recommend a trip to the Hippodrome and see Great Yarmouth’s permanent circus spectacle. Ideal for families with kids 6 plus.
Arts and Crafts Fairs
Norfolk has an increasingly good arts and craft movement. These are a few local ones I’d really recommend.
October 19 20 Thrigby Arts Festival 10am – 4pm (free)
Beautiful crafts from pottery, weavers, upholsters – great gifts. See their Facebook page. I go every year, there is hand on crafts for the kids to do and I generally manage to buy some early Christmas presents.
October 23 How Hill Trust Craft Fayre 11am – 4pm adults £3
A large range of local craft stalls and demonstrations. The house gardens are open. Orienteering activity and dyke dipping for children. Homemade cakes, refreshments, and light lunches available throughout the day.
November 3 Blue Bird Handmade Market, Royal Assembly Rooms, Great Yarmouth. 11am- 3pm free or Nov 17th Yarmouth Race Course 11am- 3pm
Range of quality local crafts at these delightful Christmas markets. Find out more on their Instagram page
24 November and 1 December Norwich Makers Market, Norwich Assembly House 11am- 4pm
Wonderful gifts are available from the stalls of these talented people. Follow them and see who is participating at the market via their Instagram page
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