There is loads to do with kids in Norfolk from quiet beaches to award-winning attractions making Norfolk a great place for a family holiday. We moved to Winterton on sea when our children were tiny. They are now both in primary schools but we continue to have lots of Norfolk adventures. Here are my top tips for great family days out.
My top tips during your stay in Winterton on sea & the Norfolk Broads.
Norfolk is definitely an outdoor kind of place, it is a given that the beach is a highlight for the kids. You can watch them run wild, dune jump or take them to see the baby seals at Horsey. For me: kites, flasks of hot chocolate and even a mini water colour set have successfully extend a trip to the Beach with kids. However, If you have exhausted the beach take for a trip on the Norfolk Broads (you can hire an electric day boat from Martham Ferry Boat Yard ) just 3 miles away from Winterton.
Top Kids attraction in Norfolk
First off is the amazing, award winning BeWilderwood. This tree-house adventure park, some 25 minutes’ drive from the barns, will have you and your kids smiling as you get on the giant zip wires, tree top walk-ways and oversized slides and swings. Deep in the forest, children make dens, scamper over trails of high walks, steps and slides and enjoy storytelling and face painting. The place feels remarkably relaxed and peaceful. I put this down to thoughtful planning (so queuing is kept to a minimum), good coffee and the fact that it feels so good to be outside in the woods all day. They have seasonal events too.
- Generally open from Easter through to mid September. Then, weekends and half terms. They are closed in December and January.
- Book online for the best prices
- When you arrive don’t queue for the boat trip, take it back.
One of the best places for pre-schoolers in East Norfolk
If you have pre-schoolers, then Wroxham Barns is a great option. At their junior farm you can feed lambs, pet pigs and rabbits, and collect eggs. There is a lovely manageable soft play. They also have a café, restaurant, shops, brewery and craft studio if you have got some grandparents with you too. Open year round, 10:00 – 17:00. Also in Wroxham there is the charming Bure Valley steam railway. We took it just one stop and then walked back. For young children you can also visit Pettitts with its rides, play areas, mini railway and animals. Again it’s quiet and manageable for a young family and super quiet compared to your average family attraction.
Top Wildlife Park in East Norfolk
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park is worth a visit, particularly if you want to stare into the eyes of tigers, snow leopards, cute meerkats, noisy gibbons or even crocodiles. Great for the under 10s as there are some tree top walks, wobbly bridges and even a mini maze. It never seems to get busy but I’d recommend:
- You pack up lunch as the food isn’t great.
- Under 4’s go free.
- Don’t wear open toed shoes, you get close to animals but there is lots of poo!
- If you want to see wildlife with more space then Africa Alive is also a great option and is about a 45 minute drive south.
Best picnic spot in the Broads National Park
For a more outdoor whole family experience How Hill would be up there for me. Part outdoor education centre and part waterside gardens with woods, seasonal museum, and tea shop. It also has electric boat rides. It’s large lawn and location make it a great picnic spot. The How Hill Trust put on the most amazing (the best thing I have ever done with my children, ever) ‘Nature Tots’, ‘Marsh Monster’ sessions and family fun days. These get booked up quickly and run only in school holidays, but have a clear focus on getting your kids to love the outdoors and have fun. These super relaxed sessions include: making forest floor art and clay model hedgehogs, and for the older children, thatching a roof, then having a bucket of water thrown at you to see how well you did your job. If you are visiting during the school holidays I’d strongly recommend checking out what they have on offer….
When these sessions aren’t on you can still visit the nature walk, go on a boat ride and picnic in the lovely secret gardens.
- Check to see if the house gardens are open – they are lovely
- Don’t miss the water garden
- If the tea rooms are shut the tea room in Ludham is great.
Best Nature reserve in the Broads National Park
Norfolk and in particular in the Norfolk Broads is a great place to see wildlife. My guests, young and old rave about Ross’ Wildlife Boat trips which you can take around Horsey Mere. If you don’t think your kids could cope with a boat trip then I’d go for Hickling Nature Reserve. There is a nice board walk around the largest of all the Broads. They also offer boat trips and regular events for the kids during school holidays.
- It’s another good picnic spot
- You can’t take dogs
Best things to do in Great Yarmouth
The new Jump warehouse trampoline centre in Yarmouth is a great wet weather option and apparently holds a great teenage discos. There is also the Sea Life Centre . Whilst the Time & Tide museum plots the history of Great Yarmouth fishing industry (good for kids over 8) and there is the fab little Silver Darlings café next door. For kids 6 plus I’d also recommend a trip to the amazing Hippodrome Circus for an evening or matinee show. We have also had lots of fun as a family in Joyland which is right on the seafront. Or the slightly larger Pleasure Beach.
- Check out to see if Sea Change Arts has any events on during your stay. This brilliant circus focused arts organisation holds regular family friendly events and they are very creative! The film below showcases their annual Out There Festival held each September in the town
Fancy a family holiday in Norfolk?
We offer 2 beautiful Eco Barns in Winterton on sea. They sleep 8 and 2 and can be booked for the weekend. Check our availability here.