From the tranquil waterways of the Norfolk Broads to the elegant seaside villages on the coast, Norfolk has a huge amount to offer visitors.

Our favourite things to do in Norfolk

  • The Broads
  • Norfolk Coast and Blakeney Point Seals
  • Norwich
  • Sandringham House

The Norfolk Broads

A holiday to Norfolk just wouldn't be complete without a trip to the scenic Broads National Park. The large wetland is home to a quarter of the UK's rarest animal and plant life (despite being just 0.1% of the UK by area) and has six rivers and 60 broads, with over 100 miles of navigable waterways. No wonder 7 million people visit each year!

Windmills are dotted around the area and there are a number of restored, working mills that are worth visiting, such as Horsey Windpump or Hardley Windmill.

Getting out onto the water is the perfect way to explore the area's unique landscape and diverse wildlife, whether by boat or canoe. Salhouse Broad is an excellent choice if trying canoeing for the first time. There are plenty of gentle footpaths and cycle routes if you prefer to explore on foot or by bike, and angling is also popular.

The coast

Norfolk's coastline has a number of excellent sandy beaches and charming seaside towns, so there is plenty of opportunity here for boating, swimming, water sports and exploring on foot. Fantastic sandy beaches include Brancaster, Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea, beaches complete with beach huts.

The Norfolk Coast AONB stretches from The Wash National Nature Reserve in the west to Winterton-on-Sea in the east. Hunstanton, Cromer (don't miss the Amazona Zoo) and Mundesley are all elegant seaside resorts with great beaches, while Wells-next-the-Sea has a fascinating smuggling and fishing history, located in the fantastic Holkham National Nature Reserve. 

Norfolk has thriving food scene and most towns in the region have a regular market where you can sample the local produce and fresh seasfood. Samphire, a type of sea asparagus, is a regional delicacy found along the north coast.

There are also great opportunities to see animals out in the wild. Not least the seals at Blakeney Point.

The coast path combines with the Peddars Way (which has existed since Roman times) to form the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path National Trail - one of just 15 national trails in England and Wales.

The coastal towns of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn are very popular too, with a host of camping sites. It's worth taking a break from the Pleasure Beach at Great Yarmouth to explore the area's maritime heritage at the Time and Tide museum.

Norwich

Shortlisted to be the first UK City of Culture, Norwich is a must-see. It is the most complete medieval city in England, offering architectural and historical delights such as Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral and Dragon Hall.

Other attractions worth visiting include Eaton Park and Plantation Garden. The city is also famous for its excellent shopping opportunities, as well as its arts, music and entertainment.

Norfolk has the fourth largest number of breweries in the country, with over 200 beers in regular production. These are showcased every October at the Norwich Beer Festival.

A rich history

Norfolk's rich history is reflected in its variety of heritage attractions. Burgh Castle was part of the Saxon Shore string of forts and is one of the best preserved Roman sites in the UK, while the fantastic Sandringham Estate is the Queen's private country residence.

Wymondham Abbey is well worth a visit, as are Blickling Estate and Baconsthorpe Castle. Felbrigg, Oxburgh and Holkham Halls are all to be recommended too.

History lovers will enjoy the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, as well as exploring all things military at The Muckleburgh Collection.

Other attractions

In South Norfolk, the Boudicca Way passes through both unspoilt countryside and charming villages. Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse makes for a great day out with a museum and gallery, and a real working farm where you can learn about rural life, the Norfolk Botanical Gardens are also perfect for a stroll.

Families will enjoy the two main theme parks, Pleasure Beach on the Great Yarmouth sea front and Pleasurewoood Hills Theme Park in Lowestoft. Kids will also love Dinosaur Adventure, a dino-themed park, and BeWILDerwood, a unique award-winning treehouse adventure park.

Voted Best Norfolk Attraction in 2010, Banham Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals, while Pensthorpe Nature Reserve is another great day out, with activities, events and tours on offer. For something a bit different, try Happisburgh Owls.

At Thetford Forest you can discover a range of inspiring outdoor performances and concerts - and Go Ape of course!

For more ideas, please visit our things to do in Norfolk pages.