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15 places to go and things to do in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 13:18 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 11 July 2017

Rebel Reveller, one of Hunter's Yard's yachts, sails serenely on the Norfolk Broads near Ludham (photo: Denise Bradley)

Rebel Reveller, one of Hunter's Yard's yachts, sails serenely on the Norfolk Broads near Ludham (photo: Denise Bradley)

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Love nature? Looking for a new sporty challenge? Wondering where to go on a rainy day? Here are a few suggestions

Nature

RSPB Buckenham Marshes

Buckenham marshes is a great spot to watch birds of prey, including barn owls, marsh harriers, kestrels and peregrine falcons. Look out for hares, stoats and Chinese water deer in the fields. Visitor facilities and toilets are available at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen reserve, just 15 minutes walk from Buckenham.

Free entry, dogs and children welcome. www.rspb.org.uk

NWT Ranworth Broad

The floating Broads Wildlife Centre is reached by a boardwalk and has a panoramic vista across the water. Great crested grebes, handsome in summer plumage, are present; kingfishers occasionally skim across the water. There are also cormorants, marsh harriers and common terns. A boardwalk passes through woodland and reedbed habitats. Rare swallowtail butterflies can be spotted, as well as Norfolk hawkers and other dragonflies.

Free entry, children welcome, no dogs www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Blakeney Point

Probably one of the county’s most iconic landmarks, famed for the seal population which has established itself there in recent years, Blakeney is a National Nature Reserve run by the National Trust. A four-mile spit of shingle provides an amazing habitat for migratory and indigenous birdlife and there are boat trips out to see the seals.

Dogs welcome, but with restrictions. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

NWT Weeting Heath

The trust says that this SSSI is ‘the best site in the country to watch the rare and unusual stone curlew.’ It is also home to woodlarks, green woodpeckers, lapwings and mistle thrushes. Other birds possible from the hides include kestrel, little owl, sparrowhawk, common buzzard, marsh harrier and, in summer, hobby, and the site is also home to many rare plants and invertebrates.

Admission £4.25, Dog access restricted; www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve

Home to the Hawk and Owl Trust, this popular reserve in the Wensum Valley covers 45 acres and is internationally recognised for the wildlife it contains. There is a visitor centre, plus a boardwalk through the site which is home to birds including kingfishers, barn and tawny owls, buzzards, woodpeckers and animals including weasels, stoats and voles.

Suggested £4 entry donation, no dogs. www.hawkandowl.org

Indoors if wet

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse

In this historic workhouse, museum and traditional farm you can find out about the tools and trades of Norfolk people and the work of the Women’s Land Army. The Victorian workhouse buildings bring to life the reality of daily life for the poor who lived there. The museum runs special events throughout the year.

Admission charges apply; no dogs except assistance dogs. www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Green Britain Centre

This ecological centre near Swaffham is easy to spot - it is home to a giant wind turbine, which happens to be the only one open to the public in the world. You can watch a giant solar tracker as it follows the sun across the sky and harnesses its power to make clean energy and take a look at the world record holding, fastest wind powered vehicle on Earth, Greenbird.

Admission is free, with charges for windmill tours; no dogs except assistance dogs. www.greenbritaincentre.co.uk

Cromer Museum

Set in a Victorian fisherman’s cottage, this little museum has a great archive of historic photographs and illustrations of the town, a geology gallery and superb collection of Norfolk fossils. You can find out about the famous West Runton elephant, Britain’s oldest and most complete elephant fossil, and see a cast of the skull of a mosasaur, a giant marine reptile that lived off the north Norfolk coast 80 million years ago.

Admission charges apply; no dogs except assistance dogs. www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

The Poppy Line

Not strictly indoors, but at least you’ll be dry aboard one of the country’s best heritage railways. The Poppy Line is a scenic ride from Sheringham along the coast to Weybourne and through the heathland to Holt. Run by the North Norfolk Railway the line also features regular events and has a full timetable of steam and diesel trains and vintage rolling stock.

Fares vary; dogs welcome but will be charged a fare. www.nnrailway.co.uk

Lynn Museum

A cornucopia of amazing things, including a full-sized replica of Seahenge, the 4,000 year-old timber circle discovered on a West Norfolk beach, the skeleton of a Saxon warrior, Nelson memorabilia, Victorian high street shopping, Lynn’s famous explorers and mariners, and some beautifully carved fairground gallopers.

Admission charges apply; no dogs except assistance dogs. www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Get active

Cycling

While there are plenty of quiet roads and byways around the county, if you’re looking for a complete traffic-free experience head to High Lodge in Thetford Forest. Purpose-built tracks through the woods are designed for youngsters taking their first bikes out through to experienced racers and thrill-seekers tackling challenging fast and technical trails. www.forestry.gov.uk

Sailing

Hunter’s Yard is owned by a charity trust which keeps a unique fleet of wooden sailing boats, the Heritage Fleet Trust, afloat on the Broads. None of the boats has an engine, so it is down to the skill of the skipper and crew to keep the boats on an even keel! The yard offers sail training as well.

www.huntersyard.co.uk

Sea kayaking

Something for more adventurous souls; there are a number of outfits on the north Norfolk coast offering kayak or canoe hire around the Hunstanton, Blakeney and Cley area. You do need to have some experience and understanding of tides and weather to go out alone, but many operators offer training and guided trips for a really different way to see the coast.

Tai Chi

Originating in ancient China, tai chi is said to be an effective exercise for mind and body. Essential principles include control of movements and breathing characterised by graceful, slow, continuous movements. The Golden Rooster School of Tai Chi and Qigong offers taster sessions and courses in Norwich.

www.goldenroosterschool.com

Geocaching

A hi-tech form of treasure-hunting using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. There are 15 million geocachers around the world who hide their caches in different locations.

www.geocaching.com

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