Winter walks in Norfolk: 10 of the best
PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 December 2018
Our winter walk planner is sure to inspire you to strap on your old boots and head out into the crisp air for a ramble around the hills, coast, woods, farmland and parks of Norfolk
Saturated with greenery in the warmer months, The Walks in Kings Lynn makes a perfect spot to spend an afternoon in winter too. Don’t miss the Medieval Pilgrim’s Chapel as you follow the route alongside the tranquil Gaywood River. There is plenty to see including artistic sculptures and carvings, children’s play area and more. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the old Victorian park as the last of autumn’s leaves pepper the floor with orange hues and the crisp, chill breeze blows.
Warm up afterwards in a nearby café: Archers Kitchen and Cocktail Bar on Purfleet Street serves homemade cakes with a warming cup of coffee (or a cocktail if you really need it).
Blakeney National Nature Reserve is a feast for the eyes in the colder months with its dramatic coastline, the saltmarshes just five miles away at Stiffkey and seal pups that gather on Blakeney Point. There are vast, open landscapes with stunning views of the north Norfolk Coast and ever-changing skies at this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can even take a ferry trip to see the plethora of wildlife, from terns to seal pups and more.
Reward yourself with a trip to a local pub such as The Wiveton Bell – a 10-minute walk from Blakeney – the multi-award winning village pub that serves delicious food by a roaring open fire to warm up after your adventures.
Check the Blakeney National Nature Reserve website for special wildlife events and restrictions on dog walking.
The Blickling Estate is one steeped in history and its iconic Jacobean house and grounds is a popular tourist destination visited by thousands every year. There are 950 acres of rolling woods and parkland that offer many walking routes but none is more breathtaking in the winter time than a stroll around the lake. With the skyline and bare trees reflected on the water, this walk is sure to give you a festive feeling, all with the backdrop of the dramatic hall and gardens as you make your way around the perimeter of the lake.
It’s easy to while away a whole afternoon exploring the surroundings at the National Trust’s Blickling Estate, but if you start to feel tired, head to the cosy country pub The Buckinghamshire Arms. This 17th century pub is a welcome relief after a stretch of the legs, with its red brick exterior, wooden floors and extensive food menu. Or just unwind with a glass of real ale in hand.
Visit Felbrigg Hall for a walk around the grounds which are comprised of parkland, fields, a lake and more. There is no better time to visit than on a winter’s day that covers the land in glittering frost. Make your way through the varied landscape and make sure to take in the dramatic Felbrigg Hall as you do.
This year there is a special festive event at the National Trust property, called Enchanted Felbrigg which sees the gardens adorned with seasonal decorations for the whole family to enjoy. Expect hands-on activities, winter food, music and lots of twinkling lights. Check the website for prices and dates.
There are nearly 1,000 acres of land at the National Trust’s Sheringham Park to discover, including tranquil woodland and cliff tops with lovely coastal views. You can tweak your walk depending on how confident you are. For a relaxed stroll, wander past Sheringham Hall and up to the Temple or if you want a longer walk, venture out towards the sea that can be seen from high above on the cliffs. Check out the website for routes.
If you take the coastal route, you will be close to the lovely village of Weybourne, home to The Ship Inn. Serving delicious, locally sourced ales and lots of fresh seafood, this is a wonderful pub to stop in along your journey.
• The Norfolk coast
When thinking of winter walks, the beach might not immediately spring to mind but it is surprisingly refreshing to wrap up warm and take a walk along the beach with hues of grey and blue all around. What’s more, there are far fewer people obstructing your views of the sea, sand and beachside flora.
From Wells to Holkham, Cromer to Overstrand and the beautiful Titchwell too, check out our guide to some of the best coastal walks (with cafés along the way) to discover more.
• Oxburgh Hall
Starting at the iconic Oxburgh Hall, another National Trust property, in the village of Oxborough, there is plenty to stumble upon as you traverse through the Norfolk countryside. Head towards the picturesque village of Gooderstone and you will pass Gooderstone Water Gardens & Nature Trail, a haven for wildlife that is sure to leave you feeling peaceful.
When you arrive back in Oxborough, relax in the beautiful 18th century old coaching inn Bedingfield Arms. The stylish interiors are contrasted with the lovely period features to create a relaxed and welcoming experience that’s perfect for a post-walk tipple.
The idyllic Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is a hub of wildlife activity with flora and fauna to spot wherever you look. In the winter the tranquillity is enhanced and creates a very different atmosphere that’s great for exploring the four miles of woodland and 130 acres of land which includes one of Norfolk’s iconic Broads, privately owned by Fairhaven.
Visit the gift shop to purchase plants grown in the nursery as well as unique gifts and cards. If you are peckish after your visit, head to the on-site Kingfisher Tea Room for scones with jam and cream washed down with a tea or coffee. Entry to tea room is free but there is an entry fee for visiting the gardens.
The How Hill National Nature Reserve is a favourite for those who love experiencing the great outdoors and celebrating Norfolk’s unique landscape and wildlife. The pretty How Hill House is enveloped by gardens that are alive with flora throughout the year, wetlands, woods, river and some quintessential Norfolk windmills too. Traverse along the River Ant towards the marshes of Ant Broads, enjoying the beautiful landscape as you go.
A short drive from the reserve is the ancient village of Horning, home to Bure River Cottage Restaurant. This fish restaurant serves locally sourced seafood with sensational views over the Bure River.
The pretty Whitlingham Broad forms part of Whitlingham Country Park, a hive of activity for water sports, cycling, walking and camping located just outside Norwich, in the village of Trowse. In the winter, the lake reflects the moody grey skies to dramatic effect, uninterrupted by kayakers. This short circular route is a great way to work up an appetite and explore a microcosm of Norfolk scenery.