Wellies on! 14 stunning Norfolk spring walks
Spring stroll anyone? Take your pick from these stunning walks across the county, from elegant towns to a bracing beach stomp.
SEA DOG: Overstrand to Cromer
The Norfolk coastline is breathtaking and at this time of year, literally so. Let your pooch run free (any good at recall?) on this invigorating coastal walk from Overstrand to Cromer, Mundesley and beyond – if you’re feeling robust do the two and a half hour walk to Sheringham and stop off in Cromer to reward yourselves with fish and chips from No 1 Cromer. Dogs are allowed on most beaches from September to May.
OLD TOWN: Kings Lynn
This last remaining town walk from 18th century immediately makes me want to don a billowing skirt, twirl a sun brolly and channel a period romance. This is a really delightful showcase of Kings Lynn’s remarkable heritage and thanks to a whopping £4 million injection from the Heritage Lottery, the park has been restored to it’s former 17 hectare glory.
WILD CHILD: Pensthorpe
A Muddy favourite, Pensthorpe is a perfect day out for kids and adults alike, with the prettiest walkways through the gardens and impressive nature reserve. There’s 700 acres to explore with cafes, cool eco play areas and a sculpture trail, as well as some gorgeous wildlife to spot, including red squirels and pink flamingoes.
BECOMING RUINS: Baconsthorpe Castle
Baconsthorpe Castle is a lovely stroll across the fields from Baconsthorpe over the moat to the castle and back through the woods. Very pretty at any time of year but particularly pleasant on a spring afternoon. And a great one for the kids too.
SEASCAPE VIEWS: Sheringham Park
A stroll around the Repton-designed parkland overlooking the pretty as a picture coastline should be top of your list. Let the kids run mad while you take in the gorgeous landscape, or enjoy a picnic in milder weather and lounge about with the indifferent cows. Shezza Park is also famous for its huge and magnificent collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, so special that the park’s last owner, Tom Upcher (we love your style Tom) would hold rhododendron champagne parties in the 1950s.
BIG BEACH AND NOSH: Holkham Beach
This four mile stretch of panoramic golden sand is one of the finest in the UK, whether it’s for a family day out, a mindful stroll or a windswept gallop in the shallows. If the mood takes you, why not channel Gwyneth Paltrow (stay with me here) and perform a lovestruck meander down the beach, as she did at this very spot for the closing scene of Shakespeare in Love?
Holkham Estate always has an abundance of brilliant things to do, from the annual Feast in the Park to big name concerts and magical candlelit Christmas events and fairs. We can’t wait for this summer’s incredible Festival of Sport coming to Holkham for the first time. You can pretend it’s all the about the kids but seriously…family training from Olympians, Rugby Internationals and Steve Backshall…well hello fellas! And after the camping, stay on for longer at beautiful The Victoria Inn.
THE MAGIC OF TREES: Felbrigg Estate
With 520 acres to enjoy, there’s no need to worry about socially distancing at the magical Felbrigg Estate. Get to know your Sweet Chestnut from your Sycamore and discover the wonders of this ancient forest, just a few minutes from the north Norfolk coast.
DIP AND DIVE: Whitlingham Park
A huge expanse of broad, waterway and woodland just south of Norwich, Whitlingham offers everything from walking to biking – the beryl sharing scheme is there now so you can just hop on and explore away. There is usually a wealth of water activities on offer (do check the website for covid restrictions) so you can make a proper day of it.
GRAND PLANS: Blickling Estate
Lucky enough to have this one on my Muddy doorstep, Blickling bluebell woods are spectacular at this time of year. Take the one hour gentle stroll around the lake or get into the heart of the woods and parkland for a 4.5 mile longer exploration, on bike (you can hire them here) or on foot. There’s a cute dog friendly cafe so you can grab a cuppa and a bit of proper cake or a hearty sausage roll afterwards.
Or if you fancy something more substantial pop into the Bucks Arms for a big roast, the portions here are generous to say the least and you can bring your pooch. I love to eat in the bar or snug – it’s got that slightly illicit affairs / old fashioned nook and cranny vibe.
WOODLAND WONDER: Thetford Forest
With almost 19,000 hectares to explore, Thetford Forest is the largest man made lowland forest in the UK and has woodland walks, picnic spots, treetop adventures, horseriding, as well as cabin holiday lodges for overnight stays. Go easy with the green walk at Great Hockham or the tougher trail at Lynford Stag and if the sun shines sit with a picnic by the river at St Helens. Blissful.
CITY VIEW: Mousehold Heath, Norwich
Some of the best views of the city are from Mousehold Heath. Take the trail from the cathedral up to the heath and back down by the river Wensum, returning to the cathedral in about five or so miles. A glorious and very civilised way to see the architecture of the city and surrounding woodland and waterways – stop off for a pint at the Wig and Pen on your way back.
CIRCULAR PEACE: Marriotts Way
26 miles of circular pathway via two disused railway lines made in the 1800s and stretching between Norwich and Aylsham, Marriotts Way is open to walkers, cyclists, horseriders and runners. Don’t worry about collapsing half way round – there’s stop offs along route with pretty little station cafes and pubs, plus you don’t have to do the whole 26 miles in one go.