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Wroxham, Norfolk(12 Posts)
Hoping for some recommendations - me, dh, our 2 dds (4 and 6), MIL, FIL, dh's brother and girlfriend are all off to Wroxham for a week at the end of August for MIL's 70th birthday. I don't know Norfolk at all and dh only knows it from student days so not terribly useful for family days out. I'd love some ideas for must-sees, days out, children's activities, best pubs/cafes/restaurants to eat with kids, activities we could do or places we could go all together in the surrounding area. Any tips you can throw at me really! Much appreciated if anyone has any local knowledge.
We were there at half term and LOVED it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. From Wroxham you can get a miniature steam train up inland. (There's also a very mini private and separate circular train route we didn't try.)
We did a paddle boat cruiser up the broads where we saw loads of wildlife, and there's an ice cream boat instead of a van if you want a Mr Whippy.
Roy's Toys is a massive old fashioned toy shop - good value too - the DC were in heaven spending birthday money there and bought lots of stuff cheaper than on Amazon.
It's all a bit 1950s and terribly English but lovely. We had lunch in a very old fashioned place with tables onto the river. Forget the name, but you'll see it, just under the bridge.
Also, not far from there, we took a boat out along the coast to see seals - there were masses of them. It was wonderful. And a tiny electric boat that took us into the very narrow reedbeds and to a hide where we saw otters playing.
Tourist information in Wroxham has all the leaflets and details. Loads to do. But do book the boats in advance, as they fill up fast in high season.
bewilderwood is meant to be good, mine is far too young to go yet
there are loads of amazing and very beautiful walls in and around the broads, go to the tourist info office early on in the week, you can also hire a canoe which will allow you Ty see a lot of the wildlife. coltishall has a superb Thai restaurant, really phenomenal, and the walk between buxton and colt is amazing
I am however biased
Bewilderwood is very popular - not far at all. It's a sort of woodland adventure place - hard to describe.
You can hire a boat and potter round the broads - will be lovely. There's canoeing from some spots near there.
The coast isn't far at all - the seal trips are from Morston near Blakeney. Best beaches (very subjective!) are Wells or Holkham - again, not far.
Norwich has the cathedral, the castle, pretty lanes etc.
Also just to say that the Broads Authority and Norfolk Wildlife Trust both run loads and loads of family fun activities and usually very reasonable prices. You can look up on their websites
Also how hill, gorgeous.
Fantastic, thank you all! Sounds like more than enough to keep us all occupied.
yes bewildered wood is great, expensive tho.
beaches, winterton on sea is lovely, also mundsley beach.
cromer and sheringham are nice to visit and wells.
there is the dinosaur park and banham zoo as well for days out.
thetford forest is great, £10ish to park for the day, take a picnic and there is loads to do, climbing frames etc for the kids, you can also hire bikes or do go ape if you feel brave enough.
framlingham castle is nice.
norwich is a nice town/city, the forum library is nice with a cafe and piza express above it. the cathedral and the castle can be visited.
some lovely parks in norwich, ie eaton park and also the lake at the university and earlham park, a lovely little stream for them to paddle in, lots of space a nice cafe and there are often hot air balloons that take off from there!
wells and hokeham beaches are nice yes, but for smaller quieter ones i would say winterton on sea is great!
We just returned from Bewilderwood (gigantic wooden playground) with friends (children age 2,3, 5, and 8) just outside of Wroxham and we all had a great time. Children under 92cm are free. Except for the big slides (under 92cm are not allowed), we all (adults included) could go on all the equipment (we even went into the tunnel and slid down head first -- with a little boy asking me from behind if I could go a bit faster).
Besides Bewilderwood, you can take a ferry ride and see the broads. You can also combine a ferry + steam engine train ride too. We did this on a different trip and the girls had a great time. You can also rent a boat to putter around the broads. We didn't do this but it is an option.
If you are National Trust members, there are a few places you can go. Felbrigg is near Cromer (Cromer is a lovely beach + town, you can do some crabbing) and another one near Aylsham (Ann Boleyn lived there and some say her ghost roams around there). You can go to the NT site and see what things are around. If you are English Heritage, there is Castle Acre Priory (ruins) and Thetford Priory (ruins). I think there are a few other places in/near Norwich. See EH site for more info. Sheringham is another lovely coastal town. If you like fair type of rides, go to Hunstanton beach. There is also Sea Life there.
Norwich's park and ride isn't far from Wroxham. 5 miles maybe? Norwich has a few big churches, a museum and fun for shopping. It has a lively market too that runs everyday. If you're into independent bookshops, Norwich has one, the Book Hive.
Banham zoo is lovely too. Our girls love going there. There's also a dino park or something, we've never been but I've heard a lot of good things about it.
There's a Broads Museum at Stalham, which looks as if it's run by enthusiasts and makes a nice visit. You can get a little trip on a historic steam powered boat from there too. Though hiring a day boat in Wroxham and exploring by yourself might be more fun.
Wroxham Barns is worth a visit - there's an animal petting area, crafts, cafe , playground etc. There's a small railway between Aylsham and Wroxham and you can hire bikes there too.
From Roys of Wroxham if you go over the bridge towards Norwich you will go past the vets, a florist shop and come to a cross road (see the garage and you've gone too far!). To the left is a safe play area with picnic tables in Park Road, to the right is Caen Meadow which has nice little sandy 'beaches' for a satisfying paddle. Just don't go on a Sunday morning unless you are a dog fan.
There is a nice walk leading down to Salhouse Broad. More good paddling to be had and canoes for hire.
If you are fans of a 'kiss me quick' type, rock-making shops, arcades, fairgrounds etc then you're quite close to Gt Yarmouth. They have an outside market too.
You could try PYO at Meales on the Stalham Road.
Definitely pop in to Norwich, just 5 mins from there is Norfolk's 'newest broad' Whitlingam, near Trowse. It has walks, picnic meadows etc plus if you go past the two main car parks on your left and carry on to the large car park on your right there are woodlands and a childrens playground area (that most people don't seem to know of)
Don't forget that if anyone holds a concessionary bus pass they can use it in Norfolk too - and there's a great 'coastal hopper' service so you can explore the North Norfolk coast for free!
Agree with ejsmith's recomendations.
The park in Park Road is about 15 min walk from Wroxham centre and worth a visit with the little ones. There is a park heading the other way out of Wroxham, but the Park Road one is newer and a lot more equipment. Perfect for your age children.
Wroxham Barns is worth a visit. Won't be a whole day but a good 3/4 hours can be spent there. The petting area has a small soft play area included and is well enjoyed by my 2 DC. Tip - pick up one of the tourist brochures for Norfolk "Enjoy the Broads" as it used to contain a voucher for a free bag of animal feed (you want the large animal food, not the chicken feed)
Ranworth has a Nature Reserve which is worth walking out to. It's a floating visitor centre and the mezzanine level has bird watching windows, with binoculars, and an area for children to draw and complete a big jigsaw. The cafe on the staithe at Ranworth also does some lovely large slabs of cake, but if you are concerned about being near the water, the church up the road also has a nice cafe. You can also walk up the Church Tower, with amazing views at the top.
We've not really eaten out a lot in Wroxham as we have a fussy eater but most of the pubs are good, and likewise the Chinese and Star of India takeaways near the bridge. If you have some real ale drinkers in your party, can I suggest a visit to The Shed? It is literally a shed, and hard to locate but phone them and they guide you in! They don't do food but are welcome to order a takeaway and eat it there. They will even supply cutlery and warmed plates . Extremely friendly in there, and plenty of ale.
If visiting Norwich, the Park & Ride at Sprowston is the best value for money. Plenty to do in the city, shopping or otherwise.
Whitlingham Country Park is excellent too, just be aware of visiting at a time that Norwich City FC are playing. The roads nearby are used as free parking and you may be delayed by the amount of traffic.
If you decide to hire a day boat, download a £10 off voucher for Broads Tours. Has to be taken early in the day but with children, I doubt that will be a problem.
We've also gone further North and had some lovely days out on the North Norfolk Poppy Line. Caught the train from Holt (nowhere near the town centre btw) to Sheringham, had picnic lunch on the beach and a wander around the town then train back. You can't beat a steam train ride alongside a poppy field with the sea in the background.