Norfolk is a county rich in heritage, beautiful landscapes and interesting attractions and is a fantastic place to visit and explore. It is also equally full of hidden gems and days out which might not have occurred to you when initially planning out your visit. If you fancy doing something a little different then here are our top 8 unusual things to do in Norfolk:-
Explore Castle Acre
Castle Acre is a rare and complete example of a surviving, planned Norman settlement in the UK and is home to the remains of a motte-and-bailey castle, a monastic priory and a quaint village. In fact the monastic ruins here are the largest and best preserved of anywhere in the UK too so it is well worth packing a picnic and finding a quiet spot amongst the fallen stones. The settlement was founded soon after the Battle of Hastings and is a truly fascinating place to spend a couple of hours.
Climb Ranworth Church Tower
Norfolk has an incredible number of churches, possibly the highest concentration in England, and many of them offer interesting insight into the history of the local area. For fantastic views however, you can’t beat the tower at Ranworth Church. The climb features 89 steps, two ladders and a trap door and once you reach the top you will be rewarded with a stunning view across the Norfolk Broads. Once you have scaled the tower it is also worth heading into Ranworth village which is home to lots of picturesque walks, boat trips and the Norfolk Broads Wildlife Centre.
Visit the Happisburgh Lighthouse
Although it is just under an hour’s drive from The Harper Hotel, Langham UK, the Happisburgh Lighthouse is an interesting diversion as the only independent working lighthouse in the country and Norfolk’s oldest to boot. It only opens to members of the public on certain days of the year but it is truly fascinating to step inside the lighthouse and discover information about the history of the landmark, how it works and to look out across the sea from the very top. A visit here is a rare opportunity to see a real, working lighthouse so it is well worth making the trip. Just be sure to check whether the lighthouse will be open when you are planning to visit, to avoid any disappointment.
Go Crabbing in Cromer
Crabbing is a very popular pastime in the seaside town of Cromer and one which many tourists often observe without taking part. However, it is possible to buy all the equipment that you need from the shops which are on or near the Pier. You should also find that staff in the stores are only too happy to give you a quick guide on how to use your line although there are also a number of quick guides online to help you along. It is certainly a fun way to spend an hour or two, just remember to release any crabs you catch back into the sea at the end of your experience. There is a handy guide for do’s and don’t on the Cromer Pier website if you need any further information.
Hunt for Fossils
Norfolk’s coastline stretches for 90 miles, more when the tide is out, and it is the ideal place to go if you want to try your hand at some fossil hunting. If you are staying in one of the hotels in north Norfolk then Sheringham is probably the closest place to go and it is very common to find fossilised coral on this part of the coast. As long as you are confident that you aren’t in a protected area (and there should be signs) then you are welcome to pick up and take home any small fossils that you may find lying around, providing that you haven’t had to pull them from any of the rocks or cliffs.
Wander Through Lavender
100 acres of lavender fields make up Norfolk Lavender, a leading lavender farm which is a real treat for anyone who visits. As well as the lavender fields there is also a distillery, animal gardens and a play park, a garden centre and tea rooms. If you are particularly interested in the growth and use of lavender then there are also tours available which will offer further insight along with demonstrations. Be sure to pick up some locally created lavender products before you leave as well; they would make ideal souvenirs for family and friends back home.
Escape in Norwich
Archived Alive is a popular escape game in Norwich which is held at Norwich Guildhall. It is a mystery game in which you must solve puzzles, stories and deal with surprises as you try to work out how to save the City Historian who has become trapped in the archive vault. It takes around an hour, to an hour and a half to finish the escape game and it is one of the most popular in the city.
Go Seal Spotting
It isn’t every day that you could come nose to nose with a common or grey seal but there is every opportunity if you are staying in north Norfolk. Blakeney Point is home to a large colony of around 500 seals and there are daily boat trips out to see these playful marine mammals. They are best observed from the water and many will come down from their basking to swim and play around the boat. It is an entertaining way to spend an hour or two and lovers of these inquisitive creatures should follow their boat trip up with a visit to the seal sanctuary in Hunstanton.