The ultimate guide to staycation in Norfolk

With exotic holidays off the cards this summer and the foreseeable future, we thought we’d explore the wonders that are right on our doorstep in Norfolk. At Concrete, we truly believe we have the best location for studying in the country.

Everything you could wish for from an overseas holiday is available right here in Norfolk. With another heatwave set to hit the county in September, there’s plenty of walks, nature reserves and national trust properties to get lost in. From sandy beaches like Wells-by-the-sea or a thrill-seeking ride at Great Yarmouth’s Pleasure Beach, or even a night at the circus at one of only two purpose-built permanent circuses in the UK at the Hippodrome, we’ve got it all!

Norfolk has many zoos, Mostly formed from old private estates and are “private” zoos, they are only open periodically. But it is also home to two large public zoos: Banham, just off the A11 to the south of Norwich, and Amazona, outside Cromer to the north of the city. This summer also saw the opening of the new safari park Watatunga, in Watlington, West Norfolk near King’s Lynn.

You’ll be sure to find something that floats your boat in Norfolk, with miles of coastline, beautiful sandy beaches, and a national park with waterways than wind into oblivion.

You can surf at popular beaches like Cromer, or learn at surf schools based there and in Mundesley. Most of these beaches have lifeguards during peak seasons, so they’re relatively safe. Not to mention the surrounding ice cream vendors and fish & chip parlours!

The glamourous waterways of the Norfolk broads can be explored by your choice of watercraft. Paddle boarding and kayaking have recently risen in popularity, and there’s dozens of companies you can hire them from. Or simply pop to Whitlingham Broad if this is a new sport for you and book a taster session.

If you want something with a bit more oomph (all 5mph of it), you can hire a day boat. Wroxham is the most popular departure point, though you can hire boats from a number of locations. There’s a handful of boatyards in Stalham, which is a bit more of a drive, but generally more relaxed than places like Wroxham.

You can also learn to dive right here in Norwich with companies like Christal Seas, who also run regular dive trips to the Norfolk coast and other local sub-aqua spots.

Home away from home? The EDP reported earlier this year that AirBnB revealed both Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft as the top two most popular locations for a staycation. Alongside AirBnB, there are countless hotels and B&Bs both in the city and in the quaint villages of Norfolk. Plus, there’s also a plethora of caravan and holiday parks all along the coast.

Norwich itself is one of the hottest shopping locations in the region, with an abundance of cafés and bars that suit all tastes. I’ve been in Norwich for five years now and am still discovering new eateries – it’s so easy to find something new every time you go out.

If shopping isn’t your thing, you can explore one of the city’s two cathedrals, the medieval castle (with attached museum full of interesting exhibits) or the variety of luscious parks and open spaces.

TLDR, you don’t have to leave Norfolk for a truly fascinating or exotic holiday. There really is something for everyone, and I’ve barely scraped the surface with what I have managed to throw at you in this article.

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Roo Pitt

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December 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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