43 Days Of Norfolk Summer Holidays
I love the summer holidays helped by the fact I only work term time only!
This one is extra special for us as am losing my eldest to school in September (sob!). I see a lot of posts on forums asking for ideas for family days out. Six weeks can seem like a very long time if your children are the easily bored, can’t entertain themselves, whining variety (aka my children) often helped along by the good old British weather (aka rain). As a mummy of 2 young energetic, boys, who seem incapable of a.) entertaining themselves or b.) not making each other cry I spend a lot of time working out how to entertain them and we spend as much time out as possible.
Here you have it, a list you can print off and pop on the fridge so you will never have to spend hours wondering “Where shall we go today?”. The boys and I have been to everywhere on the list and although some days out are better than others they all serve a purpose of keeping little ones entertained, making memories and stopping mummies going insane. Check individual websites for opening times/prices etc. So if you live in Norfolk or you’re coming to visit then your Norfolk summer holidays start NOW!
Here are 43 ideas for family fun – one for each day of your Norfolk summer holidays.
Any other recommendations or opinions please do let us know.
1. Roller skating
Funky Monkeys (Norwich)
Best for older children or those more coordinated than mine.
2. Indoor Play areas for yet another rainy day
Stompers (North Walsham)
Fab for kids of all ages. Clean. Attached to a small bowling alley.
Castle Cavery (Norwich)
Attached to a restaurant so good if want to eat somewhere where kids can be entertained.
Broadland Business Park
Attached to a restaurant so good if want to eat somewhere the kids can play.
Play area for younger children and activity centre for older children with segways and climbing walls.
Play Barn (Poringland)
Play area, park, farm and a maze. good for under 7s .
Bedlams (Castle Mall)
Small but good if you have toddler and younger children and want to entertain them and get out of the pushchair whilst out shopping.
Pirate Petes (Lowestoft)
Great for kids of all ages.
Good for kids of all ages.
Elephant Playbarn (Mundsley)
Lovely for smaller children.
Good for me to take my 4 and 2Yr olds as can see them both at all times. Small park outside.
Larger play area so good if you have a range of ages.
Racecourse (Salhouse Rd, Norwich)
Attached to a restaurant so good for a bite to eat. Small park outside and play area on 2 levels.
As well as the skating, large play area. Better for older children.
Davenports Magic Museum (North Walsham)
Something a bit different, my 4yr old and 2yr old a little young but they were free.
Castle Museum (Norwich)
Pop in for a £1 at lunchtimes and an hour before closing (term time only). A large well that my children love. Take some pennies!
Bressingham Steam Museum
Great for my train mad boy!
Better with older children with good attention spans.
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse
Nice park, old fashioned farm, good if you have a range of ages.
Collection of steam engines and organs as well as gondola and carousel rides. Only been at Christmas but very magical and Christmassy.
Lots aimed at children as well as workshops.
Showing Peppa Pig in August.
Fab for younger children as smaller so can see the stage better.
Interactive theatre that even my attention-span-of-a-goldfish boys love.
5. Pottery Painting (Poringland)
Boys love it (I have a mild heart attack as so many breakable things!)
6. Zoos and Sealife centres
Nice big zoo with large animals and indoor play area.
Popular zoo. Giraffe walk is lovely. Very small indoor play area only suitable for very young children.
Lovely for younger children. Free for under 4s and good deals on season tickets.
Sealife Centre (Great Yarmouth)
Small and can get through very quickly if you can’t slow them down (7 minutes our record!) but my boys love it. Has a small indoor play area.
Marina centre (Yarmouth)
Large, wide pool that slopes slowly. Slide for older children (not into a pool). Baby pool with small slide and a wave machine.
1 pool with a small area that slopes for children. Has a slide (not into pool).
Beccles Outdoor Pool
Heated outdoor pool. Lovely if we get those hot summer days (big if!)
Large wide pool that slopes slowly. Slide for older children (not into a pool). Baby pool with small slide and a wave machine.
Virgin Active, Norwich (members only unless use vouchers in spree book)
Small children’s pool, outdoor pool, large main pool and adults only lazy pool.
Hollywood Bowl (Riverside Norwich)
Lots of lanes and good arcade games.
Namco Funscape (Bowthorpe)
Lots of lanes and an arcade.
All have children AM mornings, nice cheap seats and nobody minds the preschooler who is more bothered about the fact the chair can go up and down!
10. Great Parks
Norfolk has lots of great parks. Here are a few of my favourites which, if you haven’t already tried out, you must.
Large park and play area. Small cafe, boating pond, miniature railway (oh so cute) at the weekends.
Reminds me of Eaton Park but on a much smaller scale. Good if more than one child as easier to keep an eye on them.
Large splash area in the summer as well as a nice park (does get rather manic in the holidays!)
A favourite with my boys and good for children of all ages.
Really cool singing story book to teach children “old school” playground games. Nice park for all ages.
Nicholas Everitt Park (Oulton Broad)
Boating lake, cafe, nice park and squirrels that will come up to you and let you feed them nuts
11. Fruit Picking
Can’t beat a bit of fruit picking, better still when they have a cafe and serve cake!
White House farm (sprowston) very welcoming to children
Just Fab! Lots to do if you are 1 or 100!
Animals, rides and shows.
14. Pleasurewood Hills
Theme park. Good for a selection of ages.
15. Dinosaur Park
Lucky enough to have a season pass. Dinosaurs (obviously), farm, lovely park and indoor play area (best one for kids of all ages), free crazy golf and go karts.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary (Caldecott and Alysham)
Free! Horses, visitor centre and a park
Wroxham Barns (Wroxham)
Small farm and play area, some nice shops to wander around, a play area, somewhere to have a picnic and a funfair.
Melsop Farm (Scoulton)
Indoor play area and animals.
Pets Corner (Nicolas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad)
Little petting zoo in the grounds of a really great park.
Farmer Fred’s (Heacham)
Fab farm and play area. Lovely day out.
17. Bit further afield
Worth the extra drive. Very hilly, take flat shoes and a pushchair.
So many gorgeous Norfolk beaches! Here are our favourite ones to take the children. Quite new to exploring Norfolk beaches so would love to hear your suggestions.
Rock Pools which are fab for kids
Lovely wide, sandy, beach, amusements, ice-cream and cafe. Big wide paths to ride scooters/bikes.
Lots of local amenities at hand.
Nice sandy clean beach.
Rock pools, nice beach, good for pebble collecting, small amusements, cafe and ice-cream shop.
19. The great outdoors
Brilliant park, with a massive bouncy pillow (my favourite!). nice place for a picnic. Pub on site with yummy food. Pony rides and a nice walk around the lake.
Fairhaven Water Gardens
Pretty gardens. A little too much water for my liking with 2 children running in different directions but a nice walk.
Small woods with good paths (and am yet to see dog poop!). Art, which my boys love finding, made by local schools and spread through the woods.
Whittlingham County Park
Crazy ducks that will have your arm off given half a chance but lovely walk and yummy café.
Pretty Corner Woods (Sheringham)
Nice walk through the woods for the kids to run off some energy.
Plantation Gardens (Norwich)
Pretty gardens in the middle of the city. We take “treasure” to hide.
20. Seaside Day!
The boys favourite day out (ok, I admit it, actually it’s mine!). It’s a good cheesy seaside day, perfect for those days that are not quite warm enough to sit on a beach but dry and sunny. We often choose Great Yarmouth as closest seaside resort to us. We play on the amusements (trying to win 10 million tickets, for a penny chew) or on the 2p machines. We ride donkeys (the boys do, don’t think the poor donkey would appreciate me sitting on his back!). We have ice-cream and fish and chips (a seaside day must!, always followed by a not so successful weigh in at Slimming World!). We play bowlingo (like bowling but smaller and a bit more rubbish). We wander aimlessly like tourists soaking up the cheesiness of it all (love it!). So, grab a bag of change and have yourself a seaside day!
21. Libraries and Council Run events
A lot of local libraries run special events and groups over the summer. We use Millennium Library a lot and they are happy with my boys running riot and rearranging the books (ok maybe not happy but they don’t say anything!). Check out Norwich City Council “Days out guides” – lots of free actives in the parks this summer with outside theatre and Punch and Judy shows. Cromer carnival also on over this summer which has lots of lovely children activities.
22. Seal trips
At certain times of the year you can take a walk and view the seals on the beach at Horsey and at other times of the year you can take a boat trip to Blakeney Point (great fun!).
23. Boat hire (Broads)
Hire a boat on the broads by the hour or for the day. Unlike us, ensure adults are not outnumbered by kids. Slightly stressful!
Boat trips also available from Whittlingham Broad.
Lots of lovely camp sites around Norfolk so not too far from home. Camping has never been my thing but children love it. Glamping however, was much more comfy. We went to Whittlingham in a bell tent and can highly recommend it.
25. Horse and Carriage rides and Pony rides (Yarmouth sea front)
Playbarn Poringland and often at High Lodge in the summer)
With the carriage ride. My 2yr old loved it, my 4yo asked if he could play angry birds on my phone! My little ones does love a pony ride.
26. Mini golf/pitch and putt
Most seaside resorts have little courses.
Great Yarmouth has an indoor crazy gold course (for those rainy days).
The Family Golf Centre (Easton) if in Norwich
27. Norwich Tour Bus
Once the stress of the boys falling off the top of the open top bus subsided this was great fun!. Would not suggest taking a 2yr old and 4yr old on your own if your children, like mine, are not inclined to listen to a word you say. Realised that, when you live somewhere, how little you actually take note of history/buildings etc. Boys not at all interested in the “learning” stuff but liked the fact the bus had no roof and enjoyed spotting things.
28. Merrivale Village (Great Yarmouth)
My boys love this place and I think it’s kinda cool too. Would say better for younger children but my 4yr old still not grown out of it. Landscaped gardens, streams, waterfalls with miniature houses, cars and people. My toddler loves pressing the buttons to make things move and also the miniature trains that run round the “village”. My preschooler loves spotting things. Also has free mini golf, a cafe, somewhere to buy ice-cream and an old fashioned penny arcade.
29. Southwold Pier
One of my favourite places and gets a special mention because of “The under the pier show” – a mad quirky arcade of homemade, slightly random, machines. Something a little different and a fun way to spend some time. Also has a nice cafe, cool clock and somewhere to buy icecream (bonus!).
Lots of opportunities to try new sports. Check out Active Norfolk or the UEA sports park for football, badminton, tennis, climbing and trampolining (to name a few).
31. How things work tours
Lots of places do behind the scene tours. Great for older children and those with inquisitive minds. Companies include Lotus, BBC at the Forum, and Theatre Royal Norwich.
32. Nature reserves and Broads
Nice walk with the kids when you want to get outside!
Lovely walk although water not on the relaxing side and large fort-style park.
I tend to avoid the broads and nature reserves on my own (too much water + boys who run off = stressful) but if we have a better ration of adults to kids this is on of our favourite places for a spot of walking, duck feeding and picnics.
Strumpshaw Fen Reserve
33 National Trust
Places for those sunny days where you just want them to be able to run without worrying they will stand in dog mess. Check out their websites for events they have on throughout the year.
34. Maize Maze (Hemsby and Metton nr Cromer)
Ohhhhhh, I do love a maize maze for a chance for them to tire themselves out! The Wizard Maze has a huge inflatable pillow for some extra energy burning.
35. High Lodge (Thetford)
Fab day out and picnic place. Take (or hire) bikes to cycle through woods. Take the children’s music trail, or play on the brilliant park. GoApe is also here for a tree top adventure.
36. Local Classes
Here are some local classes that offer sessions throughout the summer.
Spring Gymnastics (UEA Sportspark)
Amazing fun. All the gymnastics equipment you can imagine, bouncy floors, foam pit and trampolines. Need to book a week in advance but pay by week.
Singing and dancing classes for young children (babies to preschoolers). Lovely lady running it and good atmosphere.
37. Dry ski slope
Good fun for older children. Ski/snowboard lessons and, better still, tubing (BIG hill + ice + big rubber ring, sort of thing = FUN!). Lovely, patient staff who managed to teach me (the most uncoordinated mummy in Norfolk) how to go down a (small) slope on a snowboard without breaking a limb.
Good for older children who need to run around and let off a bit of steam or parents who are just about to lose their minds! Kids and adults running in the dark with Laser Guns – I loved it!
39. Places to eat
If all that playing has knackered you out and are a tad peckish, I can recommend the following places. All have yummy food (and cater for children) with the added bonus of outside playgrounds
Bridge at Acle
Mulbartons Worlds End
Pigs at Edgefield
40. Geocaching and treasure hunts
Geocaching is an exciting outdoor treasure hunt adventure for the whole family. Geocaches can be found using co-ordinates input into a Smartphone or GPS receiver. Google Norfolk Geocaching. You can also purchase treasure hunts for Norwich, following clues to take you around the city. Great fun for older children.
41. Steam Trains
Bure Valley is one of our favourites. Steam Trains running between Alysham and Wroxham with lots of special events.
42. The Races
Have taken the children go kart racing at Cromer, which they love, and to the horse racing family fun day events. Lovely atmosphere.
43. Activities at home
Our blog (and our business) is all about making memories with our little people. For an honest account of cheap, fun ideas to do with your children, please see our other blogs 🙂
So there you have it! I can’t guarantee the weather this summer or that your little darlings will behave but lots of fun days out to keep the “Muuuuuuuuummmmmm, I’m bored” to a minimum.
A lot of the days out mentioned above can be found in the Norfolk Spree Book. The Spree Book is the ultimate savings guide to the best of your city, divided into six easy sections:
Informal & Take-away
Leisure & Recreation
Health, Beauty & Wellbeing
Shopping & Servicing
It is packed with Norwich’s top restaurants, shops, cinemas, sports facilities and local attractions. The Spree Book is guaranteed to save your pocket a penny. Where else would you find £5000 worth of savings! And, guess what, as an added bonus there is a voucher for our Fingerprint Jewellery is in there too!
You can buy Norfolk spree books over at our facebook page with £5 of each sale going to Hanas Gift a local charity supporting parents who have suffered a loss of a baby or child.
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