Whether you are local, just visiting or holidaying, Norfolk has plenty on offer to keep children entertained throughout the summer and all year-round. So we’ve talked to our team (we’re lucky enough to call Norfolk our home) and created a roundup of our favourite days out for children. In the word’s of Delia; celebrity chef and fellow Norfolk local: “Let’s be havin you.”
It’s time you went-n-saur Roarr Dinosaur Adventure
Award-winning Jurassic heaven on earth for dino-fanatics young and old. Follow the dinosaur trail, discover indoor and outdoor play areas, a Secret Animal Garden, deer safari, mini quad bikes, and much more. There are plenty of opportunities for photos with the giant dino models too.
New for this year is the Predator! High Ropes, the world’s first parallel sky rails! This exhilarating experience is perfect for children (1.2m tall and over) and adults alike.
Don’t forget uour swim suit! In addition to their normal attractions, Roarr open ‘Dippy’s Splash Zone’ over the summer, it’s their water play area named after park mascot ‘Dippy’ the dinosaur.
Roarr Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, NR9 5JW, www.roarrdinosauradventure.co.uk, up to £18.95 per entry. Indoor, outdoor and seasonal activities. Food and drink available at Dinomite Cafe, Dippy’s Cafe, Explorer’s Restaurant and the Snack Shack. 25 minutes from Norwich.
Feed the animals and more at Wroxham Barns
Like many great businesses, Wroxham Barns began as a conversation in the pub. Over 35 years on and founder Ian Russell still owns and manages the site. The barns’ offering now includes shops, a cafe and restaurant, craft studios, a junior farm, indoor play, and in peak season — mini golf and a funfair.
The team at Learning Resources love Wroxham barns for its clever craftspeople and their little shops, as well as their gallery gift shop. Children will love their junior farm, the ride-on tractors, and the traditional sweet shop. The farm boasts pigs, sheep, ducks, donkeys, chickens, goats, cows and more. There are loads of activities throughout the day such as talks and opportunities to feed and pet the animals. Younger children will enjoy the indoor soft play and the restaurant will keep the whole family happy.
Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, NR12 8QU, www.wroxhambarns.co.uk, pay-as-you-go activities, indoor and outdoor play. Food and drink available at the Wroxham Barns Restaurant and The Pantry Coffee Shop. 25 minutes from Norwich.
Chug along to Bressingham Steam and Gardens
Puff through the woodlands or around the beautiful gardens on one of the three railways at Bressingham. This step back in time does not disappoint. View the collection of working locomotives, ride the Victorian steam gallopers or check out the Dad’s Army Museum.
The gardens are a sight to behold. Arm your children with a camera to keep them entertained and task them with being a wildlife photographer while you enjoy the fresh and floral air. The gardens boast over 8,000 varieties of plants and a woodland area totalling 17 acres.
Bressingham Steam and Gardens, Bressingham, IP22 2AA, www.bressingham.co.uk, up to £14.99 per entry. Food and drink available at the Steam Museum cafe and the Plant Centre Restaurant. 45 minutes from Norwich.
See sea life at Hunstanton Sea Life centre
The Sea Life centre is an underwater world of magnificence. The centre includes everything from seals to penguins, seahorses to clown fish. This summer there is Lego theme for little ones to enjoy.
It doesn’t get much better than hearing your little one’s gasps of amazement as you walk through the ocean tunnel. This tropical ocean display holds natural seawater and you’ll find a whole host of fish, stingrays and more.
The Sea Life centre makes a great day out for children and adults alike, with talks, feeding demonstrations and events running throughout the year. Best of all it is indoors — ideal if the weather isn’t as bright as the postcards show it to be!
Sea Life, Hunstanton, PE36 5BH, https://www.visitsealife.com/hunstanton, up to £16.95 per entry. Food and drink available at the cafe and outdoor ‘Pirate’s Cove’ play area. 75 minutes from Norwich.
Be enchanted by BeWILDerwood
Your adventure awaits at BeWILDerwood where you can explore the treetops, whizz along wobbly wires and have a truly magical day in the great outdoors. This world of wonder is award winning and it’s easy to see why.
From zip wires to treehouses, storytelling to den building, right through to boat trips, there is something for everyone. Did we mention the cafe food is delicious too? We recommend the Boggle Banger Hotpot to warm you up on chillier days.
BeWILDerwood runs events throughout the year including the Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade in October. This ‘magical light extravaganza’ takes place at dusk and shows the woods in a whole new light. BeWILDerwood lay on face painting and crafts and fancy dress is highly encouraged.
BeWILDerwood, Hoveton, NR12 8JW, www.bewilderwood.co.uk, up to £16.50 per entry. Food and drink available at the Snack Shack and the Munch bar. 25 minutes from Norwich.
All aboard Wells and Walsingham Light Railway
For little train enthusiasts, Wells and Walsingham Light Railway is the perfect destination. This is the world’s smallest public railway. The smell of the steam and noise of the train clanking along the track is a truly nostalgic experience.
Katie, our Digital Marketing Manager at Learning Resources, recommends travelling from Walsingham to Wells to tie in a trip to the beach and really make a day of it. The views along the journey are beautiful — from wildflowers to vast fields. You may be lucky enough to spot hares, deer and even birds of prey.
Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, stations at Wells-Next-the-Sea, NR23 1QB and Walsingham, NR22 6BT, www.wwlr.co.uk, up to £9.50. Food and drink available at the Signal Box Cafe.
Banham Zoo has animals from every corner of the earth, talks, feeding demonstrations and plenty to learn and discover. This year Banham Zoo is celebrating 50 years of wildlife conservation. The zoo supports numerous external conservation projects all dedicated to doing the conserving the habitats and populations of some of the world’s most incredible species.
The zoo is mostly outdoors with a few indoor enclosures and barns. So make sure you wear something waterproof if you’re visiting on a rainy day. There are new species and attractions being added all the time. The sea lions are our favourite recent addition!
Banham Zoo, Banham, NR16 2HE, www.banhamzoo.co.uk, up to £22.95 per entry. Food and drink available at the Pavilion Cafe, Trading Post Coffee Shop and the Snack Shacks.
The Wizard Maze – for an a-maize-ing time!
For some traditional, seasonal fun check out the maize maze at Metton. Just be aware, the maze is only open from mid-July through to early September as the maze is created with real corn plants. The team here at Learning Resources think the Wizard Maize Maze makes a perfect family tradition that you can revisit year after year.
The maze spans a whopping 12 acres and the site also features a large play area, jumping pillows, pedal carts, crazy golf too and zip wires. For some true farming fun, there are straw bales to climb, mini tractors and trailers for little ones to ride, as well as cows, sheep and chickens to visit.
The Wizard farm cafe is well worth a visit for reasonably priced refreshments and there is a small shop selling souvenirs, including Tractor Ted goodies.
Wizard Maze & Play, Hall Farm, Metton, http://www.northnorfolkwizardmaze.co.uk/, up to £9 per entry. Seasonal only. Food and drink available at the Wizard farm cafe. 40 minutes from Norwich.
Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
A trip to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum is sure to leave youngsters flying high. This fun, family friendly and interactive museum is dedicated to promoting aviation education. The range of vehicles on display is impressive. It is a must-visit for plane or war time enthusiasts — young and old. The museum sets out to conserve, preserve and promote the history of aviation in East Anglia.
You can learn about the 446th Bomber Group, discover wartime survival methods, morse code, and even have a go on the flight simulator. Fancy a stroll? The Adair walk takes you on a peaceful walk along a boardwalk to the river Waveney. Finally, finish your visit with a trip to the NAAFI Cafe and gift shop.
Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton, NR35 1NZ, www.aviationmuseum.net, free admission, donations welcomed. Food and drink available at NAAFI. 40 minutes from Norwich.
Explore Pensthorpe Natural Park
Last but by no means least is Pensthorpe, a park dedicated to conservation education. From tots to teens, their offering appeals to children of all ages. It ranges from gardens and wildlife to explore, through to outdoor and indoor adventure play.
Pensthorpe is owned by Deb and Bill Jordan owners of Jordan’s breakfast cereal company, which also promotes working with nature. They bought the park in 2003 which rose to fame after featuring on BBC’s Springwatch programme in 2008-2010, playing host to Bill Oddie, Kate Humble, Chris Packham along with many more famous faces.
Their Hootz House play area is an indoor wooden treehouse adventure. Outside there is more wooden play, a den building area and even an 11 metre tall slide tower called ‘The Worm’! When you are ready for a walk try the Hootz discovery trail where you can learn about Pensthorpe’s natural habitats.
Pensthorpe, Fakenham, NR21 0LN, www.pensthorpe.com, up to £11.95 per entry. Food and drink available at the Courtyard Cafe. 40 minutes from Norwich