12 fun things to do with the family this summer

PUBLISHED: 13:39 24 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:39 24 June 2014

Flamingos at Penthorpe Wildlife Park. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Flamingos at Penthorpe Wildlife Park. Picture: Matthew Usher.


Looking for a day out to treat the children? Whether it’s animals, engines, magic or pirates and smugglers, there’s plenty of choice. We offer some ideas of what you and your family can do.

The Tolhouse Museum - the oldest civic building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass.The Tolhouse Museum - the oldest civic building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass.

• Davenport’s Magic Kingdom

Step into Davenport’s Magic Kingdom and a world of magical wonder and amazement. Fun for the children and fascinating for the adults, this is a trip through the history of magic.

There are tricks and illusions to try, a legless (or is she?) lady to gawp at, cards that disappear and coins that reappear and friendly witches bringing all manner of magical memorabilia to life.

Leave enough time to browse the posters, props, puppets and historical sets before the magic show itself.

The Nelson Museum on South Quay in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James BassThe Nelson Museum on South Quay in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Davenport’s Magic Kingdom, North Walsham, 01692 405254,

• Caister Castle Motoring Museum

A striking setting for the largest private collection of motor vehicles in Britain, with sports, classic, vintage and veteran cars, motorbikes, bicycles and horse drawn vehicles. They include the first real car in the world, an 1893 Panhard et Levassor, Jim Clark’s Lotus and Peter Rachman’s Cadillac. Climb the 90ft tower of the castle too.

Africa Alive, Kessingland; Eastern Bongo. Photo: Nick Butcher.Africa Alive, Kessingland; Eastern Bongo. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Caister Castle, Caister-on-Sea, 01664 567707,

• Great Yarmouth Hippodrome

There’s always a superb atmosphere at this popular circus, Britain’s only surviving total circus building.
A rich variety of traditional and contemporary professional circus acts keeps the crowd entertained from the moment they walk in to the amazing water spectacle finish. There’s 100 years’ of circus memorabilia in the museum too.

Lowestoft theme park, Pleasurewood Hills. Picture: Nick Butcher.Lowestoft theme park, Pleasurewood Hills. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, 01493 844172,

• Africa Alive!

Africa Alive! is one of Britain’s largest wildlife attractions. See giraffe, antelope, zebra, rhino and ostrich roam as they would in the wild. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the lions and meet some of the animals.

Africa Alive, Kessingland, 01502 740291,

Grime's Graves, English HeritageGrime's Graves, English Heritage

• Redwings Horse Sanctuary

There is plenty to see at this well established rescue charity, from hairy little ponies with bags of characters to super cute donkeys, sleek horses and some very nosey mules. Make the most of a chance to literally rub noses with some and enjoy a great, free, day out. Open daily 10am to 5pm, March until October 30.

Caldecott Hall, near Fritton and Aylsham, 01508 481000,

The Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus building in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James BassThe Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

• Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

The tiger tree walk high above the tigers is one of the delights at these beautiful gardens, home to all manner of animals, birds and reptiles, with a particular emphasis on Asia. The 250-year-old landscaped garden includes a play area and willow pattern gardens.

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, Filby, near Great Yarmouth. 01493 369477,

Bressingham Garden Railway. Photo: Bill SmithBressingham Garden Railway. Photo: Bill Smith

• Tolhouse Museum

Pirate obsessed children will love this musuem, one of the oldest prisons in the country. With plenty of hands-on activities, it’s full of Great Yarmouth’s story of crime and punishment from medieval times to the modern day. Discover what happened to pirates, thieves, smugglers, witches, and murderers when punishment included transportation and execution.

Tolhouse Museum, Tolhouse Street, Great Yarmouth 01493 858900.

Open day at the Redwings Horse sanctuary, Hapton, Norfolk. Photo: Jerry Daws.Open day at the Redwings Horse sanctuary, Hapton, Norfolk. Photo: Jerry Daws.

• Dinosaur Adventure

The dinosaurs and trail may be the main attraction, but there’s plenty more to explore. Enjoy the large outdoor play area, deer safari, secret animal garden, pitch and putt, pedal carts and Dinomite.

Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, 01603 876310,

Steam Engineering

There’s something wonderfully fascinating about enormous engines, and this family-friendly attraction celebrates all that’s great about steam engineering. Norfolk has a superb collection of rail-inspired attractions, which include:

Bressingham Steam Museum, Bressingham,

Mid Norfolk Railway, Wymondham to East Dereham,

Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk Broads,


Merrivale, Great Yarmouth,

Barton House Railway, Wroxham,

North Norfolk Railway, Sheringham,

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway,

Whitwell and Reepham Railway, Whitwell,

• Bewilderwood

Marsh walks, boat trips, treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, camp building and plenty of story-telling – this is an outdoor adventure wooded paradise of make-believe, climbing, den-making and slides.

Bewilderwood, Wroxham, 01692 633033,

• Banham Zoo

Masses to see, lots to do, spacious animal enclosures and not too many miles to walk – this is one of Norfolk’s much loved wildlife parks. See everything from the tiger family to birds of prey, lorikeets, reptiles, zebras, giraffes, seals, leopards, pandas, kangaroos, wolves, otters, flamingos and penguins. Visit the farmyard area and the colourful bats and doves in the Eureka! Animazing Oasis, and don’t miss the antics of the monkeys and apes. There’s a play area, high wire adventure course, safari train and various places to picnic or buy food too.

Banham Zoo, Banham, 01953 887771,

• Amazona

The sights and sounds of the rainforest – monkeys, parrots and macaws, jaguars, peccaries, piranhas and flamingos and more –transport you to the rainforest, just outside Cromer.

There’s an indoor soft-play area too and educational information about conservation too.

Amazona Zoo, Cromer, 01263 510741,

• Grime’s Graves

The only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain is set deep in the haunting, grassy, lunar-like landscape of the Brecks.

A habitat for rare plants and fauna, it’s a wonderful place to explore before visiting the interactive exhibition area. Visitors descend nine metres (30ft) underground by ladder into one of the excavated shafts to view the jet-black flint at first-hand.

The mine tour is not suitable for under-fives.

Grime’s Graves, near Brandon, Norfolk, 01842 810656,

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