14 things to do outdoors in Norfolk this summer
09:57 26 July 2014
In the first of a five part series we look at some ideas to keep your family entertained this summer. Today it’s all about the great outdoors.
Worstead Village Festival
Worstead, July 26-27, 10am-6pm, £5, under-12s free, www.worsteadfestival.org
This popular summer event in the Norfolk calendar is billed as a celebration of village life, focusing on home-spun have-a-go events along with music, crafts and local produce. For 2014 there’s new attractions as well as traditional favourites, from the traditional heavy horses, weavers and tractors to fun for all the family with historical Play Your Cards Right. Razz and Aunty Pearl are back along with Bewilderwood and there’s music, entertainment, story tent, traditional sideshows, kid’s zone, vintage tractors, theatre and lots of food.
Thetford Forest, open daily until October 31, £32, under-17s £24, £17 under-1m tall, www.goape.co.uk
A ‘hire-wire forest adventure’ out in the wilds of Thetford Forest – basically a giant obstacle course built through the trees complete with ladders, walkways, bridges, tunnels and a 140m zip-wire (under-18s must be supervised). It also features a Tarzan Swing, back-to-back black crossings and an Alpine zip that goes from tree to tree. There are also 30 miles of bike and walking trails and you can get off the beaten track with the Go Ape Forest Segway forest adventure (£35).
Festival on the Farm
Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, July 26, 10am-5pm, £9.90 (£8.60 cons), £6.50 children, under-4s free, £29 family, 01362 860563, festivalonthefarm.com
Embrace the great outdoors and exploring the wonderful wilderness at Gressenhall. Wander the woodland survival camp to learn bush crafts such as shelter and fire building. Visit the festival menagerie of birds, bees and bugs. Step inside the pages of a book with storytelling and theatre by Highly Sprung Performance Co. Local authors invite you into the storytelling tent to listen to tales of wilderness and adventure. Treat yourself to original art work or handmade crafts at the arts and crafts fair and enjoy delectable treats at the local food market.
Picnic in the Park
Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse, July 27, 11am-4pm, free admission, 01603 756094, www.enjoythebroads.com
Head to Whitlingham Country Park this Sunday for this family events to tie-in with National Parks Week. There’ll be music, food, family activities, displays, crafts, guided walks, boat trips, water-based activities and more. Take a picnic and enjoy the Broads. Free entry, charges for boat trips and some other activities and car park charges apply. Then on Wednesday (10am-2pm) there’s a Family Treasure Hunt. This is a fun event for the whole family - learn how to read a map and follow the treasure trail,. Family Canoe Trip
Strumpshaw Fen, July 25, 10am-12.15pm/2pm-4.30pm, £25 each event, £15 children, pre-book 0845 4969177, www.thecanoeman.com
Take a family canoe trip from Strumpshaw Fen to Rockland Broad with the Canoe Man. You can make a day of it, as for the afternoon of the same day as Strumpshaw has a Bushcraft Taster Session. Discover the fundamentals of bushcraft including fire-lighting and backwoods cooking. The Canoe Man also has an Otter Spotting Trail on the River Bure on Wednesday (6-8pm). Pleasure Beach
Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, open daily 11am-9pm until September 7, free admission, unlimited peak ride wristbands £19.50 (£15 ages 4-6), www.pleasure-beach.co.uk
Yarmouth’s Pleasure Beach has rides ranging from family fairground fun to white-knuckle stuff. Its crowning glory is the wooden rollercoaster – complete with a brake-man who rides every train, making each roll of the 83-year-old coaster unique. Some of the rides are the very latest in up-to-the-minute thrills, others have been loved down the generations. New this year is a 4D film The Good, The Bad and a Horse, a wild ride through the wild west!
Banham, signposted off the A11 near Diss, open daily 9.30am-6pm, £16.30 (£14.50 cons), £11.95 children, under-3s free, 01953 887445, banhamzoo.co.uk
You can discover a whole wild world at Banham Zoo, which is home to almost 1,000 animals from across the globe. Set amongst 35 acres of parkland and gardens, Banham provides sanctuary for enough animals to fill an ark, from big cats to birds of prey and siamangs to shire horses. In addition to the animals, there are live displays, an indoor soft play centre, Tarzan Towers adventure play area and an interactive activities and education centre. They recently celebrated the 100th hatching of an African penguin.
Hemsby, July 29, 10pm free admission/Great Yarmouth, July 30, 10pm, free admission, 01493 846346, great-yarmouth.co.uk
Two free weekly summer firework spectaculars. Hemsby has firework displays let off from the beach on Tuesday nights during the school holidays and on Whitsun Sunday. They can be easily seen along the length of Beach Road. And Great Yarmouth starts six weeks of Wednesday evening entertainment, with attractions staying open longer and culminating in fireworks on the seafront at 10pm. Norwich Ghost Walks
Adam and Eve, Bishopsgate, Mon/Tues/Thurs, 7.30pm, £7 (£5 cons), dogs on leads, 07831 189985, ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk
The Man in Black and his ghostly team are back for another summer season of spreading terror and highlighting ghoulish stories around the streets of Norwich, seeking out the local afterlife. The three different spooky walks all start at the Adam and Eve. Monday its through Norwich Lanes, Tuesday up Elm Hill and Thursday it is around Norwich Castle. No need to book.
Brandon Road, Watton, August 3, gates open 10am, online advance tickets £10 (£8 cons), £4 children, under-5s free, £25 family, www.waylandshow.com
The Wayland Show is one of the oldest one-day agricultural shows in the country, and it’s a great day out for all the family. It’s a proper farming show too with well attended livestock competitions. The equestrian minded can admire everything from miniature horses to shire horses and there are country attractions including the sheepdog trials, working dogs and vintage tractors. The main ring entertainment will include Jive Pony, Cyril the Squirrel, Banham Zoo Heavy Horses and Nick Houghton will be flying the Pitts S1-11B Ultimate Biplane overhead.
Waterloo Park, Norwich, August 1-31, free admission, www.norwich.gov.uk/events
Norwich City Council’s programme of outdoor theatre for children returns in Waterloo Park. Join the Mad Hatter’s tea party as Pendle Productions perform Alice in Wonderland (Aug 1, 3pm). There’s a variety show with the fastest magic tricks in the world as Magic Carpet Theatre stage Mr Albert’s Big Finish (Aug 8, 3pm). Dizzy O Dare’s adventurous adventure The Wonderful World of Mr E (Aug 15, 3pm). Inspirational Science Theatre Company bring their Circus Science Show (Aug 22, 3pm). Dastardly Dick or Righteous Richard? Bzents perform their family friendly version of Richard III (Aug 29, 3pm). Meanwhile The Yarnsmith of Norwich and Tilly the Talespinner will have silly stories and riddles at Heigham Park (Aug 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, all 11am).
Ever since Victorian holidaymakers rushed to the seaside to don knotted hankies, the postcard image of children riding donkeys has been inextricably linked to British summer holidays. And despite the slow trudge of changing fashions and the periodic protests of animal rights campaigners, a trip along the beach on the back of a donkey is still popular. Pleasurewood Hills
Corton, off the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, open daily 10am-6pm summer season, £17.50 over-12s online in advance (£13 cons), £15 under-11s, under-1m tall free, 01502 586000, www.pleasurewoodhills.com
For many families the summer holidays aren’t complete with a trip to the land of rollercoasters, rides and fun for all the family. The Pleasurewood Hills theme park, just north of Lowestoft, has been a firm favourite for 25 years. The park was sold recently to French owners and they have set about rejuvenating the park. New this year is the family rollercoaster Marble Madness.
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, August 23-25, 10am-5pm, £11.25 (£9.50 cons), £8 children, under-3s free, 01328 851465, www.pensthorpe.com
Turn back the clocks to the time of chivalry, knights and maidens as the popular annual Mediaeval Spectacular returns to Pensthorpe. With living history encampments dotted around the site, you will get a real taste of mediaeval life with Jousting, battles, long boat invasions, fire breathing, witch’s hovel storytellers and a traders row from where you can take home a piece of history.