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21 places in East Anglia to visit over August bank holiday weekend

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 August 2020

Norfolk Lavender Rare Breeds & Animal Centre Picture: ARCHANT

Norfolk Lavender Rare Breeds & Animal Centre Picture: ARCHANT

Archant © 2011

Are you looking for inspiration for things to do this weekend - but just realised you haven’t booked in advance?

The 70 metre replica of Noah's Ark, owned by Dutch TV producer Aad Peters, in Ipswich Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYThe 70 metre replica of Noah's Ark, owned by Dutch TV producer Aad Peters, in Ipswich Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Here are 21 ideas for places to visit where you can have a fun time, with many allowing kids a chance to let off steam before heading back to school.

Although you don’t need to book for most of these, it’s advisable to check in advance on attractions’ social distancing and safety measures, and remember your face mask to wear in indoor areas.

Thornham Walks, near Eye

Ramble around 12 miles of walks at this estate in north Suffolk, including woodland and countryside. The play area and main toilets are now open and refreshments are also available, but the volunteer and visitor centre and bird hide are closed. The estate is currently open daily from 9am to 6pm. Parking is pay-and-display, with a £3 all-day charge at weekends, £2 in the week. For more information, visit www.thornhamestate.com/

Hemsby lifeboat crew cooking at a past Hemsby Herring festival Picture: ARCHANTHemsby lifeboat crew cooking at a past Hemsby Herring festival Picture: ARCHANT

Melsop Farm Park, Scoulton, Watton

Animals to see here include Bagot goats, Gloucester Cattle, Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep and many other rare breeds.

The farm park is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with no need to book. There is also a farm park cafe with dishes including new specialised burgers, and on Monday you can take advantage of the last day of Eat Out to Help Out discounts. Please note the soft play area is currently closed. Prices vary depending on age. For more details, visit @MelsopFarm on Facebook.

Noah’s Ark, Ipswich

The Noah's Ark replica in Ipswich tells Bible stories through wooden sculptures. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYThe Noah's Ark replica in Ipswich tells Bible stories through wooden sculptures. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

The giant wooden ark has extended its stay in Ipswich, giving more chance for visitors to see its displays of carved sculptures, re-creating Bible stories including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Moses and David and Goliath. Created by Dutch TV and theatre producer Sir Aad Peters, the ark covers 2,000 square metres and four floors, It is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission is £16.50 for adults, £9.50 for children up to 14 and free for under-fours.

Feast in the Park, Holkham estate

Enjoy street food stalls and music in the open air at this popular event. Bring your own chairs and blankets to relax in the grounds, and you are also welcome to bring dogs on leads.

The event runs from 12-8pm on Saturday and 12-4pm on Sunday and Monday. There is no need to book and no entry charge, but there is a £4 car parking charge in Holkham Park which is payable by card on arrival. To find out more and see the musical line-up when it is announced, visit www.holkham.co.uk/stay-eat/feast-in-the-park

Cley marsh and beach Picture: DAVID THACKERCley marsh and beach Picture: DAVID THACKER

Wroxham Broad picnic area

If you fancy a bank holiday picnic, this grassy picnic area is ideal for watching both birds and boats.

There are also plenty of benches in the town centre, by the waterside. Watch out for greedy waterfowl who might fancy trying to grab your picnic, though.

MORE: Maui Waui Festival moves online for August bank holiday weekend

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm, near Ipswich

Baylham house Rare Breeds Farm, Suffolk Picture: BARRY PULLENBaylham house Rare Breeds Farm, Suffolk Picture: BARRY PULLEN

This popular Suffolk farm park allows you to see rare breeds including pigs, goats and many more animals. You do not need to book your visit, but close animal encounters are not currently being offered to avoid clustering of visitors. Takeaway drinks, cakes and snacks are available, or you are welcome to bring a picnic. There is seating outside and some under cover. The park is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday and on bank holiday Monday.

Pitch and putt, Bure Park, Great Yarmouth

There is always lots to do at this 20-acre park, on Caister Road, bordering the River Bure.

The park’s 18-hole pitch and putt golf course is open daily from 10am to 5.15pm, with gates closing at 7.30pm. Booking isn’t required, but there are some changes to how the course operates. Charges are £6.90 per adult and £4.70 per concession per round. For more details, visit @bureparkofficial on Facebook.

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, has reopened Picture: SIMON BARNESMelsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, has reopened Picture: SIMON BARNES

Boxted Airfield Museum, near Colchester

The museum is holding an open day on Sunday with a chance to see the new exhibitions in the recently-opened large display hall. You can see a re-creation of a B26 Marauder aircraft cockpit, largest collection of Marauder artefacts in the UK, as well as a display of 96th Air Force uniforms. The museum will be open from 10am-4pm, with a suggested admission donation of £4. For full details of the conditions and safety requirements, visit www.boxted-airfield.com

Knuckle Busters at the Barns and car boot sale, Stonham Barns, near Stowmarket

The annual hot rod event at Stonham Barns is open on Saturday and Sunday, run jointly with the Knuckle Busters UK Car Club, with bikes and classic American cars on show. Entertainment will include rockabilly and other musical performances and there will also be a bar. A Show‘n’Shine Show on Sunday runs from 9am to 4pm. Tickets for Saturday or Sunday only are £10 per person, and are available on the gate or in advance.

Boxted Airfield Museum is holding an open day Picture: ARCHANTBoxted Airfield Museum is holding an open day Picture: ARCHANT

There will also be car boot sales at Stonham on both Sunday and Monday, and there is no need to book for these, just turn up and sell or buy. Buyers get in free, with charges for sellers who turn up on the day starting at £5 for a car. For more details, visit www.stonhambarns.co.uk/

Arminghall car boot sale, Old Stoke Road, Norwich

One of the biggest car boot sales in the region, this event has returned with social distancing measures in place. The sale runs from 7.30am to 2pm on Sunday and 7.30am to 1pm on Monday. Sellers can set up between 5.30 and 7.30am. No need to book, just turn up on the day. Charges for sellers start from £8 for a car or small van. For full details, visit arminghallcarboot.co.uk

MORE: Things to do at end of summer holidays and on September weekends

Sausage and Cider Festival, Maltings, Stowmarket

Hemsby Herring Festival will return this weekend Picture: ARCHANTHemsby Herring Festival will return this weekend Picture: ARCHANT

The Maltings complex is holding its first sausage and cider festival from Saturday to Monday, with gourmet foot-long sausages, live music on the terrace and an outside bar. The festival will run from 11.30am to 10pm daily. You don’t have to book in advance but it is advisable to do so if you want a table, by calling 01449 675571.

Holt Country Park

This park offers a chance to explore almost 100 acres of woodland, enjoying the flowers and wildlife and wandering the waymarked paths, which are accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs.

All the facilities have now reopened, including the visitor centre. There are a number of picnic tables close to the play area, and a couple of tables with a roof near the car park. Wooden sculptures are one of the attractions here, and chainsaw artist Matt Darge has just donated a new bird sculpture. The park is open all day.

Cattawade Picnic Site, near Manningtree

If your family loves wildlife, this site on the edge of the Stour estuary is known as a good spot for birdwatching.

Redshank, lapwings and oystercatchers are among the birds which breed on nearby Cattawade Marshes, maintained by the RSPB.

Cley Beach

Travel about a mile out of the picturesque north Norfolk village of Cley-next-the-Sea to get to the beach, which is mostly shingle. It’s possible to drive to the quiet, uncommercial pebble beach, where you can set off along the coastal path.

The historic village is also fascinating to explore, while Cley Marshes nature reserve is another great place to visit, drawing an impressive range of wildfowl and waders.

Thorpeness Meare

The lake is open for rowing boat and kayak hire, with various restrictions in place to keep people safe.

Hire time is being limited to one hour, and there is also a one-way system when you are arranging to hire a boat. The Meare Shop and Tearoom are selling takeaway items.

Daily opening times are 8.30am to 5.30pm. For more details and a full hire price list, visit http://thorpenessmeare.com

Sandringham Country Park

Fancy a bank holiday walk through a royal park? Nearly 243 hectares at Sandringham is available for the public to enjoy. The country park is open daily, with two waymarked nature trails and many other paths.

The car parks are open from 6am to 9pm and there charges for parking - free for up to 30 minutes, then from £3 for up to two hours.

If you also want to visit the house and gardens, this will have to be booked in advance.

Bawdsey Quay

If you are looking for a beach area with a difference, Bawdsey Quay is ideal.

Children will enjoy playing on the sandy beach, and you can enjoy scones, cakes and hot drinks from the Boathouse Cafe.

Hemsby Herring Festival

Hemsby Lifeboat has announced that this annual event will be going ahead on Sunday, August 30.

Freshly caught and cooked herring and herring roe will be served from 10am onwards at the Lifeboat station at Hemsby Gap, and there will also be a bar, cakes and a grand raffle.

This year however there will be no other stalls because of Covid-19 precautions. To find out more, search for Hemsby Lifeboat on Facebook.

Felixstowe Museum Book Sale

The museum isn’t currently open, but you can support it by visiting its book sale on Sunday and Monday.

The event will be held in the grounds, subject to weather. There will be both adult and children’s books available.

Admission is free and the event will run from 11am to 4pm each day. Why not combine the sale with a visit to Felixstowe’s beach and seafront gardens?

Gooderstone Water Gardens, near King’s Lynn

Visitors can explore six acres of beautiful gardens, including a natural trout stream, four ponds, waterways, 13 bridges and mature trees and shrubs.

The tearoom is also open for a takeaway service. The gardens are open daily from 10am to 5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Admission is £7 for adults, £6.50 for seniors and free for ages 16 and under, with a special £3.50 rate for Gooderstone residents. For more details, visit www.gooderstonewatergardens.co.uk

Norfolk Lavender, Heacham

This popular visitor attraction is a great place for families to visit, with animal gardens and a fragrant meadow, together with a children’s play area.

During your visit you can also visit the farm shop, plant centre and gift shops. However, you can’t currently go on tours of the lavender fields.

Opening times for the animal gardens and play park are 10am - 4.45pm, with last entry at 3.45pm. Prices are £6 for adults and £5 for children aged two to 16. Booking is not required. For more details, search for @NorfolkLavender on Facebook.


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