10 ways for families to … make the most of midsummer in Norfolk and Suffolk

Sunrise at Ness Point. Picture: Richard Sagon, citizenside.com

Sunrise at Ness Point. Picture: Richard Sagon, citizenside.com - Credit: citizenside.com

Make the most of the longest, lightest days of the year, with hours more every day to celebrate summer

Hunstanton sunset. Picture: Simon Bamber citizenside.com

Hunstanton sunset. Picture: Simon Bamber citizenside.com - Credit: citizenside.com

1 Sunrise

Go east to the sunrise coast, to see the first light of the day. Sunrise is at 4.31am at Lowestoft on Saturday if you want to make every second count.

2 Sunset

Swallowtail Butterfly. Picture: Trevor Taberham, citizenside.com

Swallowtail Butterfly. Picture: Trevor Taberham, citizenside.com - Credit: citizenside.com

Go west to see the sun sinking into the sea, the water and sky alight in pinks and reds. Sunset is at 9.28pm at Hunstanton on Saturday.

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3 Swallowtails

It's swallowtail season at Strumpshaw Fen, when one of the UK's rarest and most beautiful butterflies flutters over the marches. The meadows are full of flowers, including orchids, and there are also hides to watch the birds and a pond-dipping platform to find what is lurking underwater.

The Royal Norfolk Show. Picture: Ian Burt

The Royal Norfolk Show. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Admission to Strumpshaw Fen, near Norwich, is £3.50 per adult, £1.50 per child and one child per family free.

On Sunday, June 25, from 1-4pm, butterfly expert and county recorder will lead a guided tour of the reed beds, meadows and marshes of the RSPB reserve, looking for dragonflies and butterflies, booking essential, 01603 715191, extra fee.

4 Nightjars

A summer evening is the ideal time to watch nightjar swooping over the Alde estuary – and perhaps even see glow-worms too.

Guided walks, organised by the RSPB and Wild Adventures under Suffolk's Skies, take place from 8-10.30pm and are suitable for people with all levels of wildlife knowledge including families with children over eight.

Sunsets are can be stunning here, and walkers often also see oystercatchers, egrets, curlews, barn and tawny owls and marsh harrier. Advance booking essential, £9, with 30% of the fees going to fund nature conservation on the Suffolk coast.


5 Paddleboarding

What might it be like to walk on water? Try Britain's fastest-growing sport.

Learn how to paddleboard at Whitlingham Broad, near Norwich, on Saturday, June 24.

Ideal for complete beginners, booking essential, £30, www.whitlinghamoec.co.uk

6 Dragons

There be dragons at the Anglo Saxon Village, West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, this weekend.

Celebrate dragons with live performances, story telling, craft activities, face painting, stalls, food and drink and more.

Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25, 10am to 5pm. On-the door tickets: adult £11, child £9 , under fives free, family of five, £35, car parking £2. www.weststow.org

7 Dig deep

Try archaeology at Binham, near Holt. The local history group is running a dig this weekend, from 9.30am-4.30pm on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, and 9am-12.30pm on Sunday. Volunteers, including accompanied children over seven, are welcome to join in with digging, sifting, washing and identifying.

8 Music

Ipswich will be grooving to the beat of two music festivals this weekend. The Ipswich Jazz Festival takes over town centre venues, while the Nearly Festival of tribute bands brings the sounds of the stars to Holywells Park on Saturday and Sunday. Billed as two days of family fun there are rides, activities, street food and a silent disco, as well as music from the likes of Bon Giovi, Special Kinda Madness, Whamtstic, The Ed Sheeran Experience and the Stereosonics. from 12.30-9.30pm.

9 Show time!

The Royal Norfolk Show – the largest two-day agricultural show in the country – brings a feast of food and farming, plus spectacular entertainment, to the Norfolk Showground, near Norwich, on Thursday and Friday June 28 and 29. See amazing animals, mega machinery, RAF parachuters and much more. royalnorfolkshow.rnaa.org.uk

10 Midsummer!

Traditional Midsummer's Day is June 24, use it to book ahead for some outdoor theatre. A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to the gardens of Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk, on Friday, July 14, Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, on Sunday, July 16, and Flatford, Essex, on Friday, July 28. www.chapterhouse.org