7 picnic spots across Norfolk for your group of six
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From scenic parks to idyllic sand dunes – grab your friends and head for a lockdown-friendly day out this spring.
As of Monday, March 29, people across England will be permitted to meet in groups of up to six – or two households – in both parks and private gardens. With the Easter bank holiday just around the corner, here are some picnic locations across Norfolk that are perfect for you to reunite with your friends and family following the easing of restrictions. As per current Government guidelines, ensure you do not travel outside of your local area and follow guidance about social distancing.
There’s something instantly soothing about sitting by the water – and the picnic area at Wroxham Broad, in the heart of the Norfolk Broads is the perfect spot to lay out your blanket, unpack your basket of tasty treats and watch the birds and boats. Beware that some of the Broad’s feathered residents might take an interest in your sandwiches!
Holt Country Park
There are almost 100 acres of woodland, on the edge of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to explore here. As well as ever-changing displays of flowers, wildlife lovers will be entranced by the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, deer and a variety of wild birds that you can spot when you’re out and about.
The park has a visitor centre and waymarked paths which are accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs. Opened at the park in April 2019, Hetty’s House Tea Room is open for takeaway hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and that all-important wedge of cake. There are a number of picnic tables close to the play area, and a couple of tables with a roof near the car park, so you can eat your picnic undercover if you get caught in an April shower.
Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse, near Norwich
You could be forgiven for forgetting that you’re only a couple of miles away from Norwich city centre. Whitlingham Country Park is the gateway to the Broads National Park, with a two-mile accessible path around the Great Broad, woodland trails and meadows to explore – and Beryl bikes are now available to hire if you fancy taking to two wheels.
The Barn Cafe is open for takeaway drinks, cake and hot snacks and there’s a dedicated picnic area and benches dotted around the Broad for a pitstop mid-meander.
Thetford Forest is the UK’s largest man-made lowland forest, with 18,730 hectares to explore on foot or by bike. While activities are not currently running at High Lodge at time of writing, there are four walking trails and three cycling trails open, the cafe is open for takeaways, the picnic area is open and there are limited play facilities.
If you’re looking for a more tranquil spot, St Helen’s Picnic Site, next to the river, is recommended as a starting point. The Little Ouse Valley area is home to a fascinating array of flora and fauna and there are two walking trails to follow.
Nestled on the north Norfolk coast with an 18th century windmill at its heart, historic Cley is the epitome of a chocolate box picture perfect village.
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For a delightful day out, stock up on treats at the Picnic Fayre deli – they’ve got a fantastic range of cheeses, freshly baked bread and if anyone can resist their chocolate brownies we congratulate them on their superior willpower – head for the shingle beach and drink in that famous big (hopefully) blue Norfolk sky. And if you fancy hot food beside the sea, Cley is one of several north Norfolk beaches which has a designated barbecue zone. Others include Cromer, Mundesley, Overstrand and Sheringham East and West Beaches.
There is a full list, maps and information on the North Norfolk council website.
Plantation Garden, Earlham Road, Norwich
Norwich’s very own secret garden was built by Henry Trevor in the late 19th century. Stepping into the Plantation Garden with its 57ft-long rustic bridge, the remains of an underground boiler house, a gothic fountain as well as an Italian terrace, feels like stepping into another world and it is a glorious location for a spring picnic. If you’re heading there from the city centre, go via Upper St Giles and pick up a coffee from Kofra and perhaps one of Bread Source’s delightful cinnamon buns en route.
Designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812, and in the care of the National Trust, Sheringham Park has miles of stunning coastal views, woodland and parkland to explore and a vast and renowned collection of rhododendrons and azaleas which will be coming into bloom and putting on their annual show soon. The Courtyard Cafe has reopened for takeaway hot and cold drinks, snacks and cakes and there are plenty of beautiful al fresco locations dotted around the park to sit down and enjoy them in.
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It’s a popular spot, so advance booking is recommended, especially during school holidays and at weekends.