Ten Must-Do Experiences in Norfolk, England


By Glynn Burrows

When Lisa, Nancy, and I were talking about what subject I could cover for this publication and chat, it was suggested that I do a “Norfolk Ten” article, so here it is, including some things you really must eat while you’re in Norfolk.


Norfolk is a county with most of its boundary being water. The North Sea and The Wash account for around 90 miles of the Northern and Eastern parts, some of the Western boundary is The Wash and the rest of the Western edges and all of the Southern part consists of rivers and smaller waterways. I always like to think of Norfolk as an Island, but, sadly, the definition of an island is more than just land surrounded by water!

Knowing of the importance of water, it is of little surprise that many of the delicacies of the county are from the sea, so let’s start with some of my favourites:

1 – The Cromer Crab. The crabs and lobsters from our coast are some of the best in the UK as they feed off the world’s longest chalk reef which is just offshore around Sheringham and Cromer.

2 – Samphire. This is a type of seaweed that has such an amazing flavour, it is often called “poor man’s asparagus”. It is gathered from the mudflats on the coast and, after thorough washing, it is boiled and stripped from the stalks. It can either be eaten hot with butter, or cold with crusty bread & salt and vinegar ……………. Ummmmm tasty!

3 – Mussels. Another “fruit de mer” can be found at such places as Brancaster and Wells next the Sea, on our North Norfolk coast and eating fresh shellfish, accompanied by a thick slice of fresh bread and washed down with a pint of locally brewed ale, it will be a meal you will not forget.

4 – Ice Cream. Yes, I know that ice cream is available all around the world, but we have several farmers here who have decided to diversify and make their own local ice creams, using local ingredients. What better way is there to finish off a meal than by eating ice cream with only a few food miles?

So, that’s enough food for now, let’s look at places to visit:

5 – Castle Acre. This has to be one of the best Medieval villages in the area. Not only does it have a ruined Norman Priory, it has a ruined Motte & Bailey Castle with amazing earthworks and there is also a lovely village green, a typical English Pub, and a quaint Tea Shop too. A more quintessentially English village is hard to find

  • Bonner's Cottages
    Bonner's Cottages


6 – Gressenhall Rural Life Museum. This is a museum of rural life and is an active farm too, using the old methods and, here’s the best part, with horses. The main building was built as a workhouse and that is a great exhibit in itself, showing how our ancestors who fell on hard times, had to be put into these types of buildings to be cared for and to be taken off the streets. The farm shows how livestock was raised and the horses show how agricultural labourers relied on these amazing creatures before the advent of the tractor.

7 – The Norfolk Broads. No, not a lot of loose women, The Broads is an area of what were Medieval peat diggings which, when they were finished, were left to flood and become an area of outstanding natural beauty. These areas of wetland and open water are some of the most important unspoiled habitats in the country and are home to several species only found here. Home to birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and plants, The Broads are a naturalist’s heaven. They are also a very well-managed holiday area too, so, if you like messing around in boats, this is the place to be.

8 – Sandringham. A list of places to visit in Norfolk could not possibly leave out Sandringham, but it is now going through a few changes now, after the death of our much-loved Queen. It is now owned by King Charles III and he has new ideas about how he wants the estate to be managed. The first thing he has done is to reinstate a formal garden on the front lawns, so I can’t wait to see what else he has planned. (For more information on the House, please check out previous articles and podcast chats below, or drop me an email.)

9 – Blickling Hall. One of my favourite stately houses in Norfolk. Although most of the present house was built in the early C17th, an earlier house on the site is believed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn as this is where her family was living at that time. The present building is a beautiful example of a Jacobean stately home and has the remnants of the much earlier moat which surrounded the old houses on the site. The gardens here are also worthy of note, as they contain some beautiful topiary.

10 – The Seven Burnhams. There are seven villages in North Norfolk, all called Burnham:
Burnham Westgate, Burnham Sutton, Burnham Ulph, Burnham Overy, Burnham Thorpe, Burnham Deepdale, and Burnham Norton, but, the one most visitors have heard of, Burnham Market, doesn’t actually exist as that is the name used which covers three of the villages, Westgate, Sutton and Ulph. There are many reasons to visit the Burnhams, but, for me, the most important village in the collection is Burnham Thorpe as that was the birthplace of Horatio, Lord Nelson. Nelson was a very important Naval Captain and was in charge at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 when he was fatally wounded on board The Victory. His story is well known and he came from being the son of a village clergyman to being the most feted military leader of his time.

Obviously, this Norfolk list of ten could be extended to a hundred or more, but it is always worth looking at your own area and putting together a list of ten. You will be amazed at what you can find in the area where you live.

Check out some of Glynn’s previous articles and podcasts covering Norfolk, UK:
* Sandringham – The Norfolk Home of The Queen
* Historic Architecture of Norfolk & Suffolk
* Norfolk’s US Airfields During WWII
* Gardens & Mansions of Norfolk UK
* Coastal Norfolk UK
* Local’s Insider – Norfolk, England
* Winter in Norfolk, England

Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England where he provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. If you are thinking about taking a vacation to England, visit www.Norfolk-Tours.co.uk

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About the Author:

Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England where he provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history.

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