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Norfolk Overview

The fourth largest county in England with a long coastline protruding into the North Sea and gentle rolling countryside. A great place to visit!

An Introduction to the County of Norfolk

Blakeney Quay
Mundesley beach
Wroxham Boats
Horsey Windpump
Norwich Cathedral

The county of Norfolk is the fourth largest in England and with its long coastline protruding into the North Sea, it has tended to become isolated from the rest of the country. This was especially true in times gone by, when the fens to the west were flooded, forming a natural barrier and Norfolk people have therefore acquired a sense of independence. In medieval times Norfolk was the most populated and achieved great prosperity, leading to the building of some of the finest churches in England. Since these times the population has steadily declined and over 100 villages have been lost. Norfolk was also a great sea faring county and it developed strong links with Northern Europe, which has influenced the architecture. Fishing has declined over the years, but the crabs from Cromer remain world famous to this day!

Elm Hill
East Ruston Old Vicarage
Cley next the sea Church
Cley next the sea Marshes
Holt Shops

The gently rolling countryside of Norfolk has inaccurately been described as flat, however not much rises above a few hundred feet. There is great scenic interest from woodland, forests, rolling chalklands, coastline and the watery patchwork of the Norfolk Broads. This landscape is filled with ancient churches, windmills and picturesque villages decorated with attractive signs and thatched cottages. The many activities that visitors to Norfolk can enjoy include, walking, cycling, shopping, sightseeing, boat trips, canoeing, sailing or just relaxing on a beach! Norfolk also has many local attractions and facilities including arts, crafts, gardens, museums, zoos, fine hotels, restaurants, tea-rooms, pubs and inns. It is a county definitely worth exploring!
Local Websites

Norfolk Map

Norfolk Map Holme next the Sea Wroxham Ranworth Sheringham Holt Norwich Mundesley Cromer Blakeney Happisburgh Sea Palling Horsey Hickling Potter Heigham Thurne South Walsham Ludham Neatishead Horning Salhouse Coltishall Alysham North Walsham Stalham Wells next the Sea Norfolk Map Weybourne Salthouse Cley next the Sea Wymondham Martham Hunstanton Burnham Walsingham Great Yarmouth Winterton on Sea Reepham Brancaster Overstrand Holkham Southwold Norfolk Map Kings Lynn Castle Acre Sandringham Burgh Castle Acle Fakenham Hemsby Loddon Aldeburgh Whitlingham Country Park Reedham

Norfolk Guided Picture Tour

We start our overview tour of Norfolk on the Norfolk Coast, where you can still see fishing boats operating from pretty harbour's. At one time, all the villages along the Norfolk Coast had a substantial fishing fleet, with some forced to move to nearby Lincolnshire due to overcrowding. Today, most of the ancient ports have silted up and have left miles of mudflats and marshes - the Norfolk Coast path makes a lovely walk across these on a sunny day.
Norfolk Boats
Fishing Boats on the Norfolk Coast
Norfolk Coast Path
Norfolk Coast Path

Did you know that Norfolk is one of the driest parts of the UK?
Average annual rainfall in Norfolk is roughly half that of Cornwall and substantially less than the Lake District

Norfolk contains many pretty villages, such as Burnham Market, known locally as "Chelsea on sea" as it attracts visitors from upmarket London and has the sort of shops that you would normally find down the Kings Road!
Norfolk Shop
Norfolk Living Shop, Burnham Market
Norfolk Pub
Hoste Arms, Norfolk

Norfolk is famous for its wonderful open countryside and magnificent sandy bays - all wonderful for fresh air and a walk! No wonder it attracted our ancestors to build so many stately homes in the area!
Norfolk Beach
Holkham Bay, Norfolk
Norfolk Hall
Holkham Hall, Norfolk

There are plenty of coastal villages, such as Blakeney, with pretty flint cottages (many for holiday rent), shops, tea-rooms, restaurants, pubs and inns. Many of these villages have some great stories to tell, including stories of smuggling and even piracy. During the middle ages, the North Norfolk ports would have been filled with the aroma of imported spices and the colour of fine silks.
Blakeney Quay
Blakeney Harbour and Quay
Norfolk Shop
Norfolk Gift Shop

Norfolk is famous for two types of building. The first is the windmill and the second is a medieval church. Norfolk has the greatest concentration of these in the whole of the UK - Cley next the sea for example has both!
Norfolk Windmill
Norfolk Windmill
Norfolk Church
Medieval Church, Norfolk

Norfolk also has has plenty of examples of Dutch influenced architecture, a reminder of its close ties with our Dutch friends through its trade links - including fishing and weaving. Norfolk is closer to Amsterdam than London and in times gone by, it only took a day to sail to Amsterdam, compared with 4 days to travel to London.
Norfolk Architecture
Flemish Architecture, Norfolk
Norfolk Flemish Architecture
Dutch Style Property, Norfolk

Around Weybourne, Sheringham and Cromer you will actually find a ridge of heathland, giving fabulous views out over the sea and marshes below - who said Norfolk was flat!
Norfolk Village
Norfolk Coast Views, Salthouse
Norfolk Hill View
Muckleburgh Hill, Norfolk

Norfolk has its fair share of classic seaside attractions, such as piers at Cromer and Great Yarmouth, and lighthouses at Hunstanton and Happisburgh.
Norfolk Pier
Cromer Pier, Norfolk
Norfolk Lighthouse
Happisburgh Lighthouse, Norfolk

The Norfolk Broads National Park is the UK's largest and finest wetland landscape. Wroxham is known as the "Capital of the Broads" and from here you can hire a boat for the week, weekend, day, hour or take an organised cruise.
Norfolk Bridge
Wroxham Bridge, Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Boat
Broads Tours, Norfolk Broads

Pretty Broadland villages, such as Horning, Ranworth or Ludham, invite you to stop for a refreshment and watch the world float by! Many have riverside pubs and beautiful cottages with gardens that run down to the river.
Norfolk Pub
Riverside Pub, Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Tea Rooms
Norfolk Tea Room

With miles of lock free, scenic waterways to explore, you will never get bored (lost, yes probably, unless you buy a good map!). The Broads are a great place to explore by dinghy, canoe, kayak and also on land cycling.
Norfolk River
Norfolk Rivers
Norfolk Staithe
Boat Moorings on the Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are full of pretty windmills, where traditional Norfolk Yachts float by - it's like time has stood still and it's a real escape from fast modern living.
Norfolk Mill
Norfolk Mill
Norfolk Wherry
Norfolk Wherry

Broadland has many nature reserves, boardwalks and footpaths, allowing you to enjoy the scenery from the shore - you do not need a boat to enjoy the Broads, just a little knowledge of the best places to go!
Norfolk Nature Reserve
Norfolk Nature Reserve
Norfolk Footpath
Norfolk Footpath

Norwich is considered the capital of East Anglia and an outstanding city for a weekend or city break. It has one of the best Cathedrals in the whole of the UK, a Norman Castle, cobbled streets and more tudor buildings in one single area than in the whole of London! For hundreds of years it was England's second city and its ancient city walls enclosed a greater area than ANY other English city - including London!
Norfolk Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk
Norfolk Castle
Norwich Castle, Norfolk
Norwich Elm Hill
Cobbled Streets, Norwich
Norfolk Alley
Tombland Alley, Norwich

Modern Norwich includes a state-of-the-art public library and media centre, and 2 modern shopping malls - one is even built under the Castle!
Norfolk Forum
The Forum, Norwich
Norfolk Shopping Mall
Shopping Mall, Norwich

Norfolk's second town is Kings Lynn in the west of the county. Kings Lynn competes with any town in England for history. It is relatively undiscovered containing a wealth of historic buildings and tales to go with them. Highlights include the Historic Quarter, Purfleet Quay and the fabulous Town Hall.
King Street
Looking along King Street past the Custom House
Town Hall
The Town Hall

Other places not to miss in Norfolk are Wymondham, with its lovely Abbey ...
and Holt a fabulous Georgian town, with absolutely loads of great shops!
Norfolk Abbey
Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk
Norfolk Pottery
Pottery Shop, Holt, Norfolk

Finally, Norfolk has more than its fair share of great attractions to make that perfect day out. They range from steam railways, adventure parks, art & crafts, museums, zoos and some fabulous gardens.
Norfolk Steam Railway
Norfolk Steam Train
Norfolk Garden
Norfolk Gardens
Norwich Bridewell Museum
Norfolk Museum
Alby Crafts
Norfolk Art and Crafts

See also Guided Picture Tours of the individual areas of Norfolk

10 Top Things to SEE & DO In Norfolk

Visit at least one of the pretty Norfolk coast villages - try Blakeney, Cley or Brancaster
Enjoy one of Norfolk's wide open sandy beaches - try Wells, Old Hunstanton , Sea Palling or Winterton
Take a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads - try a day boat from Wroxham or Stalham
Explore the cobbled streets of old Norwich and combine with a visit to Norwich Cathedral
Walk through one of Norfolk's fabulous gardens - try Fairhaven or Gooderstone
Visit one of Norfolk's ancient medieval churches - try Cromer or Great Yarmouth
Take a walk in one of Norfolk's nature reserves - try Ranworth, Hickling or Pensthorpe
Visit the wonderful Georgian town of Holt - especially when it's lit by Christmas lights
Enjoy a family trip to the seaside - try Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Cromer or Sheringham

Our Verdict

Norfolk is relatively undiscovered by many. There are plenty of beautiful places that offer the visitor so much variety, so why not come and explore this corner of England for yourself ?
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This is a good and comprehensive Norfolk guidebook
This is a great book of Norfolk Trivia!
The best paper map for North Norfolk Coast walkers
If you like circular walks to a pub, this is the book for you! Hotels
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Hoseasons Boating Holidays
Hoseasons Lodges
Hoseasons Holiday Parks
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