A woodland and water country park near Norwich, offering water sports, walking, cycling or bird watching.
Whitlingham Country Park Introduction
This woodland and water park just southeast outside Norwich at Trowse is a great place to walk, cycle, picnic or bird watch. Built on the site of a quarry whose gravel was used for a number of major local construction projects, Whitlingham offers a full range of water-based activities, including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, rafting and canoeing - all of which can be undertaken in a safe and fun learning environment. Training is available for novices from the water sports centre, where you can hire a craft on the day, or you can bring your own and buy a day-pass to float your boat. The education centre also operates courses in a number of non-waterbased outdoor activities, such as off-road biking, climbing and archery. Other things to do around the country park include moth and bat evenings, pond dipping, quarry safaris and a canoe trail. You will find miles of paths to walk or cycle along and a historic flint barn, which has been converted into a visitor information centre, cafe and WC. NOTE: Be aware that several of our readers have reported getting a parking ticket for being only a minute or two late on their expiry time - you have been warned!
We start our tour of Whitlingham Country Park in the car-park at the Great Broad. There are a number of pay & display car-parks around the park, but the one adjacent to the visitors centre is the most popular. The visitors centre is a large converted flint barn and contains a number of displays, a Broads Authority tourist information centre and a good cafe - serving a range of drinks, snacks and meals.
Whitlingham visitors centre, a converted flint barn
One of the pay & display car parks at Whitlingham Park
The entrance to the Whitlingham visitor centre and cafe
The Broads Authority Information Centre
The Cafe inside the Visitors Centre, serving snacks & meals
Enjoying a coffee and a chat on the terrace, overlooking the Great Broad
Moving down to the Great Broad, we get a wonderful view over the water with the Norwich skyline as a backdrop. This view really shows just how close Whitlingham Country Park is to the city of Norwich! The floodlights in the middle of the skyline belong to Norwich City's Carrow Road Ground.
Whitlingham Park and the Norwich skyline
Sailing boats freely mix with various wildlife on Whitlingham Great Broad
Enjoying a family day out at Whitlingham
Admiring the view and enjoying the countryside
Various works of art can be found around the park
Interesting wooden sculpture
WALK & CYCLE ROUTE - Whitlingham Great Broad Perimeter - approximately 3 miles
A path leads right around the Great Broad, which is about 3 miles for a complete circuit. You don't have to walk the entire way round however, with the majority of visitors opting to walk a portion of the perimeter. Alternatively, you can cycle around, with the route linking up to National Cycle Network Route One and other regional routes.
Walking in Whitlingham Country Park
Paths at Whitlingham Park
Signposts mark the Wherryman's Way
Cycling at Whitlingham Country Park
Wooden footbridge at Whitlingham
Plenty of opportunities for walking and cycling at Whitlingham Country Park
Hidden amongst the trees you may spot the ruins of Trowse Newton Hall. This was originally the country retreat of the Priors of Norwich Cathedral. In 1335, Kind Edward III of England and Queen Phillipa of Hainault stayed at the hall. They arrived from Norwich in a fleet of lavishly decorated rowing boats and it is said, the King & Queen were very impressed with their beautiful lodgings! Other dignitaries visiting Norwich, regularly stayed at Trowse Newton Hall. Unfortunately, this once grand house, now stands in ruins amongst the trees of Whitlingham Country Park.
The ruin of Trowse Newton Hall, hidden amongst the trees of Whitlingham Country Park
The gateway once leading to Trowse Newton Hall
Glimpses of the ruin from the path around the Great Broad
Whitlingham is a haven for nature and wildlife. You are pretty sure to meet plenty of the local residents, including swans, ducks, geese and possibly otters along the waters edge. In the woods you may spot woodpeckers, tree creepers and jays. A good place to see wildlife is the Conservation area on the northern shore of the Great Broad.
White Swans on Whitlingham Broad
A Geese family on Whitlingham Broad
Yellow flowers of wild Iris
A young gosling swimming on the Broad
At the head of the Great Broad is the Outdoor Education Centre, which has excellent facilities for the teaching of outdoor sports. The centre offers a full range of water-based activities, including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, rafting and canoeing - all of which can be undertaken in a safe and fun learning environment. Training is available for novices from the water sports centre, where you can hire a craft on the day, or you can bring your own and buy a day-pass to float your boat. The education centre also operates activity courses, not just watersports either, but also off-road biking, climbing, archery and more!
Whitlingham outdoor education and adventure centre
Learning to sail in an Optimist at Whitlingham
Launching ramp at Whitlingham
Topper dinghy sailing on Whitlingham Great Broad
If you get in trouble, rescue facilities are close at hand!
Finally, at the eastern end of the country park you will find a children's play area. There are free activities for kids of all ages - a wooden ship with climbing and slides for the younger ones and a complete trail through the woods for older ones. There is also a large grass area for your own games or a picnic on warm sunny days. The spot offers great views of the river Yare before it is diverted around the Great Broad.
The wooden ship play area for younger kids
Part of the activity trail for older kids
Views of the river Yare
Things to SEE and DO at Whitlingham Country Park
Try Sailing, Canoeing or Windsurfing at the Water Sports Centre
Walk or Cycle along the paths around the Great Broad
Investigate the Hall Ruin
Let the kids play on the children's outdoor play area
Spot wildlife on and around the Great Broad
Spot the various pieces of sculpture around the country park
Visit the Information Centre and enjoy a refreshment in the Cafe
Whitlingham is a stones throw from Norwich, but in a different world entirely. A great place for many leisure pursuits and those wanting to relax in a peaceful rural setting. Be careful about the over zealous car parking (don't let your pay & display ticket expire).