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Wildlife & Zoo's

Wildlife is abundant in Norfolk, with its rural landscape and unique habitat, it is home to many rare species, including birds and butterflies.

An Introduction to Norfolk Wildlife and Zoo's

Swan
Seal Asleep
Reptile
Flying Birds
Geese Family

Wildlife is abundant in Norfolk, with its rural landscape and unique habitat, it is home to many rare species, including birds and butterflies. Most of the best places to see natural wildlife is on the Norfolk Coast and the Norfolk Broads, where many nature reserves have been created to allow you to view the wildlife undisturbed. You will also find plenty of themed animal parks and zoos, where you can meet all kinds of animal close-up and learn about their natural habitat.


Here is our pick of some of the best places to see Wildlife in Norfolk


Situated in south Norfolk, Banham Zoo is the largest zoo in the region and is home to around 2000 animals and birds. Residents include apes, monkeys, lemurs, tigers, leopards, cheetah, wolf, panda, giraffe, zebra, camel, deer, kangaroo, waterfowl and birds of prey. The zoo is spread over 50 acres, with both indoor and outdoor animal enclosures, plus children's activity and play areas. A road train saves tired legs and takes visitors on a journey around the zoo. There is also a restaurant and gift shop. Open all year.
Zebra
Zebra at Banham Zoo
Giraffe
Giraffe at Banham Zoo
Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey at Banham Zoo

Just outside of Cley on the North Norfolk Coast, is a nature reserve and visitors centre. Cley Marshes are one of the best nature reserves for birdwatching in the whole of the UK. The visitors centre is slightly raised and gives good views over the marshes. Wooden board walks take you over the marshes and creeks to bird hides, eventually reaching the coast.
Cley Marshes Visitors Centre
Cley Nature Reserve Visitors Centre
Cley Marsh View
View over Cley marshes and nature reserve

Situated a couple of miles to the west of Brancaster on the North Norfolk Coast, is RSPB Titchwell Marsh, a renowned nature reserve and a haven for native and migrating birds. The freshwater and saltwater habitats at Titchwell support a huge variety of wildlife, lots of which are visitors to Britain, as they migrate here for the winter from much colder places. This means the wildlife on view continually changes throughout the year and this makes Titchwell a very popular place for bird watchers to make several, repeated visits during the year. See our separate guided picture tour or Titchwell Marsh.
West Bank Path
The path taking visitors to beach along West Bank
Bird Hides
Island Hide and Parrinder Hide
Bird Watchers
Bird watchers viewing the marsh

Pensthorpe Natural Park is a wildlife nature reserve, situated near Fakenham. The site is located in the River Wensum valley which acts as a migration corridor attracting migrating birds from Europe and Africa. Since the 1980's the site has been continually adapted to attract both seasonal migrating birds and an increasing number of resident birds. This has been achieved by creating a diverse range of habitats, with hides allowing visitors to observe the birds at close quarters. A visit to Pensthorpe will obviously appeal to bird lovers, but also to walkers and gardeners. Families are also attracted to Pensthorpe by additions such as animal enclosures (eg Red Squirrel) and the large natural play area. Pensthorpe is continually evolving and changing, just like the wildlife that lives here and passes through each year.
Pensthorpe Natural Park
Pensthorpe Natural Park
Wigeon
Wigeon, one the wading birds at Pensthorpe
Footpath
One of the many footpaths around Pensthorpe
Visiting Tourists
Visitors exploring the many areas of Pensthorpe
Birds Sculpture
Sculpture of birds in flight, near the Wave Garden

On the East Norfolk Coast betwwen Horsey and Winterton on Sea, is a lovely remote beach that is a popular place to see grey seals. A colony lives along the coast here and frequently you can see heads pop up above the waves or seals basking in the sun on the beach. Between December and January each year, they have pups and come out of the water for several weeks, with around 100 pups born each winter. The pups are white, the females light grey and males dark grey. The whole site is open to visitors during the breeding season and is popular with visitors.
Seal Pup
A newborn seal pup laying on the sand, watched over by his mum
Adult Grey Seals
Adult Seals, sunbathing in the surf
Young Grey Seal
A young seal, rolling on the beach

On the outskirts of Cromer you will find a newly-opened, 10 acre site, which has been transformed into a South American themed Zoo. Highlights include Jaguars, Monkeys, Flamingos and a Reptile house; with all the animals coming from other zoos. You can see the animals close-up and signs help you understand about their natural habitat.
Flamingo
Chilean Flamingo at Amazona Zoo
Reptile
Reptiles in the Amazona Hall

On the Norfolk Broads, Ranworth has a large nature reserve, where you can see plenty of wildlife over Ranworth Broad. A visitors centre has plenty of information and things to see and do, such as models of local scenes.
Nature Reserve Sign
Ranworth Broad Nature Reserve
Nature Reserve Path
The path twists thorough the reeds and woodland
Nature Reserve Centre
The thatched visitors centre at Ranworth Broad
Viewing Gallery Steps
Stairs to the viewing gallery over Ranworth Broad

There is a large nature reserve at Hickling. This has a visitors centre, and many marked paths out over the edges of the Broad, with observation towers and viewing platforms. There are places to sit and enjoy the surroundings or spot the local wildlife, with many paths and fine views out over the reeds. There is an observation tower giving good views out towards Hickling Broad, and bird hides giving a chance to watch the wildlife undisturbed.
Visitor Centre
Hickling Broad Visitor Centre
Viewing Platform
A bird hide at Hickling Broad
Observation Tower
Observation tower over Hickling Broad
Hide
Bird hide at Hickling Nature Reserve

Wroxham Barns Junior Farm is an excellent place to meet farm animals close up. There is even the opportunity to handle some of the animals and they hold regular feeding demonstrations during the day, when you can help feed some of the animals. You can even buy animal food and feed the animals as you meet them - make sure to wash your hands afterwards! The Junior Farm also includes a good indoor play area for young children and is welcome on colder or wet days.
Farm Animals
Feeding the Farm Animals at Wroxham Barns Junior Farm
Donkey
Meet the Donkey
Indoor Play Area
The children's indoor play area

Close to Norwich is Whitlingham Country Park, a great place to walk, cycle, picnic or birdwatch. Built on the site of a quarry whose gravel was used for a number of major local construction projects, Whitlingham offers moth and bat evenings, pond dipping, quarry safaris and a Canadian canoe trail.
Sailing Dinghy and Wildlife on the Great Broad
Sailing boats freely mix with various wildlife on Whitlingham Great Broad
White Swans
White Swans on Whitlingham Broad
Gosling
A young gosling swimming on the Broad

 
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NORFOLK BOOKS AND MAPS


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!

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