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10 best walks in Norfolk holiday cottages

10 best walks in Norfolk

Ruth 24 July 2019

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

You might not realise it yet, but Norfolk has some of the most stunning scenery in the UK: picture golden fields of corn rippling in the breeze, undulating landscapes stretching out under cavernous skies and glassy swathes of water gently twinkling in the sunlight. It’s a tranquil paradise just waiting to be explored.

One of the best ways of discovering the sights of Norfolk is by setting out on a trail and seeing the coast and countryside for yourself. And lucky for you, there are many Norfolk walks to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for a dog walk, can’t wait to explore the woodland or just want to be beside the seaside, here’s our pick of the 10 best walking routes in Norfolk, plus our tips on where to stay and most importantly, where you can find a pub along the way!

Norfolk walks map
Map used with kind permission of Visit Norfolk

 

 

Boudicca Way (37 miles)

Diss
Diss, the end point of the Boudicca Way

 

Where is it?

This route runs from Norwich, through the South Norfolk countryside to Diss and is roughly parallel to the old Roman ‘Pye’ road. It follows Public Rights of Way and small country roads, through peaceful, rolling countryside.

What’s interesting about it?

This walk is named after the famous Queen of Iceni who led an uprising against the Roman Empire in the 1st century. The Iceni people inhabited what is now roughly Norfolk, so Boudicca is a celebrated figure in the county.

Who would like it?

History lovers – stop at Venta Icenorum, the former capital of the Iceni tribe, which is now modern-day Caistor St Edmund, just outside Norwich.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

The Boudicca Way runs through Pulham Market, a traditional Norfolk village around 8 miles north of Diss. While you’re there, head to the Crown Inn, a delightful thatched pub on the village green which has roaring fires to warm your toes after a chilly winter walk, and plenty of al fresco dining space for the summer months.

Where to stay?

Lime Kiln Farn, near Norwich

Less than 2 miles from the Boudicca Way, this charming barn conversion sleeps five and is only 6 miles from Norwich making it perfect for an action-packed family getaway. Kids will love the games room while you can enjoy the coffee machine, wood burner and BT TV!

Marriott’s Way (26 miles)

Marriott's Way
The Marriott's Way

 

Where is it?

Another route starting in Norwich, this time the Marriott’s Way, runs north to Aylsham along the route of two disused railway lines. Don’t be put off by its urban beginnings on Norwich’s inner ring road – it passes through picturesque countryside and wildlife-rich landscapes on its way to Aylsham, a historic market town.  

What’s interesting about it?

It ends in Aylsham, just opposite the Bure Valley Railway station – perfect for a grand day out on foot, by rail, and even by bike or horse as both cyclists and horse riders are permitted on the footpath.

Who would like it?

Nature lovers – spot kestrels, owls, hares, deer, otters and kingfishers in the Wensum River valley and Whitwell Common.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Stop at Reepham, a market town with a Flemish influence and a picturesque location between the Wensum and Bure Valleys. Pay a visit to the Kings Arms, a 17th-century coaching inn in the centre of town.

Where to stay?

Half Moon Inn, Aylsham

This former inn sleeps six people and is just half a mile from the Marriott’s Way. There’s a lovely wood burner you can light to warm up after a chilly winter’s walk or, in summer, cool down after a day on the Marriott’s Way in the patio garden.

Norfolk Coast Path (84 miles)

Norfolk Coast path
Beach views on the Norfolk Coast Path

 

Where is it?

This is the ultimate coastal walk in Norfolk – the route runs from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, through salt marshes and nature reserves, and along windswept cliffs with breathtaking sea views. Don’t let the distance put you off – the route is extremely accessible with many good public transport links.

What’s interesting about it?

It covers the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), so it’s arguably the most picturesque walking route in Norfolk. It’s also great to combine with other walks in Norfolk; it links up with the Peddars Way, the Angles Way, the Wherryman’s Way and the Weaver’s Way at various points along the mammoth route.

Who would like it?

People who love the coast – there’s no better way to explore Norfolk’s seaside splendour than by walking a section of the Norfolk Coast Path. You can spot the UK’s largest seal colony at Blakeney, enjoy crab sandwiches at Brancaster or simply admire the wonderful views.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Probably the quirkiest place to refuel along the coast path, The Albatros is a former Dutch cargo ship now permanently moored in Wells-next-the-Sea. It’s been listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for around a decade and also serves Dutch sweet and savoury pancakes.

Where to stay?

Alexandra House, Hunstanton

This classic townhouse sleeps eight, so it’s great for a larger group looking to explore the Norfolk Coast Path. With two lounges, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out, and the start of the coast path is less than 1.5 miles away.

Peddars Way (46 miles)

Knettishall Heath
Knettishall Heath on Peddars Way

 

Where is it?

Peddars Way runs north-west from Knettishall Heath in Suffolk to Holme-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk coast, through beautiful, diverse countryside and woodland. It meets the Norfolk Coast Path in Holme-next-the-Sea to become one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales.

What’s interesting about it?

Its name is derived from the Latin ‘pedester’ meaning ‘on foot’; very appropriately, it follows a Roman road. Oh, and it’s supposedly haunted by Black Shuck, a massive ghost dog that’s part of Norfolk folklore – but maybe don’t tell the kids that.

Who would like it?

Those looking to get off the beaten track – Peddars Way offers a remote route through deepest, darkest Norfolk which is perfect for those looking for seclusion and tranquillity.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Right on the route, the Dog & Partridge in Wretham is a traditional country pub that welcomes dogs, too (but not ghostly ones). The south-facing beer garden is great for chilling out in on a long summer’s evening.

Where to stay?

The Glebe House - Swaffham

This large, detached home has room for nine guests and is in the charming village of North Pickenham, home to one of the oldest churches in England. You can pick up Peddars Way less than half a mile from the property.

Paston Way (22 miles)

Cromer
Cromer, the start point of Paston Way

 

Where is it?

The route runs from Cromer, through the Norfolk Coast AONB and along the coast, before diverting inland to the market town of North Walsham. It offers a variety of scenery, with some lovely views over the ever-changing North Sea along some stretches.

What’s interesting about it?

It’s named after the Paston family, who owned most of the land the route passes through in the medieval and Tudor periods. This another spooky route; if you’re heading from Gimingham to Southrepps, watch out for the lantern man on Jack o’Lantern’s Lane – he supposedly lures all travellers to their doom.

Who would like it?

This is another great one for history lovers and any budding theologians would enjoy it, too; the route takes in 14 of Norfolk’s medieval churches, each with their own story. One was even moved, brick by brick, from a cliff to save it from being washed into the sea.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Take a short detour off the route to the Vernon Arms in Southrepps, which may be the village’s only pub, but it’s very well-loved pub at that. With delicious food, cask ales, craft beer, a roaring fire, a beer garden and free Wi-Fi, there’s not much more you could want for a Paston Way pitstop. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly, too.

Where to stay?

Church Cottage, Trunch

Only 2 miles from the Paston Way as it leads out of North Walsham, this traditional and cosy cottage has delightful views of Trunch’s medieval church. There’s ample space for four, and a lovely garden for relaxing in after a day’s walking, listening to the chimes of the church bells.

Weavers’ Way (61 miles)

Weaver's Way
A windmill on the Weaver's Way

 

Where is it?

This longer route takes in woodland, farmland and marshes between Cromer and Great Yarmouth. It heads inland from Cromer to Aylsham before passing through the Broads scenery of Stalham and Hickling and following the River Yare as it makes its way to the North Sea at Great Yarmouth.

What’s interesting about it?

The route takes its name from the cloth industry which was a major industry in Norfolk before the industrial revolution.

Who would like it?

Those looking for a true taste of Norfolk’s varied scenery and landmarks; you can walk through market towns and past country estates; visit medieval churches and the county’s iconic wind pumps.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Overlooking the stunning Hickling Broad, the Pleasure Boat Inn is a great place for a pitstop along the Weavers’ Way. Sit outside in the summer to make the most of the Broads landscape with a pint of real ale or a glass of something nice, before you set off on your travels again.

Where to stay?

Enterprise Cottage, Wroxham

Less than 2 miles from the Weavers’ Way as it passes through Hickling Heath, this riverside cottage enjoys lovely views over the Broads and is a great base for a larger family or group of friends looking to explore the Broadland landscape. It’s also perfect for keen anglers, as fishing is available very close to the property.

Wherryman’s Way (37.5 miles)

Wherryman's Way
The waterside path on the Wherryman's Way

 

Where is it?

You can explore the stunning South Norfolk scenery on this route which runs through the Broads, marshes and the River Yare between Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

What’s interesting about it?

This route will take you back to Norfolk’s Broads heritage as it’s named after the wherry, a large gliding barge that was once a common sight on Norfolk’s waterways.

Who would like it?

Art lovers – keep your eyes peeled for sculptures and installations of stainless steel wherry sails along this beautiful trail.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

There are lots of lovely pubs in the villages along the trail, but you absolutely must stop in at the Reedham Ferry Inn. Loved by locals and tourists alike, Reedham is home to a chain ferry that crosses from one side of the River Yare to the other. It was once the only way of crossing the river between Norwich and Great Yarmouth; you can sit in the Reedham Ferry Inn with a pint of local ale and watch a piece of Norfolk history in action.

Where to stay?

Cygnet, Reedham

The Wherryman’s Way runs right past the front door of this riverside home in Reedham. Sleeping four, it’s perfect for a small family and the kids will love the enclosed garden at the rear of the cottage. 

Nar Valley Way (33 miles)

Castle Acre
See the castle remains at Castle Acre on the Nar Valley Way

 

Where is it?

Beginning at King’s Lynn, this meandering route follows the River Nar through farmland and commons until it reaches the Farm and Workhouse museum in Gressenhall, just outside Dereham.

What’s interesting about it?

You can combine a walk on the Nar Valley Way with the Peddars Way at Castle Acre, making a bumper route for exploring the North Norfolk countryside.

Who would like it?

This is another one for history lovers – the route takes you past many heritage sites including Pentney Abbey, West Acre Priory and the castle remains at Castle Acre.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

In the centre of Castle Acre and not far from the castle remains, The Ostrich is over 400 years old and some say it’s even haunted (yes, another one!). Enjoy a pint in the traditional surroundings or take your drinks out to the landscaped garden.

Where to stay?

Sheringwood, Scarning

This lovely bungalow is just 4 miles from the Nar Valley Way as it passes through Gressenhall. It’s the perfect size for a small family and up to two dogs are welcome, plus there’s an open fire to warm up after chilly winter walks.

Angles Way (93 miles)

Beccles
Visit Beccles on the Angles Way

 

Where is it?

This huge route runs close to the River Waveney and the River Little Ouse along the Norfolk/Suffolk border from Great Yarmouth to Thetford. It offers a truly diverse array of landscapes, from waterside paths at Fritton Lake, Breydon Water and Oulton Broad, to the fens and forests of Redgrave and Lopham, Knettishall Heath and Thetford Forest itself. 

What’s interesting about it?

A regular bus service runs along the A143 road, plus there are railway stations at Great Yarmouth, Beccles and Thetford, making it easy to explore the route in sections.

Who would like it?

Birdwatchers will love the sections from Great Yarmouth to Beccles, as the waterside paths give the opportunity to spot a wide range of avian life. And with lots of charming towns to stop at along the route, this is also a great one for families as it’s easy to keep little ones entertained.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Take a detour into Bungay and stop at the Green Dragon, a microbrewery and pub in the centre of town. You can also tuck into tapas on selected evenings and enjoy live music while you’re there – a great way to relax after a long day of walking.

Where to stay?

Hillside – Geldeston

This lovely bungalow is less than 3 miles from Beccles – a major waypoint on the Angles Way. Sleeping four, it has good boating and fishing facilities within 500 metres of the property and a pub close by – great for some downtime on the days you’re not walking.

Wensum Way (12 miles)

Wensum Way
Spot waterfowl on the Wensum Way

 

Where is it?

Similar to the Nar Valley Way, this route has a start (or end) point at the Farm and Workhouse museum in Gressenhall, but this time it runs through rolling countryside to Lenwade, a village in the Wensum Valley.

What’s interesting about it?

It’s one of the newest walking routes in Norfolk, having only opened in spring 2013. It runs close to the River Wensum, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation, so you’re guaranteed a picturesque day out.

Who would like it?

This is a great route for kids, as Norfolk County Council has hidden geocaches along the trail. It’s ideal for a day of hide and seek in the school holidays.

Where’s good for a drink along the walk?

Stop off in Elsing at the Mermaid Inn, a traditional pub dating back to the 16th century. With a wide range of local ales, there’s a beer garden for sunny weather and a roaring fire in the winter. If you’re feeling hungry after a day on the Wensum Way, check out the pub’s ‘pie chart’ to choose a hearty pie with mash and gravy.

Where to stay?

The Smithy – Norfolk

4.5 miles from Lenwade, this former coach house sleeps five. It’s part of a complex with a grand courtyard and a shared indoor swimming pool, perfect for unwinding after a day of walking.

Surely, you’re now convinced that Norfolk is truly the best place to explore on foot. Take a look at our full range of holiday cottages in Norfolk and start planning your ideal getaway.

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