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37 of the best things to do in Norfolk in the rain holiday cottages

37 of the best things to do in Norfolk in the rain

Ruth 07 June 2022

Norfolk is one of the driest counties in the UK but, with so many fun rainy-day activities on offer, you might feel like doing a rain dance on your next break!

From days out on the railway to some of Norfolk’s best shops and restaurants, we’ve rounded up 37 indoor days out to choose from – perfect if you’re looking for things to do in East Anglia on a rainy day.

Read on to find some inspiration for things to do in Norfolk in the rain, or click the button below to browse our range of cottages perfect for a cosy day in.

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Take a ride on a railway

North Norfolk Railway

North Norfolk Railway

Also known as the Poppy Line, this heritage railway allows you to soak up all the scenery of the stunning North Norfolk coast while staying dry! The steam train chugs its way between Sheringham and Holt, a journey of around 20 minutes, and also offers themed dining trains such as the Gin Train and Fish & Chip Train.


Mid Norfolk Railway

Offering trips through the bucolic countryside on an array of heritage steam and diesel trains, the Mid Norfolk Railway is another fantastic rainy-day activity in Norfolk. Board at the 1950s station at Dereham and travel through to Wymondham where you can visit the abbey or shop ‘til you drop before the return journey.  


Wells & Walsingham Light Railway

Wells & Walsingham Light RailwayCredit: Wells & Walsingham Light Railway

Take a trip on the world’s smallest light railway and enjoy the sights of the North Norfolk coast between Wells-next-the-Sea and Walsingham. Despite being a journey of just 6 miles, the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway takes around half an hour to complete its route, giving you a taste of what life was like when the pace was a little slower.


Wroxham Miniature Worlds

If one train isn’t enough, how about 100 of them? Wroxham Miniature Worlds is a fantastic indoor attraction in Norfolk offering a ‘whole world of wonder’, with myriad themed exhibitions encompassing miniature railways, scenes and toys. While you can’t ride on the railways, it certainly offers a day out unlike any other and is particularly great for entertaining train-mad kids for the day.


Visit a Norfolk museum

Elizabethan House Museum

Elizabethan House MuseumCredit: Norfolk Museums Service

Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth in the rain, the National Trust’s Elizabethan House Museum gives you a glimpse into what life was like in the 16th century. The hands-on exhibitions will delight kids in particular, as they can dress up and role-play characters from the period.


Time and Tide Museum

Why not make a day of it and visit another one of Great Yarmouth’s fascinating museums? The Time and Tide Museum takes you through the town’s history, from its thriving herring industry, through the world wars, to its famous bucket-and-spade holidays. Occupying the premises of a former herring curing works, it’s a trip for all the senses!


Museum of the Broads

Museum of the BroadsCredit: Museum of the Broads

Find out about the history of this fascinating national park with a visit to the Museum of the Broads. Set in Stalham at the edge of the River Ant, this museum offers trails and things to do for all the family, with lots of interactive exhibits to take part in before you soak up the Broads scenery. Plus, it’s dog friendly too!


The Shell Museum

The county’s oldest purpose-built museum is also one of the best things to do on a rainy day in North Norfolk. In Glandford, just outside Holt, the Shell Museum houses a wide range of – you’ve guessed it! – shells. The cabinets are stuffed with coastal curios from tiny whorls of shells to larger fossils and archaeological interests.


Catch a show

Hippodrome Circus

Hippodrome CircusCredit: The Hippodrome Circus

There are many things to do in Great Yarmouth in the rain, but a visit to the Hippodrome Circus has to be one of the best – although we can’t promise you’ll stay entirely dry! Entertaining crowds for almost 120 years, the Hippodrome is now one of only three circuses in the world where the circus floor turns into a swimming pool.


Cromer Pier

Still alive with the holiday fun of yesteryear, Cromer Pier is a real crowd-pleaser for those rainy Norfolk days. It’s one of only five end-of-the-pier theatres still in existence in the UK and boasts the world’s only end of the pier show that runs all season long. From babes in arms to great grandparents, everyone will enjoy this family entertainment.  


Norwich Puppet Theatre

Puppets

Offering a great family day out in the centre of the city, the Norwich Puppet Theatre has been enchanting kids for generations with its charming puppetry. Kids will be enthralled as the marionettes bring classic stories to life, and it’s a great way for young children to begin a lifelong love of the theatre too.


Cinema City

For a highly civilised rainy-day activity, you can’t do much better than Cinema City. Found in Norwich’s historic St Andrews area, you can enjoy a meal at the popular restaurant housed in a 17th-century building before catching a screening of a diverse range of cinema, opera and theatre from around the world.


Hit the shops

Norwich Market

Norwich Market

Boasting 189 stalls to peruse – offering food, drink, clothing, technology, beauty products and so much more – Norwich Market is one of the oldest and best markets in the country. Set in the heart of the city, the market’s multi-coloured striped rooves are a now-iconic image of the city. Visit for the day and you’ll quickly realise why it’s drawn so many fans.  


Norwich Lanes

A stone’s throw from Norwich city centre, the Lanes offer a real taste of the city, boasting a wide range of independent shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment options – some of which have been trading for decades. At the heart of it all is the city’s five-storey department store, Jarrolds, which has been a Norwich institution since 1823.


Holt

Bakers and Larners of HoltCredit: Bakers & Larners of Holt

It’s not just in Norwich that you can enjoy some retail therapy. The Georgian town of Holt is packed with independent boutiques, antique shops and lovely places to eat and drink, as well as its very own department store – Bakers & Larners of Holt – which boasts a wine cellar and a counter groaning with local cheeses. Spend the day shopping ‘til you’re ready to drop then refuel in one of the chic wine bars.


Admire some churches

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral

It was once said that Norwich has a church for every week of the year. The very highlight of that collection is Norwich Cathedral, an 11th-century edifice with the second tallest spire in England that presides over the city. Visit to enjoy the Harry Potter-esque cloisters, learn more about the history or just enjoy the tranquillity in the heart of the bustling city.


St Helen’s Church, Ranworth

From Norwich Cathedral to the ‘Cathedral of the Broads’. St Helen’s Church dates back to the 14th century and is famous for its medieval artefacts including what are often called the finest church screen paintings in England, featuring the 12 apostles of Jesus. Set in pretty Norfolk countryside close to Ranworth Broad, you could soak up the scenery in between showers.


St Mary the Virgin, Burgh St Peter

Burgh St Peter ChurchCredit: Instagram @carynl1

Offering one of the more unusual days out in Norfolk, St Mary the Virgin has a five-tier tower built in a ziggurat style – there’s no church quite like it in the UK. Fans of architecture will enjoy the mix of styles from the 12th, 16th and 18th centuries in this church nestled on the banks of the picturesque River Waveney.


Wymondham Abbey

A former Benedictine Priory dating back to the early 12th century, Wymondham Abbey is a striking presence on the Norfolk landscape. It now serves as a parish church, as well as showcasing artwork from local talents. For a unique rainy day activity, book a private tour of the abbey for £5, which includes a cup of tea and a biscuit.


St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham

St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham

Perhaps the most famous church in Norfolk, St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate is where the royal family spend Christmas Day. It’s also where some very famous royal figures were baptised, including King George VI, Diana Princess of Wales, Princess Eugenie, and Prince Charlotte. Inside are beautiful stained-glass windows as well as some impressive silverware.


Explore some National Trust houses

Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall

Even if the weather means you can’t explore the 4,600 acres of land, Blicking Hall is still a great day out for all ages. Roam the grand Jacobean house learning more about its previous inhabitants, including Anne Boleyn, as well as its important role in World War II. Afterwards, refuel in the Stables and Muddy Boots cafes.


Felbrigg Hall

If you’re looking for a rainy day activity close to the North Norfolk coast, Felbrigg Hall offers a brilliant day out for all ages. Wander around the 17th-century country house admiring the Jacobean architecture and the opulent interiors before tucking into a treat at the Squire’s Pantry. If the skies clear, there are 520 acres of waymarked trails to explore.


Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall is a 13th-century manor house that has been the family home of the Bedingfield family since it was built. Inside are interiors spanning the centuries, as well as impressive medieval architecture. Highlights include Tudor portraits, 19th-century wallpapers and rooms visited by royalty!


Sample some delicious food and drink

The Neptune, Hunstanton

Seafood restaurant

What better way to while away a rainy day than by sampling some delectable treats at one of Norfolk’s three Michelin-starred restaurants? The Neptune offers fine dining by the Norfolk coast, with a tasting menu and dinner menu packed with local produce. It retained its Michelin star in 2022 by, according to the restaurant’s Twitter bio, “Buy[ing] good ingredients and try[ing] not to bugger them up!”


Morston Hall, Morston

Another restaurant retaining its Michelin star for 2022 is Morston Hall, just 2 miles from the beautiful Norfolk coast near Blakeney. The tasting menu changes every day to give a proper platform to the wide array of Norfolk produce available – or, visit for afternoon tea or Sunday lunch for a traditional treat made extra special.  


Meadowsweet, Holt

Meadowsweet, HoltCredit: Meadowsweet, Holt

Norfolk’s newest holder of a Michelin star, Meadowsweet was awarded the honour for the first time in 2022 after only being open a year. Set in a Grade II-listed house, the restaurant only serves one menu which showcases the best of Norfolk’s food and drink, and is open for dinner Wednesday through to Saturday – a special way to spend a rainy evening.


Namaste Village, Norwich

If fine dining isn’t your thing, or you’ve got a crowd to please, you can’t go too far wrong with a visit to Namaste Village. This Norwich restaurant has reached almost cult status among locals and offers a wide array of vegetarian and vegan Indian food. It’s open every evening, as well as lunchtimes at weekends, so is a great option for combining delicious food with a rainy day of retail therapy in the county’s capital.


Wells Crab House, Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells Crab HouseCredit: Wells Crab House

A rainy day isn’t the best weather for a day at the seaside, but it’s worth making the trip even in the heaviest of downpours for a meal at Wells Crab House. Soak up all the flavours and smells of the seaside while staying warm and dry, feasting on some of Norfolk’s freshest seafood. The menu changes every month according to what’s been landed a stone’s throw from the restaurant.


Enjoy some pampering

The Secret Garden Spa at Congham Hall, Congham

Congham HallCredit: Congham Hall

When it’s raining cats and dogs outside, why not treat yourself to a cosy and calm day of pampering? The Secret Garden Spa is found at the heart of Congham Hall, amongst a fragrant herb garden. The spa treatments combine botanicals and herbs for an experience that will revitalise your senses.


Imagine Spa

With four Imagine Spa locations across Norfolk – Kings Lynn, Hethersett, Wymondham and Great Yarmouth – you can enjoy an indulgent spa day no matter where you are staying. Book a spa day to combine treatments with relaxation in the on-site facilities that will leave you feeling as if you’re walking on air – even if the clouds are heavy with rain!


The Pigs, Edgefield

PigspaCredit: The Pigs

If you fancy spending the day wallowing in a hot tub or want a treatment to give your trotters some TLC, The Pigs is a luxury spa with a twist. The spa’s packages combine the use of the facilities and some decadent treatments with celebratory fizz and food in the on-site restaurant.


Barnham Broom Hotel, Barnham Broom

The luxury spa at Barnham Broom Hotel has a wide range of packages to cater for all of your pampering needs on a rainy day. Choose from a menu of indulgent treatments, spend time in the swimming pool, sauna and steam room, and then treat your tastebuds to an afternoon tea with a glass of prosecco.  


Have some family fun

High Altitude, Norwich

Trampoline Park

If the kids have got a lot of energy to burn off but the weather’s not playing ball, they can have a flipping fantastic time at High Altitude. This giant trampoline park has got a dodgeball court, basketball hoops and a huge airbag to dive into. They can wear themselves out while you relax in the café, knowing they’ll likely sleep all night too!


Funky’s, Norwich

Keeping kids of all ages entertained on rainy days for the last 30 years, Funky’s is an indoor roller-skating rink and adventure play area stretching over three floors. Spend the day watching the kids go wild from the relative peace of the café, or visit for the weekly roller disco with a live DJ.   


Windmill Adventure Golf, Great Yarmouth

Adventure golf is usually a fair-weather activity, but you can have fun come rain or shine at Windmill Adventure Golf as it’s housed in an old theatre. Britain’s first indoor adventure golf has a huge array of themed crazy golf settings providing a unique day out for the whole family whatever the weather.


Sealife Sanctuary, Great Yarmouth and Hunstanton

Home to two of the UK’s 12 Sealife aquariums, Norfolk is a great place to come face to face with aquatic life without needing to get wet! This rainy-day activity will delight kids as they can learn more about marine life as well as meeting creatures from the deep, including rays, penguins and crocodiles.


The Playbarn, Poringland

A petting zoo

If you’ve got little ones to keep occupied during a rainy day, The Playbarn is a fun indoor activity for children aged 7 or under. They can have fun in the indoor soft play and, if the sun makes an appearance, meet the resident animals such as pigs, donkeys, alpacas, goats and rabbits.


Get cosy in a holiday cottage

When it’s raining a flood outside, there’s nothing better than spending a cosy day indoors, relaxing and unwinding in comfort and style. We have a wide range of cottages in Norfolk that are the perfect base for getting away from it all come rain or shine, whether you want to curl up in front of the wood burner to watch a film or challenge the whole family to a day of competition in a games room. Click the button below to view our full collection of Norfolk cottages.

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.

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