Lizzie PopeSee other travel guides written by Lizzie Pope
One of the UK’s flattest counties, Norfolk offers a great variety of landscapes to enjoy, from the gentle Broads to areas of coastal ruggedness. It also has welcoming and historic towns and cities, which make great places to start your tour – and there are plenty of campsites in Norfolk to choose from.
In the east of England, sandwiched between Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, you’ll discover Norfolk. It’s known for its flat terrain, and as such makes a great destination for walking holidays or cycling holidays – and the Norfolk Broads are just perfect for having a go at watersports.
The county of Norfolk also has a whole host of great towns and cities for you to explore, making it fantastic for caravan holidays in East Anglia, no matter what your interests. Despite its large size, the county is relatively unpopulated, so you’ll find it easy to escape the crowds on your trip.
In addition, it is known as Nelson's County, Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson being one of Norfolk's most famous sons. Visit the Nelson Museum to find out more.
Many visitors head to the county to see the Norfolk Broads, an area that covers more than 300 square kilometres, the majority of which is in Norfolk (the rest is in neighbouring Suffolk). The Broads are a series of lakes and rivers that range is size from tiny ponds right through to much larger expanses of water, but it’s possible to navigate both. This makes them great for boating: you’ll find a variety of places at which to hire a craft for a day or longer.
If you, or those you’re enjoying caravan holidays in Norfolk with, enjoy watching wildlife, then you’ll find lots of things to do in Norfolk. For a start, head to Pensthorpe Natural Park, close to Fakenham. Covering around 600 acres, it was home to the BBC’s Springwatch programme for a while. While there you should be able to spot all manner of wildfowl and other wetland fauna.
Look out for seals on a trip to the Blakeney National Nature Reserve on Norfolk's northern coast, or why not visit Holkham National Nature Reserve or Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve. Do so and you will soon understand why the North Norfolk Heritage Coast was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Elsewhere in the county are the Sea Life Centre at Great Yarmouth and the Sea Life Sanctuary in Hunstanton – the latter features many rescued seals, too, including pups. And of course the rich water of the Broads encourages numerous species, some of which can only be found in this area.
Back on dry land, you’re sure to want to visit some of the county’s great towns on your trip – each one makes a good base for a tour of the region. County town Norwich is the natural place to head, but don’t dismiss Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Wymondham or Thetford.
Other interesting places to visit during your stay in Norfolk include Swaffham, Fakenham, Cromer, Attleborough, North Walsham and Dereham – and you will also enjoy a visit to the market towns of Hareleston, Diss, Hunstanton, Holt and Sheringham. The National Trust's Sheringham Park with stunning coastal vistas is also well worth a trip.
Of course, the county's beautifully flat countryside means there are a great many opportunities for walking and cycling when staying at campsites in Norfolk. Ramblers might like to take a stroll along the Peddars Way, which joins the Norfolk Coast Path National Trail.
Other great long-distance routes include The Boudicca Way which connects Norwich and Diss, the Nar Valley Way which links King’s Lynn with East Dereham, and the Fen Rivers Way. Of course, plenty of shorter trails are available, so you should find something to suit no matter what your abilities. Cyclists, meanwhile, can also take to the ancient Peddars Way, or the Norfolk Coast Cycleway – the latter runs for almost 60 miles from King’s Lynn to Cromer.
Other great tourist attractions in Norfolk that should be on your must-visit list are the medieval cathedral in Norwich, the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum in Horning, the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, Sandringham Estate and Felbrigg Hall. Finally, locomotive nuts shouldn’t miss a trip on the North Norfolk Railway – known as the Poppy Line, it operates between Holt and Sheringham.
Also, windmills are a famous part of Norfolk's landscape, used for grinding and also for draining. The historic Cley Windmill is one that still stands proud in Cley next the Sea, on the county's north coast.
The north coast is also good for beaches. Hunstanton is a traditional resort with clean beaches and plenty to do on a caravan holiday. Cromer is a classic north Norfolk seaside town where you can sample the local crab, visit the pier or relax on the beach, while the nearby village of Mundesley is another coastal gem and one of the county's best kept secrets.
There are lots of campsites in Norfolk, so no matter where you’re planning to tour in this county, you’re sure to find a caravan site to suit. But for the biggest selection of caravan parks in Norfolk – and for a pitch with a good view – take a look around the coast. Holiday parks are scattered along this area, with the largest concentration in Cromer, Great Yarmouth and Caister-on-Sea.
Top five things to do in Norfolk
The largest protected wetland in the UK as well as being the country's third biggest inland waterway, the (Norfolk and Suffolk) Broads gives visitors the opportunity to see many rare species, attracting millions of visitors every year.
Why not visit the Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum in Norwich. Located in the city centre, it celebrates over 180 years of mustard making in Norfolk by this famous brand.
Visit Thetford Forest. Whether walking, cycling, birdwatching or horse riding is your cup of tea, there are miles and miles of trails running through the forest – if you're lucky you'll spot a red deer. And it is good to know that most walking trails are suitable for visitors with pushchairs or wheelchairs.
When to visit Norfolk
Whatever time of the year you choose for your caravan holiday in Norfolk, there are lots of things to do.
Head to the coast in May for the Cromer & Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival. Or if you're staying at one of the caravan parks and campsites in Great Yarmouth, look out for the Arts Festival in June and the Maritime Festival in September.
In addition, during the month of July there is the King's Lynn Festival, the Worstead Festival and the world famous Sandringham Flower Show, while the Norfolk Food & Drink Festival – the biggest event of its type in the UK – runs for several weeks around September time. And this selection of events really is just the tip of the iceberg.
How to get to Norfolk
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time when travelling to and around Norfolk – it isn't the most motorway friendly part of the UK. A-roads do criss-cross the county and aren't bad for towing caravans, but they can be single-carriageway and you also need to look out for speed cameras.
If you're approaching Norfolk from the south and heading for the coast, the A12 can get congested with lorries but is probably your best bet. Or leave the A12 at Ipswich and take the A14 and A140 to Norwich.
If you want to visit Norfolk from the M11, take the A11 through the county via Thetford and Norwich, the A47 and the A17 serving Norfolk from the west.