Car-free ideas for Great summer staycationsin Norfolk

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Norfolk has so many brilliant places to explore that people who live here don’t need to travel outside the county to find really good summer holidays. And you don't need a car either. Here are some ideas for trips, minibreaks and staycations you can get to without driving. And a growing number of them will reward you for turning up by bus, train, bike or foot and you'll have a great adventure along the way with scenic bus and train rides.

  • County: in Norfolk
  • Great for: animals | beaches | bird watching | boat trips | coastal walking | family fun | good cafés and pubs | historic buildings | museums | Picnics | wildlife |
  • Refreshments: lots of great cafes, restaurants and pubs.
  • Please note: researched/updated in January 2024. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 4. Hoveton and Wroxham

    The waterside village of Hoveton in the Norfolk Broads is very easy to get to by train and has a whole range of fascinating attractions nearby. Hoveton and Wroxham railway station is just 13 minutes’ train journey from Norwich. It’s a great area to explore by boat, steam train, bike or on foot. You’ll find wildlife-rich countryside with welcoming pubs and big open skies that are perfect for watching the sun set over the river.

    • Wroxham Miniature World, right next to the railway station, has a huge network of model railways as well as dolls houses, vintage toys and more. And there’s 20% off entry when you arrive by bus or train. Next door, you could eat Welsh rarebit or raclette potatoes with Norfolk smoked ham at Fizz and Fromage.
    • Ten minutes’ stroll along Station Road and Riverside Road (or through the park) brings you to Richardson’s Day Boat Hire, where you can hire a boat to explore the Broads. Good Journey’s planner can give you a map of the way there and there’s a 5% discount on boat hire as a reward for arriving car-free and reducing your carbon emissions. Off the winding, tree-lined River Bure, there are a series of lakes or broads. The water is dotted with boats and there are paths and boardwalks around some of the flowering banks.
    • Nearby Broads Tours also offers car-free visitors 5% off boat hire and boat trips on picturesque vessels like the Belle of the Broad and Vintage Broadsman. Most of the trips, which run all day every day in summer, last around 90 minutes.
    • From Hoveton and Wroxham, you can also take the Bure Valley Railway from next door to the mainline station to visit the Blickling Estate, a Jacobean mansion with nearly 5000 acres of parkland and beautiful gardens. The steam railway runs about four to five times a day in summer from Wroxham to Aylsham. From the steam railway station in Aylsham, it’s a picturesque 1½-mile cross-country walk to Blickling, which is offering 20% off entry and 10% off in the café as a reward for arriving car-free.
    • Aylsham offers a nice choice of places to stay like the Ironmongers boutique hotel in the Market Place. Hotels in Hoveton include the Wroxham and King’s Head, both next to river and five minutes’ walk from station.
    • BeWILDerwood is another spectacular day trip from Hoveton and Wroxham. A woodland adventure packed with trails and treehouses, fantastical tales and playground mazes. It’s a huge family favourite and is even offering a free hot drink when you arrive by bus or train.
    • How do I get to BeWILDerwood without a car? Bus 5B leaves hourly from outside Roy’s department store near Hoveton & Wroxham station and stops five minutes later at BeWILDerwood.
    • A lovely circular walk from Hoveton leads beside the steam railway and then cross-country to the villages of Belaugh and Coltishall on the River Bure. The church at Belaugh, unusually for Norfolk, stands on a hill above the river. Inside, it has medieval paintings of saints and kneelers embroidered with local scenes. And there’s a choice of great pubs at the just-over-halfway point in riverside Coltishall.
  1. 5. Hunstanton and beyond

    West Norfolk has fabulous holiday areas too. At Hunstanton, striking red and white sedimentary rocks were deposited more than 100 million years ago to form dramatic striped cliffs, which are topped with a lighthouse. Regular buses from King’s Lynn take an hour to reach Hunstanton, passing some lovely countryside along the way.

    • Hunstanton is a gateway to great coastal walks. Bus 36 goes on beyond Hunstanton, along the coast and is perfect for linear walks and excursions along the Norfolk Coast Path. Five miles’s walk along the coast path from Hunstanton, you can follow a grassy footpath right to the A149 near Thornham. There’s a map here. Cross the road and walk right along the edge of the field a short way and to reach Drove Orchards among the peaceful fields and trees, ten minutes by bus from Hunstanton.
    • Here, you can eat fish and chips, pizza, ice cream and gourmet local produce from the farm shop. Show your bus ticket for a free apple juice. Bus 36 runs hourly from the road outside, back to Hunstanton or onwards along the road to Titchwell nature reserve and lovely villages like Brancaster and Burnham Deepdale.
    • Deepdale Camping and Rooms has a bus stop outside and plenty of good places to eat nearby. There are all kinds of hotels and B&Bs along the West Norfolk coast like Cliff Farmhouse and The Lodge in Old Hunstanton, both a couple of minutes from the Post Office bus stop.
    • What if it’s raining? Why not visit the swimming pool or the Sealife Centre in Hunstanton? Or head to King’s Lynn with its fabulous museums. True’s Yard Fisherfolk museum offers 50% off entry for people arriving by train, bus, bike or foot. You can find it following Good Journey’s directions. And here are more car-free ideas in the West Norfolk area.