A landscape of cliffs, salt marshes, lush green forests and beachside towns awaits in the county of Norfolk, East Anglia. Set on England’s eastern shores, it boasts inspiring scenery, delicious seafood, culture and more. Rather than being stuck in a car, why not explore Norfolk inside a roomy campervan hire? Motorhome holidays make for budget-friendly road trips and East Anglia’s largest county has many campsites concentrated along the coastline.
As you drive through Norfolk, look out for camping and touring sites. You can also book ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Easily set up extras like side awnings and picnic tables to maximise the home-away-from-home feel. Volkswagen is probably the best-known manufacturer of classic campervans. But, there are lots of others on the rental market too, some of which are very luxurious. Choose with care and buy a good insurance package in case of any mishaps. The whole family will be bonding over freshly cooked meals and board games under the huge skies of Norfolk, before sleeping in a comfortable campervan bed. Most campsites come well-equipped with hot water and bathroom facilities. Several additionally have special features including stables for horse riding, tennis courts, swimming pools and evening entertainment.
No matter where you stay, you’ll be sure to notice the miles of golden sands in Norfolk. With an abundance of beaches all conveniently in one county, you’ll have your pick of where to go. Activities on offer include jet skiing and kite surfing for more adventurous travellers. Alternatively, simply lay out on the warm sand to bask in the sun’s glow. Kids can hunt for seashells and see lug-worms as they enjoy the fresh air. Holkham Bay is considered one of the finest beaches in the UK. The landscape here also nurtures rare flora and fauna inside a national nature reserve. Simply park up your motorhome at Holkham Village or Wells-next-the-Sea and enjoy the beaches.
Broads National Park is another regional highlight you should take in on your tour. This area is a natural beauty, featuring more than 125 miles of rivers and lakes, many of which are navigable. There’s great boating to be had. The “Norfolk Broads” also provides lots of intriguing photo opportunities, from its waterways to its marshland fields and thick woodlands. Fasten your seatbelt and explore the villages and quaint towns along the way inside your campervan rental. You might be needing the air conditioning, since Norfolk is one of the mildest regions in the whole of the United Kingdom.
If you’re in an active mood, take time to explore the colourful striped cliffs of Hunstanton close to the beach. Or, visit the Sea Life Sanctuary in this town, which is home to rescued seals as well as turtles, otters, crabs and more. In Hunstanton, stay until the sun goes down behind Lincolnshire for a romantic moment.
Avid walkers will rejoice along the Norfolk trails, which are long-distance footpaths that traverse outstanding landscapes. Norfolk Coast Path, for example, is a walking trail that extends from Hunstanton to Sea Palling. As you stroll along this beautiful national trail running 62.5 miles, marvel at the dramatic cliffs as the waves break beneath them. Norfolk Coast Path meets with another excellent path called Peddars Way at Holme-next-the-Sea.
For a touch of Norfolk history, park up your vehicle and take a stroll around the Norwich 12. This group of heritage buildings dates back through the ages, from the Norman, Medieval and Georgian periods to Victorian and modern times. But do not take these for ruins – the structures are still vital to the city’s commercial, religious and civic sectors, amongst others. The 12 buildings, which include Norwich Cathedral, Dragon Hall, The Great Hospital and City Hall, showcase beautiful architecture too. Take a guided tour or walk on your own as you find out why this area is a leading UK heritage site.
Wildlife enthusiasts are catered for inside Norfolk’s peaceful national nature reserves. There are several, which are managed by government bodies or by organisations such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Easy to reach in your motorhome, these reserves offer wonderful bird watching as well as flora and fauna. Amazing woodlands are carpeted with countless daffodils and bluebells in spring. Stop to breathe in the beautiful scents and be sure to remember your binoculars.
You might choose to drive to see the adorable seals at Blakeney Point. This nature reserve – close to Morston and Cley-next-the-Sea – has a 3-mile beach and is home to about 500 seals. You can watch them all year round. Cafes are close by when you’re ready for a cuppa and there’s a visitor information centre for further insights.
One of the oldest nature reserves in Norfolk is Cley Marshes, where 400 acres of marshland provides a home to a wide variety of birds, such as egrets, curlews, and redshank. Stroll along the glorious coastline here to see them. This tranquil environment is within the friendly village of Cley-next-the-Sea in North Norfolk. Once you’ve had your fill of nature, shop the independent stores. There’s a cute deli where you can stock up on local produce, a pottery shop and a welcoming pub.
The villages themselves are wonderful places to view through the large windows of your van. There are Georgian market towns, including Hingham and Swaffham, as well as the Victorian towns of Cromer and Sheringham by the seaside. Several of the villages have cobblestone streets and charming flint stone cottages.
Families will enjoy a day out at Banham Zoo. Head there to meet more than 2,000 animals, including giraffes, sea lions, birds, and tigers. There is even an adventure play zone at the zoo, where your kids can cross bridges up in the treetops or go on zip wires for a great thrill.
Exploring Norfolk In A Campervan
Getting to Norfolk to hire a campervan is straightforward. There are rail stations available in several of the major towns including Norwich. London and Cambridge are two major connecting cities. The county even has an airport, although it is not very large.
Road trip itineraries in East Anglia offer flexibility as well. If you are starting in Norwich, one quick route leads to Great Yarmouth on the A47. You’ll want to stop in The Broads on the way, perhaps paying a visit to the tiny village of Burgh Castle. This pretty place has the remains of a Roman fort combined with some wonderful vistas across the rivers of Yare and Waveney. Stroll along the river banks to step back in time here. Great Yarmouth itself is a resort town with a stretch of beach and plenty of amusements for kids. Merrivale Model Village is a slightly more unusual attraction – life really is miniature here!
There are loads of campsites in and around Great Yarmouth where you can park up for the night. On day two, why not head north on the A149 towards the popular town of Cromer? Minor roads meet this larger one at junctions throughout the county, so you can weave in and out of points of interest as you go. Mundesley is a favourite with locals and visitors alike, where Victorian heritage is complemented by outstanding natural beauty. Multicoloured huts adorn the beaches here and coastal walks allow you to refresh in the sea air. Fishing and golf are two more popular activities. Another stop on the A149 is Thorpe Market, a village with a fascinating parish church. Step inside to view the decor!
Exploring some of Norfolk’s hidden gems is a must on your tour. The best thing about having a campervan is that you are free to take breaks along the rugged coastline whenever you wish. Let’s now look at some of the highlights of Norfolk’s major destinations, including Cromer and Dereham.
Natural and human-made sights abound in the beautiful capital of Norwich. Drive in your campervan rental to one of the theatres and galleries in this culturally-dense city, or enjoy some retail therapy. Right at the centre is Castle Mall, featuring five floors of shopping including many big brands, an on-site movie theatre, and lots of parking. Norwich also has fine parks. Waterloo Park, for instance, offers 18 acres of rolling greens north of the city centre.
Round off your days with a feast at one of the many restaurants. Norfolk seafood should definitely be on the menu, whether you want oysters, mussels or scallops. Meanwhile, local breweries serve up hand-crafted beer.
There are many festivals here too. The Norfolk and Norwich Festival takes place in May and is one of England’s oldest, dating back to 1824.
North of Norwich, your road trip transports you to the seaside town of Cromer. Glorious beaches await here, as do restaurants cooking up crabs and other fresh seafood. At Cromer Pier, you will find a theatre and bar. Outdoorsy types will enjoy surfing or walking the Norfolk Coast Path that passes through Cromer.
Simply drive the campervan to your destination point and park up to explore. This amazing seafront town borders the North Sea. Browse independent shops for souvenirs, take a lighthouse stroll or walk up to the top of Norfolk’s tallest church tower for amazing views.
West of Norwich, located in the heart of Norfolk, is where you will discover Dereham. This market town holds many heritage buildings, which makes sense as it dates back to the 7th century. One notable example is the thatched Bishop Bonner’s Cottage, which is today Dereham’s museum. This small town is also known for its restored windmill, providing a lovely setting for a picnic if you park your campervan nearby.