The new Alan Partridge movie and the birth of Prince George have put Norfolk on the map, and with a wealth of things to do in the county, it’s time to go east!
Norfolk’s most famous spoof character is undoubtedly Alan Partridge – the cringe making radio DJ with his endless (hilarious) faux pas, observations and offbeat comments. Now to celebrate
the new Alan Partridge film, Alpha Papa, the tourism office for Visit Norwich has launched the Alpha Norwich tour (which runs until August 2014) designed to take in the sights of the city as featured both in the movie and Alan’s life. The ninety minute guided tour includes the gothic and Norman Norwich Cathedral cloisters, medieval Norwich Castle which was founded by William the Conqueror and London Street, which is constantly mentioned in Steve Coogan’s works as the first pedestrianised street in Britain!?) Explore the 11th century Norwich Market, the Art Deco City Hall and the ultra-modern Forum building, all of which are very live and very real sights!
Explore the famous coastline
Did you know that Norfolk has 93 miles of superb coastline – I live here and I didn’t know that! The dry and sunny climate is perfect for cycling, walking and swimming in a region which has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Running from The Wash in the west, the coastline takes in the dunes at Winterton Beach (where Coldplay filmed their music video), Blakeney Point (where visitors can take seal spotting trips), Hunstanton (Norfolk's kitesurfing and surfing hotspot), Holkham beach (close to the Queens Estate and former nudist hangout), Happisburgh (where the iconic lighthouse stars in Ellie Goulding’s music video), Cromer town with its superb golf courses and right round to just south of Great Yarmouth on the east coast.
Walk the Peddars Way Route
Strap on your walking boots and take to the Peddars Way footpath which follows the route of an old Roman road through the heart of Norfolk. The easy flat route is perfect for all the family and although its 46 miles (74km) long in total, you can pick and choose the most convenient section to walk or cycle. The name Peddars is taken from the Latin ‘pedester’ which means ‘on foot’. The starting point is at Knettishall Heath neat Thetford just on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, and travels north to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast. First mentioned on a map in 1587 AD the Peddars Way route links up with the Norfolk Coast Path National Trail to offer a combined 97 mile track.
Soak up the local festivals
There are a wealth of arts and cultural festivals and events that take place across Norfolk throughout the year. The oldest festival in Britain, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival has celebrated the arts since 1772 and is held each May with jazz, dance, comedy and classical music. Each September sees the ever popular Norfolk Food & Drink Festival which celebrates local food and drink in such events as Battle of the Bangers, the Moveable Feast and City Farm to educate and entertain kids.
And of course, the county city of Norwich is one of the six UNESCO Cities of Literature thanks to its superb university which has produced many famous authors. Catch the annual Spring Literary Festival (February to June) or the annual Autumn Literary Festival (September to December).
Discover the new Norfolk Broads
Boating on the Broads was popularised in the 1970s when the UK staycation was thriving and today those trips have taken it up a notch or two. If you pictured drafty little boats then think again – there are luxury cruisers available to hire complete with whirlpool baths and fully fitted kitchens. And the vast flat landscape is perfect for hiking, canoeing and cycling, with plenty of rental sites along the broads. Another thing you’ll find dotted all along the banks are traditional pubs, chocolate-box villages and family friendly attractions. In total there are 120 miles (200 km) of waterways with a total of thirteen broads available to navigate.
Explore Royal Norfolk
The laidback county of Norfolk, which is just two hours from London by train, has long had royal connections. The Queen’s country retreat on the Sandringham Estate lies in the west of Norfolk and has been part of the royal family’s portfolio since it was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862. It was originally meant to serve as the marital home for the future King Edward VII and his new bride, but just two year the house was demolished as it was considered too small. Today a red-brick mansion stands on its place, which was completed in 1870. Visitors can explore the opulent and original Edwardian rooms of Sandringham House (except when the Queen is in residence), browse the museum and wander the vast royal gardens, which are immaculately maintained. The Sandringham Country Park also forms part of the Queen’s private estate, with walking trails.
And following the birth of Prince George, Kate and William will also take on their own Norfolk country retreat, at Anmer Hall, just two miles east of Sandringham House. The Grade II mansion house features a bell tower and a vast frontage.
And just in time for the royal arrivals, the most famous naturist beach in Britain has just banned nude sunbathing. Holkham beach lies close to the royal estate and had welcomed nudist bathers for years!
Check out the GoGoGorillas Trail
Catch the colourful GoGoGorilla trail which is currently underway in Norwich throughout the summer, where 53 decorated life-sized gorillas grace all corners of the city. In fact, there’s even an Alan Partridge inspired gorilla! All designed by local schools and community groups; visitors can walk the trail and mark off each gorilla, whilst also getting to know Norwich. And on 3 October, all 53 creatures within the GoGoGorillas project will be auctioned off to raise money for Born Free Foundation and also for the local charity Break.
Image Credits; 1 TourNorfolk, 2; Benabomb - All images; ©