Off the Farm

We have taken the things that we love to do locally and the best bits from the entries in our guest books over the last few years. If you need something else to convince you to come to Norfolk, this is it.

Lovely cafes

Rocket House Cafe, Cromer – Everything a great cafe should be. Delicious food, locally sourced, incredible value and overlooking a sunny beach.

Piece of cake, Coltishall – Delicious cakes and scones in a light, modern building. On a sunny day, get a takeaway and sit on the common. Easy car-park directly outside. It is cash only (but you will find a cash machine in the nearby Londis).

White House Farm - Great cafe with delicious cakes and outside area for kids. On-site there is also a pick-your-own butchery and clothes and gift-shops on site. Good for a few hours browsing. 

Beach Cafe, Wells next the Sea – Great cafe with lots of outside space, perfect for before or after a walk or swim on Holkham beach.

Byfords, Holt – ‘Posh’ cafe serving delicious food made with local produce in the middle of Holt – particularly recommend the ginger tiffin. Can be very busy in peak season.

Village Tea Rooms, Heydon – Vintage tea-rooms in fantastic location in the small village of Heydon. Because you can’t drive through it, the village itself is very quiet. You may recognise the village from from a number of TV adaptations.

Wroxham Barns, Hoveton – Good cafe serving lunches, teas and drinks with a focus on local produce. You can browse the shops or visit the Junior Farm too. Good choice on a wet day!

Dollies bakery - Making amazing pastries and breads, to eat-in or to takeaway. The best croissants this side of Paris. 

Perfect Pubs

The Goat (Skeyton) (20-30 minutes walk from North Farm) - Good pub food, excellent burgers and a big children’s play area.

Recruiting Sergeant (Horstead) - Dining pub with range of local produce, very popular locally so worth booking ahead. They also offer takeaway service. 

Bucks Arms (Blickling Estate) - Delicious food and lovely gardens, housed within the Blickling Hall estate. Good to combine with a trip to Blcikling Hall (NT).

Rising Sun (Coltishall) – Set on the edge of the River Bure, serving wood-fired pizzas as well as traditional pub food. Perfect for an evening drink or meal with the family.

Black Boys (Aylsham) – On the edge of Aylsham town square, traditional pub with excellent food and outside paved dining area.

The Pigs (Edgefield) – Specialises in all sorts of pork, as well as other seasonable produce with interesting twists. It has a lovely indoor and outdoor play area.

Kings Head (Wroxham) – Chain pub set on the river with view of the boats coming in and out of Wroxham.

Rose and Crown (Frettenham) – Pub with attached café during the day and authentic Thai food available Thursday – Sundays. Next to a big children’s play area. Thai takeaways are also available.

Walpole Arms (Itteringham) – 18th Century pub now run more as a restaurant, serving a range of Spanish tapas.

The Crown Inn (Banningham) – Traditional pub with good food and range of real ales. Log fires and cosy atmosphere in the winter.

Fabulous beaches

Cromer - Old-fashioned seaside town with pier, lots of shops and amusements. Sandy beach and the lovely Rocket Café is right on the front. Parking is in carparks or on the streets around the town.

Overstrand - Walking distance from Cromer along the beach or the cliff walks. Delightful café on the clifftops and parking in the village. Sandy beach with fun beach defences to climb and explore.

Mundesley - Lovely sandy beach with café and toilets on the promenade. More shops and cafes in the village. There is also a skate park and a big play park behind the main carpark on the coast road which can be good for changeable weather.

Happisburgh and Cart Gap - Happisburgh is home to the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia and the only independent run lighthouse in Great Britain. There are open days throughout the year when you can climb up. There’s also a big play area by the parking area and a café very nearby.

At the moment, there is a little walk to get down onto the beach due to some erosion on the cliffs. You may prefer to park further up at Cart Gap.

Sea Palling - Huge sandy beach with shallow incline into the water so perfect for little ones. Parking just down from the beach although it gets very busy in the Summer. Café and toilets on site.

Great Yarmouth - Big seaside town with amusements, cafes, takeaways and a huge sandy beach. There is also a growing artisan and street food scene, based around the Seafront Empire.  The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth is a hidden gem.

Wells/Holkham - Named Beach of the Year in the 2018 BBC Countryfile awards. Four miles of sand, with fantastic café and lots of car parking, it featured in the closing scenes of ‘Shakespeare in Love’. You can enjoy walking in the pine forests around Holkham and visit Holkham Hall.  

Blakeney Point - Nature reserve with lots of walks across the marshes and sand dunes. Good for birdwatching and seal trips on the boats. 

Horsey - Lots of sand dunes and stretches of sand. Between November and February, huge numbers of grey seals come onto the beach to have their young. During this time, you can walk along the dunes but can’t go onto the beach so as not to disturb the seals.

Car park but no other facilities on the beach. You can also visit Horsey windpump (National Trust).

Sheringham - Big seaside town with a mix of sand and shingle (although at high tide may only be rocks and shingle). Lots of shops and is also the start of the North Norfolk Steam Railway which operates trains to Holt and Weybourne.

Great things to do with the kids

Roar Dinosaur Adventure Park (Lenwade – 25 mins) – Outside play area, zip wire, animals plus a huge indoor play area for rainy days. Lots of cafes plus areas to eat, inside and outside, if you take your own picnic.

Bewilderwood (Horning – 25 mins)  – Outdoor ‘theme’ park with tree top walks, huge slides and lots of other play equipment. Best on dry days as no inside space.

Stomp, Dine. Strike (North Walsham -10 mins) – Indoor play area with cafe for children aged up to 8 plus a small bowling alley and diner on the same site.

Bure Valley Railway  – Drive to Wroxham or Aylsham and get on board this lovely steam train. If you want to, you can walk across the fields (about 2 miles) and jump on at Brampton.

Happisburgh Owls – Owl sanctuary with opportunity to handle the owls. Check the website as only open on weekends and bank holidays.

Holkham Hall – Visit the hall, walk in the park, visit the beautiful beach and explore the huge adventure play area under the trees.

Amazona Zoo, Cromer – Small zoo with lots of space for animals and the kids too! Small indoor play area.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse – Museum of rural land, plus beautiful grounds and really good adventure play.

Pensthorpe Natural Park – Huge nature reserve, particularly good for birds and waterfowl. Big adventure playground and lots to keep children interested.

Norwich Cathedral – Explore the cathedral and run around the cloisters – often there are special events on during the school holidays.

Wonderful walks

Walk out from the cottage across the fields towards Oxnead and visit the beautiful thirteenth century church. Look for directions in the cottages or ask David and Gill.

Bure Valley Railway path – Walk out from the cottage towards Brampton and join the Bure Valley Railway path. You can always get the steam train home!

River Bure – Explore the River Bure between Oxnead and Buxton. Park on the side of the road just over the Oxnead bridge and climb over the style for a lovely walk along the river and space of paddle.

Weavers Way– 61 mile  walk linking Great Yarmouth and the coast at Cromer. There are small car-parks where you can join it in Aylsham and North Walsham and it goes through the Blickling Estate too.

Blickling Estate – Lots of marked walks at this National Trust property as well as opportunities to explore the 950 acres on the estate. No entrance fee but there is a pay and display car park. Good for young children on bikes/scooters and some walks are also wheelchair accessible.

Salhouse Broad – One of the few broads that can be explored on foot. There is a car park nearby and small, woodland play area for young children.

Bacton Woods – 200 year old woods with marked walks as well as lots of paths and woodlands to explore by cycle or foot and opportunities for den-building. About 2 1/2 miles from North Walsham with a car-park.

Holt Country Park  – Lovely wooded park with lots of marked walks, children’s play area and activities during Summer months. About 2 miles from the lovely market town of Holt. Pay and display car park.

Cromer to Overstrand Cliff-top walk – Walk along the beach or the coastal path between Overstrand and Cromer. Lots of cafes and play areas at either end for bribing reluctant walkers.

Sheringham Park  – Walking and cycling trails, around the main estate and to the coast. You may even spot the North Norfolk Railway steam train travelling between Sheringham and Holt. Parking at National Trust car park. Many wheel-chair and buggy accessible walks.

Fun with pre-schoolers

Dinosaur Adventure Park  (Lenwade – 25 mins) – Outside play area, zip wire, animals plus a huge indoor play area for rainy days. Lots of cafes plus areas to eat, inside and outside, if you take your own picnic.

Stomp, Dine, Strike  (North Walsham -10 mins) – Indoor play area with cafe for children aged up to 8 plus a diner and bowling alley. 

Bacton Woods – Beautiful old woodland with paths to roam and lots of den building facilities.

Pettitts animal adventure park – Lots of animals and fun rides for pre-schoolers.

Bure Valley Railway  – Drive to Wroxham or Aylsham and get on board this lovely steam train. If you want to, you can walk across the fields (about 2 miles) and jump on at Brampton.

Wroxham Barns, Hoveton – Junior farm, small soft-play plus lots of shops and a small funfair in the Summer. It has both a restaurant and a cafe area – good for wet days.

Mundesley beach – Sandy beach with an on-beach cafe and toilet facilities. Cross the road for crazy golf, skate park and a big play area.

Aylsham play park – Big outdoor play park on the edge of Aylsham with a car park.

Waterloo Park - Large park to scoot and ride around. Play area which turns into a council-run free splashpark in summer months. 

10 Local Food Producers

We use lots of these products in the delicious welcome pack that we provide to all cottage guests. 

Nortons dairy – Nortons make delicious milk, butter, cream and cheese using milk from their dairy herd in Frettenham. The St Swithins cheese tastes like a cross between cream cheese and feta and as well as plain, can also be found with lavendar, apricot or strawberry. You can Nortons products at Budgens in Aylsham or at Farm to Fork and Fish in Horstead.

Norfolk Brewhouse – Just like us, Rachel and David Holliday have transformed a disused barn on their family farm to make delicious beer using Norfolk barley. Our favourite is the Moon Gazer Amber Ale.

Coxfords Butchers – This is where we buy our Nortons milk and delicious local bacon for our welcome pack. Delicious meat and great supporters of lots of local charitable initiatives.

Norfolk Gin – Perhaps the most delicious artisan gin available, can be found at White House Farm or Jarrolds.

Ronaldos Ice-cream – Over 60 flavours of Italian ice-cream, manufactured in Norwich. It can be found in shops across the county including Cromer, Sheringham and street stalls in Norwich. They also have ice-cream carts at lots of local events.

Swannington Farm to Fork – Delicious meats, sausages galore, turkeys for Christmas and a luxurious farm shop in Coltishall in the form of Farm to fork and fish.

Gnaw chocolate – Chocolate handcrafted in ‘Gnawfolk’ – loads of flavours, available in lots of local farmshops.

Jaberwacky  and Candi Chutneys – Delicious jams and preserves  and locally produced chutneys, available in lots of flavours and using local ingredients where possible. They are both regulars at the farmer’s markets.

Breadsource Aylsham – Hand crafted, additive free bread produced in Horsham St Faiths. You can buy the delicious bread from their shop just off Red Lion Street in the centre of Aylsham.

Samphire Pork Pies – Selling addictively good pork pies and the best tiffin we have eaten. They also do mail order if you want to recreate the Norfolk experience when you get home.  You can also get them in Iteringham Village Shop.

Norfolk in the winter

Blickling Hall – Beautiful National Trust House with indoor cafe and extensive grounds which can be walked around for free. During December, the house is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Parking charge or free to national trust members.

Horsey Beach – Between November and January, visit the beautiful windswept beach where hundreds of grey seals come ashore to give birth and feed their pups. It can be very busy around Christmas and New Year.

Thursford – Visit the Christmas Spectacular show and Santa’s grotto. Outside the seasonal period, there is a permanent exhibition of the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs.

Norwich Cathedral – The most complete Norman Cathedral in England. Lots of special and permanent exhibitions and room for kids to run around the Cloisters on a wet day.

Sainsbury Centre – Located on the UEA campus to the south of Norwich, a huge permanent collection of over 1,400 objects spanning 5000 years as well as some super special exhibitions. Appeals to all ages and has an excellent cafe too.

Wroxham Barns – Lots of independent shops, delicious cafe and a chance to stock up on local produce at the Scrummy Pig. There is a junior farm and indoor play too for little ones.

Ranworth Broad Wildlife Centre – Walk along the boardwalk to the floating wildlife centre and observation point. Intrepid explorers can also climb the church tower to get an incredible view of the Norfolk Broads.

Norwich Lanes – Wander the lanes to find lots of independent shops, quirky cafes, great pubs and vintage finds. For great second hand shops and antique shops, try Magdalen Street.

Blakeney Coastal Walk – Follow a circular walk around Blakeney village and Freshes to spot wildlife on the marshes. Nearby Holkham beach and pine forest is also a great place for a brisk walk on a cold day. Multitudes of great cafes in the area, too.

Aylsham – Enjoy pottering in the slow food town with a large collection of independent retailers. In particular, we can recommend Blossom and Green for women’s clothes and accessories , Coxfords for meat and other local produce and the BreadSource for amazing bread and pastries. Visit on a Monday for the market and a huge second hand sale in the Church.