Whitlingham Country Park

One of the things Norfolk is most well-known for is the Broads, a series of rivers and lakes across the county. If you’ve read my post on the UEA Lake, you’ll know I’m a big fan of any green open space, especially if it includes a river or lake. Recently, my housemates and I went to Whitlingham Country Park, an area to the East of Norwich, and spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the broad there. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon away from uni or the city, particularly if it’s a nice day!

 

To get to the broad, we took the bus to the railway station and then walked for about 30-40 minutes. We’d packed a picnic, so once we got there we chose a spot to sit down and have some lunch overlooking the broad. The broad itself is pretty big, but you can walk all the way around it and end up back at the visitors centre for a well deserved cup of tea or cold drink.

It’s so nice to be close to open countryside in Norwich, as just 15 minutes walk from the station and we were in Norfolk countryside. I love having such beautiful areas on my doorstep at uni. If you’re looking for more day trip ideas, why not check out my posts on Blickling Hall or the beaches at Cromer and Great Yarmouth!

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Blickling Hall

Reading week is always a great week (if your subject is lucky enough to get one). This year I decided to stay at uni for reading week because there was quite a lot of work I needed to get through, but having no contact hours means you have a lot more flexibility with your time. So as well as scheduling a good amount of library time through the week, my housemate Tara and I decided we would do a day trip to Blickling Hall, a National Trust stately home. As history students, National Trust enthusiasts and lovers of autumn it seemed like a pretty perfect day out for us and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

To get to Blickling, catch the 44, X44, 43 or 44A coach from Castle Meadow to Aylsham (£4.50 for a young person’s return ticket) and then from Aylsham you can either walk about 1.5 miles to Blickling or get a taxi. If you walk, you will have to go part way on quite a busy road that helpfully has no pavement, but there is a public bridleway track for the majority of the walk – just be prepared for mud if you go in winter.

On the day that we went, the Hall itself was closed but all the gardens were open as well as the cafe and gift shop (crucial parts of a National Trust trip). We managed to go on the one day it didn’t rain last week and the grounds were crazy beautiful in the autumn sun. The estate is absolutely massive, so there were so many parts to explore, including the main gardens, a walled garden, the lake, an orangery and a ‘secret garden’.

We sat by the lake for lunch with a view (side note: Blickling hall has the most benches I’ve ever seen on one estate, the National Trust seem to have gone a bit overboard). Later we popped into the cafe for a cream tea and then we explored the second hand bookshop.

All in all it was a really lovely day, and I would definitely recommend a trip to Blickling if you’ve got a day to spare. I’d love to go back when the Hall is open, and I know they’ve got some Christmas events coming up which sound great – check out their website for more details.

Great Yarmouth

This week is my last week at UEA before the summer break (so sad!) and it’s brought some beautiful weather. So what better way to spend a day than another trip to the beach? This time we opted for Great Yarmouth as our seaside town of choice. Like Cromer, Great Yarmouth is also easily accessible from Norwich by train so makes for a fab day out.

The beach at Great Yarmouth is lovely – it’s really big and sandy, giving the opportunity for some hardcore sandcastle construction. The town itself also has plenty to explore, with a big market in the centre and loads of strange touristy shops which stocked gems like garlic bread flavoured rock.

Next to the pier is a small free-entry amusement park called Joyland which is home to the apparently ‘famous’ snail ride (it’s on Wikipedia and everything, I swear). I can confirm that the snail ride was amazing – despite their creepy facial expressions, it was definitely £1 well spent!

I would definitely recommend Great Yarmouth as a day trip, the town may not be as quaint as Cromer, but if you want a beautiful sandy beach and strange amusement park rides it’s the place to be!

To the Beach

One of my favourite things about studying at UEA is the location of the uni. Not only do I love the campus and Norwich, but it’s just a short journey away from the Norfolk coast which makes for a brilliant day trip to the beach. On Saturday I hopped on a train at Norwich station with a group of friends, and 45 minutes later we reached the seaside town of Cromer.

Apart from a couple of random and short-lived hail downpours, we managed to have a pretty dry and sunny day, although the sea breeze was bracing to say the least! After a quick paddle by some, and a full on swim from one brave/crazy member of the group, we sat on the beach for a while, before a game of rounders on the beach or exploring the pier.

Lunch was a classic seaside fish and chips eaten on the pier, and the afternoon included a trip to Digby’s sweet shop (a.k.a. what dreams are made of) and then off to the arcade to make our fortunes on the penny machines. Unfortunately I have to report that apart from a few tiny bags of jelly beans, we are none the richer.

Another quick train journey and we were back in Norwich, pretty windswept and tired but after a great day out. I would love to go back to the beach soon – although maybe when it’s a little warmer! The next seaside town on my uni bucket list is Great Yarmouth, which is also easy to get to from Norwich. I love the fact that it’s so easy to leave the student bubble for a day and explore Norfolk, which is a beautiful part of the country.