Broadland Country Park – Horsford – Norwich – Norfolk

I put my hands up…I’ve been abit slack when it comes to updating the blog – thinking i’ll be able to churn out a blog a week sounds easy enough, however it’s easier said then done. The photographs, the uploading, the writing all takes a little more time then you’d be led to believe, i do take my hat off to those prolific youtubers/bloggers etc that stick to that routine !

Main notice board at the Car Park.

However with the opening of a new country park in Norwich it seemed the perfect opportunity to blow the dust of the keyboard (Sadly this is true) and share with others seeking to get out and about the newest kid on the block.

Nestled between the villages of Felthrope and Horsford just West of Norwich is ‘Broadland Country park’ – 140 acres of a mixture of heathland and woodland. To locate simply type ‘Broadland Country park’ into google maps or if using a postcode use NR10 4DF – and you’ll find the car park just on the corner.

Broadland Country Park

Recently acquired by Broadland District for £700,000 this area previously known as ‘Houghen Plantation’ offers two main routes for walkers, bikers alike. The pink trail is the shorter of the two – at approximately 1 mile. Starting off you’ll find yourself walking between the ‘Oakland Organic Eggs’ farm, home to a verity of animals including sheep, horses and obviously chickens, what is always good to see is the animals being free range and have a nice area to live out their lives, They even have their own small farm shop at the entrance. Then proceeding into deeper woodland which is buzzing with wildlife.

Oaklands Organic Eggs Farm

The longer of the two routes – The Purple Trail is approximately 1.6 miles, circling the Houghen Plantation and entering Felthorpe common before looping back towards the car park. See below a recent Youtube upload from Broadland District Council providing some excellent drone footage of the area which shows some of the great terrain this walk offers.

As always, i hope you’ve enjoyed the read and found somewhere new to go explore either on your own or with family/friends. Don’t forget to click subscribe or follow the Norfolk Explorers on Instagram (Link below) and check out our other trips.

Marston Marsh – Norwich Norfolk

It seems crazy that less then a week ago the whole of the South East of the UK was coated in a thick blanket of snow, but here we are and with the slightest hint of sun the citizens of England are out in full force. Today the Norfolk explorers found ourselves at Marston Marsh, just south of Norwich.

To find, simply search for ‘Marston Marsh’ in your Satnav or use the postcode NR4 6LJ. As you are driving along Ipswich Road be careful not to miss the turning as I must of driven past it a hundred times and never noticed it there. Once you are on Marston Lane head down and there are two places to park, one on the right hand side which is the larger of the two car parks and if you follow the lane down to the end you will find a two space car park at the entrance to the Marsh. I would recommend you park in the Upper car park as often the lower one is full and you’ll find yourself having to pull of an awkward manoeuvre down a single lane.

Marston Marsh visitor sign board

On entering through the cattle gates you’ll see the visitor board showing the routes you can take, abit of history and also the animals found within the area. Following the main path around the edge you will find yourself walking along the banks of the river yare.

During our visit the banks were burst and the edge of the river was hard to tell as much of the Marsh land was flooded however we spotted a cluster of older ladies enjoying a swim down the river, as I said the English were out in full force but I didn’t expect to see people in their swimming costume as it was only 14 degrees.

Following the banks of the Yare along you’ll find plenty of places to stop and take in the scenery and for the kids to explore along the route. Our gang found an oddly shaped tree which was perfect for climbing. In the summer months the area to the rear of the marshes is home to cattle and horses which is always nice to see.

Towards the far end of the marshes you can choose to takr your walk further, pressing into the suburb of Eaton along Marston Lane or loop back up towards the car park where there’s a further woods and a play area to explore.

During the walk and seeing alot of families out and about it was the first time since the middle of last year where life felt normal again. To be out and about enjoying the world without the constant reminders of the global pandemic ringing in your ears. I know we still have a long way to go however there is definitely a strong light at the end of the tunnel and we for one cannot wait so we can get out and see far more of the wider world.

Thanks for taking the time to check out this week’s blog. Whilst your here take the time to check out our Instagram to see more of our adventures or check our our catalogue of our previous trips in our other blogs. Take care !

Norwich’s secret Garden – The Plantation Garden

After being off the scene for 3 weeks due to contracting Cornavirus, the Norfolk Explorers were back in full swing and this week we visited the Plantation Garden – also known as the ‘Secrect Garden’.

Now I’m not too sure how secret the secret Garden really is as when searching for somewhere local to go visit this weekend it was quiet high on the recommendations. However, putting the level of secretness aside we set off on a snowy walk around the gardens. Simply search for ‘Plantation Garden’ in your Satnav or use the postcode NR2 3DB to take you to the park. Now if you’re driving nearly all of the parking spaces on the side streets are permitted, therefore avoid doing that (Unless you visit on a Sunday when most restrictions are dropped), we would recommend that you park in the hotel next door which has a large sign offering parking for just £1 an hour and is simply paid for via your mobile phone.

Looking upwards from the Plantation Garden towards the Roman Catholic Cathedral

On arrival you will be greeted with the impressive structure of the Roman Catholic cathedral which towers over the gardens ( we recommend that while your in the area you check out the cathedral as its very nice inside) After parking you will need to enter the Plantation gardens via the Earlham Road entrance which is clearly sign posted. Walking down the hill you will need to turn left and you are officially within the plantation gardens.

Looking into the plantation garden from the wooden bridge that crosses the entrance path

The gardens entry cost are just £2 for adults and any children under the age of 16 are free – Payments are made via an ‘honesty postbox’ as you enter. Beside this you will see a map showing you the ‘birdseye’ view of the garden and the names of the surrounding houses.

What struck us the most on entering was the fact it feels as though you are not in a city centre. The steeps hills that surround the gardens block out nearly all of the surrounding buildings and also most noticeable the surrounding sounds. Within this distance of major roads into the city the expectation is that the typical urban noises of buses, car horns and the chatter of people, yet this is replaced with the sounds of birds and the wind flowing through the established trees. I have to say that it really took me by surprise how detached you feel from the surrounding urban environment and feel transported into an entirely different, stately garden feel.

We proceeded to cross the wooden bridge and follow the path to the rear of the gardens where you find yourself at the top of a meandering stone path that zigzags back and forth as it descends to the lower part of the garden. The walk itself is minimal, however the space is not about getting a good exercise, but more about the removal of yourself from the surrounding environment which i have to say it does very well.

One for the history buffs while your visiting – Just next to the water feature you will notice a small plack which links the plant its infront of to Queen Victoria. The claim goes that the Hebe is a direct descendent of the one which was part of Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet of 1840, After a part was successfully propagated and been planted at the Bishops House near the Cathedral in central Norwich a cutting was planted in the plantation garden and has been there ever since !

Thank you for taking the time to check out this weeks blog – Its good to be able to get back out after being house bound for a number of weeks but we are back and will continue to visit places, with the aim of giving you all ideas of days out with all the family. As always keep safe, and while your here take the opportunity to see our other adventures along the way and if you want, feel free to drop us a message of what you thought, let us know any new places to visit or just a simple hello.

Take care – The Norfolk Explorers.

Thorpe Marshes – Norwich – Norfolk

Located to the East of Norwich is an area known as Thorpe Marshes, nestled between Whitlingham Broad (check out our visit to Whitlingham) and the Norwich suburb of Thorpe this Norfolk Wildlife Trust site is a place of beauty all year round.

Now one thing to point out straight away is that there is no dedicated parking within the area, therefore you are recommended to either walk to the area or get a bus from the city centre. I will be honest, we did neither and simply parked in the residential streets opposite – On this occasion we will not put were we parked as it would be unfair to encourage people to park outside of others homes. The entrance to Thorpe Marshes is located on Whitlingham Lane, simply use the postcode NR7 0QA.

Following Whittlingham lane down towards the River Yare you have to cross an old railway bridge, obviously if you have push chairs etc you’ll need to carry them over at this point however overall due to the terrain we would not recommend push chairs full stop. At the top of this bridge its a great opportunity to look over the mashes as a whole but also if your fortunate enough you might be crossing at the same time a train passes, something which the kids were super excited about.

Following the route below, you’ll find yourself on a 2.5km walk. Following the banks of the River Yare you’ll see a number of house boats that line the stretch directly opposite Whittlingham Broad in a variety of different conditions, as you’ll see below when we visited someone’s boat had recently sunk and remained partially submerged on the bank.

The path itself is not one made of a ‘hard surface’ therefore if you visit after a recent down pour expect to fight your way through a boggy path. Our visit coincided with the thawing out of Norfolk post a snow flurry which turned the paths into a flooded boggy mess. Yet for us this made it more of an adventure and the kids absolutely loved it, playing games involving the rescuing of a stranded friend, on several occasions that involved all of us getting stuck.

After battling our way through the path we re-joined an established path on ‘Bungalow Lane’ leading back towards the railway line. This crossing is a simple manual gate where you physically cross the line. After crossing this before re-joining Thorpe Road, you pass under a railway bridge

The final stretch of this journey is a nice 0.8km walk down Thorpe Road towards the starting point at the top of Whittlingham Lane. With an overall length of approx 2.5km this walk should take no longer then 45 minutes, the route itself has many branches off so there is plenty to see along the route.

Thanks for taking the time to check out our visit to Thorpe Marshes, if you liked what you read or want to see some other places to visit, check out all our previous posts for plenty of days out and adventures.

Redbridge – Marriott’s Way – Norwich – Norfolk and the shortest snow season on record

We were awoken by our youngest screaming ‘its snowing’, naturally after seeing the daily express tell me every other day that snow is coming, it’s turned into the boy who cried wolf, but lo and behold there was snow. Nothing like ‘the beast from the east’ but still enough to get the majority of us excited.

Today we took the opportunity to visit Red bridge Park an area between the areas of Costessey and Hellesdon of Norwich. Now there are ways in which to enter this area however if you want to park closest to the bridge itself use the postcode NR50AG or search ‘Red Bridge park’ in your satnav, following the dirt track you’ll find a small car park just on your left.

Following the path down from the car park towards the river you are met with an area which in the summer is perfect for picnics by the river and a paddle, not something we you’d want to do when its -1 as it was when we visited. However the snow brings an entirely new scenery and transforms it into somewhere new to explore.

River Tud

I’ll be honest in relation to the ‘walk’ we kept it brief, just below a mile as you can see by the map below. This was probably for the best as by half way round the novelty of the snow had worn off and the reality of having freezing finger tips and toes was all to obvious for the youngest. For those who want to take this walk any further, once through the main ‘Red Bridge Park’ area and onto Marriott’s way, you are able to either walk Eastwards towards Norwich, or West which ultimately goes to Aylsham – Something which is on my to do list for this year.

As we walked along the River Tud, the river was racing by, almost turbo charged by the sudden blast of snow we were receiving. In areas along the path the banks had burst and areas that were once greenery became ponds on their own.

I am glad we got down to ‘Red Bridge Park’ before lunch time as as always the long overdue ‘snow storm’ was just a little flurry which dissipated just hours later. Overall though seeing snow and getting an opportunity to take a walk around the woodlands was a nice bit of variety, seeing the children play on sledges and making snowmen was a well needed break. For a period of time, surrounded by the falling snow, everything seemed normal. Following this we took the opportunity to go to the local baker ‘Easters Bakery’ to indulge on a selection of pastries and cakes which warmed us all up – something we highly recommend if you are in the area!

Overall Red Bridge Park, is a lovely place to visit, in the summer it provides a perfect place for the whole family to take a dip in a clean (as clean as you get in the UK) river whilst enjoying a picnic on the surrounding grass areas, in the winter, particularly during snow you are spoilt with meandering paths through woodlands, river views and surrounding meadows. We therefore recommend this all year round. As always, thank you for taking the time to check out this weeks post, while your here take the opportunity to have a look at our other adventures, or follow the link to our Facebook and Instagram pages for more content.

Stay Safe- Norfolk Explorers

Lockdown V3 – Repairing the Greenhouse and Smoking Brisket

With all the positivity surrounding multiple vaccines the reality of the long road ahead to us is now oddly more obvious then it was with the original lockdown back in March 2020. With spiralling numbers both in cases and sadly deaths we have taken the decision that even though entirely within the rules of ‘lockdown’ to really limit even our local explorations. This however has meant that much of the time i would be traditionally dedicating to scoping new places to visit, being out and about all weekend and then typing it up, is now focused on all the jobs around the house i consistently make excuses up as to why i can’t do them, and the first job was the repairing of the greenhouse.

Now every great project requires a great meal to accompany it therefore i took this as an opportunity to fire up the smoker and pop on some beef brisket – Any excuse. Smoking it through some plum wood over charcoal lumpwood for 6.5 hours this requires commitment but is completely worth it in the end.

Now i have to be strict with myself as i would like to sit here and discuss smoking meats but thats for another time. When we moved into the property in mid 2019 the garden was overgrown to put it lightly. The picture below does not fully let you appreciate the depths and heights of the brambles that surrounded the Greenhouse and i’ll be honest it took me a good 6 months of intermittent hacking to get to a point where the full length of the garden could be fully accessed.

Now having full 360 access of the Greenhouse i wish to utilise it to grow a small amount of vegetables and also some bedding plants for around the garden. However years of neglect had meant that the greenhouse although good quality and fallen into disrepair and needed some TLC. The first task was to fix the door. The door runner itself had turned into a perfect area for moss and other grime to clog the channel therefore resulting in zero movement, for this we simple jammed a hose in the gully and flushed it out and with a little bit of ‘toing and froing’ the crud was loosened and the door gained movement. The second task was to free the drainage channels that run at the base of the roof panes, this followed a similar process of scraping out the clumps and then simply running water through it until it ran clear. The final task was not simply solved by water and required a little more time and that was glass replacement.

2 panes of glass smashed over the years of neglect

Not wanting to replace the glass panes, primarily due to cost and also the fact i would need to get them custom made moved me towards acrylic panels which is both cheaper and easier to work with. Starting with taking a measurement of the existing panels my first thought process was to simply make two panels one smaller bottom pane and then a larger up one, however my partner quickly informed me i was being a plank and just to move the two good panes together and simply have one singular piece to fill the gap.

Looking online it became apparent that ordering custom cut acrylic sheets again drives the cost up considerably and then on top of that due to its shape and fragile nature postage would often cost the same as the acrylic itself. This led me to checking hardware stores in the area and i stumbled across B&Q conveniently selling the same width i required (600mm) by 1200mm therefore some light trimming required. Dry fitting the sheet i simple laid it in the channels and marked the bottom where the acrylic would rest in to stop it sliding down over time.

Dry fitting the acrylic sheet

Once marked up, using a straight edge, i just used a long spirit level, lining it up with the two marks i had made and on a hard surface, get a Stanley blade and repeatedly run the blade down along the line, do this atleast 5 or 6 times – What i would advise is looking at the depth of the channel you’ve cut out making sure it goes through atleast 50% of the thickness, any less could potential result in it cracking and no producing a straight break. Once you’ve done this simply flip over the acrylic, put your straight edge just beneath your line and pull the acrylic back therefore opening the channel you’ve carved out and hopefully you should get a straight clean cut. Here’s a link from someone from YouTube if you need any more information .https://www.youtube.com/watch/jCeHx-vvJ7k.

Roof panes after being replaced by the new acrylic panels

After cutting it simply remove the plastic protective film, make sure your sheet fits and put the clamps which hold the panes in place back on and there you have it, a repaired greenhouse glass for £20! Looking at the results i was really happy with how it turned out and now feel confident that if/when (having children i count something getting broken as a matter of time not if) another gets broken this provides a good quality replacement, which in all honestly not only looks better then the original glass but is also far safer.

After completing the job i thought best time to have a victory beer and more importantly tuck into that Brisket that had been on the smoke all day. As always while you here, please take the opportunity to have a look at our other days out or projects, drop us a line or follow us on either Instagram or Facebook Stay safe and come back next week for another blog!

Norfolk Explorers

Visiting Stonehenge for Free !

Stone Henge is up there with some of the most iconic British landmarks, standing proud in the countryside of Wiltshire just off of the A303, this circular ring of standing stones attracts visitors from far and wide – Even from as far afield as Norfolk ! Yet even with all the history luring me in, with 3 young children i knew i didn’t want to pay full price to see it as they would loose interest in all out 8 seconds ( At the time of writing this a family of 5 would pay £55.90 ! ) therefore i researched how to see this iconic attraction yet without the price tag !

Historical estimations as to when Stonehenge was built vary but fall within a very wide window of between 2000BC – 3000BC. It’s purpose again is up for debate, some link into to a burial ground, others put it as a site of religious significance, whilst the ‘Tin hatters’ amongst us use it as a clear demonstration of extra terrestrial presence. Regardless of its purpose it was on the list of places to visit for the Norfolk explorers !

Now i know your not hear to read my motivations as to why i wanted to see it etc what you want to know is how to get there and see the icon without the cost, so here we go.

So step 1) Using your Sat-Nav simply search for the road named ‘Fargo Road’ Salisbury or use the postcode SP4 8LL. Fargo road runs parallel to the A303 just on the other side of Stonehenge.

Step 2) Park on near the marker i have placed on the map below – Be considerate as this is a residential area, however on arrival you’ll see your not the only one and this is clearly the way used by the locals, best of all though its free !

Map of where to park your car – Map Courtesy of Google Maps

Step 3 – Leaving your car, you will see a dirt path that roughly follows the arrow i have placed on the map and goes between the fields. You can drive down here if you like but i don’t recommend it if you like your cars suspension ! Follow this path for approx 15/20 minutes. There is plenty to see on route and when we visited in the height of summer it was a really nice walk ! Whats amazing about this road is that there is people either living their or long term camping along the sides in either campervans or caravans that have clearly been there a while. At this point you start to release your inner hippy and even start contemplating how you can sell your house, quit your job and live off grid. Well at least i did anyway.

Step 4, follow this path down all the way until you can see Stonehenge on your left. Don’t be tempting to cut across the fields on your left on the way down, these are all compartmentalised and you’ll find yourself having to go back 10 minutes – Not that we did this …..When you have Stonehenge pretty much on your left, cut across the field and you will find yourself approx 40 meters from the Rocks without the pricetag! At this point you are free to take pictures, explore the surrounding fields and enjoy the day !

Now don’t get me wrong if your a die hard history fanatic and your children share your enthusiasm, then yes you should pay, naturally this is what funds these get places and keeps them alive for future generations. However if like us your children would not get the value from the paid visit and you simply want to get out and see something different i would advise you follow the above instructions.

The Norfolk Explorers therefore would highly recommend this trip, we used this as a stop off on our way to Cornwall and it was defiantly worth the stop over. As always i hope you enjoyed this blog and its given you the motivation to get out and about, enjoying what the UK has to offer. While your here take the opportunity to check out our other blogs of our visits, feel free to drop us a comment or a DM of your thoughts, recommendations or just to say hi. Thank you and take care !

Cost – Free

Distance – approx. 2 miles

Toilets – No

Catering – No

Dog Friendly – Yes

The Mystical Woods – West Norwich

I’m not sure to when the woods behind Thorpe Marriott became known as the ‘Mystical woods’ however it is more attractive then simply ‘the woods’. Growing up in Thorpe Marriott i had little interest in this woodland and it wasn’t until i was in my early 20’s i went to the Mystical woods after purchasing a Mitsubishi Pajero and taking it off roading around the woodland, which embrassingly involved me getting towed out by a Range Rover after i made a royal hash of the affiar

Located west of Norwich off the NDR simply search for ‘The Mystical Woods’ on your phone or if using a Sat-Nav use the postcode NR10 4DX. Parking is free, in an ‘off road’ car park – just off the roundabout.

When we visited the ‘mystical woods’ the whole country had just experienced an almost biblical down pour resulting in pretty much everywhere being flooded! Luckily I have invested for the entire Norfolk Explorer clan to have knee high wellys which come in handy. The walk itself around the mystical woods is not one that is mapped out and is therefore up to the individual as to what route they take however we recommend following the path parallel to the East bound NDR.

The ‘Mystical woods’ following the Eastbound carriage way.

During our walk the sound of the passing traffic was overshadowed by a older lady screaming histerically which caught all of our attention and then suddenly we saw four dogs leeping between the furns, much like deers do. However we quickly realised that the dogs where chasing an unfortunate squirrel who sadly met a sorry fate at the hands of the dogs. Events like this really frustrate us as dog owners as we know that we have a responsibility when with our dog, not only for its safety but also of others around, including other animals. As always I don’t like preaching but this was entirely avoidable in our view.

As we continued are walk you come to the rear of a farm called ‘Nature Farm’ and you are given two choices either walking to the rear of the farm and cutting across towards marriotts way or you can remain in the woods heading in the direction of the village of Horsford. We chose to remain in the woods fighting our way through the paths or more precisely the 15cm of water that covered them.

As we looped round again between the trees every so often we would catch a glimpse of other families taking the opportunity to explore these great woods and can see that this is a popular spot for walkers, both with dogs or just a leisurely walk with the family.

Overall the mystical woods is a pleasant walk, as with any woodland walk when you find yourself completely surrounded by trees in every direction and the only noise you hearing is the creeking of the trees blowing in the wind, a sense of peace fills us all which in this day and age is a hard thing to come by. Therefore the Norfolk explorers highly recommend a visit.

Thank you for taking the time to read up on our latest adventure and as always check out the other posts on the site to see our many trips. See you next Sunday.

Cost – Free

Distance – 1.5 Miles

Toilets – No

Catering – No

Dog friendly – Yes

Cromer – Norfolk – Loaded Fries and Beach Walks

As Norfolk emerges from Christmas day into Tier 4 the Norfolk Explorers continue to find trips out that remain within the guidelines and this week we found ourselves in the beach town of Cromer, famous for its mighty peer projecting into the North Sea and its long coastal walks we took the opportunity to explore what it has to offer. To find Cromer simply tap ‘Cromer beach’ into your phone or use the postcode NR27 9AT on your Sat-Nav to take you to the beach front.

I will be honest to start, we actually didn’t go to see the pier or experience the array of independent shops that are scattered across the town. No we went to visit a particular take away we had heard amazing reviews of, ‘The Bucket List’. One to which we attempted to visit a few weeks back however it was closed, but the lure remained and as a spare of the moment decision we decided to revisit.

On arrival we wasted no time getting the chips in, parking right opposite ‘The Bucket List’ we jumped straight in and ordered ‘The hybrid’ consisting of Smoked Cheddar, Bacon Scraps, Crispy Onions, BBQ Sauce & Aioli and a ‘BAM containing BBQ Sauce, Mozzarella & Aioli (Aioli is garlic mayo). I have to say the portions were far bigger then we expected as we also ordered 3 more for the children – which in hindsight was abit over kill. As you can see from the photo below these chips were ‘LOADED’, and i will happily admit there was no way i could finish. Therefore we highly reccommend you check these out whilst your in town. Simply search ‘The bucket list’ or use the address 9a Hamilton Road, NR27 9HL to find them !

Loaded fries from ‘The Bucket List’ – Cromer

After stuffing our faces and fighting the urge to have a nap in the car post pigging out we ventured out along the coastal walk to appreciate the Norfolk coast line. Without sounding corny the lure of the sea never dulls even with age, the crashing waves and the rolling horizon always make any beach visit a real pleasure for everyone. As we walked along the seafront we intended to go on the pier however following the announcement that Norfolk was to enter Tier 4 the decision was made to close it. Therefore we took the opportunity to walk along the pebble laden beach towards the cliffs of Overstrand.

Cromer Pier looking towards Overstrand Cliffs – Norfolk

The calmness and normality of places like Cromer continue to be great for the family as they offer the normality which we all crave so much. Throughout the trip you are subtly reminded that all is not the norm with the Pier being closed and every so often signage to indicate social distance, yet for those few hours you forget that the world and humanity are facing an unprecedented challenge and the children get to be children again. I hope that in reading these blogs you take the opportunity to get out and about with your family as its more critical then ever that we do this, as its very easy to get caught in ‘Pandemic lifestyle’ and not enjoy some of the great places we have around us.

From the Norfolk explorers – We hope you had a great Christmas and go onto have a lovely new years ! As always if you liked what you read, want somewhere to take the family or just burning a few hours scrolling through the web, please take the opportunity to check out our other blog posts on exploring and life. Until next Sunday, Take care – Norfolk Explorers.

Cost- Free parking on main beech front – selection of pay and display car parks if required

Catering – multiple venues to choose from, plenty of fish and chip shops and as mentioned ‘The Bucket List’

Dog friendly – Yes however seasonal restrictions are in place for taking your dog on the sea front

Christmas visit to Bressingham – Norfolk and the hunt for the ‘golden Santa’

As Christmas approaches, so does the hunt for a suitable santa for you and your family to visit. Thinking back of all the Santas you’ve visited over the years from the typical ‘garden centre santa’ or potentially a decorated shed in a shopping centre santa, finding that perfect santa is a never ending conquest of any parent. Let me say now my oldest is 11 years old and therefore after this many years i have yet to find my go to Santa!

This year the Norfolk explorers found ourselves at Bressinghall in the hunt for the elusive golden santa. Let me be fair now, this is COVID times, therefore many of the standard criteria you’d judge a santa by ie knee comfort or the hopefully seamless connection between fake beard and the face of a 17 year old on minimum wage are shelved as we now live in a world where santa stands behind a sheet of glass, asking if you’ve been a naughty boy through a microphone as if you were visiting a convicted armed robber in an American prison.

Now I feel abit harsh saying that but I’m sure that vibe will be similar across many Grottos . I recently I saw one example of children being given their gifts on a slide after being shoved by misses clause from 9 feet away therefore the glass seemed a sensible middle ground.

Santa aside I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. The limited perks to a global pandemic mean that sites are operating on a limited capacity which meant no queuing, which was a bonus considering it was rather chilly, and there were four main attractions.

The Carousel 🎠

The carousel was the centre piece just outside the main entrance to the grotto and stood proud, blasting out Christmas  tunes in a traditonal Carasol format, much like an amplified musical box. My only feedback would be to reduce the speed of the rotation, it felt just that bit too fast where it detracted from the experience and I came off feeling slightly dizzy.

After this we went into the main steam museum which is also included. This was a great addition and would make a great day out alone, and was even better as they had jazzed up many of the exhibitions with Christmas lights and there was also an opportunity to play an old carnival game in which you had to pull a nail from a large board and if yours was coloured you won a prize – which we did ! Also within this area upstairs is the 00 gauge model railway which the gang really enjoyed.

Model train set in the upper area of the main museum

Following this we rode the two steam train journeys on site which was a great end to the evening. The narrower of the two trains is an open carriage train which loops through he woods, whilst the larger of the two trains has enclosed carriages that follow the parameter of the site with a series of light displays to see along route.

Main steam train journey around Bressingham

Overall the trip to see Santa was what you would expect during a global pandemic, different and impersonal. Prior to this I think we all took for granted those personal social interactions, but everyday as we move through the year, Easter was different, school days are different, Halloween was different and christmas is no different. Therefore this comment is no a reflection on Bressingham but a comment to reflect the world we live in today. They made the best of a challenging situation which I commend them for. The carousel , the museum and the train journeys were great and the whole family really enjoyed them. Therefore this get a solid thumbs from the Norfolk Exporers and we highly recommend that we all try and give our kids the Christmas that we enjoyed and as always support businesses that are trying their upmost to keep alive when the odds are stacked against them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, as always there is plenty more content available on the site of our year round trips, adventures and projects so take a look. Next blog will land next Sunday after Christmas. Merry Xmas all!

Cost – approx £60

Distance – 1 mile

Catering – Yes

Toilets- Yes

Dog friendly- Not sure to be honest