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Start-Rite’s family favourite places to visit in Norfolk

Children wearing Start-Rite

Start-Rite Shoes is a proud Norwich business. The head office is located outside Norwich City Centre, where the business originated behind the marketplace in 1792. Set up by James Southall, his family still own Start-Rite Shoes and live locally. Some of the Start-Rite team today represent generations of their family who have worked for the business. A 20 ft logo proudly adorns the side of the building. It is unmistakable and unmissable from the road, symbolising a business born and bred and thriving in this beautiful corner of the world.

Many of us head to the Norfolk coast on holiday each year and it’s easy to see why. A coastline of golden, unspoilt beaches, connected by market towns bustling with local produce, artisans, culture and history. The northern coast of the county has been designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty that ensures its preservation and protection while the whole county boasts some fabulous areas for families to explore.

Here, the team at Start-Rite tell us about their beautiful part of the world and the gems for families to visit, so more children can adventure and enjoy the delights that Start-Rite’s home county has to offer.

Norfolk map

Here are the Start-Rite team’s top family favourite places to visit in Norfolk:

1. Wells-next-the-Sea

The smooth, buggy-friendly harbour-side raised path of the 'Beach Mile' takes you and your family to and from Wells town. With a duo of chippies with over 150 years of service at one end, and an award-winning golden beach populated by shorebirds and famous for a line of colourful and quaint beach huts at the other, this picturesque walk can be taken at a leisurely pace and will be enjoyed from start to finish. For those wanting to take the weight off their feet entirely, the Wells Ferry harbour tours allow you to sit back and drink in the atmosphere of both the countryside and seaside that Wells has to offer!

2. Wells & Walsingham Light Railway

If you’re exploring Wells-next-the-Sea, then make sure you hop onboard the famous Wells & Walsingham Light Railway. Steaming between the seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea and the beautiful Abbey village of Walsingham, kids and grown-ups will be ‘chuffed’ not to have missed this half-hour trip through beautiful countryside. Clattering under and over bridges, thundering past a hill-fort, and whistling through a real ghost platform, there’s something for everyone. The Signal Box Café and play area is the perfect way to conclude your adventure on the train. Children aged four and under go free and dogs are welcome.

3. Pensthorpe

Less than an hour's drive from Norwich, Pensthorpe nature reserve guarantees an enriching outdoors experience for families. With a plethora of habitats, flora, and fauna, the species-rich nature reserve is sure to capture the interests of the entire family. As for any budding, green-fingered enthusiasts, the four gardens at Pensthorpe each offer their own unique spin on horticultural expression. If the kids ever need to burn some energy, the WildRootz play area is sure to provide the space to do so! Set in two acres of adventure playground, the series of tunnels and slides, hills and burrows will challenge the most inquisitive minds and busy feet. Hootz House is an indoor adventure with a serious twist. Grab a seat and watch while your little ones explore the wooden framed tree-top towers, rope bridges and twisting slides.

4. Norwich’s Hidden 15th Century Street

Located in Norwich city centre, hidden below Castle Meadow, between the market and the Norman Keep, lies a secret world waiting to be revealed. Journey down two flights of stairs of an unassuming building and explorers are rewarded with ‘Diagon Alley’ style abandoned street. Tales of trade, the houses, the people, the eerie prison cells, and curious tunnels, are brought to life on one of its regular storytelling tours of the forsaken thoroughfare that help unlock the many mysteries of this space.

5. Holkham

For those families with a taste for both history and adventure, Holkham Hall & Estate is an all-encompassing thrill fit for purpose. The 18th-century house built by Thomas Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, opens its doors to share its treasure within (the 50ft Dome ceiling of the Marble Hall making for quite the introduction to the visit!). Once you have absorbed all the architectural delights, the walled garden, sweeping parkland surround and bikes, boats and high ropes tick so many boxes for a family searching for history, beauty and adventure. This is a real gem of a location in Norfolk.

6. Norfolk Broads

Another outdoor hub for children and families, the Norfolk Broads are an epicenter for enjoyment in the outdoors, with a saturation of exciting attractions designed for the entertainment and education of young ones. Wroxham Miniature World, Bure Valley Railway and the tree house adventures of the inspiring and wildly creative BeWILDerwood are just a few attractions taken from the huge list of places worth your time to visit!

7. RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

A true ‘hidden gem’ on many levels! Don’t let the peaceful surrounds of the Broads belie the clandestine world of air defence. One of the world’s oldest radar stations, RAF Neatishead, has not only been keeping our skies safe since 1941 but top-level secrets too. Unearth the treasure trove of stories and evidence from tales of the hair-raising heroics of Battle of Britain’s Fighter Control, to the top-secret work of the radar operators scanning the skies for Soviet spy planes. Ranked the number one local visitor attraction on Tripadvisor, a visit to the museum is guaranteed to be a fun for the whole family crew.

8. Blakeney

Notoriously an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', Blakeney offers itself up as the perfect base to fully re-connect with the outdoors and surround yourself with the breath-taking North Norfolk coast. The quaint village patterned with pretty flint cottages offers plentiful choice for places to eat and stay, as well as ale houses, gift shops and art galleries that allow you to wind down after an enriching day on the marshes and coastal path or seeing the seals by boat. Young crab enthusiasts might like to pack their nets as it’s a fantastic spot to discover these amazing creatures. It’s a must if you are visiting the North Norfolk coast with inquisitive children or teenagers.

If you’re planning a staycation in the UK this year, discovering the beautiful scenery and local delights in Norfolk should be top of your list and everyone at Start-Rite Shoes sends you a very warm welcome.