Norfolk See And Do
Tel: 44 1263 738 030
One of the great Jacobean houses of England, Blickling is known for its spectacular long gallery as well as fine furniture, oils, and tapestries. The extensive parkland (open year-round), with a lake, woodlands, and formal gardens, is also notable.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
4 miles northeast of King's Lynn off the A149
Tel: 44 1553 631 330
One of the most famous 12th-century castles in England, with a magnificent stone keep and massive earthworks. It's been in the Howard family since 1544, and today is owned by a descendant of the Norman earl who raised the castle, William D'Albini II.
Open daily AprilOctober; closed Mondays and Tuesdays NovemberMarch.
England NR11 8PR
Tel: 44 1263 837 444
Felbrigg Hall is of the finest 17th-century country houses in East Anglia, with its original furniture intact, an outstanding library, the famous Walled Garden, and a park with magnificent old trees and a tearoom.
Open late March–October; closed Thursdays and Fridays.
West Norfolk's 100-mile network of Broadland waterways was created when medieval peat diggings formed shallow lakes that were joined by cuts and dykes to the rivers Yare, Bure, Wensum, and Waveney. Now, plenty of riverside pubs, craft centers, and museums line the Broads. You can spend an entire vacation on a narrow boat, but for just a taste of the canal life, Broads Tours organizes river trips. Or be your own skipper and charter an electric picnic boat or cruiser for the day (The Bridge, Wroxham; 44-1603-782-207; www.broads.co.uk).
Tel: 44 1603 493 625
Norwich Castle, built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago, is now a great, slightly barmy museum and art gallery, with child-friendly interactive exhibits in the keep. The exhibits here span multiple centuries and include the world's largest collection of ceramic teapots, an Egyptian tomb with mummies, collections of Norwich School paintings, and Lowestoft porcelain. There are also displays of Iceni gold—the Iceni were an indigenous Celtic tribe that occupied the region between about the first century B.C. and the first century A.D.—and rides on a reproduction Iceni warrior chariot.
Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
62 The Close
Tel: 44 1603 218 300
For more than 900 years the splendor and tranquility of Norwich Cathedral have attracted pilgrims and visitors. Founded in 1096 as part of a Benedictine priory, the Cathedral is one of the finest complete Romanesque buildings in Europe, with the second-tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England. It has one of the great treasures of medieval art in its collection of more than 1,000 carved roof bosses, and the Close is one of the most charming in the land.
Open daily 7:30 a.m.6 p.m.
England NR2 6HRA
Tel: 44 1263 820 800
Operating vintage steam and diesel trains, the North Norfolk Railway (to give it its proper name) has been a summertime favorite since it was built in 1887. It starts at the seaside town of Sheringham, wending its way through five and a half miles of bucolic countryside to Holt, where a bus (in the high season, a Routemasterthe scarlet double-deckers recently phased out of London) greets passengers and returns them to the starting point. The timetables are impossibly byzantine: Check the website if you're planning to ride.
University of East Anglia
Tel: 44 1603 593 199
On a campus packed with examples of contemporary architecture stands this gem: Lord Norman Foster's first notable public work, which was extensively renovated (by the architect) and reopened in 2006. Behind the glamorous hangarlike walls is an incredible museum of modern and world art that's open to the public. Permanent collections include works by Henry Moore (check out his Mother and Child stylized stone sculpture), Francis Bacon, Corbusier, Sol LeWitt, and Alberto Giacometti. There are also centuries-old artifacts from the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific, medieval European pieces, 20th-century ceramics, and an extensive Art Nouveau collection on display every three years (sorry, you just missed it, the exhibit closed in mid-June, 2007). Visiting exhibitions are always worth catching: Alien Nation, a sci-fi exploration of racial, cultural, and ethnic otherness by 12 contemporary artists, will be on display between early October and early December 2007.
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Tel: 44 1553 772 675
Built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), Sandringham is now the country retreat of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. You can tour the main ground-floor rooms, which are full of the porcelain, jade, and crystal oriental figures that queens Alexandra and Mary were apparently addicted to collecting. The museum in the old stables and coach houses contains, among other things, the royal motorsfrom the first car owned by a British monarch, a 1900 Daimler Phaeton, on. There's also a 600-acre public park carved from the Queen's private estate with a visitor center, gift shop, restaurant, tractor tours, and, naturally, a tearoom.
Open mid-April to late October.
Bishop's Boats ferries depart Blakeney Harbour or Morston Quay daily to view a 500-strong colony of common and gray seals in their natural habitat, then land on Blakeney National Nature Reserve if the tide allows. Knowledgeable crews give commentary along the way; the trips take between one and two hours, depending on the tides. The boats operate year-round, with reservations advisable in July, August, September, and at Christmas. Be sure to collect your tickets from Blakeney Quay 30 minutes before sailing time, and wear something warm and waterproof (Turnstone Cottage, Westgate Street, Blakeney; 44-1263-740-753; www.bishopsboats.com).
Wood Farm Visitor Centre
Tel: 44 1263 820 550
Particularly famous for the spectacular mid-May-to-June rhododendrons and azaleas, this park with mature woodlands, lots of well-marked hiking trails, and viewing towers for gorgeous coastal panoramas is one of the greatest masterpieces of 18th-century landscaper-supreme Humphry Repton.
Tel: 44 1485 210779
One of the most-visited outposts of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, this place is the highlight of all North Norfolk coastline highlights for the birderwho is going to be very happy around the area in general, especially during the spring and fall migration periods. Especially likely to be spotted from one of the observation hides or during a guided beginners' session are marsh harriers and avocets in summer, wigeons and brent geese in winter. Top "scores" include bitterns and bearded tits. Arrive early between August and October to ensure a space in the parking lot.
Tel: 44 1328 820 250
A guided tour is the best way to experience Walsingham's Holy House, on the grounds of the ruined Augustinian priory, and the Modern Shrines. Tours are available May through September. More extensive tours of North Norfolk churches, including North and South Creake, Walsingham, the Glaven Ports, Holkham, Raynham, Houghton, and the Burnhams, are also available by request.
Tours MaySeptember, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Winter and custom tours by appointment.