Both Norfolk and Suffolk are littered with activities to suit everyone. Below are a few that may interest you. Bespoke events that I think may be of interest can be found on our ‘Current Events’ page.
The village of East Harling has a number of attractions within walking and cycling distance of the cottage. For the walking clients turn left out of the driveway and head towards the edge of Thetford Forest. There are refreshment stops at Thorpe Forest Holidays and at weekends on Knettishall Heath. If you are in a hurry to get to the open air do take your bicycles and go off road in the forest there are miles of trails to follow. For more details go to https://www.forestryengland.uk/thetford-forest and click on Harling Woods. In the village we have two new tennis courts that can be hired at Harling Sportspark. Bring your tennis rackets and play for around £5 an hour: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/Harlingsportspark/Booking. We have a Sports and Social club which sits at the edge of the recreation ground. There is plenty of sport to watch from the Social Club grounds throughout the year. The village has two playgrounds for the younger members of your family. The smaller of the two is located next to the tennis courts and the larger one is over the road, along School Lane and turn right by the Old School Hall. We have two public houses in the village and a delightful tea room called Peppers. Other amenities include a butcher, several hairdressers, a convenience store, a Post Office, a hardware store, pharmacy and a fish and chip shop. If fishing is your thing then about half a mile from the cottage is Middle Harling Fisheries. Details of daily fees can be found at www.holdenplant.co.uk/fishing-lake.
A little further down the A11 at High Lodge Visitor Centre in Thetford Forest you can find the original Go Ape High Ropes adventure: www.goape.co.uk. However, if you are not feeling too adventurous then there are plenty of walking opportunities and refreshments here. During the summer months the forest is host to a number of outdoor concerts so it is worth checking the website to see if your favourite band is playing nearby. www.forestryengland.uk/music. Also along the A11 you will find Combat Paintball where you can practise your shooting and archery skills or fight some zombies! www.combatpaintball.com.
Banham Zoo is just 10 minutes drive away and makes for a very pleasant day out for all ages: www.banhamzoo.co.uk. Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure is about 40 minutes away and is great fun. There’s a huge indoor soft play, a splash park (not open all year round so check before you go), dinosaur trail, walks and plenty of outdoor play equipment. I would suggest a whole day here: www.roarrdinosauradventure.co.uk.
Leisure Centres & Swimming:
If it’s a leisure centre you require there are two public ones run by South Norfolk District Council at Wymondham and Diss. They have plenty of gym and swimming opportunities available. For a family splash about the fun sessions are particularly good fun, or if you want to swim then public swim sessions are for you. www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/visitors/leisure-centres. Closer to home at Thetford is the Breckland Leisure Centre and Waterworld. www.leisurecentre.com/gyms-near/thetford.
Norwich - A fine city:
For shopping I recommend Norwich. 20 mins up the A11 will bring you to Thickthorn roundabout and Norwich is straight over and follow the signs. But if you don’t fancy trying to find a parking space, why not use the Park and Ride at Thickthorn roundabout. It operates Monday to Sunday (Christmas and Easter may vary) and will take you straight into the city centre. You could explore the Olde Norwich of Elm Hill, or the shopping malls of Chapelfield or Castle Mall. Both have plenty of eateries and even a cinema at the Castle Mall. Norwich is full of historic buildings; Strangers’ Hall, The Castle museum, Norwich Cathedral and Dragon Hall to name a few: www.visitnorwich.co.uk/shopping/shops/listing/tourist-information-centre.
Bury St Edmunds - a town with city attitude:
A historic town with St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Abbey ruins and The Theatre Royal are just a few of the delights Bury St Edmunds has in store. Visit St Mary’s church (final resting place of Henry VIII’s favourite sister), the Athenaeum Grade 1 listed building or the Suffolk Regimental museum before savouring a tour at the Greene King beer cafe and brewery. With an eclectic range of restaurants and cafes as well as an array of shops Bury St Edmunds has a great deal on offer for the tourist or shopper alike: www.visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/plan-your-stay/visitor-services.
The National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) has many properties from Ickworth, The Textile Conservation Studio, Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, Blickling Hall, Felbrigg Hall, Darrow Wood, Horsey Windpump, Sutton Hoo, Sheringham Park, and Dunwich Heath and Beach that offer numerous days out exploring and learning about our heritage in this part of the country. BeWILDerwood is a must-visit attraction for family fun. Buy your tickets online (right up to the night before you go) and save some money. Another full day out for the family. www.bewilderwood.co.uk.
Day at the Coast:
Mauleys is a great base to explore the many coastal resorts around Norfolk and Suffolk. A trip to Holkham Hall can be combined with a visit to Holkham beach (both venues have had staring roles in Hollywood films) or go crabbing at Wells-next-the-sea, participate in the summer carnivals in Sheringham and Cromer. Great Yarmouth’s pleasure beach and Pleasurewood Hills at Lowestoft offer traditional theme park days out for all the family. Southwold and Aldeburgh are further along the east coast. Aldeburgh is the home of composer Benjamin Britten and the international Aldeburgh Festival of arts at nearby Snape Maltings which was founded by him in 1948. Southwold is a thriving seaside town all year round with many famous previous residents including the author George Orwell. Southwold, Aldeburgh and neighbouring Walberswick are excellent places to experience the locally caught fish and chips.