Located in the East of England, Norfolk is home to a myriad of beautiful places and offers a haven for fascinating wildlife. It is one of the flattest areas in the country, making it an ideal place for hikers. As a local girl myself, I have done many walks in Norfolk, including short strolls and long-distance hikes.
If you’re heading to Nelson’s County and are looking for an excuse to lace up your boots, look no further! Many of Norfolk’s walks offer a variety of terrain, sweeping vistas (yes, even in this flat part of the world!) and tranquil nature scenes. If you’re looking for some recommendations from a local, these are my top pick of the best walks in Norfolk!
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11 Best Walks in Norfolk, England
1. Weavers’ Way – 61 miles
Spanning 61 miles (98 km) from Cromer to Great Yarmouth, Weavers’ Way is undoubtedly one of Norfolk’s best walks. The route showcases some of the county’s best scenery, from the Broads National Park to the salt marshes in Blakeney and the National Trust properties of Felbrigg and Blickling.
When it comes to wildlife spotting, Weavers’ Way is a great route. It’s possible to see all manner of animals and whilst walking this trail, I personally have seen foxes, kingfishers, deer, rabbits, herons and more. Don’t forget to bring a camera!
For experienced long-distance hikers, this trail should not present too many problems. However, in the area around Blickling, there is free roaming livestock which can pose issues. To be prepared in case of a close call (as I had in this very place), make sure you read up on the dangers of cows and how to stay safe when hiking.
The terrain is mostly flat and the route is well signed. However, there are a few large sections of road walking which can be tough on the soles. Wild camping spots are fairly easy to come across just off of the route. Bear in mind that wild camping in England is technically illegal so make sure you’re tucked out of the way and as always, be a responsible camper and follow leave no trace policies.
Accommodation near trailhead: The Red Lion Hotel, Cromer
2. Horsey Circular Walk – 6.3 miles
If you know anything of Norfolk already, it is likely that you will have heard of the Horsey seals. These grey seals live along the Norfolk coast and come annually to Horsey to give birth to their pups. Visitors come from all over to see the seals and as a result, the area gets very busy during the winter months.
This short walk around Horsey starts and ends at the Nelson Head pub, before venturing along the coast. From there, it heads inland through a section of the Norfolk Broads National Park. Keep an eye out for the derelict mill along the route, it is beautiful to photograph.
The Horsey circular walk is ideal for most walkers in that it is short and provides wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities along the route. It is best visited in summer or during the pupping season (November – January). Be aware that after heavy rainfall, the path can get very boggy in the wetland areas.
Accommodation near trailhead: Lazy Days Cottage, Winterton
3. Sheringham Park Woodland and Coastal Walk – 7 miles
For a walk in Norfolk which offers the best of all worlds, don’t miss the Sheringham Park Woodland and Coastal Walk. This trail weaves through a variety of settings, showcasing some of the best Norfolk views.
The walk begins at the visitor centre of Sheringham Park owned by the National Trust. This dog-friendly walk is great for those looking to enjoy a summer’s day. There are a number of facilities on route, including cafes and public toilets.
The terrain is varied but can be slippery in the wet, especially in woodland areas. There are some steep parts so this route is recommended for walkers of a good fitness level. Highlights include Weybourne Station and its resident steam train and the Gazebo at Sheringham Park which offers beautiful views.
Accommodation near trailhead: Dales Country House Hotel
4. Mousehold Heath Earth Heritage Trail – 1.2 miles
Situated in Norwich and offering arguably the best views of the city, Mousehold Heath is a spot that is regularly visited by local dog walkers. In order to attract more visitors from the surrounding areas, Norwich City Council have created a trail dedicated to the heritage of the area.
There are 18 points of interest along the route, which display signs explaining the link between the wildlife and landscape with the geological history of the heath. It’s very interesting and paints a picture of what this area would have been used for many years ago.
Even if history isn’t really your thing, you’re sure to appreciate the tranquillity which comes from Norwich’s ‘Green Lung’. Treat yourself on your way back by stopping off at Zaks American Diners, one of the best family-owned restaurants in Norfolk.
Accommodation near trailhead: The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich
5. Norfolk Coast Path – 83 miles
Norfolk’s most famous long-distance trail is the coast path which runs from Hopton-on-Sea to Hunstanton. A large chunk of the trail passes through an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and offers some of the finest coastal views you could ask for.
There are a number of places of interest on the route and the trail weaves through many of the most beautiful seaside towns in Norfolk. This means that there are a number of facilities on route, including public toilets, pubs and restaurants. The Norfolk Coast Path is generally well marked throughout.
Owing to the eroding cliffs, parts of the trail now have to be walked along the beach which can be hard on the knees and hips. Always follow safety advice and diversions, as the cliffs in some areas are still unstable.
The trail also forms part of the English Coast Path (still not quite finished as of the time of writing) so there is plenty more walking on offer when you finish this trail!
Accommodation near trailhead: Heron Lodge, Hopton
6. Roman Camp – 9 miles
Situated just outside of Cromer, the 9 mile circular Roman Camp route is my favourite walk in Norfolk (so far)! The woodland paths offer a welcome retreat from the touristy summer streets and are a great place to look for squirrels.
Arguably the highlight of the trail is reaching Norfolk’s highest point, Beacon Hill which sits 103 metres above sea level. Don’t get confused with nearby Beeston Bump which is often incorrectly cited by locals as Norfolk’s highest point.
The walk is made up mainly of footpaths and tracks but there are steep sections which can be exhausting. In order to make a full day out of this walk, bring along a picnic to enjoy on one of the benches once you’ve made it up to Beacon Hill.
Accommodation near trailhead: Thornybank, Cromer
7. Sandringham Park – 2.5 miles
Located in West Norfolk, a visit to Sandringham is an ideal way to spend a day. As well as playing host to a royal residence, the grounds are also home to a wonderful country park which spans a whopping 243 hectares.
There are two waymarked trails though the park, one totalling 1½ miles and the other at 2½ miles. Both are easy to complete and dog-friendly. Although these are the official trails, there is also nothing to stop you exploring independent of the marked routes.
The country park boasts an abundance of different animals and plants which are beautiful to explore. As with any kind of countryside walk, if you venture off into bracken or heather, be aware of ticks and make sure to check yourself.
You are allowed 30 minutes for free in one of the Sandringham car parks, with fees being introduced after that. The cost for full day parking is currently £7.00 (correct as of 2021).
Accommodation near trailhead: The Feathers, Dersingham
8. Paston Way – 22 miles
Those interested in historical or religious buildings will not want to miss Paston Way. Beginning in Cromer and ending in North Walsham, this is a good trail for those training to take on longer distance hikes.
The standard trail is 22 miles long but to visit all 14 of the churches just off of the route, you’ll need to be prepared to walk an extra 7.5 miles. The trail is generally well marked and offers sweeping views of the surrounding fields and coast.
I’ll confess that I didn’t visit all of the churches along Paston Way when I walked the route but would definitely recommend stopping at All Saints in Mundesley (which has no tower) and Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Knapton for its intricate hammer beam roof.
Accommodation near trailhead: The Cliftonville Hotel
9. Blakeney Circular Walk – 7.5 miles
This wonderful circular walk goes from Blakeney to the neighbouring villages of Cley and Wiveton. Blakeney is one of Norfolk’s best destinations and is home to a National Nature Reserve which is famous for its birdlife.
The walk follows the same route as the Norfolk Coast Path for some of the way, arriving in Cley via the same trail. Cley is a picturesque little village, best characterised by its charming windmill which is now run as a bed and breakfast.
When you reach Wiveton, make sure to stop and grab a pint in the local pub: The Wiveton Bell. There is a small outside area which is nice to sit in if the weather is good.
Accommodation near trailhead: Bramble Lodge, Blakeney
10. Castle Acre Priory – 6 miles
Located in the village of Castle Acre, this spellbinding walk will transport you back in time. It begins at the Norman Castle, a hugely impressive motte-and-bailey castle. The trail takes you along a Roman road and joins Peddars Way before arriving at Castle Acre Priory.
This stunning priory remains in remarkably good shape considering it dates back to 1090. It costs £7.90 to enter the priory as of 2021 and to fully get the most out of your visit, you should budget at least three hours.
The walk is pretty gentle and sticks mainly to established paths and field crossings. Facilities can be found in the village of Castle Acre.
Accommodation near trailhead: Frenchmans, Swaffham
11. Norfolk Mountain Walk – 16 miles
Considering you already know that Norfolk is one of the flattest counties in the UK, you are probably wondering where the name of this trail comes from. Well, along this 16 mile trail, if you added up all the ascents, you’d take on 1,140 feet – literally a small mountain!
This National Trust trail begins at Felbrigg Hall and takes you all through this part of North Norfolk. Along the way, you’ll pass over Beeston Bump, venture around Sheringham Park and walk through Aylmerton.
The route undulates consistently and as a result, this trail should only be taken on by experienced long-distance walkers. Believe me when I say it is tough on the knees! The Norfolk Mountain Walk isn’t marked so getting lost can be easy. To make sure you stay on track, refer regularly to the National Trust website which has each state of the walk clearly outlined.
Accommodation near trailhead: Anvil & Stable Cottages
Have you done any walks in Norfolk that you love? Let me know what they are in the comments below!