10 of the best Road Trips From Norwich
Norwich is the capital of Norfolk and lies right in the middle of the county, perfectly located to explore the highlights that Norfolk and its surrounding counties have to offer. Whether you are interested in outdoor activities, wildlife, culture or shopping, this article has it all.
There’s plenty to do in the city itself, but it’s also the perfect launchpad for some legendary road trips to Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and around Norfolk itself.
Here are our top 10 road trips from Norwich:
- Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea
- Norfolk Broads
- Thetford Forest
- Franlingham Castle
- King's Lynn
But first, here’s a few savvy driving tips to help you on your way.
Driving in Norwich
Transport in the county is dominated by cars, yet the centre of Norwich has been highly pedestrianized in recent years and many of the roads are one-way. Access to Norwich is very easy: with the A11 leading from most of the South of the country and the A47 going from west to east and being the main point of entry from the north. Apart from this, be aware that most of the roads around the county are single track country lanes, which means that you can be heavily delayed if you get caught behind a tractor!Click here to compare car hire in Norwich
Start your engines for our 10 epic road trips from Norwich – let’s roll!
Famous for its university, there’s plenty for day-trippers to Cambridge to do and see. A guided walking tour (the guides are graduates) of the university will show you the jaw-dropping architecture. Visitors must try punting on the river via a guided/chauffeured boat, or you can join another party for a shared punt. If it’s raining, why not take the kids (and the big kids) to the Retro Gaming & Computing Centre at The Centre for Computing History? Mathematics genius and creator of the world’s first computer Alan Turing studied here, becoming a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge aged just 22 years before going on to break the enemy’s Enigma machine codes at Bletchley Park in WWII.
Getting there: The drive is about an hour and a half, straight down the A11 through Thetford and then merging onto A14.
2. Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea
If you are desperate to blow away the cobwebs, these two beaches are the most spectacular, most spacious way to do it. With hundreds of miles of sand, you will never feel remotely claustrophobic on these beaches. It truly is the most idyllic spot and ideal for a scenic walk, whether it be along the beach, through the large pine forests (which date back to the days when pine cones were used instead of bubble wrap to protect the antiques coming over to the Hall) or around the gorgeous 25,000 acre parkland of the Holkham Hall estate, home to its own herds of deer. Holkham hall is an 18th century Palladian style house, home to the Earl of Leicester, as well as a fabulous art collection.
Just below Holkham lies the pretty harbour town of Wells-next-the-Sea, which is now a classic holiday destination. The beach is also huge stretches of sand but lined with traditional multi-coloured beach huts. The town has all the typical offerings of a british seaside resort, including delicious fish & chips or arcades.
Getting there: The journey only takes about one hour via the A1067 but is all along back roads, so we would reccomend taking a sat nav with you.
3. Houghton Hall
The manor house which holds links to the first british prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, who inherited it in 1700, is one of the grandest survivors of the Palladian era. The hall is surrounded by stunning parkland which hosts a herd of white fallow deer and is also home to a beautiful walled garden. The Estate is constantly hosting an array of art exhibitions, such as most recently the Anish Kapoor exhibition. It also holds an international Eventing trial once a year in may where you can see some of the top riders tested around the tricky cross country course.
Getting there:The drive only takes an hour and will take you along the A1067 through Fakenham.
4. The Norfolk Broads
The famous Norfolk broads are only a short drive from Norwich and they are a perfect way to spend a summer day, rent a boat and take stops at amazing waterside pubs from a drink and a quick bite in the sun. Start your journey in Wroxham where you can rent a boat, pack a picnic and just float the day away. The Norfolk Broads are also home to a whole range of wildlife, in particular a lot of endangered species of birds. Take a walk along the Wroxham board walk to delve into the jungle like environement.
Getting there: Head down the Wroxham road for 20 minutes and you will arrive in Wroxham.
The queen’s much frequented country retreat, where the whole royal family chose to spend Christmas. Nestled within the 600 acre Country Park is St Mary Magdalene Church, which dates back to the 16th century.
Getting there: The drive from Norwich takes about an hour via the A1067 and the A148.
6. Thetford Forest
At 47,000 acres, Thetford forest is the largest pine forest in the country and was built during the first world war to create a new timer supply. Now it offers miles and miles of walks, mountain bike trails, and more adventurous activities such as Go ape treetop adventure or segways.
Getting there: From Norwich head straight down the A11 towards Cambridge and you will be there in about 45 mins.
Ely is incredibly small but still a well-deserved city due to its magnificent cathedral which is most certainly the star attraction. The tower of the cathedral can be seen for miles across the Fens which surround Ely, which you can climb the 180 steps as part of the Tower Tour. There are also plenty of museums to visit such as the Ely Museum which encapsulates the history of the city or Cronwell’s House. The city also has a beautiful riverside walk, which is lined with idyllic cafes and restaurants where you can sit back and watch the boats pass by.
Getting there: It takes just under an hour and a half to get to Ely from Norwich. Take the A11, which merges into A14 at Newmarket and then at at junction 37 take the exit onto A142.
8. Framlingham Castle
The ancient market town of Framlingham alone is worth a visit alone, not to mention the spectacular 12th- century castle which was the inspiration of Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill. It was behind these walls that Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England. Thecastle and the town are nestled in the Suffolk countryside and surrounded by The Mere, which is home to a whole array of wildlife.
Getting there: The drive from Norwich will take you about an hour along the A140 towards Ipswich and then turn onto A1120.
9. King's Lynn
You can’t leave Norfolk without venturing forth into King’s Lynn and West Norfolk for a taste of marvellous maritime history, fenland coastal plains and rural retreats like Sandringham, owned by a certain Queen Elizabeth II. King’s Lynn proper is a medieval port with many museums and beautiful heritage buildings like the Custom House on Purfleet Quay, which was finished in 1683 and now houses the tourist office. You’ll also find the best-preserved medieval merchant’s house in Britain here, the largest chapel in all of England and the biggest medieval guildhall in England, which has been a theatre since 1442. Venture outside the city limits and you’ll reach Castle Rising, which has a large and mainly intact keep set on gargantuan earthworks.
Getting there: The journey is just over an hour by car and is an easy drive along the A47.
This picture perfect seaside town is nestled between the sea and the river Alde and is renowned for its connection to Benjamin Britten, who founded the Aldeburgh Festival. You can visit the Red House, where the famous composer once lived and worked, it is now home to the Britten-Pears Foundation. Spend the day wondering the village and browsing its stylish boutiques and antique and art shops or strolling along the stretch of beach from Martello tower, which overlooks the town yacht’s harbour all the way to the shout where the Scallop sculpture lies. It is also worth popping into the Aldeburgh Museum, which sits in the iconic 16th Century Moot Hall and shares the town’s rich history.
Getting there: The journey from Norwich is about an hour and 20 minutes down the A146 to Beccles and then the A12.
So there you have it – a driving decathlon that unlocks the eclectic mix of scenery on display in East Anglia. Rent a reliable vehicle from Enjoy Car Hire and set off on an adventure to remember!