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A couple enjoying a picnic hamper on a west Norfolk beach.

10 of West Norfolk’s Best Rest Stops and Picnic Spots

Picnic blankets at the ready! Summer is the perfect time to relax, unwind and even treat yourself to a little al fresco dining. Whether it...

Picnic blankets at the ready! Summer is the perfect time to relax, unwind and even treat yourself to a little al fresco dining. Whether it be at the seaside, in a park or nature reserve, a picnic is a budget-friendly way to enjoy a delicious snack and take in west Norfolk’s beautiful landscapes and stunning scenery. In this guide we share some of our favourite quiet spots and some locations for a summer picnic stop in west Norfolk too. When visiting these locations, please dispose of all litter responsibly or take away your litter with you as you leave. Many thanks!

Brancaster Beach

Sunset over Brancaster Staithe in West Norfolk.

Named as one of the ‘Best UK Beaches’ by The Times and Sunday Times for 2023, Brancaster Beach is the ideal location to pick a picturesque rest stop by the sea.

The kiosk opposite the car park serves ice-cream and hot drinks as well as buckets and spades – perfect for building sandcastles!

Why not fly a kite, feel the sand beneath your toes and take in the big blue skies and soft golden sands of the striking Brancaster Beach.

Castle Acre Priory

A couple walking through the grounds of Castle Acre Priory in West Norfolk.

Castle Acre Priory is an English Heritage attraction and is one of the largest and best preserved monastic sites in the country, dating back to 1090.

Visitors are welcome to take a rest and enjoy a tasty picnic on the grounds and walk the ruins of the church, taking in the beautiful west end church gable, prior’s lodgings and cloister. There are also picnic benches available to use on-site. As always, please observe responsible tourism tips and ‘leave no trace’ behind.

During your visit, why not check out the Bailey Gate and Castle Acre Castle, both superb English Heritage sites to explore.

Castle Rising Castle

The exterior and surrounding earthworks at Castle Rising Castle in West Norfolk.

Castle Rising Castle is considered one of the best preserved keeps in the county. Surrounded by 20 acres of mighty earthworks, there is plenty of room for little ones to run around and let off steam and families to sit down, relax and enjoy a packed lunch.

Throughout the year, Castle Rising Castle is host to a number of thrilling and unique events including medieval re-enactments and arena demonstrations.

During your visit, why not climb up the steps of the gatehouse and see the scale of the earthworks, explore the Great Hall and the decorated waiting room, visit the remains of an early Norman Church, and much more.

Holkham Hall

The exterior of the grand Holkham Hall and surrounding parkland in West Norfolk.

Holkham Hall is an 18th century stately home near the village of Holkham in Norfolk. Visitors on the estate are welcome to pick a private picnic spot near the lake, in the woods, along the rolling parkland or towards the beach.

After tucking into your yummy picnic and responsibly disposing any litter, why not take a look inside the beautiful Holkham Hall. The elegant 18th century Palladian style house is open on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays.

The fascinating Holkham Stories Experience celebrates the many stories of Holkham’s 400-year heritage and the enchanting Walled Garden which showcases a spectacular stand of Georgian and Victorian greenhouses and vineries, ornamental garden, vineyard, working kitchen garden, exotic garden, and cutting garden.

Holkham National Nature Reserve

Wooden walkway towards Holkham Beach at Holkham National Nature Reserve in West Norfolk.

Holkham National Nature Reserve is made up of a mosaic of sand dunes, salt marsh, pinewoods, scrub, grazing marsh and foreshore. Covering over 9,000 acres, there is plenty of space to lay down a blanket and enjoy some well-deserved time out!

Spot dune flowers in the coastal sand dunes, identify woodland insects within the pinewood and scrubs or go birdwatching in the grazing marsh, salt marsh or foreshore.

Dogs are welcome at Holkham Beach all-year-round but, from 1st April to 31st August each year, there is a dogs-on-leads policy in the most vulnerable areas of the beach.

Norfolk Lavender

Norfolk Lavender gardens in Heacham, West Norfolk.

Set in beautiful tranquil gardens, Norfolk Lavender is a world famous premier lavender farm located in Heacham. The attraction is open all-year-round and the lavender fields are in bloom during the summer season.

There are many benches located around the site, perfect spots for a picnic or rest stop near the Animal Gardens and Fragrant Meadow. The on-site café, Norfolk Lavender Lounge, also serves scrumptious homemade sandwiches, cakes and hot meals every day.

Oxburgh Estate

The exterior of Oxburgh Hall standing within a square moat.

Nestled on the edge of the Norfolk Brecks, you will find Oxburgh Estate, a moated medieval manor house. There are plenty of rest stops and picnic spots to choose from in the gardens and historic parkland. Oxburgh Estate is dog-friendly and welcomes four-legged friends to enjoy the park.

You will find a range of gifts in their shop including garden essentials and lovely homeware.

Many family-friendly events are taking place this summer including Summer of Play, Butterfly Flutter-by Walk, and much more.

There is also a Natural Play Area for little ones to enjoy, created from a 17th century wood and 18th century pasture and fenland.

Sandringham Estate

A sign reading "Yellow Trail" and "Blue Trail" with arrows down a path through Sandringham Estate woodland.

Sandringham Estate is beloved royal retreat of the British Royal Family. The Royal Parkland on the estate is a fantastic place to take your picnic blanket! Open daily throughout the year, the country park offers something for everyone to enjoy including way marked trails, children’s play area,  terrace takeaway café, restaurant and gift shop.

Sandringham House and Gardens is open for visits from April until October. The remarkable stately home has been occupied by many members of the royal family over the years, with the surrounding gardens personalised to their individual tastes.

Shouldham Warren

A wooden sign reading "Shouldham Warren 2 Miles" in Shouldham Warren woodland, west Norfolk.

Shouldham Warren is a wooded area with unmarked paths as well as two signposted walks – the Yellow walk and the Red Walk. There are also cycling opportunities with some fantastic mountain bike trails to try. The site is dog-friendly and has a designated picnic area.

The Walks

The Walks in King's Lynn, West Norfolk.

Take a trip to the green heart of King’s Lynn, The Walks. The 17 hectare park is full of perfect picnic spots and rest stops, offering modern amenities and activity areas including a parkour unit, multi-use games area and refreshment kiosk.

The historic urban park is a short walk away from King’s Lynn Town Centre and has a number of key features including The Guannock Gate, the popular Bandstand, and the Red Mount Chapel. The bandstand is host to regular Sunday concerts during the summer months.

Please note that the information provided on this webpage was accurate on the date and time it was published [01/08/2023 at 09:00]. Details may have changed after this time and date.

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