Nine of our favourite Norfolk parks that you should visit this summer holiday

St Georges Park in Great Yarmouth.
 

Picture: James Bass St Georges Park in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
5:46 PM

A new Keep Britain Tidy report has identified many of the region’s parks as worthy of a coveted Green Flag Award. But which of our gems should you head to first? Our reporters give their verdicts in our own Norfolk and Suffolk Park Awards.

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St Georges Park in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James BassSt Georges Park in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

1) GREAT YARMOUTH

Name: St George’s Park

Address: Crown Road, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2JN

Some of the activities available: children’s play area, home to town’s war memorials, walking, cycling.

Eaton Park as the sun sets. Photo by Simon FinlayEaton Park as the sun sets. Photo by Simon Finlay

Chosen by: Lucy Clapham

I love this park because…

• It is just a stone’s throw from the busy tourist heart of Great Yarmouth’s Regent Road, but when you step into St George’s you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle.

• Its leafy avenues lead you on a pleasant stroll from the high street to the seafront, surrounded by bright flowers and ornate sculptures that adorn its three entrances.

Castle Park, Thetford.
Picture by: Sonya DuncanCastle Park, Thetford. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

• Its shaded benches are a favourite lunch spot and the play area is always packed with happy youngsters.

• It is also the centre for the town’s major events including the annual Remembrance Day service and the Out There festival.

2) NORWICH

Beccles Quay Park. Photo by David Lennard.Beccles Quay Park. Photo by David Lennard.

Name: Eaton Park

Address: South Park Avenue, Norwich, NR4 7AZ

Some of the activities available: Football, bowls, pitch and putt, skateboarding, boating, basketball, cycling, running and tennis.

Chosen by: David Powles

Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Photo: Steve Adams.Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Photo: Steve Adams.

I love this park because…

• If there is a week that goes by without my fix of Eaton Park I feel sadder for it. It’s where I run, play football, occasionally cricket, even more occasionally tennis and every now and then golf.

• It’s also a haven in the city, not too far from the centre, cut off from everything else by glorious trees and foliage.

• The perfect place to get a break from the real world. In recent months I’ve introduced my son to the park and its charms in the hope he’ll get just as much out of it as the years go by.

Holt Country Park observation tower. Photo: Antony Kelly.Holt Country Park observation tower. Photo: Antony Kelly.

3) THETFORD

Name: Castle Park

Address: Castle Lane, Thetford

Afternoon sunshine lights up Sandringham House. Picture: Ian BurtAfternoon sunshine lights up Sandringham House. Picture: Ian Burt

Activities: play area, exploring Castle Hill

Chosen by: Andrew Fitchett

I love this park because...

• While play areas and parks around Thetford haven’t been given much TLC lately, Castle Park remains the jewel in the crown of the town’s outdoor spaces. With Castle Hill – one of the country’s highest medieval mottes – as its centrepiece, the park has a stunning setting and is an ideal place to relax.

Boudicca Way: Diss town mere.Boudicca Way: Diss town mere.

• The hill has a wealth of legends and tales – including that you can summon the devil by walking round it seven times at midnight.

• There are two picturesque pubs on either side and Thetford Town centre is a five minute walk away.

4) BECCLES

Millennium Park in Fakenham. Picture: Ian BurtMillennium Park in Fakenham. Picture: Ian Burt

Name: Beccles Quay Park

Address: Fen Lane, Beccles

Activities: picnics, walks by the River Waveney and a children’s play area.

Chosen by: David Lennard

I love this park because…

• The park with its wide open spaces is the perfect place to visit at any time of the year.

• Children are happy in the play area while other visitors take advantage of the many seats, or simply put a blanket down and enjoy a picnic on the grassy meadow.

• The park is also a great place to watch the many boats on the River Waveney entering and leaving Beccles Quay. The busy A146 passes close by and many motorists are unaware they are missing out on a hidden gem.

5) LOWESTOFT

Name: Kensington Gardens

Address: Kensington Road, Lowestoft

Some of the activities available: four tennis courts, two bowling greens, a pond, a large boating lake and a tearoom.

Chosen by: Kathryn Bradley

I love this park because…

• It is a pristine oasis and a pleasant retreat from the hustle and bustle of the nearby beach. Kensington Gardens was originally opened in 1922 and its boating lake and Japanese gardens have recently been restored.

• It is so well maintained it is a pleasure just to walk around and is looking especially lovely at this time of year. The flowerbeds are blooming with cornflowers, poppies and hydrangeas and there is also a shady dell, where you can sit and watch the fish in the pond.

• The tearoom, which serves hot food and tasty coffee and cakes, overlooks the immaculate and well-used bowling greens and is one of my favourite places to sit and while away half an hour.

6) HOLT

Name: Holt Country Park

Address: just outside the town.

Some of the activities available: arts trail, cycle route, tracks to explore, organised family events and pond dipping.

Chosen by: Sabah Meddings

I love this park because…

• In north Norfolk it is easy to be drawn to the stunning coastline and beautiful beaches, but slightly further inland is a picturesque country park just waiting to be explored.

• It is a beautiful place to come for a day out, with a picnic area and adventure play area for younger family members. It’s perfect for a hot summer day, where you can enjoy the shade of the woods for a country walk with coloured waymarked routes ranging from a few hundred yards to a couple of miles. • And there is something to enjoy in each season, with orchids a personal favourite in the early summer and snowdrops in the winter.

7) SANDRINGHAM

Name: Sandringham Park

Some of the activities available: woodland and garden walks, picnics, adventure play area, museum, visitor centre and tours of the royal residence

Chosen by: Chris Bishop

I love this park because…

• From the splendour of its formal gardens to the towering pines, a walk at Sandringham is always one to savour.

• Tread lightly when you explore the woodland trails and you might spot a deer. If you have youngsters who need to let off some steam, you can let them loose on the wooden adventure playground. Both are free, as is parking.

• Open 365 days of the year, the visitor centre’s café and restaurant are a great place to refuel. Produce on sale in the shop includes apple juice and cider pressed from the estate’s orchards.

• The grounds of the house are stately and tranquil – as befits the country retreat of the monarchy. Nearby is the church where the Queen and members of the Royal Family attend services when they are in Norfolk.

8) DISS

Name: Mere Park, Diss

Address: Park Road, Diss

Some of the activities available: picnics, a Multi-Use Games Area for football and other sports, walks by the Mere.

Chosen by: Dominic Bareham

I love this park because…

• It is a picturesque place to relax, especially on the balmy summer evenings we have been enjoying of late.

• The location of the park is perfect, being a stone’s throw away from the town centre, so there are plenty of places nearby to get food and drink, all within easy walking distance.

• The mere itself is ideal for families to bring their children to feed the ducks and sit at the picnic benches while enjoying the atmosphere. The park also hosts major events during the summer months, including the Park Alive concert prior to Diss carnival and artists from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

9) FAKENHAM

Name: Millennium Park.

Address: Queen’s Road, Fakenham.

Some of the activities available: football goals, swings, a slide and a seesaw, a zip wire and benches for those who just like to sit down and relax.

Chosen by: Adam Lazzari.

I love this park because…

• It is a big green space right near the centre of Fakenham which is well-used by people of all ages.

• I like to play football there sometimes and there is plenty of space for people to relax and do their own thing.

• The park and equipment there is always well looked after and a dedicated team of volunteers involved in the Millennium Park Life project are always looking at ways of adding facilities and making improvements.

• The park also hosts several activities during the town carnival and the Fakenham Fair, which takes place on August 23.

But which Norfolk park do you enjoy going the most to and why? Comment below to let us know. Or write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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