Things to do this summer in Norfolk
The long summer holidays are underway, but there's lots to see and do, from bucket and spade beach trips to summer carnivals and shows. SIMON PARKIN offers some highlights to keep all the family happy.
Sea Life Centre
Marine Parade, Yarmouth, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm/Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, family saver ticket �25.60, 01493 330631, www.sealifeeurope.com
Norfolk boasts two Sea Life Centres, one in Yarmouth and another in Hunstanton, home to England's biggest col-ony of common seals. Highlights in Yarmouth include the rays, fishy superstars if ever there were any, the sea-horses, the Finding Nemo tank and the octopus who enjoys playing with an oversized hamster ball. The staff en-thuse about the incredible aquatic life on display and encourage children to learn fun facts about centre's creatures. For a start, you'll get to know where a starfish's bum is. Always good to know.
You may also want to watch:
Stock Car Racing
Yarmouth Stadium, every Sunday, 5.30pm, �12 (�10 cons), �6 children, under-4s free, �35 family, 01493 720343, www.yarmouthstadium.co.uk
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Thrills, spills, crashes and smashes mean a trip to Yarmouth Stadium is a must for all young petrolheads. Meetings include the latest round of the Stock Rods East Anglian Championship, plus Rookie Rods, National Banger Micro Madness and hair-raising figure of eight races.
West Runton, August 2/16/30, September 29, 1pm, �3, 01263 513543
North Norfolk has fascinating geology — and archaeology — and the geology walks and events at West Runton have established a strong public following over the past 20 years. Here you can join experts to explore the seashore. Find out about brilliant barnacles, marvellous mussels and the other amazing creatures creeping around in the rock pools. Walks are suitable for those over the age of eight.
Waterloo Park, Norwich, July 29-August 26, free admission, www.norwich.gov.uk
Norwich City Council's excellent programme of free outdoors theatre is a real treat for families and it's again a diverse programme, beginning on July 29 with Magic Moon, an out of this world space adventure, and including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (August 5), Little Red Riding Hood (August 12) and Terrible Tudor Tales For Kids (July 13, August 7/14/21/28). Full details on the website.
Yarmouth, August 13/14/27/28, �6, 01493
During 2011 this Grade I listed monument will only be open for a limited number of pre-booked tours. And this Easter offers a rare chance to climb all 217 steps to experience the breathtaking views — Norwich Cathedral can be seen on a clear day — and to learn more about the Monument. Tours last for 30 minutes. Due to the slim spiral staircase and very small viewing platform at the top, only two visitors at any one time.
Sainsbury Centre, July 27-30, 10am–4.30pm, four days �80 (�60 cons), pre-book on 01603 593199
This special summer school for children aged 8–13 is a chance to get creative while exploring the parkland around the Sainbury's entre and find out about the importance of biodiversity. Children will also look at animal figures in the outstanding collection of world art and have the chance to create their own animal and take part in a natural treasure hunt.
Norwich Ghost Walk
The Adam and Eve, Bishopsgate, Norwich, 7.30pm, �6 (�4 cons), 07831 189985, www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk
The Man in Black and his team are back for the summer stalking terror around the streets of Norwich, and seeking out the local afterlife. The start point for all walks is The Adam and Eve in Bishopsgate, and from Monday they are three times a week. Monday and Tuesday walks follow the Elm Hill route whilst Thursday walks take in the 'Castle' route.
Segway Grand Prix
Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Gardens, open daily, �4 a session, 01493 844585.
Lean forward to go. Lean back to stop. And that's all there is to it. These high tech toys, or self-balancing electric transporters, are have been a popular addition to the Yarmouth seafront. For �4 you can race around the world's first Segway Grand Prix circuit. You may not be in danger of troubling Lewis Hamilton, but it's a lot of fun.
Millennium Plain, Norwich, August 1-12 12.30pm-1.30pm, www.theforumnorwich.co.uk
Pack in some lunchtime entertainment. The summer serving of top street theatre, now in its fifth year, comes to the Millennium Plain, outside the Forum, every weekday lunchtime. The free alfresco fun features daredevil stunts, music, dance, slapstick and more. It begins on August 1 with Maniax – an explosive escapology street show involving chains, padlocks and stunts on a towering platform.
Sheringham Station, trains run daily on various timetables, tickets from �6, �4 children, �18.75 family, 01263 820800, www.nnrailway.co.uk
Apart from on foot, this has to be the most glorious way to take in the North Norfolk coast. The 10.5 mile round trip from Sheringham to Holt through outstanding rolling countryside, takes in the beauty spots of Kelling Heath and Sheringham Park to the south. To the north, almost nothing but the sea. They run special events throughout the summer, notably the steam gala on September 2-4.
Central Beach, Great Yarmouth, July 27-August 31, from 8pm, free admission, 01493 846346
Watch the summer night skies light up above Yarmouth's golden mile with this free weekly firework display that draw families from across the region. Music and fun kicks off the evening from 8pm, with the firework blue touch paper being lit at 10pm. Expect plenty of oohs and aahs.
Ever since Victorian holidaymakers rushed to the seaside to don knotted hankies, the postcard image of children riding donkeys has been inextricably linked to British summer holidays. And despite the slow trudge of changing fashions and the periodic protests of animal rights campaigners, a trip along the beach on the back of a donkey is still popular.
South Walsham Guided Canoe Trails
Fairhaven Gardens, July 28, August 6/25, 6pm, �25, �15 children, 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk
With the help of your canoe guide you can silently explore South Walsham inner and outer broad and undisturbed tributaries, with the opportunity to see some of the Broads' best kept secrets — kingfishers, bitterns and maybe the elusive otter.