Norwich is “A Fine City”. That’s the city’s motto and as a resident for the last few years, I agree it has a lot going for it. There’s the Cathedral, Castle, Market, the Riverside Walk, and more within the city center, but there are also some amazing places that you can visit on a day trip.
In this post, I wanted to share some of the best day trips from Norwich along with logistical details and helpful tips. There is no shortage of options to choose from.
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Best Day Trips from Norwich Using Public Transportation
Even without a car, there are several interesting day trips that you can do. The Norwich Train Station is a short walk from the city center. Remember, it’s best to plan these day trips in advance because if you wait to buy your train (or bus) tickets the same day you travel, it can be expensive.
Day Trip to Cambridge from Norwich
Cambridge is one of my favorite places in the UK. It’s a picturesque city that is home to one of the most famous universities in the world. There is so much history and lots to do on a day trip to Cambridge.
What to Do in Cambridge
- Visit some of the famous colleges. You can do this on your own or take a guided walking tour led by a student.
- Check out some of the amazing museums. My favorites are the Fitzwilliam and the Museum of Archeology.
- Visit some of the beautiful churches. King’s College Chapel has some of the most beautiful stained glass anywhere. It’s also worth visiting Great St. Mary’s Church and climbing the tower to see the views.
- Try punting on the Cam River. This is the most quintessential Cambridge thing to do. You can do the punting on your own or take a punting tour.
How to Travel to Cambridge From Norwich
You can either take a train or bus from Norwich to Cambridge. The train takes a little more than an hour while the bus takes closer to two. The train station in Cambridge is about a 15-minute walk from many attractions while the bus station is more centrally located. The bus will take longer but it is cheaper. Whichever transportation option you choose, you will get the best price by booking in advance.
Day Trip to London from Norwich
It is not possible to be bored in London, so even if you have been before it is always worth going back. There seems to be an endless list of things to do and it is easy to take the train from Norwich to London. We tend to do a day trip to London from Norwich about once a month.
What to Do in London
- If it’s your first time in London, I recommend going to the Tower of London and the British Museum.
- During the summer, you can go inside Buckingham Palace and see the State Rooms.
- If the weather is bad, there are plenty of excellent museums. In addition to the British Museum, I love the Tate Modern, National Gallery, and the Natural History Museum.
- If you are looking for something different to do in London consider taking a Harry Potter or Street Art Tour. I also love the Greenwich area. You can go to the Royal Observatory where the Prime Meridian is located, visit the Queen’s House, or even climb over The O2 Arena.
- London also has an amazing food scene. I have written about the food scene in Shoreditch and Mexican restaurants.
How to Travel to London From Norwich
The fastest way to get from Norwich to London is to take the train. It takes about 2 hours to get to London Liverpool Street Station. Get your ticket in advance and avoid rush hour to get the best price on your train tickets. Click here to check prices and schedule.
If you have a little more time, you can save money by taking the National Express bus from Norwich to London. Click here to check prices and schedule.
Day Trip to Thetford from Norwich
Thetford is the birthplace of one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Paine. It’s a small town with plenty to see, so ideal for a day trip. The statue of Thomas Paine on King Street with some of his most famous quotes is moving. Even before Thomas Paine’s time, Thetford was an important English town.
What to Do in Thetford
- Visit the ruins of the Priory of Our Lady of Thetford and imagine what it would have been like in its prime when it was one of the largest and most important monasteries in medieval East Anglia. It is free to visit the Thetford Priory.
- Climb to the top of Thetford Castle which is the second-largest man-made mound in England. Unfortunately, the mound is all that’s left of the castle as it was largely destroyed in 1173 by Henry II. Thetford Castle is free to visit.
- Check out the Ancient Museum and the Charles Burrell Museum to learn more about Thetford’s history.
- Say hi to Thomas Paine (well the statue) and read his quotes.
- Grab a bite and/or a beverage at the Bell across the street from the Thomas Paine statue.
How to Travel to Thetford From Norwich
You can take either the train or a bus from Norwich to Thetford. The train takes about 30 minutes while the direct bus takes 45 minutes. Taking the bus will save you a bit of money though.
Day Trip to Colchester from Norwich
Colchester is one of Britain’s most historic towns. It was the first Roman-founded city in Britain and for a time the capital of Roman Britain. The city walls were built during Roman times and two large stretches of the wall are still standing on the west and north sides. The Balkerne Gate is the earliest and most complete Roman gateway in the United Kingdom. Colchester also has the only known Roman circus for chariot racing in England.
What to Do in Colchester
- Visit Colchester Castle. It’s a Norman keep built on the foundations of a Roman Temple. In the keep, there is the Colchester Castle Museum which holds some important national treasures.
- Explore the Beth Chatto Gardens. Once you have seen the six acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, relax in the tea room.
- Go to Firstsite. It’s a contemporary art gallery in a unique building designed by Rafael Viñoly. It is free to visit Firstsite.
- See some of Colchester’s other museums including Hollytrees Museum, Colchester Natural History Museum, East Anglian Railway Museum, and the Minories Gallery.
- Do the 2-mile circular walk following the course of the old city walls.
How to Travel to Colchester from Norwich
It’s best to take the train from Norwich to Colchester as it’s direct and takes a little more than an hour. Check train prices and schedules here.
Taking the bus between Colchester and Norwich is not practical for a day trip because there are no direct options. It could end up taking you five hours. I don’t think that is worth the money you would save.
Day Trip to Cromer From Norwich
Cromer is one of my favorite spots on the North Norfolk coast. It’s a traditional English seaside town. It is famous for its crabs and pier.
What to Do in Cromer
- Try your hand crabbing from the pier. You can buy all the supplies you need at the shop on the pier.
- Enjoy the beach and try your hand at fossil hunting.
- Taste the Cromer crabs or have some Fish & Chips.
- Visit the Henry Blogg Museum and learn more about one of England’s bravest men. The museum is free.
- Go to the Cromer Parish Church (St. Peter and St. Paul). I was impressed by the stained glass and the organ. The Tower is closed because it is home to a pair of peregrine falcons.
How to Travel to Cromer from Norwich
You can take either a train or bus from Norwich to Cromer. Both options take you about an hour. If you want to take the train, be sure to buy tickets in advance. Check prices and schedule here.
The bus will be the cheaper option. It’s the x44 Coasthopper bus that you can catch at Castle Meadow (stop CE). A round-trip ticket will cost £6.20 and you can purchase it on the bus. They accept all contactless payment cards except American Express. Unlike National Express buses, these tickets cannot be purchased in advance. Click here to check the Coasthopper Bus schedule.
Day Trip to Bury St. Edmunds from Norwich
Bury St. Edmunds is a historic market town in the county of Suffolk. It was once a pilgrimage site where people would come to see the shrine to King Edmund who died in 869. Now, it is known for brewing (Greene King brewery) and a sugar processing factory.
What to Do in Bury St. Edmunds
- Visit the Cathedral. While the church has been around hundreds of years, the tower was only added in 2005. You probably would not have known the tower was new without being told. It’s free to visit the church, but there is a charge if you want to do a guided tour or a tower tour.
- Walk around the Abbey Gardens. The Abbey is now just ruins but it’s easy to see how magnificent it must have been. It’s free to visit the Abbey Gardens.
- Go to Moyse’s Hall Museum. This museum is popular with families and has exhibits about the history of Bury, witchcraft, rare timepieces, and more. It’s housed in a beautiful medieval building in the Market Place.
- Browse the Bury St. Edmunds Market. It’s open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. While it’s smaller than the Cambridge or Norwich Markets, you can still find some unique local products.
How to Travel to Bury St. Edmunds from Norwich
In most cases, it is actually best to drive to Bury St. Edmunds, unless it is during the Bury St. Edmunds Christmas Market when there will be no parking.
If you want to take public transportation, I recommend the train. Even though, you do have to switch (most likely in Stowmarket) it only takes around an hour. Click here to check the train schedule and pricing.
Buses from Norwich to Bury St. Edmunds aren’t really practical for a day trip. The schedule is very limited and it takes more than three hours because there is no direct bus.
Best Day Trips from Norwich By Car
If you have a car, it opens up more possibilities and gives you a bit of flexibility. Just remember that driving here (even in the countryside) can be difficult if you are not used to it. (Read my post about the differences between driving in the UK and US).
Day Trip to the North Norfolk Coast from Norwich
The North Norfolk Coast is an area you could spend weeks exploring. The beaches are pristine. The water may be too cold for me to swim, but I still enjoy walking along the coast.
I already mentioned visiting Cromer but there are a few other places on the North Norfolk Coast that should be on your list. Keep in mind you need a car to visit these spots.
What to Do in the North Norfolk Coast
- Go to Wells-Next-to-the-Sea. The beach is huge when the tide is out and the sand is soft. If you like beach huts, Wells is the place to go in Norfolk. By the town, don’t miss the horse sculpture in the harbor.
- Visit Blakeney. It’s a pretty village that is home to the Blakeney National Nature Reserve. There are also several boat trips that you can take to see seals. Additionally, there is a nice scenic walk.
- Head to Sea Palling. Most people consider it the most family-friendly beach in the area. There are some amusements, cafes, and amenities right by the beach. The sea is calmer than other Norfolk beaches because of the reef formation. If you don’t mind the cold water it’s ideal for swimming. It’s a nice place to walk along the North Norfolk Coastal Path, too.
How to Get to the North Norfolk Coast from Norwich
These spots on the North Norfolk Coast are all about an hour drive from Norwich. You should not have an issue finding parking as there are parking lots by the beaches and villages.
Day Trip to the Norfolk Broads from Norwich
The Norfolk Broads is a National Park that is basically located on Norwich’s doorstep. It’s a network of rivers and lakes. It’s so serene. The best way to see the Broads is from the water.
What to do in the Norfolk Broads
- We had so much fun when we rented a boat on the Norfolk Broads. It was surprisingly easy to drive and it is such a scenic area.
- Stop in at Ranworth. This small village has a wildlife preserve and also a beautiful church. Climb the to the top of the tower of St. Helen’s Church for spectacular views of the area.
- Visit St. Benet’s Abbey. It’s only ruins now but in Tudor times, St Benet’s was the only one that was not officially closed as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. Get more information about St. Benet’s Abbey here.
- Go for a nature walk or boat tour at How Hill.
How to Get to the Norfolk Broads from Norwich
The Broads actually cover a pretty large area so depending on where you want to go it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to drive to from Norwich. We have not had any issues finding parking when we have visited.
Day Trip to Sandringham from Norwich
Sandringham is one of Queen Elizabeth’s country retreats. It’s been a private home for monarchs since 1862 and where the royal family has celebrated Christmas since 1988.
What to do in Sandringham
- Tour Sandringham House. You can see the room where the royal family has Christmas Dinner and more. Don’t worry, with Sandringham House, you don’t need to get tickets in advance, you can buy them when you arrive. Note: The house and gardens are only open from April to mid-October each year.
- Enjoy the grounds of Sandringham. It is free to visit Sandringham Country Park but there is a charge to see the gardens which surround Sandringham House. In the Country Park, there is an adventure play area for kids and a sculpture trail.
- Go to the Sandringham Exhibition & Transport Museum. This is included with tickets to see Sandringham House or the Gardens.
- Visit St. Mary Magdalene Church where the royal family attends mass on Christmas morning.
- Stop in at the Dabbling Duck Pub nearby. It’s one of my favorite pubs in England.
You can find more information about visiting Sandringham here.
How to Get to Sandringham from Norwich
It takes about an hour to drive from Norwich to Sandringham. There is a parking lot by the Visitor’s Center at Sandringham Country Park.
Day Trip to Walsingham from Norwich
Walsingham has been a popular destination for pilgrims after the apparitions that took place in 1061. There are still pilgrims who go to Walsingham, but even if you are not religious (like me) it’s still worth a visit.
What to Do in Walsingham
- Visit the ruins of Walsingham Abbey. If you visit during late winter or early spring, the snowdrops walk is a must!
- Go to Our Lady of Walsingham, the Anglican Chapel, to see the replica of the Holy House and try the holy water.
- Go to the Slipper Chapel, the Roman Catholic Basilica.
- Stop in at the Walsingham Farm Shop for some local goodies.
- From mid-March through the end of October, there is a tourist steam train that takes you from Walsingham to Wells-Next-to-the-Sea on the North Norfolk Coast.
How to Get to Walsingham from Norwich
It takes about an hour drive from Norwich to Walsingham. There is a small parking lot just northwest of the Abbey, use the small street off of Bridewell Street to access it.
Day Trip to the Suffolk Coast from Norwich
If you want to do a beach day trip from Norwich the Suffolk coast is another option. With a car, you could easily see a few of the most popular towns in one day. My favorites are Aldeburgh, Walberswick, Dunwich, and Southwold.
What to Do on the Suffolk Coast
- Have some of the best fish & chips in England in Aldeburgh.
- Picnic at the Walberswick Beach or try crabbing.
- Take a tour of the Adnam’s Brewery in Southwold.
- Go for a walk through Dunwich Heath.
How to Get to the Suffolk Coast from Norwich
It’s about an hour to an hour and half drive from Norwich to the Suffolk Coast depending on where you go.
It can sometimes be tough to find parking in Aldeburgh. If that is the case drive towards Thorpeness to find more. It’s a lovely coastal walk back into Aldeburgh.
Parking at Dunwich Heath is free for National Trust Members. Click here to learn about more benefits that come along with National Trust Membership.
Day Trip to Framlingham from Norwich
Framlingham is home to the historic Framlingham Castle and also Ed Sheeran. Framlingham Castle is best known as the place where Bloody Mary (Mary Tudor) was crowned Queen of England.
What to Do in Framlingham
- Explore Framlingham Castle and do the castle wall walk. Framlingham Castle is an English Heritage site so members can get in free. Click here to get more information on English Heritage membership. If you are visiting England from overseas, consider getting the English Heritage overseas pass.
- Do the Framlingham Castle Meer walk.
- Other attractions nearby include Saxton Green Post Mill (also an English Heritage site) and Helmingham Hall Gardens.
- You may be able to also fit in a visit to one of the Suffolk coastal towns (see above)
How to Get to Framlingham from Norwich
It takes about a little more than an hour to drive from Norwich to Framlingham. There is parking at the castle.
Day Trip to Orford from Norwich
Orford in Suffolk is the quintessential English fishing village. It has an interesting history from Henry II to the Cold War and it’s ideal for nature lovers too.
Things to Do in Orford
- Visit Orford Castle. It was built by Henry II and has a unique shape. Climb to the top for some impressive views of the Suffolk Coast. Orford Castle is free for English Heritage members. Click here for more information about English Heritage.
- Explore the Orford Ness Nature Reserve. What used to be an atomic weapons research center has been turned into a nature reserve. It’s interesting to learn more about the history and fun to spot the wildlife. Orford Ness is a National Trust site. It’s free for National Trust members but you do have to pay for the boat ride. Get more information about National Trust membership here.
- Take a boat cruise from Orford Quay. You can do one where they serve a meal or one that is more focused on nature and wildlife.
- Go inside Orford Church. It was built in the 14th century attached to the 12th century remains. The church is known for its acoustics, so catch a performance there if you can.
How to Get to Orford from Norwich
It takes about an hour and half to drive from Norwich to Orford. There are parking lots by the castle and also close to the docks.
Choosing an Excursion from Norwich
If you have a bit of extra time in Norwich, there are plenty of day trips in East Anglia to choose from. It’s the perfect opportunity to go to the beach, learn more about history, get closer to nature, explore some museums, and more. The travel time is two hours or less!
Have you ever done a day trip from Norwich?
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Expert Tips for Day Trips From Norwich
- There are a nice variety of options for day excursions from Norwich whether you are interested in history, castles, beaches, or nature.
- Keep in mind that for many day trips you will need to buy your train or bus tickets in advance. If you wait until the day of travel, it can be very expensive – especially for the train from Norwich to London.
- Driving in England is different from the US. If you don’t feel comfortable it’s probably best to stick to the day trips that can be done by public transportation.