Spring activities in Norfolk
Spring is such a welcoming time of year - it warmly signals a time of fresh beginnings, more pleasant weather and a refreshing increase in the number of daylight hours, lifting spirits and restoring energy levels.
Here are some ideas to put a spring in your step…
Visit Dog-Friendly Attractions
For many families, whether an attraction is dog-friendly or not, will be the deciding factor of a destination for a day trip. Fortunately, many of our local attractions welcome dogs - in fact, you may be surprised at how many places are happy to accommodate your pet. Some venues welcome well-behaved dogs on leads, supply dog bins and water bowls on café terraces. Some even have designated doggy tables in their cafés and showers to wash down the dirty fur of any of our four-legged friends who have had, perhaps, too much of a good time rolling around in the mud.
- Do prevent your dog from chasing wildlife and farm animals
- Do keep your dog in sight
- Do bag dog poo and bin it in the special bins
Decorate Flower Pots
Add a welcome splash of colour to the garden by encouraging the children to paint or embellish a flower pot. Plain terracotta or ceramic pots are usually cheap and can be bought at many of the garden centres or home stores.
Go on a Spring Flower Walk and Trail
Spring flowers really do brighten up the landscape and can be spotted on many trails and walks throughout the county. Children are able to learn about how the appearance of certain flowers signify the changing of a season.
Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and bluebells flourish within a short space of each other but their appearance always follows the same sequence.
There are beautiful bluebell walks in Foxley Wood in Dereham, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham, Lower Wood in Aswellthorpe, Wayland Wood near Watton and on the Blickling Estate – where often the aroma is equally as pleasing as the sight of the flowers.
Make a Welly Planter
Children tend to outgrow their wellies at a rapid pace of knots, so rather than sending the old boots to recycling heaven, how about re-using them in a way to add a funky, quirky feature for your garden? Start of by drilling some holes into the sole of the boots to enable the water to flow freely through the boot. Next, add some pebbles to the bottom of the boot, this will add some weight and keep it steady. Then pack in some compost, then plant your flower or seeds. Finish by sprinkling the plant or seeds with some water and placing the welly planter on full display for all to admire.
See and Cuddle Some Newborns
There’s something about new-born animals that children seem to absolutely love.
At this time of year, the fields are filled with newborn lambs bleating loudly and the Easter chicks are simply lovely in their yellow fluffy splendour.
The great news is that many of the farm parks and attractions have plenty of cute baby animals to see, feed and cuddle.
Help Out at a Beach Clean
The local beaches are wonderful places to be during the spring months. The summer crowds haven’t yet arrived, the sands have been freshly cleaned and yes, most of the time the weather is reasonably warm. You can contribute to this welcoming environment by helping out at one of the many beach cleans across the county.
Then, enjoy learning more about the sea-life you have helped to save at one of the fun rockpool rambles. Find some Beachwatch beach clean events on the Marine Conservation Society’s website - www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/events
Take a look at what’s happening in the region this spring…
Where’s Wally in the Daffodils
On Sunday 28 April, from 1pm to 5pm, Stody Lodge Gardens near Holt in north Norfolk will welcome the region’s Where’s Wally lovers for a family friendly day of fancy dress, games on the lawn, farmyard animals and delicious homemade teas in aid of The Benjamin Foundation.
There will be a group ‘Wally’ photo at 3.30pm among over 4,000 daffodils. There will also be a Butterfly Trail through the gardens organised by the Benjamin Foundation. Entry will be free for all Wallys (hat & top) and all kids under 12 go free. For details see www.stodylodgegardens.co.uk
Largest ever Norfolk Spring Fling
The Norfolk Spring Fling, on Thursday 11 April at Norfolk Showground, is a great day out for all the family – costing just £9.50 entry which includes tractor rides, lamb feeding and hands on learning. This year’s Spring Fling will be the largest yet with 7 zones and 70 experiences designed to engage, educate and excite. A selection of food options will be available including a farmers market, public catering and new picnic areas. Buy your tickets online via www.springfling.rnaa.org.uk
The Fairy Fair Celebrates its 21 Year
Discover the magic of nature this spring when the Fairy Fair returns with its 21st fair on 26 and 27 May.
This year the fair will be held in the beautiful Bradmoor Woods, West Acre and will feature workshops, live music, entertainment, storytelling, games and lots more, promising a magical day-out where families with young children can connect with nature.
Read more at www.fairylandtrust.org
Thrills Galore at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach is a free entry amusement park, situated at the south end of Great Yarmouth’s famous golden mile dominating the seafront with its rides. From rollercoasters to bumper cars, a revamped Haunted Hotel to water attractions, there really is something to keep all family members happy for hours. Ride all day by purchasing wristbands or get individual ride tokens. The Pleasure Beach is open seasonally from March until October. For the latest information visit www.pleasure-beach.co.uk or call 01493 844585.
Children’s Wildlife Activity Day at Peter Beales Roses
The Children’s Wildlife Activity Day at Peter Beales Roses is a fun packed day full of wildlife themed crafts, activities and face painting.
Happening on Wednesday 17 April, from 10am to 3pm, the day will feature many free crafts, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust will be in attendance offering some fantastic activities and Swallow Aquatics will be taking along plenty of reptiles for visitors to handle.
Entry is free and there is no need to pre-book. Visit www.classicroses.co.uk for further information.
‘Sea’ Beneath the Waves at Sea Life Great Yarmouth
Step beneath the waves at Sea Life Great Yarmouth and get closer than ever before to the creatures and features of the world’s oceans. New for 2019, Jelly Invaders takes you on a journey into the fascinating world of jellyfish.
Get up close to the ‘Moon Jellyfish’ and follow the jellyfish life cycle. Also, come face to fin with juvenile blacktip reef sharks and find out how it feels to touch a starfish at the Interactive Rockpool Experience. That’s not all – there are plenty of fun talks, feeds and a Dive Quiz Trail to enjoy. For details see www.visitsealife.com/great-yarmouth
Spring Holiday Activities at Whitlingham Adventure
Whitlingham Adventure is an exciting place to be during the school holidays. Located on the edge of Norwich, a gateway to the Broads National Park, Whitlingham Adventure will be offering activities to children aged 8 years+, from adventure days and weeks, accredited courses to clubs and craft hire.
The adventurous array of activities include sailing, stand-up-paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, archery plus lots more. Families will have the opportunity to experience some of these activities at the Spring Family Adventure Festival on Sunday 14 April. For details see www.whitlinghamadventure.org.uk or call 01603 632307.
Free Bounce at Gravity Trampoline Parks
Bounce until your heart’s content with wall-to-wall trampolines, challenge your friends to a game of slam-dunk or dodgeball, hone your skills on the big air bag – or sit back and watch from the viewing gallery whilst enjoying a drink with free WIFI at the Gravity Trampoline Park in Norwich. Or if you’re looking for a fun-filled birthday party without lifting a finger, then let the friendly team take the strain and throw the best party ever.
The team’s aim is simple - all about the birthday boy or girl – if there is anything they need, they’ve got it! Look out for the super voucher offer on their advert in this magazine which is valid until 15 May 2019. Exclusive to Primary Times readers, the voucher entitles you to one free bounce when you bring another full paying customer with you (walk-ins only). See www.gravity-uk.com or call 01603 964949.
New Soft Play Now Open - Long Stratton Leisure Centre
Bananas Soft Play has opened at the refurbished Long Stratton Leisure Centre. Three storeys of jungle fun await your little ones with rope bridges, tunnels, rollers, dangly snakes, a twin lane wavy slide and much more. There’s tons of space to climb and play and a separate toddlers area too.
You can also relax and enjoy the fantastic new cafe with family and friends or simply unwind with a magazine and a coffee as your child plays. Bananas Soft Play is open 7 days a week for 0-11 year olds. Under 6 months go free and there’s also free parking and free WiFi.
Birthday coming up? Bananas Soft Play party packages take the stress out of organising a party – the perfect way to celebrate your little monkey’s birthday. For more information visit www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/bananas
Action-Packed Holiday Club at Eaton Vale
The Eaton Vale Scout and Guide Activity Centre will be running a fun-filled, action-packed holiday club for children aged between 7 and 14 years for only £22 per day during the school holiday. A large variety of outdoor activities ranging from canoeing to archery to rock climbing will be bundled into each and every day. This holiday club will give your child the chancer to try something new and exciting, develop skills, and make new friends. For a quick and easy booking process visit the website: www.eatonvale.co.uk or call 01603 501228.
Mildred’s Mishaps Set to Entertain at Theatre Royal Norwich
Long before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble, an ordinary girl who attended a school for witches. Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies worldwide and been made into films and TV series.
Now theatre audiences can find out how Mildred fares when The Worst Witch arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal from April 16 to 20, featuring specially written music, breath-taking magic and plenty of Mildred’s unique brand of utter pandemonium. For tickets, see www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
Get the Family Together and Join the Circus at The Garage
This Easter holiday join the littlest mermaid as she explores the world out of the ocean at the My First Circus: The Littlest Mermaid performance at The Garage from Wednesday 10 to Thursday 18 April. From gathering ingredients for the magic potion to joining in the birthday song and helping the fishermen with their catch; you’ll take part in this performance rather than just watching from a distance. Suitable for children aged 2-6 years and their families. For more information and bookings visit www.thegarage.org.uk or call 01603 598646.
Easter Activities at Kids Camp
Ofsted registered Kids Camps open their doors for the Easter holidays for two weeks of fun. Kids Camp gets children involved in a whole range of exciting activities and new challenges.
Children aged 5-15 can attend between 8.15am and 6pm at both the Long Stratton and Wymondham Leisure Centres and enjoy a programme full of sports, games, craft and activities. It costs only £27 for a full day and £18 for a half day. Visit www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/kids-camp to book online.
Ever Dreamed of Being a Mermaid?
Finsplash Mermaid School offer a unique take on swimming lessons where adults and children can blend fantasy with reality and become mermaids for the day. Using mono-fins and tail skins, anyone can turn into a real-life mermaid. Take part in one of the group lessons, private one-to-one sessions, children's or hen parties, mermaid makeovers or hire a Mermaid. For more information, visit www.finsplash.co.uk
Hooray – it’s May!
May Day celebrations begin a month of festivals, shows and fun-filled occasions. It’s a time of year when communities congregate in city halls, village greens and town squares to mark the longer days and revel in the best of the season.
Although May Day falls on the first day of the month, the traditional celebrations and festivities happen at any point during the first weekend of May.
This timely celebratory occasion was chosen as it marked the date when most of the ‘seed sowing’ had been completed, making it a convenient time to give farm labourers a day off from their duties.
Interestingly, taking off the first Monday of the month as a Bank Holiday only started back in 1978. As the May Day festivities, had been enjoyed by many communities throughout the centuries, the Labour Government at the time decided to mark the occasion, by granting the first Monday in May as a Bank Holiday, giving families a day off from work and school.
Over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, many towns and villages celebrate with communal fetes, traditional festivals and shows.
Often, the celebrations are quirky affairs featuring Morris dancing, Maypole dancing and novel processions displaying unique characters to the town where they are taking place. Streets and parks are often dressed in bright flags, flowers and greenery, and live music from town bands, teams of drummers or accordion players, all contribute to a lively, convivial atmosphere.
A key part of the May Day celebrations is the maypole, which is placed at the hub of the action, bringing the community together.
Local primary school children often participate in the Maypole dancing, which involves a fun dance using coloured ribbons that are eventually woven into a pretty pattern around the pole.
Pairs of boys and girls, positioned at the base of the pole, and holding the end of a ribbon, weave in and around each other, with the boys going one way and girls going the other.
Aside from May Day celebrations there are plenty of other activities for families to enjoy throughout the month