Best Family Walks In Suffolk And Norfolk

Child and dog playing on the beach.
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Now the Government has eased lockdown restrictions and we can get outside for walks make the most of your time outside.

Avoid the crowds flocking to the beaches, forget strolling to the shops and instead opt for a family walk with some serious views on the side. There is an abundance of stunning walks in Suffolk and Norfolk which include ancient woodland, river meanders and little known trails. Kidadl is here to spill the beans on where the best family-friendly walks in these counties can be found.

Walks in Suffolk

Dunwich Heath Beach Circular Walk

It's easy to see why Dunwich Heath falls into the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Not only are there coastal views but swathes of heather, gorse expanses and Dartford warbler, nightjar and woodlark to spot on the walks through the Suffolk countryside. There are several circular walks to enjoy, all starting from the National Trust's Coastguards Cottages. For families, this 5-mile route takes in Dunwich museum and the ruins of the historic Greyfriars Monastery - a great spot to play at being knights.

Starting point: Coastguard Cottages, Minsmere Road, Dunwich, Suffolk, IP17 3DJ

Drive from London in: Two and a half hours

Length of walk: 5miles (8km) two hours

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: Well defined footpaths. One short section with steps, and muddy tracks in wet weather.

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes but there are some short stretches alongside the road and a stepped section.

Facilities: Toilets - currently closed

Terrain: Walk is suitable for all. Easy terrain, but muddy in wet weather

Parking: Pre-booked parking. Free for National Trust members, £5 for non-members.

Amenities: Picnic area, tea room, gift shop, children's play area - currently closed

Rendlesham Forest UFO Trail

Set off for an out-of-this-world adventure in Rendlesham Forest - home to one of the most significant UFO sightings in history and one of the popular walks in Suffolk. As kids work their way through the forest, heath and wetlands make sure they keep alert for alien sightings. Follow purple trail markers for this route and you'll go right past the large replica spaceship. Using the Alien Trail leaflet available from the visitor centre kids can decode an unidentified message.

Starting point: Rendlesham Forest, Tangham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3NF

Drive from London in: Two hours 10 minutes

Length of walk: 3 miles (4.8km) one and a half hours

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: Yes, mainly wooded terrain

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes

Facilities: Toilets including accessible toilets

Terrain: Suitable for all

Parking: Yes - parking charges apply

Amenities: Picnic area, play area, other walking and cycling trails - currently closed

Lavenham to Long Melford Railway Walk

As walks in Suffolk go this one is full of history. Starting at Lavenham's ancient Guildhall and finishing at Melford Hall, this route follows the old GER railway line. The trains are long gone but there are lots of opportunities to uncover wildflowers and lots of birds and animals. As well as visiting a site of special scientific interest you'll also pass the scene of an 1891 railway accident. Enjoy the fields and ancient woodland but be aware that you have to cross the busy A134 Sudbury to Bury St Edmunds road.

Starting point:  Guildhall, Market Place, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9QZ

Drive from London in: Two hours

Length of walk: 4.5miles (7.2km) Two hours

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: No

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: No

Facilities: Toilets at Guildhall and Melford Hall - currently closed

Terrain: Wear waterproof footwear - some areas may be waterlogged. You'll head through woodland, field paths and public footpaths and may encounter tree roots so be aware

Parking: Yes, free

Amenities: Tea rooms at Guildhall and Melford Hall - currently closed

National Trust Walking In The Footsteps Of Constable

Picturesque river views are all part of the deal at this place which edges the Essex/Suffolk border - with a walk through the area made famous by the paintings of John Constable. As you meander through the natural beauty of the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale you pass Flatford Mill on the River Stour and the scene that inspired the Hay Wain painting. This is Suffolk countryside made for walking. Round off your walk with a river trip on the Stour - hire a boat from Flatford Bridge or Flatford Granary and get the kids rowing.

Starting point: Manningtree Station, Lawford, Manningtree CO11 2LE

Drive from London in: One hour 50 minutes

Length of walk: 4 miles (6.4km) Two and a half hours. An additional 3 miles (4.8km) loops through Dedham taking your walk to three hours and 45 minutes.

Difficulty: Moderate

Buggy friendly: Yes

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes

Facilities: Toilets at Manningtree Station (no baby change)

Terrain: Mainly flat grass and gravel paths. Some moderate slopes. Be prepared for muddy paths in wet weather.

Parking: Park at Manningtree Station, charges apply

Amenities: Riverside National Trust tea room plus shops and cafes in the villages you pass - currently closed

Southwold Harbour Circular

If bribery is the only way to get your kids to join you on a walk then follow this seaside town's trail on the Suffolk coast. Southwold is rife with ice cream stops - the super-yummy gelato at Harris & James gets our thumbs up (open with social distancing measures in place). This easy route starts at Gardner Road Car Park and takes in the lifeboat station, water tower, the Blyth river and lots of charming beach huts.

Starting point: Gardner Road, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HN

Drive from London in: Two hours 50 minutes

Length of walk: 2.5miles (km) one and a half hours

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: Yes

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes, though a detour on to the beach may be harder on wheels

Facilities: Public toilets by the lifeboat station - currently closed

Terrain: Mainly paths

Parking: Paid parking at Gardner Road

Amenities: The beach is a great playground for kids and on the doorstep of this walk

Walks in Norfolk

Felbrigg Norfolk Mountain Walk

If you've been trapped inside for months make your first family-friendly walk worth the wait. This circular walk takes in some 1140ft of combined gradients - or the equivalent of a small mountain. This long-distance route serves up sweeping coast views and takes you through wooded paths and to the top of Incleborough Hill where you'll find picturesque views over Cromer. Challenge the kids to climb Beeston Bump for the coast view of Sheringham.

Starting point: Felbrigg, near Cromer, Norfolk NR11 8PR

Drive from London in: Just over three hours

Length of walk: 16 miles (25.6km) Six hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Buggy friendly: No

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: This route is best explored on foot

Facilities: Toilets at various sites, including Sheringham Park Visitor Centre, Felbrigg Hall and Sheringham Seafront (currently closed)

Terrain: Undulating underfoot, with steep slopes, steps and stiles. Some rough paths.

Parking: Yes, free for National Trust members

Cley Marshes Circular Walk

Disguise your family walk as an opportunity to spot some wildlife and blow away the cobwebs with this coastal, well-trodden path. The salt marshes offer up amazing views as well as the chance to spot rare birdlife and even water voles and otters on the water. Twitchers can stake out the birds at one of the bird hides (currently closed), and immerse the family in history by looking for  World War II relics including a pillbox and gun turret.

Starting point: Cley Marsh Visitor Centre, Norfolk NR25 7SA

Drive from London in: Three hours

Length of walk: 3 miles (4.8km) one and a half hours

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: The Nature Reserve is buggy friendly, but you'll also cross a stony beach

Dog friendly: Leave the dog at home for this nature reserve walk

Bike/scooter friendly: No

Facilities: Yes at the Visitor Centre - currently closed

Terrain: This walk is suitable for all - some muddy paths depending on the weather

Parking: Parking is free for members of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. £6 for the day for non-members.

The Wood, Foxley

This is a pretty special walk at any time - however, it comes into its own at the end of April and early May when the wood is carpeted with bluebells and you can follow the special bluebell trails. Visit and take the well-marked circular walk, stopping to read the information boards about the trees, flowers, wildlife and woodland. The site is closed on Thursdays year-round but this outstanding natural beauty is well worth a visit.

Starting point: Foxley Wood, Norfolk, NR20 4QR

Drive from London in: Two hours 50 minutes

Length of walk: One and a half miles (2.4km)  45 minutes depending on how far you head into the wood

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: Yes

Dog friendly: No dogs allowed in Foxley Wood

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes

Facilities: Make sure you go before you visit

Terrain: Woodland which can be wet and muddy underfoot. But easy terrain for all.

Parking: Yes, free

Kings Lynn Heritage Walk

Take an urban walk with the kids taking in some of Norfolk's heritage - perfect if you're after a stroll rather than a ramble. You start by skirting the river before pounding the local pavements then heading to the trails in The Walks park. Within the county, there is no other place offering a similar historic landscape. Look for the Guannock Gate, originally part of the town's defences, and the 1920s bandstand on the river bank - a heritage highlight.

Starting point: South Quay, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1HA

Drive from London in: Two and a half hours

Length of walk: Two miles (3.2km) one hour

Difficulty: Easy

Buggy friendly: Yes

Dog friendly: Yes

Bike/scooter friendly: Yes

Facilities: Public toilets in The Walks at Broad Walk, and St John's Walk - currently closed

Terrain: Mainly pavements

Parking: Free parking on Quayside

Amenities: In The Walks, there are toilets, refreshment kiosk, play areas, a parkour unit and multi-use games area - currently closed though the park remains open

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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