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Norfolk - A view from our expert author
Norfolk is the perfect place for Slow travel whether it is the county’s rich network of footpaths, exploring unspoiled villages by bicycle, drifting leisurely along its waterways or taking a ride on a heritage railway line.
I may not be a native but I have lived in Norfolk for longer than anywhere else in my life. When I first arrived here I was quick to explore the obvious places like the Norfolk Broads and the marvellous north Norfolk coast. These places still hold endless appeal but over the years I have also come to appreciate lesser known parts of the county too: the Brecks of west Norfolk, the Waveney Valley that follows the border with Suffolk, and the wide-open vistas of ‘high’ Norfolk in the northwest of the county. All of these regions make an ideal focus for a holiday or short break.
Although it could hardly be described as hilly, the county is not quite as flat as some might have you believe. The Norfolk countryside is a wonderful place for outdoor pursuits like hiking, cycling and birdwatching. Norfolk’s towns and villages should not be overlooked either: King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth at either end of the county both have a rich maritime history, while Cromer and Hunstanton are characterful Victorian-era resorts.
Away from the coast, historic market towns like Holt, Aylsham and Diss have their own distinctive charm too, partly thanks to their attractive vernacular architecture but also because of their laid-back, slightly old-fashioned atmosphere. If life seems a bit too ‘Slow’ in such places then there’s always Norwich, which for a small city punches well above its weight in terms of its facilities and provision for the arts. The city, which each May hosts the highly regarded Norfolk and Norwich Festival, one of the oldest city arts festivals in the country, became England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012, one of only seven such cities in the world.
Bradt on Britain – our Slow Travel approach
Bradt’s coverage of Britain’s regions makes ‘Slow Travel’ its focus. To us, Slow Travel means ditching the tourist ticklists – deciding not to try to see ‘too much’ – and instead taking time to get properly under the skin of a special region. You don’t have to travel at a snail’s pace: you just have to allow yourself to savour the moment, appreciate the local differences that create a sense of place, and celebrate its food, people and traditions.