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Norfolk Tours - Truly Great Norfolk

Take in some of East Anglia’s finest Great Houses, greatest sandy beaches and countless great villages dwarfed only by history, all under one great big Norfolk sky. There are Palladian mansions to pop in or pedal past and royal connections at Sandringham and Oxborough too. Great Walsingham warrants a pilgrimage beyond the beach and historic quayside of Wells; Great Massingham boasts abbey fishponds and Great Bircham a towering mill. Coast through gloriously green estates, discover stylish market towns and follow history down the Peddars Way Path. With woodland, heathland and rolling landscapes all the way, this tour is a clear contender for some truly great cycling!

Tour details

Tour Name
Truly Great Norfolk
Tour Reference
N6
Tour Duration
6 days and 5 nights
Start Day
Any Day
Tour Grade
2-3
Board Basis
Bed & Breakfast
Price
From £764 to £802 per person
Accommodation

is located near Watton, Swaffham, Burnham Market and Great Bircham. Selected properties include one 4 star (two nights) and two 3 star hotels and a luxury, family-run boutique hotel (unrated). We are pleased to discuss details on request.

Tour at a Glance

From the heathland of the Brecks in the south to Nelson’s coastal homelands in the north, this tour picks out some of Norfolk’s greatest highlights. It brings together an irresistible mix of superb and varied cycling between great hotels, wildly different landscapes and rural gems which are a joy to discover.

Availability
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Itinerary

Day One - Arrive & relax
Arrive at your hotel, just outside Watton, where your bikes will be provided after breakfast the following morning.

Day Two – Tales of Tudor Queens & Iceni tribes
Travelling through the haunting landscapes of Breckland’s woods and heath, your first day of discovery includes the reconstruction of an Iceni village at Cockley Cley set alongside a Saxon church and medieval forge, and Oxburgh Hall - the red brick, moated manor house, linked with Mary Queen of Scots and one of the most romantic and picturesque Tudor Great Houses in the country. The historic market town of Swaffham with its wedged-shaped market place, flanked by graceful 18th century buildings will be home for the night.

 

Mileage: Rec22 Min 9 Max 22

Day Three – All villages great & small
It’s northwards towards Great and Little Massingham, but there are other treats in store first at historic West Acre, a place famed for its walled gardens. Great Massingham oozes history too with its impressive green and dominating large ponds, ancient ‘fisheries’ which date back to the time of an 11th century Augustian Abbey. Just a little pedal pushing later, Houghton Hall comes into view, promising more wonderful walled gardens alongside a perfectly Palladian mansion built by Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. The final rural stretch of the day heads further coastwards to the set of villages known as ‘The Burnhams’ and in particular to the stylish spot of Burnham Market aka Chelsea-on-Sea for your next over night.

 

Mileage: Rec26 Min 26 Max 26

Day Four – Time for a parsonage, pilgrimage, Palladian masterpiece and a paddle
Head out via Burnham Thorpe where Lord Nelson’s father was once the local rector. Alas the parsonage where Horatio was born in 1758 is no more, but a plaque marks the spot. The country route to the coast then takes on some stunning cycling through the smart grounds of Holkham Estate. Enjoy the vistas as the landscape unfurls towards obelisk and ice house and down to the magnificent fountains in front of the Palladian home of the Earl of Leicester. A visit is a must, but there’s always the call of the coast too. Holkham Bay is breathtakingly beautiful, but the ride along the North Norfolk Coast Path through pine woods to the beach huts on stilts, the promise of a paddle and the historic quayside at Wells-next-the-Sea is a gentle enough journey. Cut back to the Burnhams or continue round to discover the mysteries of Walsinghams great and small. Little Walsingham became a place of pilgrimage second only to Canterbury following a holy vision in 1061 and makes for a fascinating visit before winding your way back to Burnham Market for your next overnight.

 

Mileage: Rec 26 Min 14 Max 26

Day Five – Floral fields and a right royal estate
Head out west from Burnham Market on the National Cycle Route 1 towards Hunstanton, the only resort in East Anglia on an east coast which faces west, and pick up quiet country lanes leading southwards close to fields of lavender, all within reach of the sea breeze. Seek out Sandringham, H.M. The Queen’s country retreat set in beautifully informal parklands and gardens renowned for their Rhododendrons and Camelias. Don’t miss the great state ballroom or the stable block, packed full of royal mementoes and bygones celebrating royal country life. Back in the saddle, the final pedal of the day leads through the wooded grounds of the estate and on to Great Bircham, taking in its fine tower mill before your final overnight in this charming rural village.

 

Mileage: Rec 25 Min 11 Max 30

Day Six – A great masterpiece en route back to the Brecks
From Great Bircham there’s a final chance to sneak a peek at Palladian Houghton Hall and wonder at Massinghams great and small, before picking up the time-honoured Peddars Way to arrive at inspiring Castle Acre. Here sits history in microcosm: a tiny medieval town, sandwiched between a 12th century castle with massive earthworks and one of the largest and best preserved monastic sites in England, dating back to 1090... a place to let your mind wander, before you guide the handlebars back towards Watton through the estate villages and sandy landscapes of the Brecks.

 

Mileage: Rec 28 Min 25 Max 28

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