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Truly Great Norfolk

Tour: N6
Circular Cycling Holiday
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday

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! Read More



Start Day

Weds, Sat, Sun

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



6 Days, 5 Nights


Mar - Nov

Tour Grade

Grade 2 (Easy)

Read Overview
Home > England > Truly Great Norfolk


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.

Tour Code:
Circular Cycling Holiday, Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
6 Days, 5 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Mar - Nov


Day 1 Arrive & explore

Arrive in Oxborough, north of Thetford Forest in the Brecks, where your accommodation has the impressive moated Oxburgh Hall (NT) as a neighbour! Wander out to explore the Estate’s parkland or enjoy a visit to the fine Tudor house and gardens.

Built in 1482 in fashionable redbrick, Oxburgh Hall was home to the Bedingfields – a Catholic family and staunch supporters of Mary I, whose fate and fortunes ebbed and flowed with whims and religious leanings of monarchs. Don’t miss the beautiful embroidery created by Mary I and Bess of Hardwick, the illuminated manuscripts found under the floorboards, the priest’s hole and charming kitchen gardens.

Wander, wonder, relax and restore – your gentle Norfolk journey will start when your bikes are provided after breakfast tomorrow morning.

Overnight: Oxborough

Day 2 Villages great & small

Cycle out down little lanes across lands not just associated with Tudor and Elizabethan queens, but with Queen Boudicca and her Iceni tribe. A ride dotted with farmsteads and woodland leads to Swaffham, a town with a Regency feel including a fine domed Buttercross, yet still dominated by its medieval lantern-towered church with its truly awesome angel roof.

Then it’s northwards towards Great and Little Massingham, with other treats in store along the way at historic West Acre. The village is renowned for its walled gardens, but these will turn out to be just a taster for the award-winning ones you’ll discover later at Houghton Hall!

Great Massingham oozes history too. It’s green is impressive and the extensive ponds are the remains of ancient ‘fisheries’, dating back to the time of an 11th century Augustinian Abbey here. Just a little pedal pushing later, Houghton Hall comes into view, with the promise of more wonderful walled gardens and a sculpture park 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 overnight.

Overnight: Burnham Market

Mileage: Rec 33

Day 3 Choice of circular rides

Coast or countryside? Promenades and floral fields or a right royal estate? Whichever one of our day rides to plump for today, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with your discoveries.

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.

Or seek out the Sandringham Estate, a long-time royal favourite and now H.M. The King’s Norfolk country retreat. It is set in beautifully informal parklands and gardens which are 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.

Overnight: Burnham Market

Mileage: Min 28 Max 31

Day 4 Time for a parsonage, pilgrimage, Palladian masterpiece and a paddle

Leave Burnham Market to visit nearby 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.
From here it’s a countryside route to the North Norfolk Coast with 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 to Holkham Hall is a must, but there’s always the call of the coast too…
Holkham Bay is a sandy beach on the grandest of scales and 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.

Steer you handlebars south and its time 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. It’s an unexpectedly-busy-for-rural-Norfolk spot that’s somehow lost-in-time, with abbey gardens and an atmosphere that is very special, so do plan to stop a while.

The treasure church at nearby Houghton St Giles was a ‘pilgrims’ rest’ too. Its golden painted medieval rood screen is a remarkable survivor of the Reformation, but then there’s something equally as charming in the simplicity of North Barsham’s tiny tower-free church and lazy little lanes which lead to destination for the day, South Creake.

Overnight: South Creake/ in the Fakenham area

Mileage: Rec 23 Min 9 Max 23

Day 5 Acres of history on route back to the Brecks

Pop into the church at South Creake to admire the angel roof before you head back southwards today. Your route steers you to enjoy a final moment or two with the Massinghams great and small, before picking up the time-honoured Peddars Way to arrive at a truly inspiring Norfolk gem – Castle Acre.

Castle Acre is simply 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. It’s a perfect place to let your mind wander and where a stroll back in time is a reality.

There’s a chance to revisit West Acre and doff your cycle cap at the Peddlar on Swaffham’s town sign, before you point your handlebars back towards the Tudor treasures of Oxborough and enjoy a relaxing pedal through the estate villages and sandy landscapes of the Brecks.

Overnight: Oxborough

Mileage: Rec 34 Min 31 Max 34

Day 6 Depart after breakfast – or go even further back in time

It’s your call this morning – lock up your hire bikes and head home if you will, or alternatively make the most of a great little circular day ride, created just because we’d hate you to miss a truly different ancient site like no Norfolk other!

About a quarter of the ride is off road, along gravel forest tracks as you pedal via Breckland woods and heaths to the haunting, pitted landscape known as Grimes Graves – an area of flint mines dating to Neolithic times. The on-site museum reveals the secrets of this other-worldly area which still bears the scars of glaciers. Learn about its history, geology and its settlers, then don a hard hat and descend by ladder into the depths of an original Neolithic flint mine yourself. The grey, glassy rock dug out from across this vast site, was a valuable commodity. It was ‘knapped’ to create sharp tools – a highly skilled job – and millions of years later, flint was mined, knapped locally and exported to supply the gun trade.

Return via the forest fire tracks to Oxborough to lock your hire bikes away in the accommodation’s bike store, before heading homeward.

Mileage: Min 28 Max 31

Dates & Prices

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Ensuite accommodation as described with full English breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment (single pannier and handlebar bag or map holder, pump, basic tools, spare inner tube & puncture repair equipment, helmet if required)

Luggage transfer between hotels

Delivery & collection of bicycles (delivery is after breakfast on Day 2 of your tour unless we agree an alternative time)

Local assistance on call (although puncture repair is excluded)

Detailed itinerary with meticulously planned and researched routes following quiet country lanes with a choice of routes available each day (usually recommended, long and short)

Route notes, descriptions and use of good OS mapping (maps available on arrival). We pride ourselves on our detailed level of documentation which includes plenty of top tips for places to visit or for relaxing and sampling the local fare along the way. We send electronic versions of these documents by email approximately two weeks before your stay so you can plan ahead and look forward to your gentle cycling adventure

We have now switched the default navigation system to GPS – in our opinion this is now the most convenient method as it eliminates the need for frequent stops to check the map

  • We provide you with access to a premium GPS smartphone navigation app (IOS or Android) and send you links so that you can download all of the route options before you leave home. We will provide a handlebar bracket for your phone if required; it is also recommended that you bring a spare battery/powerbank to make sure that your phone lasts the day
  • We can also provide GPS tracks in whatever format if you prefer to load them into your own GPS Unit
  • Finally, we can provide a limited number of GPS units with the routes preloaded – this is on a first come first served basis – please let us know as soon as you can if you would like to use one
  • We will also provide OS 1:50,000 mapping on arrival as additional support to allow for any impromptu route changes
  • Traditional map-based navigation (using marked OS maps) is still available as an alternative at extra cost upon request (at least two weeks in advance)
Please note that the price EXCLUDES

Costs of getting to and from the start point

Accommodation Options

Selected 4 star hotel in Burnham Market (2 nights) and very comfortable country inns in Oxborough (2 nights) and South Creake (1 night).

We are please to discuss details on request.

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