Norfolk Tourist Attractions’ Association (NTAA) launched the 2015 Great Days Out in Norfolk & Suffolk booklet at Pensthorpe Natural Park, North Norfolk, on Tuesday, March 3. Norfolk and Suffolk attractions are investing more than £7.7 million in new facilities and events to improve the visitor experience.
Pensthorpe Natural Park is developing the new family Hootz House, a £1.25 million investment, opening summer 2015 bringing WildRootz’s adventure play the natural way indoors, with a magical natural world where children can scramble, scamper, climb and slide and have hours of fun.
The Great Days Out booklet features 52 quality assured attractions across Norfolk and Suffolk, with more £275 of discount vouchers, offering an unrivalled menu of activities including boat trips on the Broads, theme park white knuckle rides, world famous museum collections, country houses and gardens, zoos and animal collections, heritage railways, top draw live shows and much more.
New NTAA members in the 2015 booklet are EDP Tourism Awards winner, Paint me Ceramics at Hunstanton and Top Dog Paintball and The Base – Baseline Activity Sports Extreme, both near Norwich.
Some 400,000 booklets will be distributed across the six counties of the East of England. Great Days Out in Norfolk & Suffolk can also be downloaded from www.norfolktouristattractions.co.uk along with more discount vouchers and information about all NTAA members.
New projects and events at attractions include Amazona Zoo’s Jumping Pillows, Bewilderwood’s Skymaze, Bressingham Steam’s Steampunk Weekend in April, Hilltop Outdoor Adventure’s Air Jump, Houghton Hall’s exhibition by acclaimed American artist James Turrell (opening June 7) and Pleasurewood Hills’ Hyper Drive Dodgems.
Martin Dupée, Chairman NTAA said: “All is set for a fantastic year at Norfolk and Suffolk attractions. The Great Days Out booklet features 52 excellent reasons for day trips and short breaks in the region. Our good news includes a ‘Happy Birthday’ to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, marking its 40th anniversary this year and the £3 million refurbishment of Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary, following December 2013’s tidal surge. It’s great to see both large and smaller attractions continuing to invest in new facilities and innovative events, improving the visitor experience and giving a boost to our £4.2 billion tourism economy.”
New Projects and Events for 2015
Africa Alive: Waders Lake boardwalk and hide opening this summer, providing the opportunity to view migrating and indigenous birds who make a stop off on the edge of the Benacre Marshes – £20,000 investment. Newly refurbished Flamingo Enclosure also opening with new viewing area – £20,000 investment. www.africa-alive.co.uk
Amazona Zoo: new developments – Jumping Pillows – already there and proving to be heaps of fun plus new Spider House and Guinea Pig Village. www.amazonazoo.co.uk
Banham Zoo: opening this spring, new walk-through penguins’ enclosure – £90,000 investment. Eureka will also be reopening. www.banhamzoo.co.uk
BeWILDerwood is in the first year of the new SkyMaze, offering more than half a kilometre of walkways on three different levels high in the tree canopy and surrounded by Twiggle encampments; it is a maze you can actually get lost in! www.bewilderwood.co.uk
Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre: new restaurant, gift shop and box office planned to open by the end of April. www.cromer-pier.com
Bircham Windmill: two mini museums, featuring corn grinding with a grind your own facility and a re-creation of a windmill floor so visitors can experience what it is like to be a miller. www.birchamwindmill.co.uk
Dinosaur Adventure: major new redevelopment over the next two years, with £600,000 investment. The first phase is a new attraction due to open summer 2015 bringing a splash zone to the park. A great place to get wet while having fun! www.dinosauradventure.co.uk
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is marking its 40th anniversary with a project to restore the West Garden. www.fairhavengarden.co.uk.
Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre: £500,000 ocean display refurbishment with new interactives, conservation led black tip breeding programme and new Bowmouth sharks and the amazing 90kg Napoleon Wrasse fish. www.visitsealife.com/great-yarmouth
Hilltop Outdoor Centre is investing £35,000 in Air Jump – the first of its kind in England. This new activity allows people to jump directly off a large structure from various heights straight on to an air bag without the need for a harness; launching 9 April. www.hilltopoutdoorcentre.co.uk
Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary reopened last November on completion of a £3 million investment porgramme following damage created by the tidal surge in December 2013. New developments include underwater seal viewing, otter display, re-themed Amazonia Area with pop up viewing in the middle of a piranha shoal. www.visitsealife.com/hunstanton
Muckelburgh Collection: new features – a professional model of Weybourne Military Camp in 1941; TV screen in the café showing tanks and guns in action at Weybourne from the 1940s and an internal wifi system enabling visitors to see military vehicles in action on their smart phones and tablets. www.muckleburgh.co.uk
North Norfolk Railway has a £497,000 award from Coastal Communities fund for the extension of Sheringham Station. The current toilets and Tourist Information Centre will be demolished and replaced with new facilities, plus a large new shop, which will also be used as an exit at quieter times. Work to be completed winter 15/16. www.nnrailway.co.uk
Pensthorpe Natural Park
Hootz House opening summer 2015 – new for WildRootz as the outdoors comes indoors Scramble, scamper, climb and slide and have hours of fun in this magical natural world – £1.25 million investment.
Wensum Wetlands: Due to be completed in summer 2015, work is underway to restore a 2km stretch of the River Wensum that runs through the heart of Pensthorpe Natural Park. The £680,000 river restoration project (£560,000 grant from the Environment Agency and a Catchment Restoration Fund, with the rest of the funding from Pensthorpe Conservation Trust), aims to preserve the characteristic features of the chalk river and reconnect it to its floodplain. The project will also create new Wensum Wetlands; four large new reedbeds and wet woodland, which will enable the park to have suitable habitat for breeding birds such as bittern, marsh harriers, Eurasian cranes and bearded tit.
5 Cottages: renovation of the Grade II listed 5 Cottages, the former home of BBC Springwatch. Opening spring 2016 as meeting and conference rooms, a well-being facility and Pensthorpe offices – £1 million investment. www.pensthorpe.com.
Pleasurewood Hills Family Theme Park: new for 2015 the Hyper Drive dodgems, the 11th new attraction at the park in just 5 years. Hyper Drive is an £80,000 investment. http://pleasurewoodhills.com
Top Dog Paintball: new game zone for the spring; also hoping to start Zorb Football in the summer. www.topdogpaintball.co.uk
Broadland Cycle Hire and Bank Boats are launched ‘Pedal & Paddle’ at May’s Broads Outdoors Festival. Hire cycles from Broadland Cycle Hire, pedal along quiet country lanes to Wayford Bridge, pick up canoes from Bank Boats for a three-hour paddle up river towards Dilham and back and then pedal gently back to the cycle hire base. A full day of refreshing activity with plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting. www.norfolkbroadscycling.co.uk
Bressingham Steam & Gardens: New for 2015, Bressingham is staging Norfolk’s biggest Steam Punk Weekend on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April, 10.30pm to 5pm, along with a special Vagabonds Ball from 7.30pm on the Saturday evening, when Crooked Theatre presents Metropolis, Gladstone and Thy Last Drop. The weekend features a Steampunk market, magic, storytelling, steam driven gallopers, small gauge steam railways, gardens, engines, portrait photography, clothing, books, confectionery, antiques, tea duelling, umbrella fencing, Victorian games, with visiting punkery from Bee’s Bizarre Bazaar, Diamantequeen Designs and Steampunk Shenanigans and much more. http://bressingham.co.uk
Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre: new Open days this year with behind the scenes tours on 7 April, 1 August, 7 November www.cromer-pier.com
Holkham Hall: Photographic Exhibition – ‘Behind Closed Doors: A Year in the Life of a Working Estate’. For one year, Viscount and Viscountess Coke gave renowned Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins unrestricted access to their home and the estate, The result is a collection of stunning and intimate photographs that portray the reality of working and living on a working estate. The exhibition reveals aspects of the Holkham Estate that are rarely visible to visitors: a glimpse into a world that is both familiar and extraordinary, portraying how a young family, over 200 employees and 21 different business live and work together in one of England’s most beautiful landscapes. www.holkham.co.uk
Houghton Hall: Acclaimed American artist James Turrell who specializes in the visual effect and interpretation of light and space, is creating a major exhibition of his work at Houghton Hall – open to the public from 7 June to 24 October. A spectacular light display will be visible from dusk as an exciting climax to the exhibition. Exhibits will include two major works installed in the grounds at Houghton: the Skyspace Seldom Seen, and the Space Division, St Elmo’s Breath, which is housed in an 18th century water tower in the park. www.houghtonhall.com
Somerleyton Estate: events programme includes Strings on the Lawn – Scintillo String Quartet (July 5) and Jazz on the Lawn – Tuba Swingy (August 31) www.somerleyton.co.uk
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