Paddle and Picnic Spots in Norfolk

With the very sudden arrival of summer, I’ve been asked a lot in the past week where some good spots for a paddle are.

We always have a pair of sea shoes, change of clothes, a towel and a first aid kit in the car in the summer in case we pass by somewhere that looks really inviting!

There are a few on this list we haven’t visited ourselves. It would also be great to add more, I’m sure there are many, so feel free to share your favourites! Especially South Norfolk, Breckland, West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth way.

If you haven’t already, download the app “what3words” to help find the locations as postcodes will be too vague for some of the spots.

Happy splashing!

Castle Acre Ford

Castle Acre

There are two lovely spots at Castle Acre – the ford and the meadow walk. Whittles is a lovely café on the High Street, open Thurs-Sun to eat in, or takeaway to eat on the green or in the castle ruin/priory grounds:

Ford paddle location – what3words ///carriage.ripen.popping

River Nar meadow ///bombshell.sings.adjusting; Free parking (High Street) – what3words ///wink.cookie.molars

Spout Hills

A magical little place in Holt that we discovered last year, perfect for a picnic too:

Paddle location: ///latest.lunch.denoting; Free parking at///dote.dearest.attending

Castle Acre, Spout Hills and the UEA

Red Bridge Park, Gunton Lane, Costessey

One of our all time favourites:

Paddle location: ///slices.branded.spoon; Free parking at ///snaps.fluid.noses

Bowthorpe Southern Park

Beautiful for nature in the summer:

Paddle location: ///mock.rated.unless; Free parking at NR5 9HU ///deed.tracks.agree

Caen Meadow, Wroxham

Such a pretty little spot.

Paddle location (gate to entrance): ///police.orchids.baroness; Free parking (on road or at the church) ///grinning.casually.remission

Caen Meadow and Salhouse Broad


A bit deeper – deep enough for a swim:

Free parking (on verge) and paddle location: ///scale.supplier.mandolin

Buxton Mill

A beautiful mill and a popular spot:

Paddle location: ///raven.dreamer.reserving – park at Bure Valley Railway (NR10 5ET ///overruns.moderated.crawled) to combine with a walk along the Bure Valley Way (what3words ///collected.backers.predict).

Shotesham Ford

Very popular but beautiful:

Paddle location: ///seagulls.trend.tame; Free parking but it is tight – on the road nearby.

Marston Marsh

Less space than others for picnicking and note that cows graze on the marsh between May and November!

Paddle location: ///tinsel.dive.clues; Free parking at Danby Wood car park, NR4 6LY /// (alternatively on the Holiday Inn car park).

UEA, Spout Hills and Earlham Park


Gorgeous little spot along the River Yare:

Paddle location: ///rich.inches.economies; Pre-paid parking at UEA Zone 1 Car Park (Pre-payment only, via the APCOA Connect App/ Car Park Code: 1476). Or a half mile walk from free parking at the top of Colney Lane – ///feeds.weeks.tolls.

Earlham Park

Popular but large area for picnic and paddling:

Paddle location: ///leads.rash.plant; Pay & Display parking at UEA, NR4 7TQ ///roofs.grows.hatch)

Roman Fort, Caistor St Edmund

This is more a swim spot, it’s a bit deeper! Great Pooh sticks bridge.

Paddle location ///weeded.baseballs.leotard; Free parking at Roman Fort car park, NR14 8QN ///cans.daunted.insert.

Little Fords, Letheringsett

Not visited myself but was recommended by another parent.

Paddle location: ///readily.bared.fights; Park on the road nearby, only a few spaces.


As per Letheringsett, not visited myself.

Paddle location: ///director.slumped.contoured; Park on the road nearby (only a few spaces) or at the Art Café.

Swannington and Red Bridge Park

Upgate Common, Swannington

Beautiful woodland walk along the river. We usually walk up the footpath towards From Farm to Fork from the paddling spot and have a picnic overlooking the Waveney valley.

Paddle location: ///puzzle.wove.number.

Free parking on small car park on the Common, NR9 5AH ///iteration.grading.conspired.


Such a gorgeous area and close to Sparham Pools for a walk.

Paddle location: ///buyers.nags.honestly – for paddling and parking (alternative parking: ///backpack.enough.grief).

Horstead Mill

We’ve only visited here for the riverside walk but apparently there are lots of different spots to paddle along the river. A nice play area on Mill Road too.

Free parking at /// 

Salhouse Broad

Such a beautiful spot. You can hire kayaks and canoes too, or pay a small fee to launch your own. Paddle location: ///appealing.natively.hitters;

Park at main car park, NR13 6RX  ///struck.hammer.blip.


A really popular spot. Only a few parking spots but you can park at the pub if you are visiting it.

Parking and paddle location: ///mentioned.shampoos.dandelions.

Knettishall Heath

A wonderful nature reserve with lots of walking routes too.

Paddle location: ///wink.unloading.shade; Park at main car park ///rider.trackers.clearing.

Meadow Trail, Castle Acre and Roman Fort River, Caistor St. Edmund

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