I moved to Norfolk in 2013 just after finishing university and I couldn’t be happier living here. I think we’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the country and there’s so much on offer here. Unfortunately, we don’t have a car and can’t drive so we can’t normally get to a lot of places on my to visit wish list. Sometimes we go for days out with my sister and her fiance, who do have a car, so we always try to pick somewhere that we couldn’t go to otherwise. One of our most recent days out was to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham which is about a 30 minute drive away from where we live.
Sometimes days out cost so much money due to expensive entrance fees but Fairhaven is really well priced I think. Adults cost £6.85 (inc. Gift Aid) while children under 5 are free! Children over 5 cost £3.95 which I still think is a good price.
We visited on a Monday in term time so Fairhaven was really quiet. We were able to walk around at our own pace and we were able to stop and look at everything we wanted to without being rushed. Fairhaven is made up of pathways and waterways and is such a beautiful area to explore. We had loads of fun looking at the flowers, finding the bears dotted around and playing in areas that looked like dens!
Erin had so much fun running around finding treasures on the ground, sitting on toadstools and finding places to hide with her Uncle Chris! As we walked around we saw a school visit happening as well as people sat painting and drawing in various different spots. The whole of Fairhaven was a really relaxed and peaceful environment (even with Erin being a lunatic) and we really loved exploring to see what we could find.
Although not included in the entrance price, you can also pay to go on a boat trip if you like. At the time of our visit this cost £3.85 for adults and £2.80 for children for a 20 minute trip on the broads. We were the only people on our boat trip and the captain was really great. He spoke to and joked with Erin and he really made it a special trip for her. He also told us about some of the birds and ducks that we came across which was a nice touch.
One of the great things about Fairhaven is that it is fully accessible. Erin’s little legs still get really tired on days out and sometimes she needs a rest so we still always take the pushchair out with us. Obviously, some of the pathways are a bit bumpier than others due to the natural area and things growing but I never struggled anywhere at all.
The one thing that let down our visit was the cafe. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and light snacks as well as cakes and drinks. The menu is quite small but there are also daily specials. My sister and her boyfriend both ordered hot food and their meals looked lovely. Unfortunately, there was no children’s menu at all and there wasn’t a lot that wouldn’t have been suitable. Half portions or jacket potatoes and sandwiches are available however, the filling options weren’t very child friendly.
The cafe also serves cakes and scones but again, not very child friendly. I asked the person on the till what some of the cakes were, because they weren’t labelled and he didn’t actually know so had to keep going off to ask. On our visit there was chocolate with black cherry, chocolate marmalade cake, lemon cake and one piece of brownie. I had to get Erin the brownie because there really wasn’t any other option for her but it was seriously rich!
Although I wasn’t impressed with the cafe, they did seem to have quite a good selection for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets. There was also quite a lot of picnic tables outside so you can take your own food with you and sit outside if the weather is nice.
We got to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at around 10am and we left at around 2pm. I think that this was a really good length of time for the visit as Erin was really tired by the time we left. We got to walk around the whole place (I think) without it being rushed at all and we all had a really lovely day out. Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is a great day out if you want to be in the beautiful outdoors but don’t want to go somewhere too big.
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