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"Very flat, Norfolk" has cursed the county ever since written by a famous author and it might not have mountains, but Norfolk has lots else: wild coast partly on a chalk ridge, seaside resorts, bustling ports, old towns, large areas of forest, rolling heath, riverside rides, rail trails, some of the earliest Quiet Lanes projects and, yes, flat land reclaimed from the water. It is almost southern England in minature.
This circular route around Norfolk (with a few small dips into Suffolk) is a good showcase for the smaller towns and varied countryside, both often picture-perfect. It could be extended easily into a longer tour by heading south into Suffolk from Bungay along RR 42 then NCN 1, then west from Ipswich to Cambridge along NCN 51 and finally north on NCN 11, using either its former route through Welney or the obvious minor roads through Littleport to Ten Mile Bank and rejoin this tour at Downham Market — but then you would miss Thetford Forest.
The 231 miles could be done on a long weekend, but would be better over a week to allow time to visit some of the attractions on route — and there really is a lot to look at.
Mostly easy rolling country, but there are lumps either side of Cromer and the climbs into Sandringham, Snettisham and Sedgeford can be unpleasant surprises for riders leaving the Fens. Also, the Fens and Broads can be challenging in unfavourable weather, with little shelter from wind, rain or sun, so keep both waterproofs and sunscreen handy, but riding clockwise offers a good chance of favourable winds.
The route is nearly all paved and mostly quiet roads, so any sort of road or touring bike should be fine. The longest gravel/sand section, in Thetford Forest, could be bypassed by riding a quarter mile of fairly quiet A road.
Plenty, with most larger villages having a pub and shop or two, but there are two sections with few shops: Wells to Cromer and Eye to Thetford each pass one village shop in 25 miles.
I'm trying to start a discussion about what to do with the ex-Sustrans routes at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Cycling_in_the_United_Kingdom#2020_Abandonment_of_some_routes_by_Sustrans which I'd welcome more comments on.
Yes, although it switches between 1, 30 and 11 on the way round. It's National (red) Cycle Route 1 from Lynn to Wighton near Wells, then Regional (blue) Route 30 to Yarmouth, National 1 or 517 to Lowestoft (except for any Ness Point and Marine Parade detours), Regional 30 to Weeting near Brandon, Regional (30) to Denver near Downham Market, National 11 to Watlington, 30 to Lord's Bridge and then 1 back to Lynn.
Yes, although some signs on the Cromer to Yarmouth are smaller than usual or stickers on fingerpost arrows and there are occasional missing signs.
National Cycle Route 1 connects from the northwest and midlands at Lord's Bridge between Watlington and Lynn, or from the southeast at Beccles. Route 1 can also be used to make a shorter loop or longer 8 shape by connecting Wells to Beccles via Fakenham and Norwich. More direct access from London and Cambridge is offered by Route 11 which joins the route at Denver near Downham Market (but this has been declassified by Sustrans in July 2020, so its exact route may change). Finally, Route 13 from Colchester crosses the route near Thetford and connects to Route 1 at Fakenham, while the Peddars Way MTB route connects Thetford to Sedgeford near Ringstead.