Route GuidesRoutes City GuidesCities Map Log in

Overview and Basics

28 Jan 2021
by mjray
Find a better bike route. Try our map & route-planner »

Become a supporter

"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.


How many days?

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.

How hard is it?

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.

What sort of bike?

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.

What facilities are there?

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.