We were looking for a family day out during October half-term. Being a British autumn, a day at the beach was well and truly
out of the question. So, we decided to head for Norwich Castle.
Our two children are 9 and 13 - and it's getting trickier as they get older to find something which suits them both; and we
figured Norwich Castle would offer something for all of us.
The well at Norwich Castle - hope you've got a head for heights!
A Norman Castle - and locally interesting
Norwich Castle is a Norman built building with the stone used in the construction being brought over from France. Used initially as a means of defence; then as a prison;
while more recently being a museum. Now, when I say recently, I do feel I should quantify that, because recently might lead you
to think that the museum was started in 1985. In fact, Norwich Castle has been a museam since 1894 - so well over 100 years there.
Riding a chariot like Boudica
Over those 100 plus years, Norwich Castle has picked up a good selection of natural history specimens, from a stuffed tiger to whale bones - with all kinds
of flora and fauna to study.
There are various art galleries to examine too - although we didn't get to see much of these; it's not easy to convince the children to spend much time in an art
The exhibitions which caught my eye though are those with local information. Boudica and the Romans have their own exhibition. One thing I did learn here
is that it's not "Boudicia"; the popular theory is the pronunciation is actually "Boudica". Following on from the Romans, the Anglo Saxons and
the Vikings also have an exhibition. The final local exhibition to report on is the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.
For anybody looking to find out more about the history of East Anglia - Suffolk (South Folk) & Norfolk (North Folk), Norwich Castle
is the place spend a few hours.
Looking across all the activities happening at Norwich Castle
We went to Norwich Castle on 31st October (that's Halloween for anybody out there not familiar with this particular Pagan celebration), and as such
there were loads of activities going on for the younger children - ours were too old to appreciate the costume making; bat on a stick construction, and
the plethora of other activities on offer. But for those with younger children in tow, the hands on activities were going down a storm.
Starting the dungeon tour...
You can pay extra to have a tour of the battlements, and a tour of the dungeon. We didn't try the battlements - but did go
down the dungeon. The dungeon tour lasts about ⅔ hour, and was well received by everyone involved. It's a little scary
(it is, after all, a dungeon) - but not too scary for the children. We also learned a lot from the dungeon experts giving the tour.
Advice on your visit to Norwich Castle museum
Norwich castle doesn't cost a fortune to enter; anybody who's used to taking children out for the day knows that things aren't cheap. For
the four of us the cost was about £20. Plus another £8 for the dungeon tour. Speaking of the
dungeon tour - if you fancy this, and you're going during a busy time - such as a school holiday, get your tour booked
when you enter - the tours run every hour; with 15 people being allowed on each tour.
If the thought of a villa holiday sounds good - but you've got children in tow, have a look at villa resorts which combine the advantages of having your own villa with the advantages of a resort's facilities.
Find a selection of holiday cottage in Beccles, Suffolk. The cottages of Riverside House, Butterfield House, Northgate Bakery, Honeysuckle Cottage and Burnt Hill House all have a video showing their location in Beccles.
Try a villa holiday in Europe and the Mediterranean during March, April and May. James Villas Spring Holidays is the place to look - and if you get in early enough you could get a bargain in the James Villa Holidays Half Price Sale.
Located next to the beach and surrounded by the Lagoa dos Salgados Lagoon and nature reserve, Vidamar Algarve Resort is a villa resort with holiday villas sleeping between 4 and 8 people. All villas at Vidamar Algarve Resort have their own pool.
A fabulous day out, the Falkirk Wheel links the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal. You have a variety of attractions at the Falkirk Wheel, including an Archimedes Screw, hire a cycle, paddle boats, or just a nice walk.
See the sights from the top of the Nevis Range in Scotland. Take a gondola up the mountain, and get some views from the Sgurr Finnisg-aig view point. You can always cycle down too - or take the cable car back down again.
How about a family holiday in the sun? The Balearic Islands make a lovely location for a holiday. We were recently fortunate enough to spend a few days at the all-inclusive resort of Marina Parc on Menorca. Close to the beach at Arenal d'en Castell, Marina Parc also comes with its own water park.
Great Yarmouth has an abundance of seaside attractions to keep both young and old occupied. For something a little calmer, how about a walk round The Venetian Waterways at Great Yarmouth. This peaceful waterway makes a glorious location to wander around.