days out Family Life

A great family day out at Pensthorpe Natural Park

A great family day out at Pensthorpe Natural Park

Although our holiday in Norfolk was a few weeks ago I haven’t managed to write up half the places we managed to visit. Today I wanted to tell you about Pensthorpe Natural Park which was recommended to us by someone we got chatting too. I hadn’t heard of Pensthorpe but it was one of our favourite family days out in Norfolk.

Pensthorpe Natural Park

Pensthorpe is situated just outside Fakenham, only 20 minutes from where we were staying at Wells-next-the-Sea. I have to admit that the name of the place initially put me off. I knew that the kids wouldn’t be keen on walking around a nature reserve. They enjoy wildlife and activity trails but it’s never enough to keep them really happy. Thankfully Pensthorpe is so much more than just a nature reserve.

Today Pensthorpe consists of different gardens and habitats to walk through, several different play areas (both indoors and outside), a cafe and shop. As you would expect, conservation is really high on the agenda, which makes this a great place for families to learn and play.

Hootz House at Penthorpe

We had booked our tickets online and reserved our spots to play at the indoor play area known as Hootz House. This is a huge indoor adventure playground for kids with slides, rope bridges and tall towers. We had a 2 hour play session and the kids loved it so much. They even managed to get their Dad to join them on some of the bigger slides!

Hootz House at Pensthorpe

After being indoors for so long we were happy to go outside and explore the rest of the park. First we went to explore WildRootz, the outdoor play area. This is an amazing area full of sand pits, water fun, giant see saws, towers to climb and rope bridges to balance on.

WildRootz at Pennsthorpe

Again, my children loved this area and could easily have spent all of our visit there. I thought there was something for all ages (which is never easy to achieve) and my children loved trying all the different things. I would recommend taking a change of clothes and a towel though as the children did get quite dirty!

WildRootz at Pennsthorpe

After all this play time us adults wanted to explore more of the park. There were several different paths to follow around the ponds, depending on what you wanted to see. We all enjoyed the Sculpture Trail and we bought bird feed to feed some of the different birds along our walk. We also took part in the Hootz Discovery Trail which involved discovering more about some of the birds and stamping activity sheets as we went around the park.

Hootz Discovery Trail

There were so many different birds and animals to see and it was a lovely place to explore. By this time we were getting pretty tired. We had brought our own packed lunch, although there was a cafe, but it was a very active day.

The only thing we didn’t manage to go on was the Pensthorpe Explorer, although the children wanted to. This looked to be a great way to see the park but had an additional charge and took quite a long time which we felt we didn’t have. We had so much fun and it really rounded off our lovely Norfolk holiday.

You may be interested in our other posts about days out with kids in Norfolk:

Castle Acre Priory

Castle Acre Castle

Castle Rising with kids

Sheringham to Holt on the North Norfolk Railway


  • Reply
    June 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    This looks so fun, I’d actually love to visit and I’m 28! I love it when they have children’s play areas in nature reserves because it gives children the chance to not only have fun but learn about wildlife too x

  • Reply
    June 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Sounds like a great place for kids to explore. I love that it’s got a big indoor play area too. My little one loves the activity sheets that places like this offer.

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