Thetford is a pleasant riverside market town in the heart of East Anglia, ideal to visit on a cottage holiday. Its location on the edge of one of the largest managed lowland forests in the country make it an ideal place for an active holiday, with an abundance of walking cycling and other outdoor activities on offer around the town and in nearby Thetford Forest Park.
The town itself has a series of well-devised themed walking trails that offer a great introduction to the town. Quirky options to choose from include the Dad’s Army trail (the classic television series was filmed here), a Heritage trail, Haunted trail and others, all offering a fun but informative insight into this unassuming town. Visitors should seek out Castle Hill, the tallest medieval earthworks of unknown origin in England, amble along the tranquil riverside or take a peek into the pretty Forgotten Gardens. There is much to keep the visitor occupied in the area around Thetford, too. Weeting Castle, some five miles to the west of the town, is a fortified moated manor house dating from the twelfth century and now lying in ruins in pretty countryside. Grimes Graves, the only Neolithic flint mine open to the public, allows visitors the unique experience of setting foot deep inside an ancient mine. Set among the Breckland Heath landscape, miners dug for flint for tools and weapons in this astonishing network of quarries more than five thousand years ago. Visitors can recreate the experience, descending more than thirty feet into the mine by ladder and learn more of the history of the site at the small exhibition area. Thetford’s main attraction beyond the town, however, is the vast natural playground provided by Thetford Forest Park.
A working forest managed by the Forestry Commission and formed by the largest collection of lowland pines in the country, Thetford Forest Park is a great place for an action-packed day or a relaxing picnic and stroll. There is a charge to enter the park, which is open to visitors year round with varying opening and closing times. Make the High Lodge Forest Centre your first port of call, as this is the hub of all organised activities in the park. Follow the children around the Giant Play Sculpture trail, hire bikes and opt for a leisurely ride under your own steam or test your cycling skills on the challenging Black Route; take to the treetops and tackle the High Ropes course or let little ones burn off energy at the Adventure playground. There is plenty to discover in the forest simply by following one of the way-marked trails, keeping an eye out for wildlife and enjoying the countryside. When the time comes to recharge the batteries, the Forest Centre has a café, gift shop and facilities.
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