*This boost your energy levels blog post is in partnership with BetterYou [ad]

If there's one thing I've learned from my years of travel – it's that finding ways to boost your energy levels can really transform your experience of the world. In the last decade, I've been on a real journey with wellbeing that has led me to entirely change my diet, my lifestyle and even my exercise routine. I certainly won't claim to be perfect – after all, this is a journey and it's one I'll be on for the rest of my life. But I have invested my time and energy into researching and trialling different lifestyle choices to really see how they can improve my quality of life.

During lockdown, it has become more important than ever to me to keep up this new routine. You should be doing everything in your power to boost your energy levels. After all, I'm sure we've all had those horrible low mood days where we feel the anxiety creeping in and we just can't seem to shake that lack of energy. We all suffer those days. But I believe that the ability to shake off these feelings starts with understanding the processes your body goes through, and making them work in your favour.

*Disclaimer: I am not medically trained, I am simply sharing what has worked for me. For any health concerns, please contact a medical professional.

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Why choose natural ways?

For years, I've been a big believer in lifestyle medicine and choosing preventative healthcare where possible. Traditional medicine has it's place. But so many of today's health problems could be dramatically reduced if we simply looked after our health and made the right choices before we get sick. So much of the healthcare system in the UK and US seems to involve throwing pill packets at everything to ease the symptoms, instead of tackling the deeper lifestyle issues.

Over the years, I've struggled with various minor health issues such as eczema, skin reactions and hives, tinea versicolour. I went through years of appointments with GPs and skin specialists who never managed to cure the problems. As soon as I stopped the medications and treatments, they always came back. As I got older and spent more time researching, I realised the huge impact lifestyle choices could have. I started to make a combination of lifestyle changes and to really focus on my gut health and diet. Now my skin is the best it has ever been. Making lifestyle changes meant it was easier for me to maintain them with a busy lifestyle and throughout travelling as I wasn't reliant on doctors and medication.

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14 natural ways to boost your energy levels

Stay hydrated

This one is so important and yet is so easily forgotten. If you're ever feeling drained and your brain starts to feel foggy, your first reaction should always be to drink more water. When you live a busy lifestyle, it can be easy to forget. But even if you're just at home in lockdown – your lack of routine might mean you don't remember. Or you might be relying on too many cups of tea and coffee which dehydrate you further. If you travel a lot like I do, between the air conditioning and the hot, humid weather, you can quickly feel the effects of dehydration.

TOP TIP: Get a large reusable water bottle to carry with you so you can track how much you have had to drink. Aim to finish 2-3 litres a day (women) or 3-4 litres a day (men).

Get more sleep – or less

I don't know about you guys, but I remember a time when I could go days without a proper night's sleep. I was great at functioning on the absolute minimum and could maintain it for a week or more. When you're in your teens and twenties, it's so easy to get into bad sleep patterns. Especially with university and living away from home for the first time. But sleep is so vital for your whole body. There are so many of your body's natural processes that only happen when you sleep. So if you're not sleeping, you body can't complete these processes and if it continues over time your body will really struggle.

Travelling can be really draining, as with any busy lifestyle – so it's important to ensure you're allowing yourself time to really rest. That doesn't just mean getting your eight hours in each night – but also reducing the time you spend in bed. By not allowing yourself to watch TV or play video games in your bed, you allow it to remain a relaxing and peaceful place for you.

TOP TIP: Try lavender sleep sprays or a diffuser with essential oils. You can also use magnesium-rich foods like spinach and whole grains, or magnesium products to help relax your body.

Lower your stress levels

Stress comes in many forms and can prevent you from being able to boost your energy levels. Think of stress as a road block to you living your best life. It can leave you feeling anxious and on-edge, or lethargic and lacking any real drive when there are constant road blocks in your way. When you let outside factors affect your stress levels, you lose control and routine, which your body normally thrives on. As humans we love structure, but there is so much in this world that can disrupt us and leave us feeling helpless.

Your stress might come in the form of rush hour traffic making you late, it might be your children screaming in the supermarket, or it might be worries about the future. Key to lowering your stress levels is being able to mentally remove yourself from the situation, even if you can't physically. This can be done through breath work and meditation which are really great for helping you accept that you have control over nothing but your breath.

TOP TIP: Read A beginner's guide to mindfulness and meditation

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Don't get overworked

We live in a society that sets productivity at a higher value than mental health. We're all guilty – myself included – of continually giving in to this idea that we need to be busy 24/7. Unfortunately often this can translate into overworking and not allowing our bodies to rest and truly recuperate. Hands up if you've ever worked on a day off – or if you're guilty of cramming your days off full of activities so you start the week exhausted. If either of these apply to you, it's no wonder you're struggling to boost your energy levels. Cut back your work to allotted and paid hours, if you're taking on a lot of extra activities outside of work. Ask yourself whether you can keep this up long-term and whether you actually enjoy it, or whether you just feel you "ought to".

TOP TIP: Read – How to become your most productive self and get shit done

Eat a more plant-based diet

I'm not here to tell you to become a vegetarian or go vegan overnight. But if you're struggling with feeling lethargic and lacklustre – it's worth looking at what you're putting into your body. After all, our energy comes from the food that we eat. If you're filling yourself with sugary treats, it's likely your body is going on a rollercoaster with huge highs and lows.

Also, if you're eating food with high fat content, you'll get that instant release of energy but are more likely to hit an afternoon slump. Instead it's worth focusing on lots of fruits and veggies for natural sugars, complex carbohydrates that will last you much longer, and protein that will give you that full feeling. Going for whole grains and more plant-based food will make it easier to digest and will give you that longer-lasting energy. Dairy and meat products are more likely to cause bloating and that over-full feeling.

TOP TIP: If you have a meat/dairy heavy diet, why not only have these at dinner time. For breakfast and lunch, switch to plant-based options. Or try having one meat/dairy free day a week and see the results.

Get your energy levels checked

If you're concerned and want to boost your energy levels, it's worth seeing a nutritionist or GP so that they have run blood tests. These can tell you where you might be deficient in certain nutrients. Perhaps you might not be getting enough in your diet, or maybe some nutrients are only available in certain foods that you can't eat. For instance – iron deficiency can be a big one for women and can have a huge impact on your energy levels. Lacking magnesium in your diet can affect your sleep which will cause reduced energy levels. There are lots of different nutrients that could be affecting you overall energy and health if you are deficient in them. You can also boost your energy levels with NAD, a natural coenzyme that supports cell health and metabolic function. A NAD drip in Jacksonville can help restore your energy levels and fully rehydrate your body.

TOP TIP: Do your research first – there is so much information available online that could help you. If you think you might be deficient in a nutrient, look at foods you can introduce to your diet to replenish your body.

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Introduce BetterYou supplements

If you find it difficult to introduce more of certain nutrients to your body via food – you could consider taking supplements. For example, vegans and vegetarians might find they are particularly low in vitamin B12 which is mostly found in meat, fish, cheese and eggs. However, it is a far more widespread issue with most people being deficient in the nutrient these days. Vitamin B12 helps to reduce fatigue and to increase concentration levels so to boost your energy levels could completely transform your day-to-day life. I switched to a predominantly plant-based lifestyle a few years ago and since have experimented with supplements to find the best ones.

I'm currently loving the Boost B12 Daily Oral Spray from BetterYou. Instead of taking pills each day, it's a vegan-friendly apricot flavoured spray. It's so convenient and perfect for those who live a busy lifestyle, or travel a lot as the one spray contains 48 daily doses. After just a few weeks of using it daily, I'm already noticing how it boosts my energy levels and stops my brain feeling foggy. During lockdown, I had noticed days where I felt so drained and lacking in energy, but since taking this supplement, this has completely changed. I can't believe the transformation I've noticed simply from an oral spray. Vitamin B12 is also vital for supporting your normal psychological functions. During a time when we've all been struggling with our mental health, it's important to support our brain functions in any way we can.

TOP TIP: If you're passionate about cutting back on waste, BetterYou have an amazing Better Planet Project. All of their packaging is manufactured under eco-friendly initiatives, with many of them recycling ocean plastic.

BetterYou Boost B12 Oral Spray, beach huts and blue sky background

Move your body more – or less

Movement is hugely important – not just physically but for our mental health. But it's important to strike that balance of healthy movement. It's about finding ways to naturally incorporate movement into our day – perhaps by taking the stairs or walking to work. But also finding time in the day to introduce higher intensity workouts that raise the heart rate and help the release of endorphins. I've always found that the more active I am, the more energy I have and I crave those endorphins. Over the years I've gone through phases where I was loving higher impact workouts such as HIIT and running, and other times I've preferred lower impact yoga and walking. What's important is to listen to your body. If you're tired and aching, your body needs rest not a high impact workout. Likewise, if you wake up full of beans, it's good to release that energy somehow.

TOP TIP: If you think you hate working out, it's simply because you haven't found the right exercise for you. Get creative and find fun ways to get your heart rate up! Don't force yourself to do exercise that you hate. 

Avoid sugar

Sugar is one of the biggest demons when it comes to energy levels and fatigue. While you may love that sugar buzz when you're indulging, don't forget what goes up must come down! Your blood sugar soars and then crashes in record time which often leaves you feeling sluggish and lazy. This can be a big one for those who work in offices and are partial to a mid-morning treat. Add that to sugary coffees and lunch, and no wonder you're struggling by the afternoon. Remember, sugar is addictive so it will be hard at first and you will get cravings – you have to stay strong! Make good food choices to help boost your energy levels.

TOP TIP: Try replacing your sweet treats with snacks that will give you longer lasting energy like nuts, fruit or even homemade healthy snacks or bakes.

Cut out caffeine

Just like sugar, caffeine takes you on a wild ride and it also comes with a real addictive quality. If you've ever been someone who craves a coffee, or can't function without it – it's likely you have a dependency on it. Caffeine comes in various forms from coffee and various teas including green and matcha, to fizzy drinks including Diet Coke, lots of chocolate products including some cereals, plus painkillers, yoghurt, Oreos, ice cream – the list goes on!

You could be getting a LOT more caffeine daily than you realise so start looking closer at what you consume and at what time in the day. I know that I can only have one coffee max a day and it must be before 11am or I won't sleep that night. Some people are more sensitive to others than caffeine and this is important to note because it can cause anxiety and jittery feelings in some. This can lead to lack of sleep and exhaustion the next day.

TOP TIP: Try an have a week off from coffee and see how you feel – often it's the routine of "getting a coffee" that makes us develop a dependency but the only way to know how it affects you is to go without.

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Stop smoking

Similar to caffeine – did you know that nicotine is a stimulant? It can lead to insomnia or disturbed sleep due to cravings. Smoking affects your lungs which causes them to work less efficiently – this means a decreased amount of oxygen reaching your brain. No wonder you're feeling drained or tired. The best thing for your health is to quit smoking – it comes with much worse health problems than less energy.

TOP TIP: If you decide to quit, don't do it alone. See your GP who will be able to offer support to help you achieve your goal.

Drink less alcohol

It can be difficult when you live in a society that advertises alcohol and drinking at every turn. But the amount of alcohol you drink can have a huge impact on the quality and amount you sleep. It can also cause you to feel hungover and tired the next day. While you may think that "nightcap" will help you drift off to sleep, acting as a sedative, alcohol can make you feel more drowsy. But it also works as diuretic which makes you need to get up and pee during the night. If you're drinking a lot at weekends, you'll know that feeling of exhaustion after a night out. This is because your whole body is under strain as your kidneys and liver attempt to filter out the toxins in the alcohol.

TOP TIP: Try cutting back on nights out – drink water in-between each alcoholic drink. Or if at home, try having your "nightcap" as a drink with dinner so your body has time to process before you sleep. 

Be more social

If there's one thing we've realised in lockdown – it's that we rely on our social connections more than we ever realised. They make us feel happy, positive, loved and motivated. So when those are taken away, many of us are left feeling lethargic, fatigued and unmotivated. I really struggled to not have contact with friends and family during this time and missed that rush of endorphins I get from seeing a friendly face or hugging. These feelings of isolation from your support network can leave you struggling with tiredness and low mood. If you're feeling like this, try organising to see friends in person or via Zoom to boost your energy levels.

TOP TIP: Try to organise at least one social activity per week that doesn't centre around work. It gives you motivation and something to look forward to, and gives those precious endorphins.

Improve your mindset

Positivity can completely transform your outlook on life and the energy you have. If you want to boost your energy levels, the first thing to look at is your attitude and how you are feeling. I love the saying "be the energy you want to attract". If you're full of negative thoughts they weigh you down and leave you feeling sad, tired and lacklustre which may only attract more negativity. If you refuse to let things affect you and start your day with a positive outlook, you feel energetic and friendly.

TOP TIP: Read – How the power of positivity can change your life

Do your struggle with low energy levels? Have you tried changing any of these factors in your life?

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*This UK road trip blog post is a collaboration

With international travel looking a bit unpredictable for 2020 – it's no wonder we're all excited for a UK road trip this year. Now that lockdown is over and we're free to travel (safely) again. I'm planning lots of lovely domestic trips to explore the best of what the UK has to offer. I see this as a great opportunity to explore more of the UK while I'm here for a while, and a chance to appreciate what we're so lucky to have on our doorstep. I'm definitely guilty of always choosing international travel and not seeing as much of the UK as I would have liked. So now is the time to really make the most of the UK.

Growing up on the North Norfolk coast, I've aways felt that it remained one of the UK's best kept secrets. This hidden gem has some of the most pristine and untouched coastline and yet is still the perfect place to escape the crowds. I've been loving taking these last few weeks to get out and explore the beaches, nature parks and stately homes. But I've been dreaming of getting away and seeing more of the UK. My dream would be to spend a few weeks on an ultimate road trip – perhaps from North to South along the coast from the East of England, where I live, to the south-west. With the weather as good as it has been lately, it's the perfect time to slap on some sunscreen and hit the road.

sand dune at Brancaster, blue skies, north norfolk coast

7 stunning coastal stop-offs for a UK road trip

North Norfolk

They say there's no place like home, but when you're from North Norfolk, there truly isn't. It's such a beautiful part of the world and truly has some of the best of what the UK has to offer. From white sandy beaches that stretch for miles without crowds, towering red cliffs and wild coastline. Better yet, so much of Norfolk is protected, so you can be sure you're going to see absolute perfection. Amazing nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, woodlands, marshes and much more.

There are so many amazing beachy stop-offs in North Norfolk, you could pass through for a day or easily spend a week here. Don't miss Old Hunstanton and Brancaster Beach for huge empty beaches and cute beach huts. Then head to Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea for raw natural beauty and old seaside town charm. If you plan to visit Norfolk, don't forget to pick up fish & chips or go crabbing at Cromer and Sheringham.


Get an early start to beat the traffic for four-hour drive to the next stop on your UK road trip. It's time to head to Brighton, one of my favourite UK cities and where I almost went to university. Such a vibrant seaside city with all the old-world charm and the the more modern, quirky personality. You can't visit Brighton without an ice cream and a stick of rock as you walk along the pier – just watch out for the huge seagulls! Head to the Lanes for a day of shopping or browsing the cute boutiques. There's so much amazing live music to enjoy, and if you visit in the summer – don't miss popular music festivals like The Great Escape. Best of all, there are some really adorable B&B's available right on the seafront, just be sure to book in advance to secure the one you want.

uk road trips – girl on wooden beam by ocean, shingle beach, norfolk. hands in air,


Less than two hours drive and the next stop on this UK road trip. Southampton is the cruise capital of Europe and a bit of a change from the beaches of the previous locations. Head to Southampton for the bustling port and pop over to the shingle beach on the Weston Shore for a walk along the water's edge as you spot tiny boats, huge ships and cruise liners floating by. This is the place to plan some time for shopping, dining out, live music and theatre. Visit Southampton to walk the medieval walls and discover the city's maritime heritage, or visit one of the many art galleries to get your culture fix. Or visit during Music in the City for the city's largest free music festival featuring over 1700 acts.


A short 45 minute cruise down the road, you have Bournemouth right on your doorstep and this is one you'll want to save your energy for. With huge endless beaches and stunning coastline, this is the perfect place to get outdoors and get active. There is no end of action-packed pursuits, from walking, cycling and even surfing along the coastline, exploring the historic parks and gardens or even catching a sunrise over the award-winning coastline. Don't forget to check what big events might be taking place when you visit – you could plan your UK road trip around them. There are food, drink and live music events throughout the year, with the Bournemouth Air Festival in the summer. Visit Bournemouth for a great stop-off in Dorset – there's so much to explore in this area whether you stay on the coast or head inland.


By now we're in the south-west of England and after a 2.5 hour drive you pull up in Torquay, nicknamed the English Riviera. Now in Devon, it's a great place to pause on your UK road trip to really enjoy the UK's coastline. Head to the harbour for the marina, shops and restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the boats bob past. Explore Paignton, Hollicombe, Goodrington and Breakwater beaches, Fairy Cove, Preston Sands and Saltern Cove. Visit Torquay for sea kayak adventure tours, or head to The Lucky 7 Club for cabaret and burlesque show. Take long dog walks on the stunning beaches, or head to Dartmouth Castle to explore the 600 year old ruins. Try the three-day Dart Music Festival if you fancy some entertainment.

sand dune at Brancaster, blue skies, north norfolk coast


Head down the South Devon Highway and Plymouth is waiting for you. This port city is known for its maritime heritage and historic Barbican district with narrow, cobbled streets.Expect breath-taking views and plenty to keep you active with lots of hiking, mountain biking, fishing and water sports. Fresh sea air and lots of great dog walks. Visit the lighthouses set on the cliffs, explore the Royal Citadel and explore the historic fortress. Head inland to one of Britain's largest national parks – Dartmoor – perfect for walks, hikes and trails. Or learn more about the city's history and heritage by visiting the local sites. Visit Plymouth as a perfect stop-off between Devon and Cornwall and enjoy the coastline and romantic hidden coves.


It wouldn't be right to finish the trip without taking in some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Head just 45 minutes down the road to Visit Cornwall where you will find sandy beaches and wild moorland on the south-western tip of the UK. By now you've covered the whole of the North to South route at 360miles from your starting point and just a six hour drive from home. From iconic sandy beaches to intimate sheltered coves, Cornwall boasts 300+ beaches. They have everything you could want and more. From the surf at Fistral Beach, the turquoise waters at Porthcurno or crabbing at Treyarnon Bay. Make time for this spot, there is a lot to enjoy down in Cornwall and you'll want to make the most of your time there. If you visit in the summer – check out some of the epic festivals down there including Boardmasters.

uk road trips – girl on wooden beam by ocean, shingle beach, norfolk. hands in air,

5 ways to prepare for your UK road trip:

Make sure you complete all essential car checks

Getting all that car maintenance done before you travel can be the difference between the road trip of a lifetime and getting stuck on the M25 when you break down in rush hour. Trust me, do the checks. When planning a UK road trip, you'll want to take into account the traffic and heat you may be travelling in. Plan ahead and be sure your car is up to the journey. Simple things like tyre pressure, water coolant and brake fluid. Make sure you know how to check your vehicle's levels en route if you come into any difficulties.

Plan your route and campsites/accommodation

This one is especially important this year as international travel is limited which means more people than ever will be travelling the UK instead. Planning your route and the times you choose to travel could really help you avoid the traffic. Even more important, make sure you have a place lined up to camp, stay or park for the night. A lot of accommodations have reduced their capacity to ensure safety during Coronavirus which means they are getting booked up much faster. Don't risk it and turn up, make sure you book ahead so you can ensure your safety during your stay.

Sign up for fuel cards or discounts

If you're planning to travel a lot this summer and want to stretch your £££ on your UK road trip. Why not look into fuel cards as a way of saving money or getting discounts on travel? There are so many available on the market and if you require fuel cards for business anyway, it could be a great way to utilise them during your holidays. There are also fuel cards available for sole traders so if you're a freelancer or independent business owner, you could be saving money on travel.

Brancaster beach, north norfolk coast

Prepare the ultimate playlist

Getting the right soundtrack is a really important part of the road trip. After all, our memories are tied to the songs that we hear, the smells, tastes and sights we experience. You know that feeling when you hear a song and it instantly transports you back to a moment? That's the feeling you want for years to come after this trip. Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap is one of my absolute favourite UK road trip songs and it always takes me back to amazing times.

Stock up on snacks

The number one thing to remember when planning a trip. Road trips make us all want to snack so make sure you do a big shop before. Or even home make a picnic for the car. It will save you a fortune on stopping at expensive service stations. Instead you can find a nicer place to stop off on the journey. The best snacks have to be chips & dip, and one of my healthy favourites is getting a bag of carrots!

Have you planned a UK road trip this summer? Would you love to visit any of these destinations?

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If you're desperate to travel this summer but don't want to risk going abroad, why not explore these Norfolk nature reserves? I'm lucky enough to have grown up with the whole of beautiful, wild Norfolk on my doorstep. Everything from those famous red cliffs and endless empty beaches, to the marshes, forests and of course, all that wildlife. With social distancing more important than ever – it's understandable that you might want to plan your UK travels and staycations around the countryside. Norfolk is such an underrated county and honestly, I think it's been the best place in the UK to spend lockdown. I could walk miles from my house and not see another soul if I didn't want to.

Whether you're hoping for a family holiday or a romantic weekend away, North Norfolk has everything you could want. From log cabins and luxury glamping, to self-catering cottages and holiday homes. Spend your days building sandcastles on the beach, or on long walks through the woodlands. Or take a boat trip to see the seals, go birdwatching or walk among the butterflies at the best stately homes and gardens in the area. Don't forget to check out my previous blog posts on Norfolk before you visit – they'll tell you all the best things to do and see, from a Norfolk native!

Brancaster Beach, Norfolk nature park, ocean and sand, blue skies

Brancaster Beach, North Norfolk Coast

The 13 best Norfolk nature reserves and parks

If you're planning to visit any of the following Norfolk nature reserves, parks or gardens – make sure you check online before you go. While some of them are always open to the public, there are some that require entry or even time slots to be booked ahead of your visit. With social distancing measures across the UK constantly changing and being updated. I recommend checking the websites provided for the most up-to-date information regarding opening times, admission prices and to find out what exactly is open within the grounds.

Sheringham Park

This National Trust landscape park and woodland garden boasts panoramic coastal views around the family home. Plus you will traces of the rich industrial history and military archaeology  including extensive fortifications dating back to World War 2. The Park was designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812 and remains the best preserved example of his work. It was commissioned by Abbot Upcher to change the Sheringham landscape and has been further developed by later generations. Expect extensive woodlands and gardens overlooking the coastal views, and lots of walks and trails to explore.

Visit Sheringham Park

Pensthorpe Natural Park

Pensthorpe Natural Park is an absolute goldmine for anyone who is looking for somewhere to take the whole family this summer. Located near Fakenham, the park was voted Norfolk's Best Large Attraction 2014 & 2015. The 700-acre woodland conservation park and nature reserve has plenty to keep the kids entertained with interactive trails and eco-play areas. In the heart of the Wensum Valley, expect wildlife sightings, beautiful gardens, a sculpture trail, courtyard cafe and shop. Plus the Pensthorpe Explorer, Wildrootz and Hootz House.

There are lots of fun trails to explore and for over 30 years Pensthorpe Natural Park has held lots of events, talks and even a bird and wildlife fair. They also hold lots of fun activities during school holidays to help inspire budding young conservationists and wildlife lovers.

Visit Pensthorpe Natural Park

Broads National Park

Stretching over 300km across both Norfolk and Suffolk, Broads National Park is one of the top attractions to the area. Huge blue skies meet endless horizons, explore raw natural beauty and epic landscapes. Did you know the Broads are actually man-made? They were created by the flooding of peat workings but over the years have become a protected landscape. These days they provide a home for more than a quarter of Britain's rarest plants and wildlife. This water playground is a fantastic place to spend the summer – with 125 waterways to explore at your own pace. It's easy to hire a cruiser for the day, or larger boats for the weekend or longer. For group holidays or family trips – it's a great way to explore Norfolk.

Visit Broads National Park

Girl in white dress among the lavender, Norfolk Lavender

Norfolk Lavender

Dersingham Bog & the Sandringham Estate

Now a bog may not be your idea of a fun day out – but trust me when I recommend a visit to Dersingham Bog. It's just across the road from the Sandringham Estate which is packed full of fab trails and walks, plus an enormous children's play area. The Sandringham Estate is truly beautiful and you could easily spend all day there – take a picnic! But across the road you go from the manicured beauty of Sandringham to the wild, untamed mire, heath and woodland of Dersingham Bog.

Stretching over 150 hectares, there is a circular walk which connects the two car parks. For wheelchair users, there is an easy access path which leads from the Wolverton car park to a viewpoint. Dersingham Bog is one of my favourite walks in the whole of Norfolk – plus it's always super quiet. It's also gorgeous in the winter, especially when there's frost on the ground.

Visit Dersingham Bog or Visit Sandringham Estate

Brancaster Estate

Sitting on the North Norfolk coast, the Brancaster Estate is made up of Brancaster Beach, Brancaster Staithe's busy harbour, and Branodunum, a roman fort site. Managed by the National Trust, it has a rich history and the beach was even used in preparations for the D-Day Landings. One thing to note if you're visiting – the tide changes very rapidly at the beach. Don't walk out to the shipwreck of the SS Vina. Many have found themselves cut off due to the fast-changing tides and have required rescuing. But do enjoy this iconic sandy beach. It's perfect for long dog walks and you will often see kite surfers.

Find great walking trails at nearby Brancaster Staithe for the wildlife walk. It gives views of Barrow Common and Branodunum Fort. There is also the beautiful Burnham Overy Staithe Circular Walk which is around 2 hours and gives you a view of the National Trust Tower Mill.

Visit the Brancaster Estate or Visit Branodunum Fort

Cley & Salthouse Marshes

When exploring Norfolk nature reserves – Cley and Salthouse Marshes should be high on the list for keen birdwatchers. Located just on the edge of Cley-next-the-Sea, the marshes were used as a location for 2008 movie, The Duchess, starring Kiera Knightly. Managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the area covers over 300 hectares and is one of the Trust's oldest and best known nature reserves. There is a cafe at the visitor's centre which offers panoramic views of the marshes and out to sea. They also have an education centre which regularly offers performances, workshops, guided walks and seasonal festivals. If you're keen to spot some spectacular birds, they reserve also has several old-fashioned birdwatching hides so you can be right at the water's edge .

Visit Cley & Salthouse Marshes

Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve

A sanctuary for kingfishers, tawny owls and great spotted woodpeckers, plus many more of the most beloved birds in the UK. Owned by the Hawk and Owl Trust and located near Fakenham, Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is internationally renowned for its wildlife. The reserve is also a haven for deer and butterflies. It's also the most easily accessible of Norfolk nature reserves and with all wildlife hides easily accessible by wheelchair. The 18 hectare estate incorporates fen, woodland and reedbed habitats, with boardwalks setting out the paths to follow. Dogs are not allowed onsite, but there are lots of walks available.

Visit Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve

Brancaster Beach, woman from a distance on sandy beach, blue skies

Brancaster Beach nature reserve

RSPB Snettisham Nature Reserve

The RSPB Snettisham nature reserve is made up of saltmarsh, tidal mudflats, lagoons and shingle beach. Three wildlife observation hides can be found across the site – including two that are wheelchair-accessible and suited to all weathers. Walkers and joggers enjoy the three popular trails including a circular 2km trail. There is also access available for cyclists and boating activities on the water.

Don't miss the Snettisham Spectacular – it's a real highlight for the birdwatcher's calendar. Hundreds of thousands of knot and oyster catcher wading birds are thrown from the mudflats by the fast incoming tide and they create quite a show as they swarm in the air. Although lovely in summer, the reserve comes alive in winter when up to 40,000 pink-footed geese fly migrate overhead. It's a sight, and a sound, that you won't forget.

Visit RSPB Snettisham or watch the Snettisham Spectacular

RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve

Nestled between the beautiful villages of Titchwell and Thornham, RSPB Titchwell Marsh is a real haven for bird lovers. Whether you're an expert bird-watcher or you simply love wildlife, you'll enjoy open access to the state-of-the-art modern Parrinder hide. Overlooking both freshwater and saltwater lagoons, you can expect to see huge flocks of birds flying in all day long. You can also choose the old-fashioned bird watching hides, or view wildlife from a viewing platform in the sand dunes. There is great disability access to the boardwalks and it's pushchair-friendly, dogs are only allowed on the main path. The RSPC also hold lots of events each year from wildlife talks to photography workshops.

Visit RSPB Titchwell Marsh

Blakeney Point

One of my favourite family memories from when I was a child was taking a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point. Near Morston, it's another National Trust favourite and offers lost of long walks around the nature reserve, or popular events. Best known for the seal trips – it's home to England's largest grey seal colony. Seal trips are running this summer, but at reduced capacity, so book online before you go. But don't worry, if boat trips aren't for you, there's plenty more wildlife worth spotting from the coastal walks and stunning views. Also known as Blakeney National Nature Reserve, visitors should head to Morston Quay for seal trips and car parks for walks.

Visit Blakeney National Nature Reserve

Holkham National Nature Reserve

One of my favourite Norfolk nature reserves – Holkham is spectacular. When you picture Norfolk coastline, this really is it for me. It's actually England's largest national reserve at 3,706 hectares and stretches from Burnham Norton to Blakeney. It's probably one of the most untouched, unspoilt natural landscapes in the area with a real wilderness feel about it. Holkham Beach is just through the pine forest from the car park and offers the widest open space of all the Norfolk beaches. You may even recognise it from the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. It's popular for those on horseback, or taking dogs for a walk. Or skirt the forest and look for the mudflats and saltmarshes for birds and wildlife.

Visit Holkham National Nature Reserve

Girl in white dress among the lavender, Norfolk Lavender

Norfolk Lavender

Welney Wetland Centre

The UK's leading wetland conservationist charity provides one of the best places in the area to spot birds in their natural habitat and learn more about wetlands. Covering over 1,300 acres of of wetlands, it's a perfect adventure-filled back yard. They have plenty to entertain the whole family including a Fenland Worlds exhibition, plus activity stations and wildlife films. The centre offers bird and wildlife watching hides, play areas and lots of walks. Plus they also host events and activities such as pond-dipping, walks and talks.

Visit Welney Wetland Centre

Gooderstone Water Gardens

Head towards Swaffham to explore this six acre park at your leisure and enjoy a unique and enchanting garden. Sure to delight naturalists and photographers alike, you can explore the nature trail then enjoy some homemade cake. Watch out for kingfishers as you stroll across the bridges. You'll find a natural trout stream, waterways with 13 bridges, four ponds, a kingfisher hide, colourful borders and a tearoom.

Visit Gooderstone Water Gardens

Fill your summer with stunning parks and Norfolk nature reserves – if going abroad is not an option then Norfolk is the perfect place for a staycation. Why not book a self-catering Norfolk cottage or holiday home and enjoy a week in nature? Play games with the kids and have a competition to see who can spot the most wildlife. Or let them run wild on the huge, empty beaches while you relax. Long walks are a must in Norfolk and you won't be short of places to go – whether you prefer the beaches, the marshes or the broads!. Plan your trip to Norfolk now – you won't regret it.

Have you been to Norfolk? Which nature reserve would you love to visit?

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If you're planning your social distancing staycations this summer – you'll want to bookmark this post on Norfolk stately homes and parks to visit! I'm planning on making the most of what little freedom we have this summer and using the time to explore my home county more than ever before. North Norfolk is the perfect place to visit when you want to avoid the crowds because there is so much wide open space to explore. From the beautiful beaches, to the stunning country houses and estates, to the incredible nature reserves and natural sights. If you're desperate to travel this summer, but fancy sticking to UK travel –  it's a perfect place to explore and bring the whole family along.

Check out my previous blog post: Why Norfolk holidays should be on your UK bucket list

Girl in long green dress, in the long grass overlooking lake at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk

The best Norfolk stately homes to visit:

I consider myself so, so lucky to have so many beautiful places on my doorstep and I hope that this post will encourage you to not only visit Norfolk. But also to explore more of your own back garden and to discover places you never knew were right down the road! Please note that due to social distancing, many if not all of these Norfolk stately homes will only have their grounds open to the public. You will likely not be able to take tours or go inside – please always check before you visit. Some estates require you to pre-book a time slot to visit so they can keep queues to a minimum. Check the websites for the most-up-to-date information regarding opening times, admission prices and COVID-19 updates.

Holkham Hall & Estate

Expect rolling fields and woodland surrounding Holkham Hall, with stunning views across the lake. Trails and paths criss-cross around the lake, with a walled garden, obelisk and a church to visit, plus a huge cricket pitch. You can also hire bikes to cycle the estate, explore the children's play area or gift shop. Don't forget to look for the deer! Holkham Hall is known for it's deer park and you will see a huge herd of deer grazing throughout the summer days. Parking costs just £4 for the day which gives you freedom across the whole park except the walled garden which has an additional cost. They also host a Saturday afternoon street food market which still allows for social distancing. Always check their events list before you visit.

Holkham Hall & Estate is truly spectacular – the epitome of Norfolk stately homes, it looks like a scene from a movie! Actually it is a scene from a movie – it was the location for parts of Keira Knightly movie, The Duchess, and TV drama All The King's Men, starring David Jason. If you later wander down to Holkham Beach, you'll also see where Gwyneth Paltrow's character washes up on the beach at the end of Shakespeare in Love.

Visit Holkham Hall

Felbrigg Hall

This hidden gem is located just slightly inland of Sheringham and is a National Trust property which boasts 520 acres of ancient woodland. Dating back to the mid-15th century, I actually visited on a Tudors school trip when I was little. You'll find rolling parkland, a lake and lots of buggy-friendly trails to explore with the family. There are beautiful gardens including the Walled Garden and West Garden which is home to the stunning 18th century Orangery. The inside of Felbrigg Hall is absolutely stunning, filled with rich, opulent decoration and a fascinating history. Felbrigg Hall is also home to one of the largest collections in the National Trust which includes architectural drawings, historic wallpaper, Boulle furniture and historic paintings.

Visit Felbrigg Hall

Girl in green dress stood in front of lake at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk, Norfolk stately homes and country houses

Sandringham House

Get a taste for royalty and visit Sandringham House this summer. The Royal family's private home and country house which has housed four generations of British monarchs since 1862. Ever since I was born my family have been taking me to the Sandringham Estate. Just a short 20 minute drive from my home, it's a perfect place for a woodland walk. There are lots of coloured trails through the woods for you to follow, plus an enormous children's play area and loads of open space for you to enjoy picnics. Normally you can take tours of Sandringham house and gardens but right now these won't be available. However, there is also a little shop, cafe, ice cream stall and plant shop to check out.

Visit Sandringham Estate

Houghton Hall

One of my favourite Norfolk stately homes in the area – I've previously attended two music and arts festivals here. It's a fabulous building dating back to the 1720's and the current owner is a direct descendent of Britain's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, who built the hall. It regularly hosts art exhibitions and events, including summer fairs. The grounds include a walled garden, an impressive collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture, a church, stables and a model soldier museum. There is also a deer park and lots of woodland to explore. They currently have an exhibition running by the celebrated British sculptor Anish Kapoor – it includes 24 sculptures and various smaller works. Pre-booked tickets are available online.

Visit Houghton Hall

Blickling Hall & Estate

Head to Norfolk's Bure Meadows where you will find the breathtaking Blickling Hall. This beautiful mansion sits on a sprawling 55 acre estate which includes a Partarre, temple, orangery, lake and kitchen garden. There are lots of walks and trails, including those suitable for adapted wheelchair users. Built in 1616, the Jacobean hall is known for it's impressive history and 18th century Long Gallery Library which contains over 12,500 volumes. The Blickling Estate was also the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and is now a National Trust property. 1945 movie The Wicked Lady starring James Mason and Margaret Lockwood was also filmed here.

Visit Blickling Hall

Girl in green dress stood in front of lake at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk, Norfolk stately homes and country houses

Oxburgh Hall

Another National Trust property, Oxburgh Hall has been home to the Bedingfeld family for 500 years. It comes with a fascinating history and reveals one family's unshakeable Catholic faith. Again, it was another school trip favourite – this time covering everything from Medieval times through to neo-Gothic Victorian. The building has a rich history which includes the survival of a fierce fire during the Civil War which almost destroyed it. There were times when it faced dereliction and demolition but survived all to tell its tale.

From Oxburgh Hall you get panoramic views across the Victorian French parterre, walled garden, kitchen garden and Catholic chapel. The hall is great for visiting families, with children getting access to trails, quizzes and dressing up clothes to try on, plus a woodland den building and camp area. Upon arrival, you make your way along the drive with the spectacular Oxburgh Hall surrounded by a moat in the distance. Please note that in 2020, there are currently ongoing conservation and reconstruction works. At the time of writing the hall was covered in scaffolding – you can still visit the gardens. Check the website for updates.

Visit Oxburgh Hall

Mannington Hall & Gardens

This moated medieval country house was first constructed in the 15th century and boasts stunning motif chimneys and gothic windows. Explore the Heritage and Modern Rose Gardens, or head to the South Lawn where a classic temple and Sensory Garden with a water feature can be found. You will also find a small chapel and folly garden dating back to the 18th century. Children will love exploring the special children's garden, playground and fairy nature trail. For families, Mannington Hall usually hosts a range of educational and children's activities. In the past these have included walks, nature games and quizzes and creative activities using natural materials. Find the latest events via the website.

Visit Mannington Hall

Hindringham Hall

A little moated manor house that has received great acclaim. It has just been shortlisted for the Historic Houses 2020 Garden of the Year award. Previous winners of the award include Blenheim Palace, Houghton and Newby Hall. Like something from a story-book, Hindringham Hall features a medieval moat, fishponds plus beautiful floral borders surrounding the Tudor hall, and a walled vegetable garden. The gardens are open to the public during summer on Wednesdays and Sundays. They normally offer guided tours of the moat, garden and ground floor of the hall. They also have 4 & 5* self-catering holiday cottages available to let by the week.

Visit Hindringham Hall

Girl in green dress stood in front of lake at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk, Norfolk stately homes and country houses

While travelling may not look quite the same right now, if anything this year has really shown us how lucky we are to have so many beautiful places in the UK. I'm as guilty as anyone of always travelling to far-off places but there is so much of the UK I still haven't seen. This year, let's focus on UK travel and staycations and start exploring our back garden. Whether you visit the wide open spaces and countryside of Norfolk, or head to the Lake District, Cotswolds, Devon or Cornwall. It's a luxury to still be able to travel, to choose self-catering or camp, and to be able to find space to enjoy ourselves without worries over social distancing. I'm planning on revisiting as many of these beautiful old stately homes and country houses around North Norfolk this summer as possible.

What are your summer plans – will you choose to travel to Norfolk? Where else are you taking a staycation this summer?

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