A day out to explore fabulous churches

Whether you like tranquil woods, miles of unspoiled coastline or the chance to stroll around picturesque villages the Norfolk countryside has something for pretty much everyone – but did you know that whenever you are doing any of the normal days out in Norfolk there are also lots of fascinating church buildings packed full of interest and history close by, and they’re free?

In fact, it is possible to structure entire days out by using the towers and spires that spring up across our countryside as waypoints.  Below is an example – a stroll through one particular part of Norfolk but you could make literally hundreds of other such outings as you stride and ride across this beautiful county.

We start at St. Nicholas’ Church in Blakeney.  A few minutes’ walk down the road you will find the village hall where you can get free car parking and the use of toilets, so it is an ideal place to start.

The church building itself is always wonderfully welcoming.  Most of the current building is from the 15th century but with a large number of Victorian furnishings – with one exception being the lovely 15th-century font.

There are often displays of what is happening in local life and the main West tower is regularly open for spectacular views.  One charming thing about the building is it has a secondary beacon tower at the east end of the church.

From here you can head back down the coast road and onto Saxlingham Road which, if on foot, allows you to then go across Wiveton Downs to see some great plant life and amazing views before dropping down in to the little village of Glandford.

There’s also the chance to refuel at the local café before heading off towards St Martin’s in Glandford.  To get here head towards the river and turn right past the quaint and curious shell museum.  Up a modest hill you will find the small church of St Martin’s – mainly a rebuilding from the end of the 19th century, it is full of wonderfully carved wooden furniture and a great place to stop, relax and ponder.

After a space for breath, cross over the river and take a left to head towards Wiveton and Cley.  Take a quick trip over the lovely bridge to visit St Mary’s, Wiveton.  St Mary’s was largely rebuilt in the 15th century when the river was vastly different and Wiveton was a thriving and populous port. There is a sense of timeless-ness wondering around the churchyard and the interior is light and airy.

Retrace your steps and then turn towards Cley where, like at Wiveton, you will find a marvellous church next to a pub.  St Margaret’s in Cley always feels very grand.  It is an imposing building and has a lovely interior and fine pews and pulpit as well as a seven-sacrament font.  This is one of those churches that the more you look the more interest you will see.  The Glaven Valley Church website has a wealth of information on this and all the churches mentioned here.

Once you leave St Margaret’s wind your way down the road to the sumptuous village of Cley and after you have enjoyed the shops and windmill head back to the car at Blakeney.

St Nicholas, St Mary and St Thomas’s, Blakeney

Wiveton Road, Blakeney, NR25 7NJ

View Church

St Martin’s, Glandford

Hurdle Lane, Glandford, NR25 7JP

View Church

St Mary’s, Wiveton

The Street, Wiveton, NR25 7TP

View Church

St Margaret of Antioch’s, Cley-next-the-Sea

Cley Green , Cley-next-the-Sea, NR25 7TT

View Church