Posts categorised as Attractions

The Magic of Minsmere

11 December 2014
The scenic view at Minsmere

The scenic view at Minsmere

It is a common perception that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is just for the conservation of birds. The truth is that the RSPB also protects threatened wildlife and the goal is to have the towns, coast and countryside teeming with nature’s life.

At Minsmere, you can see the RSPB in action and at this specific site the RSPB specialises in protecting rare birds. One example of their success is that 30% of the UK’s breeding bitterns are found at Minsmere.

It’s a precise procedure, creating a natural environment. In the matter of the bitterns, special care is made to regulate water levels, keeping the reeds trimmed back so that the habitat will be more appealing to fish. Not only the bitterns benefit but so do the marsh harriers, otters, water voles, and bearded tits.

Cows keep the grass trimmed in the summer and in the spring it is mowed. Why? Because breeding lapwings need the grass short in the spring. The grass also needs to be damp for breeding waders and in the winter, wildfowl need some of the grassy areas flooded.

The Magic of Minsmere is a special walk where you can see some of the more than 5300 recorded species, history in action, and archaeological delights. This is a 3-hour walk, beginning at 10am on Tuesdays from now until January 27, 2015 and alternately on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 9:30am until February 28, 2015.

This time of the year rafts of ducks, typically teals and widgeons, gather on the Scrape and grazing marshes. However, there are also Bewick’s swans, smews and goldeneyes. On any given day there are hundreds of ducks in their finest plumage.

You don’t have to come only on Tuesdays or the weekend for the walk. Come anytime and see nature being restored and new life emerging. Start at the visitor centre, visit the café which offers the best of Suffolk food, walk along one of the nature trails that meander through the woodland, heathland and reedbeds.

There are hides where you can quietly watch the birdlife around you. Stroll to the beach area. It’s a way to return to a peaceful natural world as if you were time travelling into a bygone era.

You can get to Minsmere by bicycle from the railway stations at Darsham and Saxmundham. Avoid the B-roads if possible. Take the roadside cyclepath along the A12 from Darsham station to the turn for Darsham village and follow the lanes through Westleton.

From the Saxmundham station, go toward Eastbridge and follow the metalled road across the Minsmere river to the right turn to Scott’s Hall Farm. (Here’s a hint: Scott’s Hall Farm isn’t on the map so if you need a map, use Ordnance Survey Explorer maps 212 and 231.)

Of course, you can also take a bus and a demand-responsive bus will take you from the Leiston bus station from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday. Book a day ahead for the demand-responsive bus.

Or you can simply drive to Minsmere. From Broadland Sands Holiday Park take the A12 south and follow the signs to Westleton where you take the Dunwich road and then the first right. Go left at the crossroads, follow the reserve entrance track to Scotts Hall. The car park is another kilometre further along..

This time of the year the visitor centre and shop are open daily 9 am-4 pm and the café is open 10 am-3.30 pm from November-January. The car park, hides and countryside walks are open daily from dawn to dusk except for December 25 and 26.

Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre

21 October 2014

shutterstock_204190864From jellyfish to sharks, the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre brings the sea to you.

The Centre is about a great deal more than looking at sea life. You can interact with sea creatures. While playing with sharks might seem a tad risky, it isn’t at all. You can get right up close to the Black Tip Reef sharks and even help feed them.

If you like playing with sea creatures, you can get right into it with the interactive rock pool. Crabs, starfish, squirts, and even shrimp that will give you a manicure.

You won’t see any whales or dolphins at the Sea Life Centre. Part of the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre’s mandate is to protect sea life and the protection means that “far-ranging, highly social and highly intelligent animals” such as whales and dolphins are not in captivity.

You will however see a lot of seahorses. The Centre is a pioneer in breeding and raising nine different seahorse species back from the edge of extinction. The Centre also rescues animals in distress such as injured rare sturgeon, dolphins, Minke whales and sea turtles.

The sea life experience is richly educational and very conservation oriented. The Centre is mindful that families come in all shapes and sizes and have expanded the concept of family rates to encompass any group of individuals for the purpose of purchasing a family saver ticket. A family saver ticket for six costs £54 if bought on the web. Web prices offer a savings of 30 percent over ticket bought on site.

If you are looking for an educational and entertaining day out with family and friends while staying at Broadland Sands, the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre has all that you need. As well as more than a thousand sea creatures, there are play areas for the kids and a cafe providing fresh hot food and kids eat free deals.

The Centre opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes weekdays at 4 p.m. On the weekend, it closes at 4:30 p.m.

African Adventure in Lowestoft

14 August 2014

Enjoy-suffolk-lionFor an action-packed and educational family day out, Africa Alive is an absolute must! Located just 9 miles (20 minutes drive) away from Broadland Sands, this stunning park is home to over 80 different types of African animals and can also be reached via a recently introduced bus service from Lowestoft.

Any passengers travelling via the new 99 service from Lowestoft will receive a £2 discount off their entry fee to Africa Alive, when they present a valid bus ticket!

The park is home to an array of birds varying from the Egyptian Vulture to the African Barn Owl. There are even a couple of parrots such as the African Grey and the Vasa!

If you want to walk on the wild side then go and find the African Lions or the Cheetahs or why not visit the monkeys, such as the Chimpanzees and the Vervet Monkey and the King Columbus.

If it’s the smaller creatures you are interested in, you can also find a variety of reptiles such as the Leopard Tortoise, the Leopard Gecko or the Plated Lizard and for the really brave why not visit the Chilean Rose Tarantula?!

Whatever your preference, there is plenty to see and do at Africa Alive and for an additional cost to park admission prices, you can even pre-book exciting experiences such as “Meet the Lions” where you can join one of the trained park staff to meet and even feed “Zero” and his pride!*

Another great pre-booked (n.b: additional cost) experience is the Junior Keeper Experience – participants must be between 8 – 13 years old and can be accompanied by an adult through the 3 hour experience which gives the child the opportunity to be work with one of the Zoo Keepers and a range of animals.

At the end of the pre-booked experiences mentioned above, the participant receives a signed, framed certificate and a photo to commemorate their experience!

There are plenty of places to eat near to and inside the Park including the Explorers Restaurant, which is situated nearby the Park entrance. The Explorers offers a healthy menu to include jacket potatoes with a variety of hot and cold fillings, vegetarian options and a good choice of children’s meals.

For something lighter actually in side the park, Limpopo Restaurant offers a range of snacks and light meals that you can enjoy either inside or out on the terrace.

Hot and cold snacks, ice creams and hot and cold drinks can also be purchased from a number of Snack Shacks that are dotted around the park.

This beautiful park stretches over 100 acres of land and guarantees a thrilling family day out – with daily opening hours from 9.30 am apart from Christmas and Boxing Day it really is an adventure not to be missed!

*NB: For the Meet the Lions Experience all participants must be 14 years old or over. Please note that the experience lasts for 1 hour, starting at 9.00 am and must be booked in advance.

Southwold …

08 July 2014

Enjoy-Southwold_Beach-hutsSituated on the North Sea Coast and only a 40 minute drive away from Broadland Sands, Southwold, in essence, is a typically English seaside town. There are plenty of things to see and do to include a walk along Southwold’s award winning pier, or watch the sailors coming in and out of the local harbour, visit the working lighthouse and of course, don’t forget a trip to the beautiful beach.

Enjoy-Suffolk_Southwold-lighthouse

Standing at 31 metres and having been in operation since 1890, the current lighthouse is an absolute must to see whilst you are visiting Southwold. Situated in the heart of Southwold, the lighthouse is still operational and acts as a guide to passing vessels and those that wish to enter into the local harbour.

 

NB: Guided tours are given subject to weather conditions and Trinity House’s operational requirements.

If it’s a day full of fun, food and family entertainment that you are looking for then look no further than the Southwold Pier! With the House of Games offering a variety of activities ranging from the more traditional angle such as the 2p pusher and air hockey right through to stomping spiders and horse racing, you can guarantee that you will keep the kids happy!!

Enjoy-Suffolk_Southwold-Pier-2

For something slightly different, then you should pop along to the “Under the Pier Show” which features a collection of hand-made, crazy machines and challenges, as provided by Tim Hunkin.

The show offers you the chance to help Grandma to try and get across the road, simply using a Zimmer frame! Or why not “whack a banker”? What can only be described as something completely different this is an experience probably not for the fainthearted but shouldn’t be missed and guaranteed to make you laugh!

The Pier also features some excellent eating establishments.

If you are looking for a mid-morning coffee and a cake then try The Clockhouse which serves a delicious range of croissants, muffins or pastries up until 11.30am. Following after that time, this delightful café serves a wide selection of sandwiches, wraps and cakes and later in the afternoon you might want to treat yourself to a cream tea!

The Boardwalk restaurant serves a wide choice of locally sourced fresh food and makes every effort to cater for all dietary requirements, making this restaurant extremely popular with holiday makers and locals alike. The views of the sea from wherever you are sitting are simply breathtaking, whether you are dining for lunch, early evening dinner or a later supper.

We would suggest that you book a table in advance during summer months as to avoid disappointment.

 

Latitude Festival

Henham Park is just over 30 minutes away from Broadland Sands in the car and is home to the Latitude Festival which kicks off for three days on 17th July for its 9th annual event.

Enjoy-Suffolk_latitude-festival-1

Latitude has something for the whole family whether you attend for the day or the whole weekend! This is more than your average festival which offers a broad spectrum of entertainment, covering music, film, literature, poetry and art.

This year’s line-up sees Damon Albarn headlining on Saturday with The Black Keys headlining on Sunday, as well as hundreds of other acts covering a multitude of musical genres.

The award winning Kids Area (Best Family Festival Award – UK Festival Awards) offers an array of activities and will keep the children occupied throughout the day and into the evening – arts, crafts, pizza making are just a few of the things to do and be sure to try and catch this year’s theatre offering of The National Theatre’s production of Cat in the Hat!

For the older kids who are just that little too old for the Kids Area, Latitude has The Inbetweeners’ Teen Area; here they can enjoy music, media, fashion and various workshops ranging from technology to beat boxing, comic book design, silk screen printing etc. If your teenager prefers the outdoors there are also wildlife survival lessons and assault courses, designed only for the brave!

If you want to enjoy some Festival Fun – Latitude is a must!

A great family day out at Pleasurewood Hills …

18 June 2014

Enjoy-Suffolk_Rollercoaster-imageFor an exciting and entertaining family day out you don’t have to travel far from Broadland Sands Holiday Park. Pleasurewood Hills theme park is less than a 10 minute drive from the Broadland Sands site and offers a variety of exciting thrill, family and kids rides as well as live entertainment.

Pleasurewood Hills is situated between Corton and Gunton, near Lowestoft, covering an area of 59 acres. The park is over 30 years old and is home to the region’s largest roller coaster, Wipeout. Not for the faint hearted, this ride takes you backwards, upside down and whisks you around at a top speed of 50 mph!

In addition to other thrill rides such as The Jolly Roger and Timber Falls, the park is also host to family favorites such as Chairlifts and Wave Breaker and rides such as Woody Copter and Mini Twister are always popular with the much younger members of the family.

As well as the fun of the fair, the park also features other exciting attractions such as live entertainment. Due to arrive for July and August (2014), the park is excited to welcome The Acapulco High Dive show. Diving from a 25m high platform into a 2.8m deep pool, this team of world champion divers will take your breath away with their dare devils stunts.

Other much loved regular offerings include the Sea Lion Show and the Parrot Show. Both displays have long been extremely popular with visitors to the park and are guaranteed to make you laugh!

Half way through your day, be sure to stop for a lunch break! Whether you are looking for traditional fish and chips at the The Flying Fish or a pint and a takeaway pizza at The Merry Mariner, the park’s eating establishments cater for everybody.

Don’t leave the park without treating yourself or the kids to some goodies! The Emporium offers a wide range of confectionary as well as soft toys (you can buy your very own Woody Bear toy – the park’s mascot) and Woody’s Candy Cabin stocks everything from lollipops to chocolate!

NB: The park opens Friday-Sunday inclusive only during June and then changes to 7 days per week opening from 1st July onwards.* To check opening hours, current prices etc check the Pleasurewood Hills website for more information.

*As of 2014.