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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

A weekend (or day trip) adventure to Grimes Graves

Before we we moved to Norfolk and used to visit on weekends, our route took us past Thetford Forest and up and through Swaffham to the North Norfolk Coast. There's two places we drove past on this route that we always vowed we stop at one day; Castle Acre and Grimes Graves. Typically, we never did get chance to visit either on our weekend adventures to Norfolk. Since we've moved here though we've spent lots of time in Castle Acre and even written a blog on the most amazing day trip that includes so many incredible places to visit (and eat) in and around Castle Acre.

As a kid Matt (my husband) had visited Grimes Graves. His family used to visit Blakeney every year and every year they did the very same drive past Thetford Forest and saw the big brown tourist signs for Grimes Graves. Matt loved his visit. Every time we saw the signs on our journeys past, he would talk so fondly about his day there with his Mum and Sister. So when I was planning this month's newsletter, I knew I needed to finally visit and find out whether all these years later it was as good as he remembers. Spoiler alert, it definitely is.

Unlike the name suggests, there are no graves at Grimes Graves. It was given the name by Anglo-Saxons who believed it was the burial place of the God Woden (also known as Grim). In fact though, it's a Neolithic flint mine where you can actually head down 9 metres below ground and experience what one of the pits looked like, as well watching a short video which is projected onto the walls of the pit which immerses you in the lives of the prehistoric miners.

When you arrive at Grimes Graves it feels like you're reached the moon looking at the landscape. Well the moon covered in grass but the moon all the same. It's a stunning vista and on a sunny day I can imagine you being able to spend hours here, especially if you bring a picnic to enjoy on one of the many picnic tables that look out over the landscape. It's actually also dog friendly everywhere but down the pit (but you can take it in turns to go down there so someone can always stay looking after the dog).

I won't spoil it for you by telling you everything but the history and stories they know about Grimes Graves are fascinating. As well as the video projection down in the pit that gives you an insight into the miners lives, there's a walking route around the lunar like landscape above the pits that has incredible descriptors on the informational boards along the route. There's also a really immersive room by the reception / gift shop that you could spend hours in consuming all of the information.

I actually went on my own to visit Grimes Graves and it was amazing. Such a lovely way to spend a morning or afternoon. It'd be a great trip out as a couple or family (there's lots that would keep kids entertained).

For me, the best way to visit Grime Graves though would be by making a weekend of it. That part of Norfolk gets so overlooked with people just passing through to get to the coast (just like we used to) but there's so much to be explored and it's just the most beautiful part of the world.

Where to stay: Brakehill Barns which you can find out more about in our Glamping Series of our "Back to Nature in Norfolk" blogs. If you're a newsletter subscriber, there's 10% off for you in too.

Local Walks: The Pingo Trail and Wayland Woods

What else to do during the weekend: Have breakfast at The Grain Kitchen, followed by a tour of The English Distillery (which is in the same location) and then a walk by the river on the grounds.

Visit Lynford Lakes which is an incredible open water swimming spot and stunning walk. It's also right next door to Lynford Arboretum which is so interesting and serene. We recommend getting coffee, sandwiches and cake from the absolutely gorgeous Shepherd's Hut (Shepherd's Baa) which is located in between the Arboretum and Lynford Lakes. We've even got 10% off for you with them in the newsletter too 🙌🏻

Book an outdoor spa experience at Thompson Hall Retreats Wilderness Spa (voted best Day Spa by Muddy Stilettos in 2023) and also featured in our "Back to Nature in Norfolk" blog series. They've got an outdoor swimming pond of dreams and its such a hidden gem in Norfolk.

We're going to be doing every single one of these lovely activities above when we have a week off in July. We had talked about going abroad but after visiting Grimes Graves and seeing how much there is to do in the local area (and how stunningly beautiful and relaxing Brakehill Barns is), there's literally nowhere else in the world we'd rather be than Norfolk.

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