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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

📢 Pensthorpe isn’t just for kids. I REPEAT, Pensthorpe isn’t just for kids!!

It might be obvious to some and maybe I’m being far too literal, but not having kids, I read the words “family days out” and seriously worry that if I was to turn up without a little miniature version of myself, that I’d look like an absolute weirdo. I mean I’ve even been known to borrow my friend’s kids for the day just so I can go to places that are “for kids” and not feel weird about it.


Pensthorpe though, it’s the dreamiest place in the world as an adult, especially outside of school holidays. After visiting for the first time yesterday, I’m absolutely hooked. As adults, we live such busy lives. We spend far too much time in front of a screen and we end up with so little time for ourselves (we’re far too busy looking after little ones, or focussing on our careers, running businesses, doing hobbies, socialising, or literally all of those).


When we moved to Norfolk, something I was adamant I wanted to do was slow down. After living in London for 12 years I was exhausted. The treadmill of life had got to me and one of the many draws of Norfolk was how much more accessible a slower pace of life would be. One Marketing Agency, the Norfolk Uncovered Instagram account, website and newsletter later (as well as a DIY house and garden renovation) and somehow I’ve ended up not slowing down at all.


I’m definitely one for the whole “put your own oxygen mask on first”. I mean how can I show up  and have amazing marketing or content ideas if I’m burnt out and depleted. My secret weapon? Getting out in Norfolk’s nature.


…and if you’re a busy adult that needs a boost of energy and a day that you walk away from feeling lighter, brighter and more creative then you HAVE to spend a day at Pensthorpe.


Set across 700-acres, Pensthorpe is the perfect place to clear your head and give yourself the space to “just be”. I know you could say that about anywhere in nature, but what makes Pensthorpe extra special (and makes the entry fee worth it a million times over) is how it captivates you with little surprises round every corner you turn.


It’s a species-rich nature reserve and it’s fascinating. I’m not the kind of person who can ordinarily sit in a Hide and have the patience (or the ability to stay quiet for long enough) to spot anything amazing. Within seconds of sitting in the Hides at Pensthorpe though, blue tits were flying before our eyes, deers were prancing across the open fields and it felt like literal magic was dancing before our eyes.


In the Aviary there’s several birds that are classified as a declining species and being so close to them, seeing them in real life and learning more about them is a soul filling goodness that I don’t think can be replicated.


I’m not a bird watcher. You really don’t have to be to enjoy Pensthorpe though. It’s so beautifully curated that the only thing you need to be is a nature lover to find the magic in this place.


Pensthorpe as an adult helps you relive your childhood, while also realising how much you didn’t take in and notice as a child. I stood watching the flamingos for ages. I walked into the enclosure with a childlike excitement, remembering the last time that I actually saw a flamingo I was most probably still a kid. As an adult though, you see them in a whole new way. The way they move as if they’re dancing (and they’ve got some pretty funky moves too), the way they stand in pairs even when part of a much bigger group. The way some are more pink than others and the way their long legs reflect in the water and create what would be the most beautiful watercolour painting.


The walks are also stunning; there’s trails through wetland, hedgerows, woodland, riverbanks, farmland and water meadows (as well as four beautiful gardens including a sculpture garden).


Pensthorpe isn’t just great for soul filling nature goodness either. Their cafe and gift shop are absolutely flipping brilliant. Like I’d actually drive there just to have lunch and a little shop, brilliant (and you absolutely can do that as they’re the car park side of the entrance and therefore you don’t need to pay an admission fee to go to them). In fact, if you’re just going to the cafe and / or shop, it’s dog friendly. Once you’ve paid your entrance fee and are through and into the actual nature reserve part it’s understandably not dog friendly though as there’s so many rare species and habitats that need to be protected.


Membership is also incredibly reasonable too. Year round membership is £60 per person and a day ticket is £14.95 per person, so you’d only need to go 5 times in a year and you’ve already made a saving.


We all need to put ourselves first and make sure we’re looking after our wellness. I genuinely can’t recommend a visit to Pensthorpe more for that. On your own, or with a friend, I promise you’re going to leave so much lighter, happier and mentally healthier. It’s like Norfolk’s natural version of self-care and I am so, so here for it.

Pensthorpe Natural Park




NR21 0LN


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