We’ve been out tandem cycling in Norfolk many times during our holidays there, but we'd start each holiday with the same ride. After driving up to our holiday accommodation in Blakeney on the Saturday, we would relax more and avoid using the car the next day and cycle from our holiday cottage. And it just happened that our cycle route guidebook had one ride that came through Blakeney. Decision made!
Our guidebook was Philip’s Cycle Tours – Norfolk and Suffolk, and it was ride three “Northeast from Fakenham to the coast at Blakeney and Cley” that we chose to do as our first ever Norfolk tandem ride. As we didn’t know the area at all we were in for a very pleasant surprise!
The route described in the book is forty-one miles long, but we’ve taken what we feel is the best of that circuit and made a loop that is just twenty miles around. As we’re cycling in Norfolk, the terrain is very gently rolling (almost flat) and mostly on small country roads. There are plenty of wonderful views and places of interest to take a break, so be prepared to hop on and off your bike around the route to take photos or walk around.
If you use Komoot.com GPS mapping software then you can follow our cycle route on your mobile device or if you need a gpx file then click the "Discover more info about this tour" link.
We start from the main car park by the harbour in Blakeney, which is our favourite north Norfolk village. This is a National Trust car park, so it is free for members (remember to bring your membership card), but non-members must pay. There is free car parking up by the village hall, but this is small and it can be difficult to find a space.
Ride up High Street and turn left on to the A149 towards Cley-next-the-Sea. Shortly after, you're pass St. Nicholas’ Church on your right. If they have the sign out saying that the church tower is open, then I recommend stopping now as the views from the top are amazing. The reason I say to stop now, rather than leave it until after the ride, is that you may not have the energy to climb up the 130 or more spiral steps!
As the road approaches Cley-next-the-Sea you'll get fine views of the windmill and saltmarshes. There is also a very good deli on the corner where the route turns right in case you fancy stopping on route for a picnic.
This next bit, along narrow, peaceful roads, follows the course of the River Glaven. At a sharp left-hand bend is a ford on the right-hand side which goes into Glandford. I find it very peaceful sitting here and just watching the swans and ducks bob around on the water. The buildings in view look like an old watermill and reminds me of a Constable painting scene.
After absorbing the peace and quiet at the ford, the route starts to climb, Norfolk style, along small country lanes towards Letheringsett and the A148 main road. It’s a quick left and right over the A148 and onto another small road that passes Letheringsett Water Mill to another ford after a sharp right-hand bend. This time we must cross the ford, but if you don’t want to risk getting wet feet there is a narrow footbridge.
The roads twist and turn, gently climbing, passing the villages of Little Thornage, Thornage, and Sharrington until we reach the main A148 road, the highest point of our circuit. Here the route goes straight across and wiggles along small roads to the village of Binham. I do recommend stopping to explore Binham Priory as it is very peaceful, and the ruins are some of the best monastic ruins in Norfolk.
Leaving the priory site, the route continues into Stiffkey where we join the A419 main road to return to Blakeney. Along the way there are good views over the saltmarshes and the village of Morston has a nice church and small quay from which you could take a seal spotting trip.
There is plenty to see and do back in Blakeney, including walking around the saltmarsh nature reserve, take a seal spotting trip out to Blakeney Point, or just relax and have a nice meal after your bike ride.
Happy and safe cycling, we hope you enjoy your cycling in Norfolk!
Norfolk has no shortage of fabulous holiday accommodation whether you want to spend time on the beach, love boating or want to explore inland. You may covet a tiny fisherman's cottage like the one in Blakeney we kept returning to. You may like something larger and more modern like a loft overlooking the Norfolk Broads, or the right place for you may be a chic city apartment perfectly placed to explore Norwich...
However, if you fancy a hotel how about some of these...
To view more hotels in Norfolk click here or you could try our Booking.com search box.
It's next to impossible to be bored in Norfolk, there's just so much to do and see. The list below includes some of our favourite places