Thetford Forest Activities
Do you want to do activities in Thetford Forest but you don’t want to remortgage the house to pay for Centre Parcs? The good news is there are other options for visiting Thetford forest. Our favourite places for walks in Thetford forest are High Lodge and Brandon Country Park. These parks have plenty of Thetford forest activities to do with kids and without. The Gruffalo Trail at High Lodge, Thetford forest remains a popular activity for kids of all ages. Read on for more information.
High Lodge Activities and Trails for for Children
On our mist recent visit to High Lodge the playgrounds were closed due to Covid which gave us the opportunity to fully explore the music trail. The music trail is an impressively well done series of music stations for children to actively explore. There were lots of different types of innovative instruments from giant xylophones and gongs to the thing in the picture below which made music when it was jumped on. The sound of kids being allowed to be noisy fills this area of the forest so you can’t miss the short trail.
High lodge has an extensive network of children’s playgrounds. It would be easy to spend the say at High Lodge with the kids climbing, swinging and sliding. Ted particularly enjoyed the sand play area on our last visit.
If you do manage to drag the children away from the High Lodge play areas you will find plenty more to amuse them. The Gruffalo and Zog trails were the main attraction at Thetford Forest for us. The Zog Trail was retired after 2019 but the amazing carved characters from the Thetford Forest Gruffalo Trail (from the Julia Donaldson book) remain.
In 2019 the Gruffalo Trail we had a fantastic time with the Zog Trail. Zog is another Julia Donaldson story. For a small fee, you could get an activity pack from the visitor centre. The kids absolutely loved following the trail and doing the activities to earn their golden stars. My children are aged 2 and 4 and there was plenty for them to get involved with. It helped that they loved the book of course.
We love these Gruffalo Nature trail books:
If you follow the children’s trails at High Lodge you will also come across lots of other activities and fun things to do. They have added in small playgrounds and interesting places for you to discover along the way.
Another activity you might come across at High Lodge are pony rides. My three-year-old was very enthusiastic about this one.
High Lodge for Older Children and Adults
There is also many miles of mountain bike trails to be found at High Lodge for people of all abilities from children’s trails to experts. Bike hire is also available from Bike Art, just remember to bring ID if you want to use their services.
High Lodge Amenities and Parking
The park is open from 9am to 7pm daily. Parking at High Lodge costs up to £12.50 for the day and can be paid by cash or card at the machines in the park or online in advance. There is plenty of parking available but be warned that it does get busy in the summer at weekends.
High Lodge has amenities for all types for visitor. There is a large cafe at the visitor centre, acres of land for you to bring a picnic and even several BBQs that are free to use.
Brandon Country Park Walks and Activities
Brandon Country Park isn’t as big and grand as High Lodge but it is still a great place for an interesting Thetford Forest walk. I have been visited regularly since I was a child. If you visit with anyone from my family you will have to endure the story about how my cousin fell in the pond here, approximately 20 years ago.
The car park and visitor centre are close to Brandon Hall and much of the house’s original grounds are now part of the park. Because of this there are lots of interesting features within the first few hundred metres of your walk. These include some incredible American red woods, the aforementioned large country house pond and a crumbling Gothic mausoleum. The house itself is now a private nursing home.
As the walk moves on from the house you have the choice of several routes. Like the rest of Thetford forest, huge areas of commercial plantation owned and managed by the forestry commission are accessible from Brandon Country Park. It also has some wonderfully contrasting areas of heath land which are full of wildlife.
Once you have explored the available walking routes you can return to the visitor centre area for another classic Thetford Forest activity, the children’s playground.
Brandon Country Park Amenities and Parking
Brandon Country Park is run by Suffolk County Council and they have a pay and display car park which costs between £1 and £2.50. There is also a small visitor centre and cafe.
West Stow Country Park
Situated to the south of Thetford Forest, but still very much within the distinctive Brecks area of East Anglia, is West Stow Country Park. This park has something for everyone. There’s a playground for the kids, as well as a Beowulf activity trail and interactive Saxon Museum. On top of this, there are miles and miles of varied walks that incorporate the River Lark, lakes and surrounding woodlands.
West Stow Country Park Amenities and Parking
West Stow Country Park has a pay and display car park, cafe and gift shop attached to the Anglo Saxon museum.