First impressions as you drive into the entrance of Kelling Heath are of a comprehensive park stacked with quality facilities. The reception office details the extent of these facilities at a glance and it's clear that it's a veritable village of activity and fun and sport. The pitches have a delicious remoteness amid natural heathland and are surrounded by some of the best natural woodland-heath in the country. You could be camping “au sauvage”, as the French so enticingly phrase the idea of camping away from campsites.
In reality you're actually in Norfolk, a mile from the north coast of the county that’s so rich in walking and sightseeing opportunities. Despite being in such a remote-looking pitch, you’re never very far from an amenities building. These are of high quality, as you’d expect, and feature conservatory-style washing up areas, heating to the shower areas in spring and autumn, and a launderette in the village.
Got a dog? Bring him here for the ultimate canine holiday treat – walks are everywhere, right from your pitch. Only don’t let him off the lead. He could get lost just as you could if you tried – lost in the lure of this compellingly natural environment. You can walk for what seems like miles without leaving the site. Which is not surprising as the park’s acreage runs to 250. The site has a designated dog area adjacent to the heath – and well-communicated rules about leads and clearing up. If more structured forms of exercise are your choice, Kelling has the means.
Back to that 'village' – and you'll find a prestige health and fitness club housed in an architecturally stunning building. Simply relax in and around the prestigious pool, sauna and steam room or work out in the gym where there is a wide range of up-to-date equipment to suit every level of fitness. This prestigious club is available for guests' use through various membership options.
During high season the outdoor pool is available at no charge - the ideal place for an outdoor dip, though, and it’s sheltered, enclosed by a feature Norfolk-stone-style wall and trees. Importantly, it’s also heated, and there’s plenty of patio area for sunbathing. Bathing level restrictions can be in force at peak times.
Tennis courts are not far from the village square, near to which we also found one of the park’s two adventure play areas whilst a little further into the woodland the park's eco-gym trail is great fun in the open air.
We went back to a little enclosure that caught our eye as we were checking in to the site, to learn that Kelling has been successfully taking part in a national red squirrel breeding programme and is also looking after butterflies – specifically, the now-rare Silver-studded Blue. Kelling runs a programme of activities during the summer. These include: close encounter opportunities with large hairy spiders, snakes and birds of prey; face painting, making bird boxes; local produce days on which stalls set up in the site’s village to sell Norfolk-made cheese, crafts, locally-caught fish and much more. There are football matches, instruction in juggling, stilt-walking and Diablo-spinning.
There’s a week’s worth of walking at Kelling – go your own way or follow one of the leaflet-guides available at reception. If walking is a bit tame for you, orienteering opportunities are on offer. There’s an orienteering map on the information board in the village square. And if you’ve never tried your skill at this map-reading sport, Kelling would be a good place to start.
Our choice on this visit was cycling; cycle hire is available – there’s a vast stock of cycles of all sizes here, in a building just outside the village where you can also pick up information on routes away from the park. But with 250 acres to explore. Open air entertainment is a feature of this site in peak season. Examples include folk dancing, jazz bands and Morris dancing. Kelling’s Acorn Club offers children aged from four to 12 organised outdoor activities and games that are linked to the natural environment. Examples include nature walks and pond-dipping. Finally, there are a wide range of on-site eateries to be sampled, ranging from the Forge & Terrace Bar and Restaurants to the Bracken takeaway.
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