Pensthorpe Natural Park Fakenham
Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham is pioneering a new vision for conservation, experiential nature and wellbeing. Our strong emphasis on customer experience and ensuring an inspiring connection with nature is at the heart of everything we do. Our motivation is to be Norfolk’s Best Attraction with a focus on conservation education accessible to all ages. We are continually looking to improve what we do, so watch this space. All online tickets have to be purchased at least one day in advance. They cannot be purchased on the same day. When booking online for our indoor play, please book in everyone who will be entering Hootz House, not just those who wish to play (as this is how we measure capacity). Prices may change for some of our special events. Visit our events page for more details.
Pensthorpe Natural Park Opening Times and Prices
Pensthorpe Natural Park is open – Wednesday – Sundays 10am – 4pm except for school holidays when we are open 7 days a week, 10am – 4pm. Pensthorpe natural park are open all year round except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Pensthorpe Natural Parl Ticket Prices. Members Ticket £0.00 – Members Under 3s Ticket £0.00 – Members Guest Adult Winter Price -£8.95 – Members Guest Senior/Child Winter – £8.05. Non-member Winter Adult £9.95 – Non-member Winter Senior (60+) £8.95 – Non-member Winter Child – £8.95. Pensthorpe allows free entrance to one essential carer, who provides proof of carer status, when accompanying a full paying person who is physically or mentally impaired. For our definition of a carer please visit our FAQs page. Last admission one hour before closing. We have FREE parking and FREE entry into our Courtyard Café and Gift Shop, which both open daily from 9am, so you can have breakfast or browse our unique gifts and homeware, before heading into the Park.
The Pensthorpe Park of today was created by a visionary conservationist, Bill Makins, who designed a truly sustainable gravel extraction process that formed one of the most biodiverse nature reserves in England. The then 200-acre reserve and its associated habitats were created as an integral part of this huge undertaking, which saw over one million tonnes of gravel extracted. In 2003, Bill and Deb Jordan purchased Pensthorpe Park from Bill Makins, in order to preserve its special character and to take its development to the next level, to ensure that the business would be sustainable. Having grown up in Norfolk, Deb Jordan was keen to return to the county to raise her children and for many years, Bill Jordan had promoted working with nature in the family-owned breakfast cereal company.
In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Pensthorpe became the home of the BBC’s Springwatch programme, playing host to Bill Oddie, Kate Humble, Chris Packham and a host of local wildlife stars all born at Pensthorpe in the last 20 years. Inspired by reports that show children are more inclined to stay indoors rather than exploring outside, and wanting to inspire the next generation into becoming nature lovers, we developed a brand new outdoor expansion to reconnect children with the natural world. Launched in July 2013. WildRootz is our 7,000 square-metre adventure play area which is unlike anything else Norfolk has to offer. Child-friendly thrills are nestled subtly into their stunning natural surroundings with trees and gentle rolling hills managing to encompass over 30 pieces of individual play equipment including the giant 11 metre high slide tower called ‘The Worm’, See also Hootz House. Read more…
Birthday Partys at Pensthorpe Fakenham
Birthday Parties at Pensthorpe Natural Park – Let us host a truly memorable birthday party. Here at Pensthorpe we have the best of both worlds, for your child to have a memorable birthday party, with the incredible facilities of Hootz House for indoor play and the outdoor adventure play at WildRootz. We’ll provide the play, food and invitations so all you need to do is turn up and enjoy! We have three different party packages available to choose from: Exclusive private hire, a basic party package or a premium party package. Each party package has different benefits and features designed to appeal to your party needs. You can find out more about each package below:
Private hire – Private hire of Hootz House is the perfect party package for those who want to have exclusive access to Hootz House outside of our normal opening hours. Private hire parties start from £325 and include the following benefits: Members receive 10% discount when booking a private hire party – 2 hours exclusive use of Hootz House outside of our normal opening hours – Buffet style food for up to 30 children. (Additional children will be £8.95 per person) – No charge for attending adults or siblings – Unlimited squash/water for children – Unlimited teas and filter coffees for adults – Birthday child will receive a card, gift and badge – A FREE voucher to return to Pensthorpe and badge for each attending child (vouchers cannot be used on the day of the party) – FREE invitations to download – A “no food” option is available. Please enquire for more details.
Basic party package – A basic party package runs from 10am – 1pm during normal opening hours in Hootz House, our indoor play: £11.95 per child* (3-15 years old) – £8.95 Under 3’s. Premium party package – A premium party package runs during normal opening hours in Hootz House, our indoor play: £19.95 per child (3-15 years old) £10.95 under 3’s – Members receive 10% off when booking a premium party. Optional Homemade sponge cakes (vanilla or chocolate) £14.95 each – Party bags £3.50 each. See full details here.
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve
During a visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park Fakenhamyou can see wetlands, hedgerows, woodland, water meadows, river banks, species-rich farmland, breck and heath – all vital habitats for a species-rich countryside. The value of the habitats here at Pensthorpe are recognised internationally by the E.U. Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designation as well as nationally with four Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designations. All these designations encompass the River Wensum, a lowland chalk river of significant importance which runs through the heart of our reserve. The river is also a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Discover more about our work with the River Wensum Restoration and Floodplain Enhancement Project. Read more…
Pensthorpe Natural Park Gardens
Pensthorpe Natural Park is home to four of the most spectacular Norfolk gardens, including a stunning meadow and the most beautiful of lakeside environments. Pensthorpe Natural Park provides year-round colour and interest. Explore these Norfolk walks, and discover the inspiring sculptures, stunning landscapes and diverse habitats, as they develop through the seasons, achieved with varying levels of horticultural management, in wildlife-rich gardens created by award-winning designers. Click for Habitat Garden – Wave Garden – Infinity Garden
The Millennium Garden
Millennium Garden This Spellbinding Norfolk garden celebrates 20 years “Pensthorpe remains one of the best places to see Oudolf’s work on a large scale…” The Telegraph, 4th July 2020. The Millennium Garden is many things: breathtaking, creative, colourful, meditative and restorative. It’s also 20 years old, having been planted to launch during the summer of the Millennium.
Offering a lush tapestry of colour and texture, this one-acre contemporary landscape is a stunning cascade of mixed perennials and grasses, designed by world-famous Dutch plants man and garden designer, Piet Oudolf. Overall, the effect is a wild, meadow-style landscape which transcends the gap between nature reserve and statement garden. The bold, colourful drifts and naturalistic planting style make the Millennium Garden particularly popular with both garden and wildlife enthusiasts, flourishing with colourful butterflies and insects during the spring and summer months and providing essential nesting materials and seeds for birds throughout winter.
This fine Norfolk garden is worth a visit even after its mid-August peak, with the autumnal colours of the perennial foliage providing a rich spectacle well into the autumn and winter. Seedheads tinged with frost and mist hanging in the lily cove are, arguably, as magical as the garden in full summer bloom. The garden features over 150 species of perennials, shrubs, grasses and climbers and Oudolf’s romantic and highly influential planting style is characterised by his ability to blend plants to mimic natural landscapes.
The Millenium Garden at Pensthorpe natural park was the first public UK space to be designed by a then emerging Oudolf, still relatively unknown in the country at that time. The Millennium Garden is his only original garden to have been revisited, redesigned and replanted a decade later (2010), by which point he was recognised as one of the world’s most prominent landscape designers.
Since Piet’s return, the garden has been developed once more with the addition of a stunning island and ‘Monet-style’ bridge, creating a looped walkway for visitors which seamlessly blends one part of the reserve with another.
Oudolf himself once said ‘The idea is that visitors to Pensthorpe Natural park discover the garden as a pleasant surprise’. It is this understated charm which has made it one of East Anglia’s greatest ‘secret gardens’ for the past two decades. Be sure to see this glorious Norfolk garden in its landmark 20th year . Millennium Garden Plant List You can download a copy of the plant list here.
Pensthorpe Natural Park Wildlife.
Pensthorpe Natural park is a natural home for many species of birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants. The diverse range of priority habitats together create a stunning rich landscape which Pensthorpe Conservation Trust manages for wildlife. Walking one of the trails is the perfect way to explore the incredible diversity of the Pensthorpe landscape. You can spend time in one of the many bird hides overlooking wader scrape, woodland or lake and you access a different world with sightings of goldcrest, sparrowhawk, bittern, kingfisher and pink-footed geese. Many migratory species breed at Pensthorpe or take advantage of the perfect foraging conditions as they prepare for winter migration. You can find out more about migratory species here at Pensthorpe by heading to our dedicated migration page. Norfolk is of vital importance to many species including skylark, stone curlew, otters, soprano pipistrelle bat, reed bunting, demoulin’s whorl snail and white-clawed crayfish. Find out what has been spotted at Pensthorpe recently here.
Pensthorpe Natural Park Conservation Trust
The Pensthorpe Estate is also the home of the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT), a charitable trust formed in January 2003 to continue and develop the work of its predecessor, Pensthorpe Waterfowl Trust. The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s main aims are to establish a centre of excellence, habitat management and restoration alongside conservation of wetland and farmland bird species through captive breeding programmes in national conservation partnerships. The PCT works with partner organisations on projects including Operation Turtle Dove; the Great Crane Project and a Corncrake Re-introduction Project. The main projects the Trust works on is ‘Actively Saving Species’, which currently focuses on Red Squirrels, Corncrakes, Cranes and Turtle Doves. Additionally Pensthorpe is a site of habitat restoration work on the Wensum; a Constant Effort Site for ringing birds and has four SSSI’s.. Also important are the Wensum Restoration and the Wensum Monitoring projects.
Based at Pensthorpe Natural Park in the ecologically important Wensum Valley, in the heart of north Norfolk, the Trust works closely with Pensthorpe to showcase to visitors of the multi-award winning attraction the importance of species and habitat conservation. By visiting Pensthorpe you are supporting the PCT’s work and Actively Saving Species. The Trust’s Registered Charity Number is 1100589.
Groups and Schools
Pensthorpe Natural Park is an excellent place to visit for clubs, groups & schools. Every year we welcome thousands of visitors with particular interests or learning motivations. Bird watchers, photographers, garden lovers, school classes, cubs, brownies and guides all visit us to see what our very special reserve has to offer for them. Walks & talks for Groups – If you would like your group to get the most out of their visit, we can offer guided walks and talks from our Wardens or Aviculturists, depending on what you are looking for.
Pensthorpe Courtyard Cafe
Set in a relaxed atmosphere full of character and charm the Courtyard at Pensthorpe is a perfect place to experience Norfolk food and drink and some retail therapy, providing shoppers and diners with a welcome change of scenery from the high streetPensthorpe Natural Park Courtyard Cafe offers drinks, snacks, lunch and hot meal options. Indoor seating is available, however we are operating a table service due to government guidelines. Pre booking is not essential, however if you would prefer to reserve a table please call us on 01328 851465. You are welcome to sit outside or takeaway options are still available to take out into the park. The Courtyard Cafe is FREE to visit, you do not have to be a Park visitor to enjoy what we have to offer in the Cafe. To preview our current cafe and restaurant menu please click here.
Christmas Lunch – Treat yourself in the run up to Christmas with our Christmas Lunch Menu. Choose from a more traditional Christmas dinner of roast Norfolk turkey, or for something a little different, try our 6oz Wagyu burger topped with brie, cranberry, pork stuffing and bacon in a brioche bun. Served from Wednesday 9th December. Please note that booking is essential and pre-order is required 72 hours prior to dining with us. Discover our full Christmas Lunch Menu available to download here
Shopping at Pensthorpe
Free entry to the Gift Shop & Courtyard Café. From contemporary household accessories to books, children’s toys and some of Norfolk’s finest food and drink, our unique Gift Shop is brimming full of exciting and unusual gifts to tempt almost everyone. Whatever you are looking for, the diverse range of well-stocked gifts makes this an impressive shopping experience. With a large range of nest boxes, bird feeders and some of the cheapest bird food found locally we are sure we have got something for all those who love nature, wildlife and the outdoors. Below are some examples of the items we stock in our shop. Available in £10 and £20 denominations, our gift vouchers make an ideal gift for garden, bird and nature lovers or as a family present. Not only can these vouchers be used against admission into the natural park, they can also be used against purchases in the Gift Shop and Courtyard Café.
Pensthorpe natural Park is situated near Fakenham and we are a wildlife mature reserve that will inspire all ages and is fun and informative and where we hope to see you soon.
Covid 19 measures are now relaxing and we hope to see you soon.
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