A vibrant new website, BeNorfolk.co.uk, has been launched today to inspire visitors and locals to try out more than 300 activities and experiences showcasing the best of Norfolk’s nature and culture.
It aims to encourage off-season visits with a variety of free and paid-for experiences, with many of them providing experiences for people with additional physical, sensory, and cognitive requirements.
This website offers inspiration for new walks, cycle routes, adventure and activities for nature lovers, no matter the weather!
BeNorfolk will showcase the county and encourage people to access the full breadth of arts, culture, nature, heritage, and local produce available.
Ranging from guided walks to new cycle paths, craft activities to Champing (camping in historical churches) or stargazing in the Broads, the website is part of the EXPERIENCE project managed by Norfolk County Council. The project is funded by the European Union through its European Regional Development Fund and Interreg VA France (Channel) England programme. The project spans six pilot regions in France and England.
Cllr Eric Vardy, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “We are delighted that BeNorfolk will celebrate the natural and cultural assets of Norfolk, including new and exciting trails and cycling routes to try out. This website pulls together an array of diverse, accessible and sustainable experiences for residents and visitors to explore and enjoy what our county has to offer.”
The new website aims to help people choose the right experiences and activities for them, using filters such as accessibility, theme and season.
Visitors and residents can explore the BeNorfolk interactive website to find events tailored to their interests and location. Users can pick from an extensive menu of options to design their own itineraries to get out and about across the county, meet new people and try something different. People are encouraged to explore the website as new activities are added.
EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project, receiving €16 million of co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020. Norfolk County Council is the lead partner, working with 13 other organisations across six pilot regions in France and England.
The project will harness the experiential tourism trend to extend the season (October –March), generating new visitors across the six pilot regions and delivering sustainable economic growth across the Channel region. Together, project partners will reinvent the way the economy, environment, communities, and brands interact – focusing on sustainable, low-impact tourism activities to secure the future resilience of our natural and cultural assets.
Experiential tourism is a growing travel trend, centred on promoting authentic visitor experiences that are personalised and more attuned to local nature and culture. Traditionally, tourism marketing has focussed on highlighting mass-market locations during peak season, known as ‘destination tourism’. In recent years, data has shown that travellers are increasingly demanding experiences in which they feel a sense of adventure and discovery. They are seeking to immerse themselves in new cultures and explore local foods, activities, and arts and actively try to avoid any negative impacts on host environments and communities. This new demand is the inspiration for the EXPERIENCE project, which works with the traditional and alternative tourism sector to shift from a summer ‘destination’ to a more sustainable all year round ‘experiential’ tourism approach.
EXPERIENCE in Norfolk
Within Norfolk, the project is developing, and marketed 300 new experiential tourism activities and 100 new itineraries based on the unique natural and cultural assets of the county. Many are accessible for people with additional physical, sensory and/or cognitive requirements. The project supports experiential off-season events, such as the Love Light Festival and Fire on the Water, and infrastructure developments including improvements and upgrades to sections of the Bure Valley Path. New content will be posted on BeNorfolk, an inspirational, magazine-style online platform which showcases Norfolk’s experiential tourism offer and allows visitors to curate their own experiences.