The boys love anything equine: horses, ponies, donkeys. If it has four legs and you can pet it then they’re beyond enthusiastic! That’s why one of our favourite places to go for a long walk is the Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Caldecott. This is the largest Redwings visitor centre in the UK, and is home to over 100 animals (with the Redwings sanctuaries supporting over 500 animals in total). The Redwings sanctuaries are free to visit, but donations are encouraged and you do have to pre-book your visit via their website due to covid restrictions.
We are regular visitors to the Caldecott sanctuary, particularly in the summer months when the weather is nice for long outdoor adventures. We visit every paddock, stroke all the horses and donkeys that want to be stroked, and admire the ones that don’t: the nature of animals means that sometimes you can visit and none of the animals want any attention, and sometimes you visit and they’re lining up for you to stroke and fuss them!
After we have visited all of the animals, we head to the café, invariably for a drink and a slice of cake! My young experts would also like me to point out that the chips there are the best they’ve ever had (they’re not wrong, they’re delicious!) so we try to time our visits around lunch time. And the best thing is, you can eat as much cake as you like absolutely guilt-free because all the proceeds from the cafe and the shop go towards funding the work of the Sanctuary. That means every time you buy something to eat, you are helping to feed the horses and donkeys too: it would be rude not to!
Once our appetites are sated, we then head off to see our favourite horses (and the donkeys, because Boy5 loves the donkeys) again before we head home. All in all, our visit lasts between 2 and 3 hours, making it the perfect activity to fill a morning when you don’t have any plans. The site is also dog friendly, so it’s a nice place to take the dog for a walk when you’re fed up of the usual haunts.
Redwings Caldecott is currently welcoming visitors every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), 10am to 4pm. During the school holidays they do have different opening hours: they opened every day during the school summer break, for example, so it’s worth checking if you want to visit outside of school hours.
Redwings Caldecott is situated on the A143 between Great Yarmouth and Beccles, opposite Fritton Lake. Postcode: NR31 9EY.
This is such a local hidden gem, but I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. The staff are friendly, the horses are healthy, well loved and well looked after, and entrance is free, meaning you can visit whenever you wish without having to worry about the budget!