Making the most of an open day at Hautbois Activity Centre

7 year old girl stood in front of a large climbing wall

The O'Hallorans

The OHallorans

We’re made up of Lyndsey, John and Erin, who all love a new adventure. We try to get away as much as possible, especially during school holidays and variety is a must for us. That means staying anywhere from a luxury hotel to a hostel and it’s not often we go to the same place twice. 

Hautbois Activity Centre is an expert provider of outdoor adventures on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. Each year, they hold an open day allowing ticket holders to try out a wide range of outdoor activities. Not sure what to expect? Read on and learn from our first experience. 

What is Hautbois Activity Centre?

Hautbois Activity Centre is a beautiful 19th Century house, set amidst 28 acres of beautiful countryside. Located on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, the centre also has its own private cut onto the River Bure. The centre is the perfect multi-purpose events venue, with expertise in delivering activity visits, relaxing residential breaks, motivational training and educational visits. From activity days to residential stays to breaks for youth great, the Hautbois Activity Centre offers so many different things.

Hautbois House can provide accommodation for 60 guests; a further 58 guests in the Reedcutters’ Village; as well as camping facilities for over 300 people. Highly-qualified staff are on hand to make sure everyone has the best time!

7 year old girl stood near a river with paddle in her hands

Booking open day tickets

Tickets are released for the Hautbois Activity Centre open days around 3-3.5 months ahead of the dates. Tickets sell out quickly and in 2023 a second day was added due to popular demand. These tickets sold out within less than an hour. Information is updated on Facebook and Instagram.

​Address and contact information 

Great Hautbois House
5 Gt Hautbois Road
NR12 7JN 

Telephone: 01603 73 96 96

7 year old girl stood in front of a Girlguiding tent


Parking is free for the Hautbois Activity Centre open days, and there are plenty of spaces available. Entrances to the car park are very clearly signposted from the road, and Marshalls will help direct you to a parking space.

Opening times

In 2023, there were 2 open days over a Saturday and a Sunday in May. Each day ran from 10am until 3pm.

What age is the open day suitable for?

The Hautbois Activity Centre open day is suitable for children over age 4. Some activities are suitable for everyone, while others such as abseiling, cratestacking, kayaking and paddleboarding are suitable for those aged 7 and over. Coloured wristbands are used on the day so you know exactly which activities you can do. 

7 year old girl trying games at a Girlguiding tent

What activities are available?

The open day at Hautbois Activity Centre offers children the chance to try activities they might not have done before, or have do something they already know they love. 2023 included the following activities:

  • Wall climbing
  • Abseiling
  • Zip wire
  • Obstacle course
  • Low ropes
  • Crate stacking
  • Pond dipping
  • Kayaking 
  • Paddleboarding
  • Archery
  • Grass sledges
  • Lawn games

What to take with you

As Hautbois Activity Centre is set in the Norfolk countryside, you need to be mindful that you will be outdoors for the whole day. We weren’t sure what to take with us during our first visit but here’s a list of what might be useful:

  • Spare clothes. There’s a good chance that you’ll either get dirty or wet, or both, during your day. Kayaking or Paddleboarding are obviously water based activities and there’s a high chance clothes will get soaked doing this. 
  • Spare shoes or water shoes. Not only are spare clothes a good idea but spare shoes are also important. No one wants to wear squelchy shoes after doing water activities. 
  • Sun cream. The weather on our day was very unpredictable and we ended up with a gloomy morning but hot afternoon. Don’t get caught out without suncream.
  • Food and drink. There are a few options for food and drink during the day but you’re also welcome to take picnics with you. The grounds of the Hautbois Activity Centre are quite large and there’s plenty of space to spread out on the grass. There are also covered picnic benches if you’d rather sit somewhere covered instead. 
7 year old girl stood with a bald man, who is showing her how to hold an archery bow

​Other facilities available

It was really nice to see that there was some catering facilities on the open days, so you didn’t have to take a picnic with you if you didn’t want to. A BBQ was on the go from opening with hot dogs and burgers costing only £3.50 each. I thought the prices were really reasonable for somewhere like this as you usually expect the food prices to be extortionate. As well as the BBQ, there was coffee, crepes and ice cream available to buy. 

Hautbois Activity Centre is home to a shop for Girlguiding Anglia, set in the impressive 19th century country house. The shop is open during the open days so you can buy uniforms and badges etc. if your child is part of a group. 

One important thing to take notice of is where the toilet blocks are. These can be found near the grass-sledging hill and the main house. You get a map when you arrive anyway and they’re very easy to find. 

7 year old girl with a net in her hand, trying to catch things from the water

What did we think of the day?

When we arrived at Hautbois Activity Centre we were a bit unsure of what to expect. We asked at reception what we needed to do and it was all explained really simply for us, so we knew exactly where to go and how the day would run. Staff there are extremely friendly and helpful so that was a great start to our day.

In terms of the activities, they’re a sort of free for all and you just need to join a queue when you want to do anything. All activities are included with your ticket so for £5 per person, it’s an absolute bargain. Some activities such as paddle boarding, zip lines, wall climbing and abseiling have longer lines so you’ll have a longer wait for these. However, I don’t think Erin waited longer than 20 minutes for anything all day. The time you get on each activity depends as well. Erin had ages kayaking because there wasn’t a queue but for archery, we only had a few minutes at a time. Some activities are across the road so try to plan things close to one another first so you don’t waste any time walking all over the place. 

It’s not just children that can enjoy the activities either. Adults can take part in anything suitable and we saw lots of people having a go at paddleboardng, doing grass sledge races and wall climbing. It was nice to see groups of all ages visiting and taking part in the activities. We (I) definitely got a bit competitive when it came to archery. 

There was a Girlguiding Anglia hut there on the day too, with fun games and activities to take part in. As Erin is currently in Brownies, it was nice for her to do some things that can work towards a couple of badges. There were a few different youth groups and their leaders there during the day, which was really nice to see. 

When 3pm came around, none of us wanted to go home. Erin had the best day trying out activities she might not have had the chance to experience before and we didn’t spend much money doing it. This is so great for families especially with the rising cost of days out at the minute. It’s no wonder that tickets sell out because these open days are just amazing. I’ll be setting an alarm when tickets go on sale next year! 

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