Norfolk Broads Travel Guide

Muttons Mill, Norfolk Broads

Introduction and Overview

The Norfolk Broads travel guide highlights local attractions, places of interest and outlines a range of useful tourist information for the region situated mainly in Norfolk in the East of England. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, facts & figures, entertainment, events, maps and accommodation.

The Norfolk Broads are best known as a boating centre, and it is not difficult to see why. They are also referred to as The Broads and are located primarily in the county of Norfolk with a smaller portion located in the neighbouring county of Suffolk; they cover an area of 303 kilometres, with over 200 kilometres of navigable waterways

The Broads consist of a number of broad, shallow lakes lying along five major rivers, the lakes are thought to be the result of peat 'harvest' that occurred during the Middle Ages. As the water level increased the peat diggings became flooded and created the lakes that now provide habitat to a number of rare animal, bird and plant species.

Known as the UK's most famous wetlands, the Broads are an established favourite among boating enthusiasts many hire boats on a daily or weekly basis. Many first time novice boaters come to the Broads, given many vessels are suitable for novices there is a great opportunity to learn more about boating whilst actually participating in the activity.

For many cruising along the Broads is a relaxing past time and if visitors go outside the school holidays rush they are likely to find it quieter still.

The Norfolk Broads is famed for the wonderful scenery on show to visitors, there are several wildlife reserves, including a floating conservation Centre at Ranworth. With a nature trail running from the centre, walkers can explore the local fen vegetation and birdlife.

The RSPB runs a bird reserve at Strumpshaw located close to Norwich, Strumpshaw Fen is a great place to fully explore the great diversity of habitats and wildlife.

Visitors can walk around the reed beds and woodlands and see the enchanting marsh harriers, kingfishers, and if you are lucky see the elusive Chinese water deer. You will find many butterflies and dragonflies in spring and the summer.

The Norfolk Broads are one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions and have National Park status, the aim is to preserve and enhance the area’s natural beauty. Potter Heigham is famous due to its bridge, which is the most difficult to navigate in the whole of the Broads.

For this reason Bridge pilots are posted there and people in hired boats are required to use their assistance to pass under this tricky bridge.

Both Wroxham and Potter Heigham can claim to be the capital of the broads. With the maze of cycle tracks and footpaths, walking and cycling to explore the area further is popular among visitors.

Wroxham is a town located 8 miles from Norwich, over the years it has been referred to as the ‘capital of the broads’ in reference to the town establishing itself as a centre for boating holidays and trips from the 19th century onwards.

Wroxham Bridge dates back to the 17th century, built of stone and brick the bridge is considered one the most difficult to navigate along with Potter Heigham bridge.

Local attractions include Wroxham Barns that includes shopping, eating and crafts facilities, the lively town includes a choice of shops and Barton House Railway, that re-creates the golden ages of train travel.

Potter Heigham is located 20 miles east of Norwich in the Broads, the village is a popular place for hiring boats and offers shopping facilities. The village is known for its medieval stone bridge, the village offers visitors a gateway to the quietest and most unseen part of the Broads.

Local attractions include the Church of St Nicholas, a Grade I listed building dating back to the 12tth century, the village is close to two National Nature Reserves. These are Ludham Potter Heigham and Heigham Holmes National Nature Reserves, both nature reserves are important wetlands sites.

Woodbastwick is a village located 9 miles from Norwich, the village is known for its elegant thatched cottages and a church that are set round a village green. The Woodforde’s Broadland Brewery, offers locally produced beers known for its distinctive taste.

Local attractions include walking to Cockshoot Broad, one of the original sites of broads restoration. The charming village offers a haven of peace and quiet away from the busier and larger towns around it

The market town of Stalham is located in the Broads close to the coastline and 16 miles from Norwich, making it a convenient place from which to explore the Broads and the county of Norfolk.

The town is regarded as one of the gateways to the northern Broads; the town was once a centre for hand weaving with fishing gear and basket weaving a speciality.

Visitors can see the Museum of the Broads, showcasing the history of this fascinating area along with information on its rivers and wetlands.

The town is close by to the Grade II listed Hunsett Mill, the famous mill dates back to the 19th century and is distinctive for its red bricks, over the years it has been one of the most photographed sites in the Broads.

Boating Holidays are particularly popular in the Norfolk Broads, self drive boats offer visitors the chance to explore the beautiful Norfolk Broads on your own. No previous experience is necessary as the boats are easy to drive.

You can make it a special day of it by booking a picnic boat or a day cruiser and have the convenience of all its facilities. Boating holidays can appeal to people with a wide variety of interests. If you would like to get away from it all on the tranquil backwaters of the canals with their waterside pubs you can.

Alternatively if your passion is exploring the normally hidden channels through major towns and cities you can. Boating holidays offer many places of interest to stop along the way for the whole family.

Visitors can pilot their own boats, explore the backwaters and anglers can indulge in a spot of fishing whilst sun worshippers can even soak up the sun whilst moving serenely along the canals.

The different rivers in the Broads each give their own distinctive taste and flavour of the area and enthusiasts can go on many different routes to explore something new.

See Waterways Holidays for more information and the range of options available.

The Norfolk Broads represent a boaters dream and many who previously would not have considered boating as a holiday activity learn to appreciate it here and are converted to its merits.

The scenery is certainly inspiring with the Broads providing a fantastic sight and a calm relaxing atmosphere where you can unwind and appreciate the wonderful surroundings.

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