Norfolk Broads Holidays

Norfolk Broads holidays provide something for everybody in the family. such as boating, fishing, sightseeing, beach and of course relaxing.

The Norfolk Broads, a stunning stretch of countryside, home to many towns and villages. It has everything to offer its visitors, from family fun, retreats and adventure. What strikes me about this hidden gem is the vast stretch of rich wildlife and scenery, woven throughout both the towns and the coast. With the broads themselves being its crowning feature. The broads network of rivers provides a perfect place for all visitors. Offering activities from bird watching to kayaking, or acting as a perfect place to unwind away from the bustling everyday life within the city.

What makes this such a unique location, aside from the broads, is the variety of Norfolk Broads holidays it has to offer. With the east side coast nearby with attractions such as ‘Pleasure Beach’, filled with rides for the family, as well the stunning secret beaches being just what you need for a peaceful retreat. The ‘Africa alive!’ Zoo and ‘Dinosaur Adventure Park’ are popular with families, and provide a great day out between exploring the broads, trips to the beach and the many cycling routes enjoyed by visitors and locals scattered through the grasslands.

If you’re aiming for more adventure, boating, in particular, has proved to be a popular activity for many visitors. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, there are many boating services offered over the broads and along the coast, alongside paddle-boarding and canoeing.

For those searching for beautiful scenes, the ‘Bure Valley Railway’ is a great way to observe all the countryside the town has to offer. With many national parks such as Whitlingham country park allowing you to explore at any pace, you’d like.

The Norfolk Broads has also become a popular place for cycling holidays. Home to the 25 mile trackbed named ‘Marriotts way’, used also for hiking and horse riding. The location is also great for bringing your dogs! With plenty of pretty countryside trails for dog walks and open spaces such as the beach for them to play. You can enjoy yourself even without having to worry about finding a place for them on your holiday.

The charming town of Woodbastwick is the perfect location for a retreat. With picturesque cottages and a medieval thatched church, and has won the best kept village award twice for good reason. The area is also home to an extensive history which, in some villages can be traced back to the Tudor times, such as in the market town of Acle.

The beautiful village of Brundall has many holiday rental properties such as Swallowdale Holiday Home. Positioned right on the River Yare, where you can fish straight off the decking or relax with a glass of wine, watching the boats sail by.

Wroxham is often referred to as the ‘capital’ of the broads. Home to ‘the worlds largest village store’. With a variety of homely pubs and restaurants popular with the locals. St Benet’s Abbey with its round towers is one of the many historic landmarks and buildings and is only a glimpse into the history of the community of the broads which can be explored in the local towns.

Another well known feature of this landscape is the many windmills decorating the broads. With 75 from the 240 mills that existed in the 18th century still standing and a few open to the public such as Horsey Mills.

The broads are also home to a rich variety of English wildlife, due to the vast variety of habitats it creates. With 25 species of freshwater fish thriving alongside otters, herons and the rare swallowtail butterfly, making it a great place to spot such creatures in their natural habitat.

The Norfolk Broads serves as the perfect place for visitors to relax and enjoy themselves. Offering a wild variety of activities and adventure to complement its stunning countryside backdrop. The broads are a unique treasure which can only be found in this thriving rural community and are well worth a visit at any time of the year!

Norfolk Broads holidays
Norfolk Broads Holidays
Dog on boat in Brundall

Norfolk Dog Friendly Holidays

Your dogs are part of your family so why leave them at home. There are many Norfolk dog friendly holidays including Swallowdale Holiday Home. The Norfolk Broads has got to be one of the friendliest places to take your dog on holiday.

There are many pubs that welcome dogs including The Yare in Brundall and The Bridge Inn in Acle.

Dogs are welcome on many beaches throughout the year. These include Caister-on-sea, Winterton-on-sea and the north beach at Great Yarmouth. Some restrictions apply during the summer months on other beaches. Horsey beach has no restrictions but please keep your dog on a lead during the seal pup season.

Whether you are staying on a boat or in a self catering holiday cottage like Swallowdale and hiring a day boat, your dogs are usually welcome aboard.

There are many dog walks near Swallowdale Holiday Home, including:-

• Buckenham Woods in Buckenham (NR13 4HG)
• Whitlingham Country Park in Trowse (NR14 8TR)
• Brundall Countryside Park in Brundall (NR13 5RF)
• North Burlingham Woods in North Burlingham (NR13 4TA)
• Porlingland Woods in Framingham Earl (NR14 7QP)
• Dunston Common in Stoke Holy Cross (NR14 8PF)
• Salhouse Broad in Salhouse (NR13 6RX)
• St Andrew & St Peter Church in Blofield (NR13 4NA)

Norfolk dog friendly holidays
Buckenham Woods
Norwich Cathedral in the summer

Norwich Cathedral

At the heart of the county of Norfolk sits the famed Norwich Cathedral, known as one of Norwich’s twelve heritage sites. Steeped in history, this location which is over 800 years old, is ideal for an amazing cultural or religious experience.

The History Of Norwich Cathedral

Built between 1096 and 1145, it required the demolition of two churches and an Anglo-Saxon settlement to create enough space for the 461 ft long structure. This architectural masterpiece was constructed out of mortar, flint and Caen limestone and features over 1000 bosses in its large two storey cloister making this the largest collection in a cathedral as well as a vast collection of Bible stories in stone. Complete with its original 315 ft spire, the cathedral stands as one of the largest in England.

The cathedral began construction sometime after the Archbishop of Canterbury divided the Kingdom of East Anglia into the two dioceses of Dunwich and North Elmham in 672. The Norman Conquest required the bishop’s seat to be moved to Thetford before Herbert de Losinga purchased the Bishopric of Thetford from Henry II. Bishop Herbert proceeded to transfer his see to Norfolk where he then began the construction of his new cathedral and founded a monastery with monks coming from Canterbury. In the years that proceeded the completion of the building, various additions were made such as the spire added to the Norman tower in the 15th century and several repairs have been made from events such as fire due to rioting townsfolk and lightning striking the spire and causing yet another fire. Most recently the cathedral became home to the controversial 55 ft helter-skelter which was built to aid the viewing of the roof bosses and attracting more visitors.

Visiting Norwich Cathedral

There are plenty of reasons to visit Norwich Cathedral regardless of whether you identify as religious or not with various events and services happening all the time.

The cultural experience begins the moment you step towards the main gates where you will find a commemorative statue of Edith Cavell, a World War I nurse who aided Allied prisoners to escape from Brussels before being shot by the Germans and has since been buried within the cathedral precinct.

Once you have made your way through the gates, named after Sir Thomas Erpingham, you will find another commemorative statue of Horatio Nelson who was Norwich School’s most famous pupil. You will also be able to take in the sights of the stunning architecture with flying buttresses and sand-coloured Caen stone.

Whilst inside the cathedral it is essential to see the 14th century Despenser Retable altarpiece in the St Luke’s chapel which depicts the death and resurrection of Christ. The piece has a deep history as it was stolen in the 16th century and wasn’t recovered until 1847 when it was found nailed to the bottom of a table where it had been hidden for over 100 years. Along with beautiful medieval stained-glass windows the cathedral also hosts a number of exhibitions for artists throughout the year which is great for any art lovers that wish to take a trip to Norfolk.

Whilst exploring the cloisters why not take a trip into the labyrinth crafted to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen? The continuous path represents a spiritual journey which affirms the guiding hand of God which is leading us onwards. Whilst the labyrinth can be used purely for fun it can also be used for quiet reflection and seeking guidance, forgiveness or just to spend time with God.

Services such as morning and evening prayer along with holy communion and others are held daily for anyone seeking a truly religious experience and choirs sing at various services each day.

The Refectory offers a range of food & drink with a contemporary setting to relax in whilst exploring the cathedral and the gift shop provides some perfect memorabilia to remember your visit by.

When you’ve finished your trip around the cathedral, the cathedral close and quarter offer a number of beautiful listed buildings as well as a place to view the peregrine falcons which nest on the spire from April – June.

Is Norwich Cathedral free to enter?

Norwich Cathedral is free to enter. Donations are always welcome and at your discretion.

What are Norwich Cathedral opening times?

Norwich Cathedral is open from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm daily.

Guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday to gain even greater insight into the history and heritage behind the building, a number of events such as meditation and photography groups are held weekly and the fantastic new helter-skelter provide extra entertainment for anyone of any age making this a great place to visit while staying on the Norfolk Broads.

Great Yarmouth beach

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth is located approximately 15 miles from Swallowdale. It can be reached either by car or train.

Yarmouth is renowned for its long sandy beaches. It also has many attractions to suit young and old alike.

The attractions include Museums such as the Time and Tide museum which is open certain times of the year.

If you enjoy walking then there are many walks that can be found on the Great Yarmouth Website.

Yarmouth is home to dog, horse and stock car racing, so if you fancy a day or evening at the races then this is perfect.

Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

Along the beach, you will find Pleasure Beach which has many rides for all ages. Amusement arcades, donkey rides, mini golf are also found with many places to eat or just grab a drink or ice cream.

Sky Drop at Pleasure Beach
Pleasure Beach

So if on your visit to the Norfolk Broads come rain or shine you will always find something to do in Great Yarmouth.

Norfolk Showground aerial view

The Norfolk Showground

The Norfolk Showground is situated on the A47 west of Norwich. Whatever time of the year you visit Swallowdale, it is always worth having a look at what’s on.

There are many events throughout the year such as The Royal Norfolk Show, which is a two day event featuring trade stands, animals and a program of events in the grand ring. The Antique Fair is a regular event which occurs several times a year. This is a good day out for browsing antique furniture, ornaments and collectables. For all the dog lovers it also hosts its annual dog show. The Norfolk festive gift and food show are also worth a visit. You will find unique gifts, food and drink that you will not find on the high street. The Norfolk Showground also presents some outdoor cinema concerts in the summer months.

The showground is very easy to get to either by train, bus or car for which there is plenty of parking.

Norfolk Showground Arena
Royal Norfolk Show
Roys Of Wroxham logo

Roys of Wroxham Shopping

While staying at Swallowdale you must pay a visit to Roys of Wroxham.

Roys department store has a variety of products to suit all. The supermarket has a wide selection of local produce as well as all the well known brands. It also has its own coffee shop and a Mcdonalds on site. There’s also a Roys toy shop, children’s clothes shop, DIY centre and a garden centre.

There’s plenty of free parking within walking distance of the shops.

The History Of Roys Of Wroxham

The company was founded in 1895 by two brothers, Alfred and Arnold Roy. The first store was in Coltishall, a pretty picturesque village which is well worth a visit. They then opened two more stores in Dereham and Hoveton St John, close to Wroxham railway station, which bought in all the supplies. This is why it’s called Roys of Wroxham.

Over the years the company expanded into a bakery, pharmacy, and ironmongery, to name a few.

The brothers died in the 1950s and the company was passed onto Alfred’s children. After this Roys Grocery changed to a self service system. A new store was planned for Wroxham and opened in the mid 1960s. This involved changes to Wroxham’s road layout and public services. Roys then became part of Nisa.

Roys continued to expand in the 1990’s and stores were opened in North Walsham, Dereham, Sudbury, Thetford and Norwich. The new store in Wroxham was destroyed by fire in 1995 and replaced with a new department store in 1996.

Sadly Fred died in 1994 and was succeeded by his brother who died 10 years later. His children Edward and Paul became the third generation to join the board of directors.

The brothers continued to expand the business adding the Broadland Motor Co. Wroxham, a new store in Beccles and the Highway Garden Centre in Framingham Pigot.

Roys still remains as a family owned independent business in the wonderful thriving village of Wroxham, also known as the capital of the Norfolk Broads.

Roys Department Store
Roys Department Store
Brundall Boat Show logo

Brundall Boat Show

Brundall Boat Show 2020 Cancelled

Due to the Coronavirus Brundall Boat Show 2020 which was due to be held on Saturday the 16th of May has been cancelled.

Brundall Boat Show 2020

The Brundall Boat Show is returning for its 4th year on Saturday the 16th of May between 10 am and 4 pm.

There will be freshly cooked food and a marquee bar serving soft and alcoholic drinks throughout the day. There will also be live music.

The free to enter show will have over 100 exhibitors and plenty for the children to enjoy including bumper boats and bouncy castles.

There is a free park and ride bus running every 10 to 15 minutes from Brundall roundabout. Also, shuttle buggies running throughout the day between the sites.

Brundall Boat Show 2019

The successful Brundall Boat Show is returning for another year on Saturday the 18th of May between 10 am and 4 pm, for the 3rd year running.

East Hills Cafe Bistro will be open throughout the day with a BBQ, serving freshly cooked food. There will also be a marquee bar serving drinks and live music.

The show, which is free to enter, will have many side stalls and activities for the children, including bumper boats and bouncy castles.

There will be over 150 boats to view or purchase on the water at the venue along Riverside Estate.

There will be plenty of free parking and furthermore, shuttle buggies running throughout the day between the sites.

Brundall Boat Show 2018

As a result of its success in 2017, the popular boat show is back on again this year on Saturday the 19th of May between 10 am and 5 pm. The show will include a mix of food, music, hospitality, boat themed activities and bouncy castles for the kids. Above all, the show is free to enter with plenty of parking.

Swallowdale Holiday Home

This makes a lovely day out while staying at Swallowdale Holiday Home on the Norfolk Broads.

Sunset at Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve

Strumpshaw Fen Reserve

Strumpshaw Fen is a beautiful nature reserve located on the River Yare, 10 miles from Norwich and only 2 miles from Swallowdale.

Why not take a stroll through the landscape of woodlands, meadows and reedbeds.

If you enjoy watching birds and wildlife then you are in for a treat. Birds often spotted include Marsh Harriers, Kingfishers and Osprey. Wildlife often seen include Lizards, Muntjac Deer and the occasional otter.

There is a beautiful display of wildflowers in the spring and summer which include six species of orchid. There are also butterflies and up 20 varieties of the dragonfly

If you fancy a peaceful stroll down to the river to sit and watch the world go by in a relaxed environment, then look no further.

In addition, if you are visiting with children, activities are available which include pond dipping and family trails.

Strumpshaw Fen is managed by the RSPB.

So no matter what time of the year you visit the Norfolk Broads, it is well worth a visit

Woodpecker on tree trunk
Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve
Seal laying on beach at Horsey Gap Seals

Horsey Gap Seals In Norfolk

If you are staying at Swallowdale on the Norfolk Broads between October and February, why not visit the Horsey Gap Seals and their pups.

Once parked in the car park you can walk for miles along the roped off path overlooking the beach. The seals start having their pups early November and are normally on the beach until February.

Horsey Gap is probably the best place to see the seals during the winter. During 2018/2019 winter there was in excess of 1600 adult seals and 1200 pups and numbers are increasing yearly. If you decide to take your dog along with you please keep it on a lead as the seals have a nasty bite if approached.

In 2016 The Friends of Horsey Seals registered as a charity (Registered Charity Number 1169539). The group works to protect the grey seals at Horsey from disturbance by the public, especially during the late autumn and winter months when the seals are mating and giving birth.

Horsey is a very small quiet village with only about 100 residents. During the summer months, Horsey Gap is a magnet for families looking for a beautiful unspoilt sandy beach.

White seal laying on beach at Horsey
Seals at Horsey
The new Brundall Railway Station

Brundall Railway Station

Brundall Railway Station which is only a 10 minute walk from Swallowdale is getting a makeover. During 2019 and 2020 Network Rail is carrying out work to change the crossing from keeper operated to remote CCTV operated. The picture shows what the completed crossing will look like when finished.

There are frequent trains from Brundall Railway Station to Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. It makes travelling to many places very easy while staying at Swallowdale.

Brundall Railway Station UPDATE

The 20th of February 2020 sees the completion of the work on the Railway Station level crossing. The new lights and barriers are now functional. The crossing is now controlled remotely by a controller using CCTV cameras. The new crossing has seen a vast improvement in waiting times for cars and pedestrians waiting to cross the crossing. Stumpshaw and Cantley Road level crossings are also now upgraded to the new system.