The Norfolk Broads plays host to more than a quarter of the rarest plants and animals in the UK and, as Britain's largest protected waterway, offers holiday-makers and day-trippers a glimpse of unspoilt English country life that's hard to beat.
The picturesque villages of the Norfolk Broads are some of the best in the country, and the 120 miles of lock-free navigable waterways that wind their way through villages, market towns, reedbeds and and nature reserves can be enjoyed by yacht or narrowboat.
There are a number of must-see places on the Norfolk Broads that are guaranteed to keep you entertained. Here are a few of the best:
Experience the quaint charm of traditional village life with a visit to Horning Village, lazily sprawled on the bank of the River Bure. Here you will find story-book cottages with pretty thatched roofs, three pleasant pubs right by the water and an assortment of tea-rooms and shops to explore.
Additionally, set aside some time for the mile-long stroll along tranquil country lanes to visit Horning church, a building which began construction back in 1220.
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This iconic mill is thought to be the most photographed in the Broads, perched as it is on protected and picturesque conversation land by the River Ant. Hunsett Mill is an old water pumping mill that came to the end of its career when the advent of electricity rendered wind-powered pumps obsolete, it is a cherished part of the landscape and considered a key part of the local heritage.
Another village worth writing home about is the delightful Woodbastwick, a peaceful location which has twice won an award for Best Kept Village.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to the medieval flint church whilst those that enjoy a tipple might be interested in Woodforde's Brewery where you can watch famous beers being brewed in the visitor centre. Pop next door to the brewery tap, The Fur and Feathers, for a well-deserved sample.
Ranworth village and nature reserve
There are two chief attractions to the appealing village of Ranworth. The first is the Ranworth Broad Nature Reserve, a sublime slice of countryside that offers plentiful opportunities for bird-watching and rambling. The other is the impressive St Helen's Church which dominates the village skyline to the point it has been nicknamed the Cathedral of the Broads.
Wroxham and Hoveton
These two villages are adjacent to one another, neatly split by the River Bure. This area is known as the capital of the Broads, ideal for those who want to break up the tranquility of their countryside holiday with a little bit of action. Here you will find excellent places to eat and drink as well as a terminus of the Bure Valley Railway. It's also possible to rent day boats or cruisers for a spin on the water.
In fact, the Broads have been a popular boating destination since 1878 when the first sail boats went up for hire. So, it follows that the very best way to get up close and personal with this beautiful region is from the deck of your very own houseboat.