Visit the East of England by train
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The Broads National Park
As one of the UK’s 15 National Parks, the Broads’ beautiful landscape is where big, bright skies meet endless horizons.
The Broads National Park is made up of over 125 miles (200km) of navigable rivers and broads in Norfolk and Suffolk. Served by 18 train stations, there are many ways to explore this iconic landscape by train.
Known as the Capital of the Broads, the villages of Wroxham and Hoveton join together and are the perfect base from which to explore the area. Visitors are spoilt for choice with so many hotels, pubs, restaurants and shops.
Day boat hire and boat trips
From Wroxham, it’s easy to rent a boat for the day to explore the National Park. Hiring a day boat to cruise yourself is one of the best ways to see everything the Broads has to offer, giving you a chance to fully relax, spot and take photos of some of the region's rarest animals and plants at your own pace.
Day boat hire
By boat from Wroxham
Set off early in a day boat from Wroxham on a gentle cruise to the delightful village of Coltishall - with its easily accessible riverside pubs, the Rising Sun, the Recruiting Sergeant and the Red Lion.
Hoveton Great Broad
Cruise slowly along the River Bure (for less than an hour) towards Horning, you arrive at the tranquil setting of Hoveton Great Broad, one of the largest yet most secret lakes in the Broads. Things to do here include a nature trail, bat, and dawn chorus walks.
Right next to Hoveton Great Broad is Salhouse Broad, with boardwalks, a camping area and children’s play area. Activities include: stand-up paddle board yoga (SUP), guided nature walks, bushcraft and sunset canoe trips.
Boat trips from Wroxham
Not ready to pilot a boat yourself? Make your way through the undisturbed reaches of the river Bure in the Edwardian styled ‘Liana’. Broads Tours also run a number of guided river trips and cruises so you can sit back, relax and take in the sights and sounds of the Broads.
Nearest station: Hoveton & Wroxham
The picturesque riverside village of Reedham is a pleasant walk (approx. 1 mile) from Reedham Station on the Wherry Lines, between Norwich and Gt Yarmouth. A feat of engineering, Reedham’s famous swing bridge still operates to allow boats to pass under it and trains to pass over it. The original bridge dates back to Victorian times and the current bridge from 1902/3.
Watch the boats and trains go by while you have lunch at one of the riverside pubs, which offer great views over the surrounding marshes. Take the Reedham Ferry across the River Yare – it’s the last of its kind operating on The Broads.
Walks around Reedham
Short 1 ½ miles (2.4km) ¾ hour, route map (PDF).
Long (17.5km) Reedham River Circular, AllTrails.
Nature and wildlife
The fens and marshes around Reedham are a designated National Nature Reserve, offering many chances to spot wildlife. Although tricky to see, you may hear the loud boom of a bittern, see marsh harriers, barn owls (at dusk and dawn) and reed and sedge warblers.
Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is a fun day out for all the family.
For beer enthusiasts the Humpty Dumpty Brewery runs a shop, selling their own beers and produce from other local suppliers including ciders, wines, soap and more. By arrangement, you can book a brewery tour with tastings and a fish and chip supper.
Both Pettitts Animal Adventure Park and the Humpty Dumpty Brewery are less than a mile’s walk from Reedham village or Reedham Station.
Nearest station: Reedham
For walkers and nature-lovers
RSPB Strumpshaw Fen
(Allow 3-4 hours)
The marshes and wetlands of Strumpshaw Fen sit alongside the River Yare. The opportunities for wildlife spotting are excellent and helpful staff and volunteers will tell you what to look out for, according to season. There are many bird hides around the fen, paths to walk along, benches to rest on and boats to watch, as they float by on the river – perfect with a flask of hot tea. In spring you’ll see ospreys, bitterns and marsh harriers and in summer its home to swallowtail butterflies – one of Britain’s largest and rarest native butterfly species.
Heritage water mills
On the edge of the River Yare, Strumpshaw Steam Engine House is one of the Broads’ iconic water mills, which has been lovingly restored using traditional skills and techniques of the past, by the Broads Authority and apprentices working with City College Norwich. It is hoped the mill will soon be open to the public featuring a display on the history of the pump house and the importance of drainage mills in shaping the landscape, agriculture and economies of the past.
Nearest stations: Buckenham (request stop, only on Sundays, 1 mile), Brundall (1.4 miles)
6.8 Km walking route - Buckenham to Brundall, via Strumpshaw Fen, AllTrails
More ways to enjoy the National Park
- There are some of the darkest skies in the Broads, which are perfect for stargazing.
- See the guides to otter and kingfisher spotting in the Broads
- Find walking routes to download to your phone at AllTrails
- Get up close and personal with local wildlife by sailing on a wherry - the traditional trading vessel of the Broads. Wherry Yacht Charter and Norfolk Wherry Trust.
- Find out where to eat and drink, where to stay, what’s on the National Park.
- More facts about the Broads National Park
For more top tips to inspire your trip go to Visit the Broads.