The region may be small, but the Norfolk Broads are endlessly fascinating with pleasant surprises around every bend.
Wroxham & Hoveton
Wroxham and Hoveton are twin villages on each side of the River Bure. Both are very popular, and you will not struggle to find things to do whatever time of year you are there. You can hire a boat, bike or canoe, marvel at Wroxham Miniature Worlds, shop at the famous Roys department store, stroll along the river, fish or enjoy a leisurely lunch in one of the riverside pubs if you need to refuel.
Head to Wroxham Barns where you can browse the crafts, enjoy a cream tea in the café and let the little ones pet the animals. BeWILDerwood is also a short drive from Wroxham and an enormous playground which appeals to kids of all ages, but especially those under the age of 10. Entry can seem expensive, but there is nothing extra to spend once you are inside unless you choose to eat at the cafe. Swings, tree houses, slides and zip wires cater for adults as well as children, so there's no need to feel left out of the fun!
Hickling Broad is ideal for visitors who enjoy the sense of solitude and privacy. As the largest expanse of water in the area, there is ample room to find space for yourself. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust expertly manages the site and makes sure it is enjoyable for people of all ages with a Habitat Trail, Minibeast Hunt and Dyke Dipping just a few of the activities that appeal to younger visitors.
Butterflies flutter above the wildflowers while dragonflies skim the water, looking for their dinner. There are several hides for bird spotting but if you don't know your swift from your swan, then book a guided boat trip via the visitor centre (which has a great cafe) and let an expert talk you through the many different species of birds, insects and wildlife you will see.
Another fantastic choice for an exciting day of discovery is Oulton Broad. The town is near Lowestoft across the border in Suffolk and bills itself as the southern gateway to the National Park. There are a wealth of opportunities for sailing, rowing and canoeing so you can explore the waterways at your chosen speed. Local angler Lee Pullen has a popular fishing tackle shop where you can get bait and tackle and that all-important local knowledge about where the fish are most likely to be biting.
If the weather is poor or you want to keep your feet on dry land, you will find lots to amuse you in this lovely town. The Lowestoft Museum is in Broad House and is open every afternoon between April and October. It is inside Nicholas Everitt Park and a favourite idea for a family day out is to spend the morning boating on the water and picnicking in the park before seeing the well-curated museum exhibits. Nicholas Everitt Park also hosts an Artists Boulevard open air exhibition every Sunday afternoon from April to October (weather permitting).
The Horsey Windpump is one of the few remaining windmills on the Norfolk Broads. It is actually a drainage pump, designed to pump water out of the dykes and carry it 23 miles to the sea at Great Yarmouth. The windpump is impressive and so is the land in which it sits, all of which is managed by the National Trust. There is a three-mile return walk from the windpump to the beach where you may be fortunate enough to spot grey seals, and a circular walk that takes you around Horsey Estate. If you don't feel like packing a picnic, there is a cafe serving locally made cakes.