The Great Broads Picnic

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The Broads have been sizzling this month, the river banks are humming with dragonflies and the long evenings are still bright and clear into the small hours. So it must be just the right time of year for a picnic! Here are a few of our top picnicking spots in the National Park and a few of the best local brands to indulge in while the water glitters and the swallowtail butterflies linger…

Barton Broad

barton broad copyright colin-47
Early morning views over Barton Broad © Colin (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For boat-owners and hirers alike Barton is the perfect secluded Broad for dropping the mud weight and relaxing. Moor up and indulge on deck. Boats are the perfect place to picnic as you can take in the water while being an arm-stretch away from putting the kettle on.

The best local produce to accompany: Check out the Tiny Tipple Company for their selection of fruity spirits hand-picked in Norfolk and Suffolk, their Damson gin is infused with fruit from the end of their creator’s garden! Since you are likely to have the use of a kettle on your vessel why not indulge in some Grey Seal Coffee? And definitely don’t forget to have a munch on the chocolate of Norwich-based company Gnaw.


Picnic in the park
Why not try one of the brilliant local vineyards this Summer?

The Bigod Way rambles for 10 miles around Bigod’s Castle and the village of Bungay which is recognised as a site of conservation by English Heritage. From churches to grazing cattle this is the perfect walk to find a bench or a quiet spot in the sun and settle down with a hamper.

The best local produce to accompany: Bungay might be a small market town but what it lacks in size in makes up for in bijoux businesses. So crack open a bottle of wine from Flint Vineyard and accompany with a choice of Baron Bigod Brie or St Jude Cheese. Also make a beeline for some fresh crusty bread from The Olde Barn Bakery.

Coltishall Common

coltishall common coypright julian claxton
A sunny day at Coltishall Common © Julian Claxton

Coltishall Common is the perfect grassy patch by the riverside. It is easily reached by car or by boat and is spacious enough to bring your hamper and gingham rug for a quintessentially British picnic.  

The best local produce to accompany: Indulge in a bottle of Norfolk Cordial (elderflower and cucumber sounds particularly delicious) and remember to pack a generous slice of Norfolk Mardler Cheese (appropriately mardler is the old Norfolk term for a good gossip!) make sure you add some flavour to proceedings with some Stokes Bloody Mary Ketchup.

St Benet’s Abbey

meadow pipit st benets copyright jo garbutt
Meadow pipit at St Benet's Abbey © Jo Garbutt (CC BY 2.0)

St Benet’s Abbey is the perfect spot for watching the river run by and taking in the monastic tranquillity of the ruined abbey. Settle yourself by the ruins and bring a pair of binoculars as the spot is a favourite among twitchers on the lookout for rare birds.

The best local produce to accompany: St Peter’s Brewery is surely the perfect local beverage for a picnicking spot on the site of a ruined abbey. Accompany it with some Ferndale Farm cheese brought from local shop Throwers of Ludham from whom you could also grab some Norfolk Knobbly chutney.

And once you're doing picnicking, remember to take all your litter with you or use a nearby bin... noone wants to find wrappers and food on the floor!