With Christmas just around the corner, those distant memories of summer days spent floating along the river and windmills dotted amongst big skies might make you feel like the Broads are now a world away.
Well, we’ve got a whole host of things to do to get you in a festive mood, as well as ideas for finding the perfect gift for everyone who loves the Broads.
The German Christmas markets might not be on the cards this year so why not book yourself and your loved ones a relaxing weekend break in the Broads National Park instead? Avoid the crowds and get all your Christmas shopping wrapped up in one go. If you stay at Hotel Wroxham in the capital of the Broads you’ll discover no less than five famous Roys stores on your doorstep. The flagship department store, the food hall, garden centre, DIY store and toy shop all in one village. So, you won’t have very far to go to get your shopping adventure off to a flying start. If you’ve got fisherman in the family, located just a few miles up the road, Lathams discount department and fishing store in Potter Heigham has become synonymous with angling and in the Broads. An ‘Aladdin’s Cave since 1963, you’re bound to find something unique to put under the tree.
Of course, there’s nothing quite like the bright lights of the city at Christmas time. The Broads is the only national park in England that is home to a vibrant, medieval city. As well as modern shopping centres and its quirky lanes independent retailers, Norwich will be hosting a variety of pop-up markets throughout the city this festive season.
You can still enjoy the waterways at this time of year too. Celebrate in style with a unique and stylish festive cruise on the Norfolk Broads with Broadland Charters. Keep yourself warm with mulled wine and unlimited Norfolk tea and coffee while topping up on delicious Christmas treats and enjoying a 2 hour cruise along the Northern Broads. Cruising out of season on a bright, crisp day really shows off the Broads at their best. With the waterways much quieter, you can sit back, relax and dream of what Santa might be putting in your stocking.
Christmas is the perfect time of year for a bit of murder mystery and intrigue. Snuggle up in front of the fire and immerse yourself in some ghostly goings on and a spooky Broadland whodunnit. In his latest book, Watershed, novelist Chris Crowther takes us on a journey amongst the marshes, windmills and boatyards of the Broads National Park.
Could the shades of a two-hundred-year-old Broadland steamship disaster really be haunting what was supposed to be a long-weekend of fun? Join Jack Fellows, Scotland Yard detective turned Broads Ranger who can’t quite shake off his natural inclination for solving crime, to find out.
Along the way, you’ll meet many of the characters who still live and work in the Broads and learn something of the history of this picturesque and singularly unique part of the world.
They say good things come in small packages. If you’re looking for a perfect gift for that special person who has everything then fetch your magnifying glass and explore the shrunken, the downscaled and the pint-sized in ‘The Beauty of Small Things’ a special miniature edit from Riverside Art & Glass in Wroxham.
Not only can you buy online but you can also visit their gallery in person to view and buy paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and jewellery from East Anglian artists and makers as well as those based further afield. They are the only glass specialists in Norfolk, stocking Swedish crystal by Maleras and Kosta Boda, French Pâte de Vere by Lalique and Daum, and unique art glass by Borowski Studio in Germany.
Humpty Dumpty Brewery in Reedham has been producing ‘Cracking Real Ales’ since 1998. A ten-barrel brewery producing cask and bottled conditioned real ales with an on-site shop stocking a range of locally produced honeys, ciders, wines and chutneys too. Tastings are available and beer can be purchased directly from the cask to take home. They also have a range of tempting Christmas offers which can be found on the Humpty Dumpty Website.
Another well-known Broadland brewer is Woodforde’s, who produce award-winning beer in Woodbastwick. With over 130 awards to date, and two Supreme Champion Beer of Britain awards under the Admiral’s hat, they are one of only four UK breweries to achieve this accolade.
For more ideas for great days out, special events and idyllic places to stay in this truly special landscape, and…just two hours from London by train, go to Visit the Broads.