Day itinerary: Upper Bure by bike and car

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Coltishall, Wroxham and Neatishead

By car and bike

bure valley railway
The Bure Valley Railway

This Itinerary starts with a gentle cycle ride of approximately 8 miles, taking in 3 stops and lots to see along the way. Some of the route is on the road. Please take care as you will meet cars and other traffic along the way. Your day will end with a visit to the RAF Defence Museum at Neatished.

Cycles can be hired from Bure Valley Cycle Hire based in Coltishall, or Broadland Cycle Hire based at Horning.

Start your day in Coltishall. (Alternatively, you can start in Wroxham and follow the circular cycle route from there instead, finishing back in Wroxham).

Coltishall would not seem out of place in a Jeeves and Wooster novel. It’s also the setting for the ‘Jack Fellows’ series of murder mystery novels from Broads author Chris Crowther. The common at Coltishall looks out on the River Bure and the marshes beyond, with the local pub situated just at the edge. The houses here haven’t changed much since Flemish gables were the fashion and make for a welcome time warp for true quintessential relaxation.

Sit for a while with your book or jump straight on your bikes and pick up the Bure Valley Path just out of Coltishall. The Bure Valley Path is a 9-mile traffic free track running alongside the railway line.

Steam trains operate regularly between the old market town of Aylsham and Wroxham. The Bure Valley Railway was built on the track bed of part of the former Great Eastern Railway and the nine-mile line runs through meadowland, ancient pastures and picturesque Broadland villages. The trip from Wroxham to Aylsham by train takes about 45 minutes.

lambs at wroxham barns
Lambs at Wroxham Barns

Follow the path for 2 to 3 miles towards Hoveton and then continue into Wroxham.

In Wroxham, you’ll find plenty of places to get a bite to eat, watch the hustle and bustle of boats coming in and out, or do a bit of holiday shopping. The “World’s Largest Village Store”, Roys of Wroxham has been a family run business in Wroxham since 1895. Although Roys has stores throughout Norfolk and Suffolk, it is synonymous with Wroxham where the company was born. See if you can spot all 5 of Roy’s stores that are based here!

At Riverside Art & Glass browse the sought-after collections of glass art, paintings, ceramics and woodwork from a wide variety of artists, many of them local, and with displays changing regularly.

When you’re ready, jump back on two wheels and follow the Tunstead Road north out of Wroxham.  You’ll shortly arrive at Wroxham Barns, where there really is something for everyone. Chat to the talented makers in their craft studios or watch them while they work. Take the children to the funfair or visit Junior Farm where you can groom, cuddle and bottle-feed the animals. Before you leave, take a break in the award-winning restaurant or the Farmyard Café.

Leave Wroxham Barns and head back towards Coltishall, along Belaugh Lane to end the cycle ride.

coltishall common on a sunny day
Coltishall Common

From Coltishall, a short 10 minute car journey will take you to Neatished, home of the RAF Defence Radar Museum. The museum occupies the site of the world’s longest continuously operating radar station and tells the story of Air Defence and Radar from 1935 to date. The museum is not open all year, so please check opening times before you visit.

If museums are not your thing, why not spend a couple of hours on the water and hire a Self-drive dayboats from Richardsons back in Wroxham. A couple of hours will give you the opportunity to relax and take a peek at all of the pretty and quirky riverside properties that are synonymous in the area.

End your day out with some entertainment on the water. Every Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and selected Friday evenings during the summer Broads Tours run evening music cruises. Sit back, tap your feet to the music with a drink and enjoy the sunset. Pre-booking is essential for the evening cruises, so please check availability beforehand.

Places to stay nearby…