The River Thurne – Potter Heigham, Thurne and Hickling
Day Boats are available to hire along the River Thurne from the following boatyards and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment…
Potter Heigham is set right in the heart of the Broads and people have been visiting for holidays from the early 1900s. Boatbuilding has been established for decades and Herbert Woods Boatyard, one of the first boatyards to operate Broads Cruisers is still present in Potter Heigham today.
All good days start with a good breakfast. Located just a few yards from Potter Heigham Bridge overlooking the River Thurne, start with a traditional, home-cooked breakfast at Bridgestones. They are open every day from 8:45am until 5:00pm. There’s outside seating next to the river and an all-weather ‘dog-friendly’ garden room so you can bring your fourlegged friends too.
After breakfast, make sure you pop next door to Lathams of Potter Heigham. Lathams opened in 1963 as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ primarily stocking everything for the holidaymaker and fishermen. Today they still sell almost everything. Pick up some fishing tackle and get some local, inside knowledge about the best fishing spots and what to catch while you’re on the river. Potter Heigham is a great place to catch bream.
Collect your pre-booked day boat and get out onto the water. Head south, towards the iconic Thurne Mill, with views across the marshes over to St Benet's Abbey. Thurne Mill is a distinctive part of the Broads National Park landscape and the only white mill on the Broads. Finishing its working life in 1936, this iconic mill has now been restored to full working order and is one of only a handful that can be seen turning majestically in the wind. Look out for their open days between May and September.
Potter Heigham to Ludham Bridge and back will take you around 4 hours, not including stopping time. The Dog Inn at Ludham is worth a stop for lunch. They are a short walk from Ludham Bridge (approx 500 metres) with an outdoor seating area that looks over open fields and marshes back towards Thurne Mill and St Benet's Abbey. Alternatively, head north and explore the stunning Hickling Broad. Potter Heigham to Hickling will take 3 to 4 hours (not including stopping time).
NWT Hickling Broad is the largest broad and is a year-round haven for wildlife. Look out for common cranes as well as important breeding numbers of bittern, marsh harrier bearded tit and Cetti’s warbler. To explore all the hidden nooks and crannies of Hickling broad, and reach the places that are inaccessible by boat, Norfolk Outdoor Adventures provide kayaking and SUP adventures and experiences with guided nature and educational tours, coaching, instruction and hire.
If you would rather sit back, relax and cruise the Broads in style, Broadland Charters offer luxury, skippered cruises. Simply choose the number of hours you want to cruise and they will supply the scenery and unlimited refreshments.
The Greyhound Inn in the heart of Hickling village is the perfect place to end your day. This traditional village pub serves food 7 days a week and they have a varied menu to suit all tastes. The Greyhound boasts a roaring open fire and a sheltered outside area for the winter, and in the summer, there’s a sun-trap front terrace.
Places to stay nearby…