Days Out: Exploring the River Ant

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Stalham and Wayford Bridge

#1 in our series of Days Out in the Broads

Stalham is just over 15 miles from Norwich or 8 miles from Wroxham. Trains run every 30 minutes from Norwich to Wroxham. Please check timetables before travelling.

veras coffee shop
Vera's Coffee Shop

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Vera’s Coffee Shop, on the site of site A G Meales & Sons farm shop. Their menu uses local and home-grown ingredients and they are open from 9:30am every day. If the weather is pleasant, sit out on the patio and enjoy views of the garden and living wall, while you plan what goodies to stock up on from the farm shop. You can even pick your own fruit and veg.

Suitably refreshed and set up for the day, head 2 minutes up the road to Wayford Marine or Bank Boats and pick up a day boat for a few hours. You’ll need to book your day boat in advance. From Wayford Bridge, explore the River Ant up to Neatishead or down to Barton Broad, reputedly where Admiral Nelson learnt to sail. Barton Broad was purchased by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 1945 and is the second largest of the Norfolk Broads. Look out for local wildlife on the way. Common terns (which nest on artificial platforms), otters, kingfishers and herons can all be spotted along this stretch of the Broads.

day boat hire
Day boat hire

If you have time, a short drive of about 10 minutes will take you to the Barton Broad main car park. From here, take a stroll along the Barton Broad Boardwalk (approx. 2.4 km). The boardwalk is easily accessible by wheelchair and will take you on a mysterious journey of discovery into a lost world, which has remained isolated for half a century. The mystery trail leads you through swampy, wildlife-filled carr woodland, with resting places and tapping edges along the way and emerges to give a surprise panoramic view over Barton Broad.

By now, all that fresh air has probably made you a little peckish, so now is the time to dive into your earlier haul from A G Meale & Sons.

The River Ant
The River Ant

Just a few miles up the road at Stalham is the Museum of the Broads. Spend a couple of hours learning all about living and working in the Broads. Reopening for half-term week on 30th May with superb displays telling stories of Vikings, marshmen, boatbuilders to holidaymakers and life during the two World Wars.

Find out how tourism changed the Broads in their annual exhibition ‘Wish You Were Here’. Discover how railways brought holidays to ordinary people, see some of the early travel adverts, find a surprising link to the hovercraft, and, following the 200th anniversary of the Museum’s own waterside buildings, trace the history of staithes using Stalham as a worthy example.

There is also have a cracking range of boats ranging from a water bicycle, an airborne lifeboat, racing yachts, punts and even an ice yacht.

Finish off your day in the relaxed atmosphere of the Wayford Inn. They serve food every day until 9:30pm. Sit back and enjoy a couple of drinks on the patio with views over the River Ant and Wayford Bridge.