If you are starting in any of the major settlements of Norfolk & Suffolk, the Broads National Park is relatively well served by buses. Taking public transport over taking the car is one of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint when visiting the National Park.
It also provides greater freedom for planning your visit – rather than having to take a circular route and track back to your car as a base, it allows for linear walks, letting you go further and experience more of the countryside.
The new bus fare cap limits the price of a single bus ticket to only £2 until 31 December 2024, meaning now is the perfect time to grab your coat, wellies and hop onto a bus to explore the great outdoors!
East of Norwich, the River Yare winds its way through low hills and woodlands, before entering the wider marshes of the Broads as it flows towards the sea. The Wherryman’s Way is a linear footpath running from Norwich to Great Yarmouth, retracing the path that the Wherries took from the Port of Norwich down to Great Yarmouth. The full route is 37.5 miles long, but can easily be broken into shorter chunks using public transport.
Route description: Starting outside of Norwich Railway Station, this route will take you through Whitlingham Country park, and out along the banks of the River Wensum and Yare past the Waters Edge Pub to Surlingham. This 6.7 mile route is perfect if you don’t want to go too far, and has the option of stopping for some food along the way, although if you want to be a bit further from the city, maybe jump to the next step.
Route map: Norwich to Surlingham on AllTrails
Bus home: You can then catch the Number 85 (operating between Claxton - Norwich) from The Common back to Norwich (approx 24 minutes).
The route: On this route you can take the Angles Way from the historic market town of Bungay through glorious Suffolk countryside to Beccles. Get close to Bungay Castle at the beginning of the walk, take an optional detour to see Mettingham Castle and finish up close to the River Waveney. In the summer months an optional detour to the Geldeston Locks pub for refreshments is highly recommended!
Route map: Bungay to Beccles on AllTrails
Bus to start: Take the X41 from Norwich to Bungay to begin the route, getting off at Trinity Street. There are lots of shops, pubs and cafes in Bungay if you would like to stock up before starting the walk.
Bus home: After walking up scenic Puddingmoor in Beccles you will reach the Old Market Place where you can take the X2/X22 back to Norwich.
The route: This is a longer walk, that takes in long stretches of river bank along the Yare, passing the Mid-Yare National Nature Reserve, before following the winding Chet down to Loddon.
Route map: Rockland St Mary to Loddon on AllTrails
Bus to start: To get to Rockland, take the 85 from Norwich Bus Station (26 minutes), and then walk down the Hill to the Staithe. If you need some fuel before you set off, the New Inn offers a chance to sit outside with a view over the marshes.
Bus home: After following the river down to Loddon, you can grab some refreshments from one of the cafes in the village, before taking the First Bus X22 from Loddon Church Plain for a 20 minute ride back to Norwich bus station.
The route: Acle sits on the edge of the Halvergate Marshes, close to the River Bure, with footpaths running along both sides of the river, and several good walking trails. If by this point in the guide you are bored of suggestions to walk alongside rivers, you can take the Weavers' Way South across the marshes – either stopping at the Berney Arms halt for the train either to Norwich or Yarmouth, or pressing on for the full 12 miles to Yarmouth where there is a choice of trains and buses back home.
Route map: Acle to Great Yarmouth on AllTrails
Bus to start: You can catch the First Bus X1/X11 from Norwich to Acle (approx 24 minutes).
Bus home: At you are stopping at the Berney Arms you can catch a train home from the request stop (Great Yarmouth to Norwich line), or alternatively once in Great Yarmouth you can catch a train or bus (X1/X11) back to Norwich.
The route: The 5.5 mile Rockland Ramble starts near the New Inn Pub in Rockland, visiting Rockland Broad, walking along the River Yare and heading through varied meadow and farmland habitats. A relatively flat route that is suitable for many ages and fitness levels. The village is known for its historic church, St Mary's, which dates back to the 12th century and its many beautiful old buildings and cottages.
Route map: Rockland Ramble on AllTrails
Bus to start/home: To get to Rockland, take the 85 from Norwich Bus Station (26 minutes), and then walk down the Hill to the Staithe. The New Inn pub awaits at the end of the walk for a pint and a bite to eat.
The route: This is a pleasant and beautiful 5.2 mile circular walk, starting and ending in the historic market town of Bungay. With its rich history, medieval castle, pretty woodlands and St. Mary's Church, it's a perfect walk for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
Route map: Bigod's Way on AllTrails
Bus to start/home: Catch the First Bus 41/X41 from St Stephen's Street in Norwich to Bungay, getting off at Trinity Street (approximately 45 minutes). Bigod Castle, where the walk begins, is just a short walk. There is an abundance of cafes, pubs and restaurants in Bungay including the Front Room, Earsham Street Cafe, The Castle and The Green Dragon, as well as Etude Coffee and The Queen's Head in Earsham.
The route: Just a short bus journey from Norwich, this is a wonderful, easy to navigate circular route taking in the quiet upper reaches of the River Bure. There's a mixture of different habitats and scenery to enjoy including marshland, riverside paths, woodland and even past Horstead Mill. Horstead is known for its picturesque countryside setting and historic church, St. John the Baptist's, which dates back to the 14th century.
Bus to start/home: Catch the Sanders' X55 from Norwich Bus Station or Castle Meadow, getting off outside the Recruiting Sergeant pub in Horstead (approx 32 minute journey). The Recruiting Sergeant is a well-regarded restaurant and perfect to enjoy a bite to eat before or after your walk, booking advisable! You can then get the X55 back to the city.
The route: Salhouse is a 30 min bus ride from Norwich and the walk is an easy-going route which is suitable to most abilities, taking around 2. 5 hours to complete. A wonderful escapade into the countryside, along lanes, open space, passing by grazing livestock, the Salhouse Bell pub and old thatched cottages.
Route map: Salhouse circular walk on AllTrails
Bus to start/home: From Norwich (or Eaton) take the 5b Konnectbus (for approx. 30 mins), getting off at the junction of Norwich Rd and Station Rd to meet the start of the walking route. The 5b continues on to Wroxham, Horning and Stalham. You can take the 5b bus back to Norwich from the Salhouse Bell pub - a traditional pub, which serves food and has a garden.
Beccles is a beautiful town on the Suffolk/Norfolk border on the River Waveney. To get to Beccles, you can take either the X2/X22 from First Bus, or the 146 from Border Bus. It takes only about 30 minutes from Norwich Bus Station, with the double decker bus offering beautiful views of the Norfolk Countryside.
Hippersons Boatyard offers canoe and paddleboard hire from the town centre, and Beccles Lido (the only remaining lido in the region) is open all year round.
There are a number of walking trails available from Beccles along the river Waveney. Walking from Beccles to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Carlton Marshes is about 8 miles, and the X22 can be taken back to Norwich from there.
Hoveton and Wroxham
Hoveton and Wroxham can be reached by the First Bus number 12 from Castle Meadow in Norwich.
Attractions include The Bure Valley Railway, a 9 inch gauge steam railway that leads up through the upper Bure Valley to Aylsham, through 9 miles of beautiful landscape. You can either take a return trip on the train, or the Sanders X44 bus back to Norwich from outside the Aylsham Station.
You can also enjoy boat hire on the Bure, as Wroxham is the heart of the broads boating with day boats available from several yards. To top off the sustainability of your visit, try looking for an electric one! If you don’t fancy taking your own boat out, skippered cruises are available with Broads Tours, the Mississippi River Boat or aboard the solar boat Ra.
RSPB Strumpshaw Fen
Get on at Prince of Wales Road, and jump off at Stone Road just before Strumpshaw Village which is a short walk from the reserve. The reserve sits in the Mid-Yare National Nature Reserve and is a haven for rare flora and fauna. Strumpshaw Fen is suitable for both avid wildlife watchers and families alike