Norfolk Day in the National Park

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Norfolk Day (27 July) is about celebrating what makes this county great. Here are the top 5 things we think make the Broads special. What’s your most favourite or treasured thing about this area? Tag us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram to let us know.

1. Enchanted waters, endless horizons

Sunset at Burgh Castle
Sunset at Burgh Castle

With over 200km of rivers and Broads, there is so much to explore; every nook, cranny and backwater – in your own time and at your own pace. It’s what makes the Broads unique, special and like no other National Park and why the Broads is one of Europe’s most popular inland waterways, with 7 million visitors a year on land and water.

Explore by boat for a week or a day, paddle your way along the backwaters. Find organised boat trips, boating holidays, hire a boat for the day, or go canoeing and paddle boarding.

2. A haven for wildlife

Norfolk hawker dragonfly
Norfolk hawker dragonfly

The birds, plants and animals of the Broads draw tourists here from all over the world. The swallowtail, Britain’s largest butterfly, and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly are found only in the Broads. With a quarter of the park receiving international designation for its biodiversity, conservation of the Broads is hugely significant to the biodiversity of the UK. In fact, it is Britain’s largest protected wetland.

Discover the Broads’ wildlife, go otter and kingfisher spotting and get to know dragonflies. Check out what wildlife you can spot this summer.

3. Historic mills and heritage

horsey mill
Explore the magnificent interior of the National Trust's Horsey Mill

History and heritage are everywhere; wherries, windmills, boathouses, abbeys and churches. The rare heritage of the Broads is protected for everyone to enjoy, with 25 conservation areas, 14 ancient monuments and 270 listed buildings. The Water, Mills and Marshes, Broads Landscape Partnership programme is restoring many of the region's historic mills.

See our Instagram for photographs of mills to inspire your visit. Some of the Broads iconic windmills include Horsey Windpump, Herringfleet Smock Mill and St Benet's Level Drainage Mill. There are also three drainage windmills at How Hill; Turf Fen is visible across the River Ant, and you can see Boardman's Mill and Clayrack Mill from the riverside footpath.

4. So many ways to explore on foot or by bike

Exploring the National Park on foot.
Exploring the National Park on foot.

It's not just about getting onto the water, the endless footpaths and quiet country roads make walking and cycling great ways to see the Broads National Park. There are long distance paths such as the Weaver's Way, Wherryman's Way and Norfolk Coast Path to explore, as well as an abundance of circular walks for all abilities (which you can download and follow on your smartphone using the Alltrails app).

See our guide to walking and cycling here, places to hire a bike and top routes to explore on your bike.

5. Outdoor beauty spots

St Helen's Ranworth © Michael Day
The view from the top of St Helen's in Ranworth is worth the climb © Michael Day/Flickr

The National Park is renowned for its rivers and Broads but there is so much more to discover outdoors. Why not visit one of the many internationally important nature reserves, or even take a stroll through some of the stunning stately gardens and outdoor beauty spots? Many have now re-opened after the COVID-19 lockdown with new visiting regimes in place, and they'll be sure to welcome you with open arms.

More ways to celebrate

Have a street party, a picnic or a locally-sourced meal - find suggestions of ways to celebrate from the EDP.