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