Town Vs Country in the Broads National Park

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Do you long for the steady roll of an English footpath? Does the fire place of a remote pub warm your cockles? Does the silence of a lone broad thrill you? Perhaps. Maybe you’re the other sort? Do you long for the hubbub of voices? The glow of a bistro? The promise of a shop front? Are you set alive by the chatter before a theatre performance? Or enjoy the banter of a market stall?

Whether you’re a town mouse or country lover the rivers of the Broads can take you to the perfect destination for you, follow these rivers and you wont go far wrong regardless of whether you packed your wellies or your brogues…

The River Bure: Horning Vs Wroxham


fields near horning
Beautiful scenery in the Horning countryside

The ancient village of Horning is perfect for lovers of the countryside. For history buffs it has lots to offer, the village was first conceived when King Canute (who famously built the nearby St Benet’s Abbey at Ludham) was gifted a manor house in the area. The village name means ‘folk who live on the high ground between the rivers’ and this gives a clue as to why its such a great village for the rural enthusiast.

The village itself is small and quaint with a muddle of thatched properties and wobbly listed buildings. The green and staithe both make for the perfect riverside picnicking spots and there is a fabulous circular walk to be made which takes in the 13th century St Benedict’s church and the Radar Museum (both of which can be visited on route). The walk gives you the option of stopping off at three fantastic pubs, The Swan, The Ferry Inn, and The New Inn.


Known as the ‘Capital of the Broads’, Wroxham is a village like none other. It's a trip down memory lane for anybody who enjoys the nostalgia of the 70s and harks back to the traditional English holiday. With fish and chip shops aplenty and hire boats galore this is the perfect spot for the ardent ‘people watcher’. The star of the show at Wroxham is the chain of local shops owned by Roys. Roys boast not only a two floor department store but also many niche shops across Wroxham, from toys to gardening equipment.

Wroxham is overflowing with ice creams and eateries and there is even a Broads Authority visitor centre which can help with any Broads-related questions you might have. Canoe hire, boat trips and bustling shops… Wroxham is a quirky village experience which you won't find anywhere else.

The River Waveney: Somerleyton Vs Lowestoft


lowestoft harbour © kevin millican
Views over Lowestoft harbour © Kevin Millican (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There is something of the rural idyll about Somerleyton. The village dates back to the medieval era and is a ‘model village’ centred around a village green. Nearby Fritton Lake has an unrivalled reputation for its supervised wild swimming sessions and Somerleyton Hall is perfect for beautiful walks and stunning gardens. There are even rumours of ‘re-wilding’ happening in the grounds of the estate. There are plenty of free Broads Authority moorings and nearby Herringfleet is the perfect location for a country stroll with views across the river.


Lowestoft is the most easterly part of the country meaning that it is the first place in the whole of the United Kingdom to see the sun rise. It is situated on the edge of the Broads system. Lowestoft is a port town and seaside resort meaning that there is always something to do whether that's sunning yourself by the sea or hitting the vast expanse of shops. Complete with theatres, night life and plenty of visitor attractions, city slickers will love Lowestoft.

The River Yare: Berney Arms Vs Great Yarmouth


Berney Arms Mill
The iconic Berney Arms Mill is one of the tallest in the Broads National Park

There are only four real signs of human life at Berney Arms. There is a windmill, a farmhouse, a railway station and a pub. For those who seek the thrill of solitude, the windswept Berney Arms is the perfect country location. This area is pure marshland and rests below sea level. Part of the area makes up an RSPB reserve, making it the perfect bird watchers paradise with wading breeds such as avocets, whimbrels and lapwings calling the marshland home.

Berney Arms can be reached by rail, foot or water but there is no way to reach it by car. This beautiful part of the Broads makes up part of the Wherrymans Way and the Weavers Way footpaths so it's the ideal location if you like strapping up your walking boots and getting out in the open countryside.


Great Yarmouth is the gateway to the Broads from the North Sea. This famous maritime town was once hugely prosperous due to a successful herring trade. Nowadays, it is more famous for its museums, shops and offshore wind-farms. Among its most enjoyed attractions are the ancient Toll House Gaol and the Time and Tide Museum which takes you through the full history of the town from herrings to holidays.

Great Yarmouth has strong ties with Lord Nelson and has its own ‘Nelson’s Column’ which was erected 24 years before its famous cousin was built in Trafalgar Square. Perhaps one of Great Yarmouth’s greatest accolades comes in the form of a description of the town by Charles Dickens who based the location for his novel David Copperfield on the town, he described it as, “The finest place in the universe”