Enjoy the Norfolk Broads at your own pace from the comfort of a luxury cruiser
Cruise up the River Ant to How Hill National Nature Reserve where a grand Edwardian thatched house sits on top of a hill surrounded by marsh and woodland.
You can visit the Broads Authority’s Toad Hole Cottage Museum and tourist information centre or take their electric boat ride through reed fringed backwaters. Explore the lovely nature trail and secret garden or walk along the riverbank past restored mills. Alternatively, simply relax on the grass at the top of the hill and enjoy the spectacular view of the river snaking through wild fen below.
A good place to start your visit is Toad Hole Cottage Museum, which is run by the Broads Authority and has a useful tourist information centre. You can wander around the tiny marshman’s cottage, which housed a whole family in Victorian times, and discover how they used to live and work.
Next take a guided electric boat trip on the Electric Eel, which silently explores hidden reed fringed waterways which are inaccessible to other vessels. The Broads Authority guide will teach you about the area and help you to spot a dazzling array of wildlife, which includes rare dragonflies and swallowtail butterflies in summer.
If you fancy a walk there is a nature trail which meanders along a boardwalk through fabulous fen habitat. Alternatively stroll along the river bank and admire How Hill’s three restored, grade 11 listed drainage mills.
The Grade 11 listed How Hill House, built by prominent Norwich architect Edward Boardman in 1905 as a holiday, and later a family home, is now a renowned environmental study centre. It is closed to visitors but its formal gardens, with its maze of sculptured yew hedges, are sometimes open to the public, so check the signs when you visit.
Don’t miss the Secret Garden which was established by Edward Boardman from a rough piece of grazing marsh. A wide range of specimen trees were planted to create today’s sheltered, hidden garden full of exotic plants, ponds and water channels and which, in spring, is ablaze with azaleas and rhododendrons
There is also a cafe serving tea, cakes and sandwiches (see Eating Out).
How Hill Staithe
Plenty of room to moor along the riverbank with lovely views over the marshes.
How Hill Tea room
Cafe serving tea, cakes and sandwiches. Open 11am-4pm at weekends from the end of May until the beginning of September and every day during the school holidays.