Enjoy the Norfolk Broads at your own pace from the comfort of a luxury cruiser
Known as the ‘Capital of the Broads’, Wroxham and Hoveton emerged as the first centre for Broads boating holidays when railways arrived in the late 19th century and the area still remains the biggest and most popular location to start a boating holiday.
Despite both villages often being referred to simply as ‘Wroxham’ the majority of the facilities are actually located in Hoveton including, rather ironically, Roys of Wroxham department store – the largest village store in the world – Wroxham railway station and the Hotel Wroxham! There is also a plethora of cafes, pubs and takeaways plus many other shops and attractions to enjoy.
Starting your holiday with Norfolk Broads Direct means that you don’t have to go far for history, as our marina is one of the oldest tourist boatyards on the Broads. It was established in 1880 by Broads tourism pioneer John Loynes, who still lends his name to our Faircraft Loynes fleet today. The marina is also a very popular centre to take guided river trips, evening music cruises or hire day boats from our sister company Broads Tours, which was established in 1935 (see Things to Do.)
It’s well worth crossing the river to reach Hoveton’s huge range of facilities via the historic Wroxham Bridge. Built in 1619 it’s one of the lowest bridges on the Broads and holiday cruisers are only allowed to pass under it with a bridge pilot safely at the wheel. If you have the time, pop into the lovely Granary Staithe on the Hoveton side of the bridge – a great place for a picnic, to feed the ducks or watch the boats pass under the bridge.
Hoveton is dominated by the famous Roys of Wroxham department store which was founded in 1895 when brothers Alfred and Arnold Roy opened their general store in the village of Coltishall before moving to Hoveton in 1899. Today Roy’s has an excellent food court with local produce plus fashion, home, electrical, health and beauty, toy, gardening and DIY departments.
Elsewhere in Wroxham there are plenty of other shops as well as takeways, pubs and restaurants. Additionally there is a bank, cashpoint, mainline railway station and Bure Valley Railway station.
You can find the Broads Authority Tourist Information centre on Station Road where a butcher’s and fishing shop are also located. Behind Station Road there is a lovely riverside park, which is a great place to walk the dog, let the kids play and feed the ducks.
Head out on the river to admire Wroxham and Hoveton’s beautiful waterside houses. Look out for Barton House, which has a miniature railway in its garden and is home to the Wherry Yacht Charter. This operates five of the last eight remaining Wherries on the Broads, which are the region’s most iconic historic boats and can be identified by their huge single sail. A little further downstream is the former holiday home of 1930s entertainer George Formby, which is named Heronby today but was once called Beryldene after George’s wife.
Downstream of the village is the stunning Wroxham Broad, which is home to the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club. Although the broad is privately owned you can navigate across it (no stopping) and can often see traditional sailing boats racing, particularly during the major Wroxham Week Regatta that is held in the last week of July.
Things to do
Broads Tours – Don’t miss the fantastic evening music cruises!
Learn more about the history and wildlife of the Broads on a guided river trip with our sister Company Broads Tours. Four double decker trip boats, which have a bar and toilets, operate on a regular timetable from our marina. Better still, dance the night away on Broad’s Tours’ popular music cruises in July and August. Live jazz evenings are held on Thursdays and disco nights are held on Wednesdays and selected Fridays. You can also hire a dayboat, which is a good option to explore upstream of Wroxham Bridge. Book early for the music cruises – they sell out fast! 01603 782207.
Enjoy this award winning visitor attraction with craft shops, a Junior Farm, championship mini golf and seasonal funfair. Can be reached by walking 1.5 miles along Norfolk’s only privately owned footpath from Wroxham Bridge or taking a taxi. 01603 783762.
Bure Valley Railway
Experience a nostalgic trip by steam along Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge railway which travels between Hoveton and the historic town of Aylsham. You can hop off and explore on foot at Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall. 01263 733858.
Wroxham Miniature Worlds
Visit the largest indoor model attraction in the UK with over 10,000 square feet of model railways, slot cars, a LEGO city, model boats and more. Located on Station Business Park. 01603 781728.
Hoveton Hall Gardens
Visit the beautiful gardens and enjoy a woodland walk. Located at Hoveton Hall Estate, about 1.5 miles north of Hoveton. Open Sunday – Friday from 30 March to 30 September. 01603 784297.
The Kings Head Hotel
Family friendly riverside pub with a large beer garden.Serves carveries and traditional pub fayre. Located on Station Road near Wroxham Bridge. 01603 782429.
American themed restaurant by Wroxham Bridge.01603782337.
Riverside cafe, bar, restaurant and pizzeria behind the Norfolk Broads Direct’s office. Serves coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner.01603 784041.
Number 14 Hoveton
Cafe serving Fairtrade coffee, cakes and more near Wroxham Bridge.01603 784348.
Yim Siam restaurant
Thai restaurant in Hoveton Riverside Centre.01603 781133.
Norfolk Broads Direct (Faircraft Loynes) boatyard
Check the signs as there are both stern and side on moorings. Wroxham Launderette is opposite the boatyard.
Wroxham Broad Island – River Bure
Secluded island between the river and Wroxham Broad. Cut off from the mainland and 20 minutes by river from Norfolk Broads Direct.