Self catering accommodation near Wroxham

Hoveton and Wroxham: Capital of the Broads

 

Situated less than 15 miles from Happisburgh, the area around Wroxham Bridge is a popular destination for visitors to Boundary Stables.

 

Divided only by the River Bure, the neighbouring towns of Hoveton and Wroxham are old friends, supporting one another by shared amenities, including a post office, hotel, shopping centre, and railway station. In the 1870s, with the arrival of the East Norfolk Railway, Wroxham became home to the first boat hire business on the Broads, owned by John Loynes, the pioneer of an incredibly successful river-based leisure industry. Wroxham is often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Broads’, but it is only in partnership with its symbiotic pal, Hoveton, that Wroxham can really be credited with this accolade.

 

The thoroughfare connecting the two towns passes over Wroxham Bridge. A wooden bridge over the River Bure at this location was replaced, in 1576, by a sturdier structure. In 1619, the bridge was rebuilt in brick and stone, and this is the bridge we use today.

 

Roys of Wroxham – ‘the world’s largest village store’ – has been in Hoverton since 1899, and the firm owns a great deal of the property in the area, dominating the local shopping centre.

 

Close to Hoveton and Wroxham Railway Station is the Wroxham terminus of the Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk’s longest narrow-gauge railway, which stretches nine miles to the attractive market town of Aylsham. The little train (powered in the main by steam, but occasionally by diesel) makes three to eight round trips (18 miles) every day during August and September, alongside the meandering River Bure. With intermediate request stops at Brampton, Buxton, and Coltishall, you can get off, go for a walk or a picnic, and jump back on to continue your journey when the train is next going your way. A single ride between Wroxham and Aylsham takes 45 minutes; if you’re heading straight back, there’s not long to wait, but of course this is an ideal opportunity to explore Aylsham.

 

The giant in the world of Broads river trips is Broads Tours, established by Charles Hannaford in 1935. Broads Tours, now owned by the Greasley family, comprises five passenger boats, forty standard diesel dayboats, six day-cruisers, and two large, electric dayboats. Every day, throughout August and September, there are between four and seven river trips. The shortest of these trips is a tour of Wroxham Broad, which takes an hour; a slightly longer trip, lasting an hour and a half, takes in both Wroxham Broad and Salhouse Broad; the two-hour tour goes on from Wroxham and Salhouse Broads to Horning Reach.

 

The Broads Tours craft are well equipped to cope with wheelchairs. If you are a wheelchair user, crew members will assist you onto the boat via a hydraulic lift. However, the capabilities of these lifts are subject to a maximum weight and the turning ability of the wheelchair. If your mobility scooter is unable to board the boat, one manual wheelchair is available for use during the trip, on a first-come-first-served basis.

 

The crime writer, Alan Hunter (1922-2005), was born in Hoveton, and went to school in Wroxham. This is an excerpt from his poem, Saturday at Wroxham.

 

So many boats upon the river!

So many pennants all a-quiver!

So many yachts about the quays,

So many sails amongst the trees;

So many people everywhere,

So much holiday in the air!

 

Hoveton and Wroxham provide a super day out – just a 25-minute drive away from Happisburgh and Boundary Stables.

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