12 great Norfolk Broads festival events

PUBLISHED: 17:28 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 30 April 2018

Thurne Mill (photo: James Bass)

Thurne Mill (photo: James Bass)

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Trying to choose our favourite ways to have fun in the Broads National Park during its annual Outdoors Festival from April 28 to May 13 isn’t easy. Here’s Jo Malone’s choice, but there are plenty more...

1 Pick up a paddle

If your memory of paddling is toppling into freezing cold water and getting shouted at on a school trip, maybe it’s time to start again. Check out the stand up paddle safari at Hickling Broad on May 6, norfolkoutdooradventures.co.uk and for more paddling opportunities visit canoethebroads.co.uk

2 Listen

If you want tell to your blackbird from your goldcrest, or your heron from your crane, join International Dawn Chorus Day at Heigham Holmes Nature Reserve on May 6, nationaltrust.org.uk/heighamholmes. Or head to the evening chorus walk at Carlton Marshes on May 4. suffolkwildlifetrust.org

3 Merry Wherry

Gliding along on a Norfolk wherry is a quintessential way to enjoy the Festival. Stepping on a wherry is to step where hundreds of people have stepped before, to hear the same sailing creaks and ripples heard for generations. For dates visit wherryyachtcharter.org and wherryalbion.com

4 Get going

If the London Marathon and the Commonwealth Games inspired you to get running but you’re not sure where to start, try the eight week #thisgirlcan couch to 5K course beginning May 12. For women only, the plan is to move from beginner to runner while enjoying the RSPB Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve. rspb.org.uk/strumpshawfen

5 Beautiful scenery, interesting routes around the Broads, exclusive medals and free ice cream or chips too. It can only be the Tour de Broads Spring, on Sunday, May 6, starting and finishing at Great Yarmouth’s Marine Parade. It has routes from a family ride taking an hour to sportives of 25-100 miles. tourdebroads.com

6 Ludham Country Crafts

Watching sheep being sheared is one of the joys of spring. It’s all happening at this crafts event in and around St Catherine’s church in Norwich Road, Ludham on Saturday, May 5, plus spinning and weaving and masses of craft stalls. watersidegroup.org.uk

7 Taking a boat trip

There’s plenty of time during the festival to hire a day boat, book a boating holiday or let the experts take the helm and enjoy the waterways while a skipper and crew do the work. Cruising the Broads is a definite highlight. visitthebroads.co.uk

8 Go up – and up

Climb the tower of the Cathedral of the Broads (St Helen’s Church at Ranworth) for an unbeatable panoramic view. There are steps, plus ladders to climb to the top, but it is worth it. Open in daylight hours, explore the visitors’ centre and church too. ranworth.churchnorfolk.com

9 See Thurne Mill

Possibly the most photographed landmark on the Broads, Thurne Mill is one of the very few wind pumps on the Broads that not only turns in the wind but pumps water too. It celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020. Join National Mills Weekend, May 12-13, here from 11am-4pm. The open day is a chance to explore its history. windenergymuseum.co.uk

10 Puff along the water

A steam boat is neither as noisy nor as steamy as you may think! Indeed, there’s only a rhythmic chugging noise when Falcon, the restored steam boat based at the Museum of the Broads in Stalham, is running. Watch out for the noisy whistle though. Steam days during the festival. museumofthebroads.org.uk

11 Get scared

Riding bicycles, climbing trees, surfing, spying, sliding, climbing gates and doing gymnastics - is there anything scarecrows cannot do? When it comes to the Martham Scarecrow Festival, Sunday, May 6, 10am-5pm anything goes and the whole village joins in the fun, with stalls, bunting, miniature worlds and pom poms too. marthampc.org.uk

12 Nature and trains

Get spotting on a nine-mile steam train ride and see what local wildlife can be seen between Wroxham and Aylsham with the Bure Valley Railway on Sunday, May 5 from 10am – 4.30pm. There will be wildlife displays and children’s activities and refreshments too. bvrw.co.uk

For a full list over almost 90 events during the two-week festival, visit outdoorsfestival.co.uk

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