Mill Farm Eco Barn is superbly positioned for guests to visit Norfolk’s sandy beaches as well as the famous Norfolk Broads National Park and the rest of this beautiful county.
Winterton-on-sea is an ancient fishing village 8 miles north of Great Yarmouth. The village is quiet and picturesque and has shops, post office and great dog friendly pub The Fishermen’s Return which is renowned for its hearty food and beer. There is also a fish & chip shop and beach café with great cakes and a children’s playground. If you are a keen walker, we have just produced a walking guide for 5 walks you can do of varying length from the Barn. This is available upon arrival but can also be found here.
Winterton beach and dunes
The beautiful sandy beach and dunes stretch for miles in either direction and forms part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as a national nature reserve. Winterton-on-sea beach is listed as one of the Rough Guide’s top 30 destinations in the world! See Rough Guide Top 30. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round
Visiting the seal colony (4 miles away) in nearby Horsey is a must - park at the Nelson Head pub and enjoy a pint of Woodfordes on your return and even visit the National Trust’s traditional Horsey Windpump. For a suggested walk click here. In the winter of 2017 the seals had a very good year. Over 1600 pups were born by mid December. This means that seals range has expanded to Winterton.
The Broads National Park
The Broads, the UKs largest wetland area, are a unique landscape of shallow lakes and rivers renowned for wildlife, and perfect for boating, kayaking walking, cycling and fishing. The ‘magical waterland’ National Park is within 3Km from the barn. See www.enjoythebroads.com. and www.discoverthebroads.com for more information.
If you visit in the summer we would definitely recommend a trip to How Hill for gardens, tea rooms and boat trips and more.
Lots of our guests also recommended Ross’s Wildlife Boat Trips which leave daily during the summer from Horsey onto Martham Broad just 4 miles away.
Or you could take in the lovely Fairhaven watergarden and take a boat trip across the broads
Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve is also a great option for families wanting to see the broads. There is a varied events programme throughout the year including family activities on Fridays during school holidays. You can also 'rent a warden' for a perfect behind the scenes wildlife experience.
It is very possible to enjoy lots of walks direct from the barns to the beach, dunes or Broads. A wide footpath runs directly from the property through arable fields, where it’s possible that you will see marsh harrier, kestrel, skylark, hare and deer. We have produced a walking guide with 6 walks all direct from the Barn making it possible to stay here for a week and do a different walk every day. Here is a link to a lovely circular walk that passes right by the barn. More local walks can be found here For more serious ramblers you can walk part of the local Weavers Way, the Angles Way, or the Wherryman's Way from Norwich to Great Yarmouth taking in the Berney Arms pub.
With free use of our 2 adult bikes (with toddler bike seats) and 2 children’s bikes, exploring the area by bike is a great option. We can provide a number of suggested rides directly from Mill Farm. Look here for suggested bikes rides throughout The Broads. Bike ride number 5 passes within a couple of km of the barn. You can arrange for additional bikes to be hired via Broads Cycling who will drop off and pick up from Mill Farm.
Winterton’s unique micro-climate, coastal position and range of natural habitats mean there is a diverse variety of resident, summer and winter migrants birds, from snow bunting to hen harrier, cuckoo and nighjars, there is often a surprise siting in store. In the autumn there is a huge flock of Pink Footed Geese that regularly fly over the barn and settle in the fields behind us.
Boat and kayak
There is no better way to see the true essence of the Broads than by boat or kayak. Martham boats, a couple of miles inland, provide boat (sail and motor) and kayak hire at reasonable prices with easy access to the wonderful Hickling Broad and Horsey mere. A new business on the Broads offers paddle boarding and Kayaking on nearby Horsey mere which is a brilliant way to get on to the most beautiful of the Broads. If you fancy chartering a wherry (tradional Broads sail boat) you can do so at the Norfolk Wherry Trust, they recommend booking. If you are less mobile the wonderful Nancy Oldfield Trust will be able to help you and your family get onto the water.
Martham Pits is a coarse fish day fishery with permits available from the Martham DIY (and EA rod licence is also required). Trout lakes are around a one hour drive away near Attleborough. There is local sea fishing where you can plug for bass at Sea Palling, or fish for cod, whiting and flat fish at Caister. Fishing trips are possible form Great Yarmouth on the Sea Quest.
Highlights for children
As well as the endless beach and broads children would also really enjoy:
The award winning Bewilderwood adventure park with its tree houses, zip wires and jungle bridges. Suitable from 2 years and up it really is great and only 20 minutes away
Wroxham Barns - junior farm with soft play, restaurants and shops:
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park is worth a visit, particularly if you want to get up close and personal to a Tigers, snow leopards, crocodiles and noisy gibbons:
Great Yarmouth has a seafront, amusements, Joyland, Merrivale model village and a Sea Life Centre if it is wet. The town’s Marina Centre has indoor sports and swimming facilities and just next door you will find the town's Retroskate centre. The Jump warehouse trampoline centre in Yarmouth is a great wet weather option. There is also the great Time & Tide museum on the historic South Quay (which has a fab little cafe).
The sweet Bure Valley Steam Railway runs from Wroxham to Aylasham. We often take it from Wroxham to Coltishall.
For young children you can also visit Pettitts with its rides, play areas, mini railway and animals.
Houses and gardens
Home of the unstoppable gardeners, East Ruston gardens are well worth a visit and have a fab tea rooms.
Historic churches in Winterton (which you can climb in the summer months for a great view), West Somerton and Martham are within easy reach. Visit the grave of Robert Hales and find out more about ‘The Norfolk Giant’ who is buried in West Somerton churchyard.
Medieval Norwich, with its cathedral, castle, museums, fine shopping, theatre, nightlife and restaurants is an easy 40 minute drive. It’s worth combining this with a trip to Whitlingham Country Park on the edge of Norwich
As well as our excellent local pub in the village The Fisherman’s Returns there are some really lovely local restaurants and café’s. A walk up the coast via the seal colony to the Nelson Head comes highly recommended.
The Gunton Arms is a bit of a drive but well worth it if you enjoy fine dining. This old coaching inn, set in the grounds of a deer park, is now owned by a London art dealer and is renowned for exquisite food.
Nearer, the award wining Ingham Swan serves wonderful food with a focus on local and seasonal produce in a delightful old Inn.
Going south some of our guests have recommended the Solebay fish company in Southwold.
The Norfolk Mead Hotel is a perfect venue for afternoon tea, booking in advance is essential.