Explore idyllic waterways, gaze at the big skies and spot some of the UKs rarest wildlife in The Broads National Park. Norfolk is possibly most famous for the man made Broads, over 125 miles of navigable lock free lanes set in beautiful countryside and studded with charming villages. Heritage churches are a vital part of the landscape, visible evidence of Christian heritage that stretches back to the 7th century.
Our must see
St Helen, Ranworth attracts visitors from all over the world. The Cathedral of the Broads (as it is otherwise known), is famous for its remarkable screen, a masterpiece made in about 1450. It stretches the entire width of the church, and the figures on it include the Twelve Apostles, St George, St Mary, John the Baptist and other saints.
Pilgrims, sailors, church lovers and families visit on summer days and this grand church offers a wonderful welcome to all.
Our other highlights
Discover something truly unique at St Catherine, Ludham. The carved 15th century font includes figures of 'woodwoses', a sort of wild men of the woods. But here, one is female!
This is a large and impressive church, due to the wealth of the nearby Abbey and its location in an area of rich arable and pasture land. It has a fine late medieval painted chancel screen (something you'll get used to looking out for in Norfolk) and a painted rood in the tympanum which is very unusual and is now thought to date back to Henry VI. Explore a virtual tour here or join a guided tour, which also visits a nearby water garden.
St Michael, Beccles goes way back to about 1350 and was built by the Abbott of Bury St Edmunds no less. Long before that, there was a Saxon church with fascinating links to the herring trade. Step inside the vast nave and be drawn eastwards through a lovely carved screen to the magnificent east window. Admire the oak choir stalls with their exquisitely carved ends. Note the early 16th century tomb of Norwich mayor John Rede with its intriguing row of 10 children and find out what happened to the 11th figure.
If you're harbouring a hidden seafarer, you'll love that Lord Horatio Nelson is strongly linked to this church as his parents were married here!
For literary lovers, discover the church Charles Dickens used as the scene for the opening chapters of David Copperfield. St Mary the Virgin, Blundeston is much as Dickens would have known it.
‘I was born at Blunderstone, in Suffolk. There is nothing half so green as I know anywhere, as the grass of that churchyard; nothing half so shady as its trees; nothing half so quiet as its tombstones. The sheep are feeding there, when I kneel up to look out. Here is our pew in the church. What a high backed pew! With a window near it, out of which our house can be seen’ : David Copperfield by Charles Dickens