“ Country: England / Destinations National / World Region: UK & Ireland / Brand: Broads Lodge / Type: Accomodation „
The last time my family and I had a two week holiday together was five years ago (before a new addition). We quite like having short breaks rather than one long one, but this year I thought lets go somewhere further away. At first it was going to be Cornwall which if we were travelling that distance we would need two weeks. Then I mentioned Norfolk Broads for a boat holiday and everyone was up for that instead. So child care reajusted that's what was decided. We first looked into a boat to live and travel for the 2 weeks but then got a bit nervous as I had never driven a boat and although my husband had been on the broads and had a go at driving it was many years ago. In the end we decided on a house boat moored to the side then at least we had our car to explore places around. After a lot of umming and arring we decided (well I thought this one but I do always ask hubby but he tends to leave it to me, which I always feel pressured to pick the best) to pick Wayford Park the down side at the time was electricity had to be paid for via a coin metre. We hate this we would rather pay more and not have to bother with things like checking we have enough electricity so everything doesn't turn off half way through watching a really good film at 11 o clock at night etc. Once it was decided I booked through hoseasons and it was about £1200 for two weeks mid august, which wasn't bad as it was the summer holidays. (Although I did pay with leisure vouchers which I could get cheaper through a website to do with work). To book was very easy, but as I was paying with vouchers I had to telephone to make the booking. I know from past experience with hoseasons online booking is very simple. I thought this place would be quite quiet as hoseasons described it as the upper reaches are non-navigable by cruisers. Wayford Park house boats are moored at the side by chains but we found they did move especially if a boat went past the houseboat would pull at the chain. ************** Directions ************************* These were given on the Hoseasons website Take the Southern Bypass round Norwich and continue on the A47 towards Acle. At the roundabout take the A1064 and over the river bridge to Billockby and turning left onto the B1152 signposted to the A149 North Walsham. Follow the road to the end and turn left onto the A149 signposted North Walsham and continue on this road towards Stalham which is about 2 miles after Catfield. Go past Stalham on the bypass. In approximately 1 1/4 miles you will see Meale's Nursery on the right hand side and then The Wayford Bridge Hotel. The car park is next to the hotel. Do they mean anything to you! They didn't to us so we put post code to post code into 3 route planners, we got three different lots of directions. Which were big differences; one mentioned passing near Birmingham which we didn't want to do so we used a route that we thought was best but was also recommended by my friend that had moved to Norwich. I don't really think there is much point in telling you which way we travelled as everybody lives in different places. I will tell you our instrucions ended at a point when we hadn't got to where we were going. They just ended in the nearest town! So we went up a road 3 times as we thought we had gone far enough (1 mile the instructions said) each time. The 3rd time we went about 5 miles and found it no problems. (we had asked an ambulance driver where it was). Book in as always with Hoseasons was 4 o'clock - as we had set off early morning we arrived at about 1.20pm (we did take a wrong route early on and also did stop). As we arrived there was a car park for the people hiring the house boats and another one for the hotel/restaurant/pub just next to the car park. As it was just over 2 and a half hours till they had said we could book in we thought we would be taking the mick if we asked. So we thought we would ask if we could leave the car in the car park and we would go for something to eat in the pub. I went to the shed (literally) for the reception but it was locked up so I went back to the car and a guy started walking towards us. I just guessed he was the owner. He approached us and I explained that we had booked a holiday but we were very early and asked if we could leave the car whilst we went for something to eat. He replied yes but said if our place was ready we could get our stuff in etc. He checked and we were allowed to unpack which was great. Trolleys were provided to load our things onto to move them to the house boat as cars could not be parked at the side. We had to walk down a wooden pathway to the boat from the car park. The boat house was more like a wooden lodge floating on water. Depending on how much it had floated out (chains allowing) you had to step over the water from the land to the lodge (as I thought of it). As we have a little 4 year old we always had to make sure she had hold of our hand to step over as sometimes the gap was was quite big. As you walked into the lodge you felt it was quite big there was a little cupboard on the left as you walked in which held the electricity meter and coin metre (which if you looked closely told you how many units you had left). Then there was the bathroom which had a sink and toilet and a little bath (really) with a shower curtain and an over head shower. There were no taps but a plug. It had 2 bedrooms, one with a double bed with bedside cabinets on either side and a light above, small wardrobe and small dressing table with a light over it. It looked out onto the canal. It had a main light which was pull string like the others. The 2nd bedroom had two small twin beds with a bedside cabinet between the beds. As the beds were small, we decided to move the cabinet to the end of the eldests bed and put some blankets and a spare quilt in the middle of them incase anyone fell out. (extra blankets and quilts were found in the wardrobes). The kitchen area merged into the lounge where there was a old fashioned TV with only 4 channels, a couch (which could turn into a double bed) 2 arm chairs and a coffee table. The kitchen part had an electric oven and hob, toaster, microwave and kettle. There was plenty of cutlery and crockery provided and some extras as well, such as wine glasses, bread bins and other containers as well as a coffee perculator. There was also some little satchets of coffee, sugar, milk and some tea bags which was nice. The table and chairs were for 4 and placed opposite the cooker next to the canal window. Attached to the lodge was a little balcony, it had 4 chairs on but you couldn't fit a table and it was a squeeze to sit 4 so that we could sit as a family. The girls loved feeding the ducks from the balcony, we ended up going to the nearby Tesco and buying value bread (medium as it has more slices than thick) for them by the half dozen as they were getting through it that fast. I think the ducks and the swans knew where they could get the most bread as at certain times they would just come over near the balcony, then of course they got fed. The swans would even stretch up and get it out of your hands. This scared the youngest the first time as she just happened to have hold of the bread outside of the balcony and up this swans beak came and bit at the bread! Also with the lodge came a rowing boat, this was chained to the side also but you got a key to unlock it so you could go for a row anytime. This was a good thing as you could get out on the water anytime you wanted. Although I did find I wasn't a very good rower so gave up and left it to hubby and girls (they weren't very good either (the girls that is)). I did find it very relaxing being around the water even just looking at it. Life jackets were provided to be used whilst on the rowing boat which I was glad about. The beds were comfortable and there were extra sheets, pillows and blankets. The nearby pub /restaurant ( Wayford Bridge Inn) had the monolpoly as the nearest town was Stalham which was 1 and a half miles away. Once we had unpacked we thought we would try the food out here (It is the only time we went). We were given the daytime menu and as we didn't eat meat or fish the choice was cheese baguette or spinach and ricotta canalonni. The baguettes were £4.50 each and the spinach and ricotta £9.95. As we didn't really want a main meal wa ordered 3 baguettes and 2 chips. The only thing on the childrens menu was sausage or fishfingers. We also ordered some drinks - a pint, a wine (not a big one) and 2 soft drinks for the girls. The cost of this was more or less £30. the place did have a play area outside which I thought looked ok but my youngest wasn't impressed with it. We did walk to the nearby Stalham once hoping for a pub lunch - It was a Saturday afternoon but not very busy, there were 2 pubs but they didn't look too friendly. ***************** What was near ************** There was a Tesco store just near Stalham. We measured the distance and it was 1.7 miles. About 200 yards from the the lodges there was a garden centre where you could pick your own strawberries, runner beans, plums and other fruit and veg. We went and picked strawberries but they weren't in the ground they were grown in things on tables so nobody got back ache. The fruit and veg was also very reasonably priced here and they sold other basic things like bread milk butter cream etc. Wroxham was about 5 miles away but we called it Roys Town because everything was called Roys. It was Roys McDonalds, Roys toy shop, Roys food court; basically every shop had Roys on it. This was a nice little place, there was a family bar which had sky sports but we couldn't go as we couldn't even find a bus stop than ran from where we were staying into the town (ok we could have driven but I mean go for food and a drink). We hired a boat from here. There were lots of boat places to hire from but most were tucked away behind one big one on the main street. They were quite expensive from there, we were clever enough to have a look around before hiring and hired one for £40 for 3 hours. This was a 6-8 seater so we had a fair bit of room. We all had a go at driving but I didn't really like driving so left it to others. We had planned on a picnic but it rained! Wroxham Barns This is a nice family day out it has a little childrens fair where you buy tokens to ride. We bought 14 tokens for £10 and each ride was 1 token. The cars round the track could fit both girls on one. There wasn't many rides but it was good value especially for young ones. There is also a Junior Farm which you pay for, £5.50 per person (under 2's free) so as this wasn't cheap and time was getting on when we visited we planned to go again for the whole day (which we did but the electricity was off so we didn't stay). There is also a carfe and a few shops. Norwhich is about 15 miles away and Great Yarmouth slightly more. The experience of staying on a house boat made us all want to stay and live on a boat if we ever go to the broads again. (which we will just not sure when). If you stay here you need a car to get around and explore but if you want a quiet day in the sun (if it comes out) you have grass at the front of the lodges where you can play ball etc and you have a rowing boat to go along the canal. Also there are lots of ducks etc to feed so children will and can just enjoy being here. We had bats and balls etc. There are a lot of flies around because of the water but our youngest hated them and it got a bit boring with her going on about them. Also there are lots of ladybirds in that part of the country. If you like to watch things on TV then there isn't a lot of choice with only 4 channels, we had a portable dvd player with 2 screens which the girls had watched on the way down but there was no scart socket to plug into the TV. A nice relaxing place and accomodation.