One of the major boating centre's on the Norfolk Broads with a famous medieval bridge giving access to the upper reaches of the River Thurne.
An Introduction to Potter Heigham
Potter Heigham is one of the major boating centre's on the Norfolk Broads, with many boating holidays or day trips starting from here. The famous medieval bridge gives access to the Upper Thurne, Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere. The banks of the River Thurne at Potter Heigham are lined with waterside bungalows, which can only be accessed by foot or boat. There is the famous Lathams store located here, as well as a pub, chip-shop and gift shop/newsagent. The main village itself is actually located the other side of the major A149 road and is mainly residential and quite separate from the boating centre, but does contain the lovely village church.
We start our tour of Potter Heigham at the famous medieval bridge over the river Thurne. The bridge dates back to 1385 and is a low-arched structure with a clearance of only 7 feet at its highest, a notorious test for novice boaters! A bridge pilot helps boat skippers safely through the bridge in summer.
Potter Heigham medieval bridge over the River Thurne
Admiring the view by Potter Heigham Bridge
Potter Heigham village sign
Mooring up outside the Bridge Pilot's office
From the middle of the bridge you get good views down the River Thurne.
This helps you to understand the importance of the river to the village. As the hiring of boats to tourists became popular in the early 20th century, Potter Heigham became one of the main centre's and it still is one of the major starting points of boating holidays on the Broads.
The view of the River Thurne from Potter Heigham bridge
View from Potter Heigham bridge
Electric powered day boats for hire at Potter Heigham
A boating holiday is a great way to see and enjoy the Norfolk Broads. The following boatyards offer a fine choice of comfortable self-drive cruisers, with a good choice of layouts and all well equipped to a high standard - you just need to choose the right boat for you!
One of the most famous names in the Norfolk Broads hire boat industry is Herbert Woods, and his name can still be seen all over the local buildings. Among Herbert Woods’ many achievements was the building of Broads Haven in Potter Heigham which was the first yacht marina on the Broads. The large 2-acre basin was dug out by hand and completed in 1931. Broads Haven was home to Herbert Woods hire fleet with its famous “Lady” fleet of yachts and “Light” fleet of motor cruisers. Herbert Woods also designed many types of private boats including his personal racing yacht Ladybird, the Norfolk dinghy and the 22ft Norfolk Punt Limelight. The fact that many of these boats are still sailing today speaks volumes for the craftsmanship of the boat builders at this Potter Heigham yard.
The view over the Herbert Woods Tower
Herbert Woods Tower
Broads Tours boat shed at Potter Heigham
Today, the Broads Haven site is home to the sales office of Waterside Marine, which sell a wide range of used boats.
Waterside Marine boat sales
Boats and Yachts for sale on brokerage
There is a pub near the medieval bridge, called the Broadshaven Tavern (there is another pub further out of the village centre on the road to Ludham). If you prefer a cafe, a mobile one is situated on the opposite side of the road and there is also a cafe in Lathams.
The Broadshaven Tavern Potter Heigham
A riverside cafe at Potter Heigham
Shopping in Potter means one thing ... Lathams! ... a famous Norfolk discount store. No visit to Potter is complete without a visit to Lathams ... they stock discount items from clothes, toys, household items and even a garden centre.
Lathams store at Potter Heigham
Alternatively, the Weavers Way passes through Potter and is a good place for a walk. Along the path you will find a row of timber bungalows. These bungalows are fairly unique in that they are about the only place on the Norfolk Broads where the Broads Authority have allowed buildings directly on the riverbank. They are only accessible by the footpath behind, or by boat.
The Weavers Way at Potter Heigham
Cycling to Potter Heigham
Riverside bungalow at Potter Heigham
River Thurne bungalow at Potter Heigham
Heading out of Potter towards Ludham, you will find a post office and another pub - the Falgate. The Falgate offers a different experience to the pub near the bridge, it offers a quieter country pub atmosphere, and is well worth the short walk from the river.
Tucked away down a country lane in the heart of Broadland, and enjoying glorious views across open fields, a range of handsome barns has been tastefully converted to create the attractive cluster of cottages. Some nestle under their traditional Norfolk thatch, all are very comfortably appointed and each enjoys its own individual patio.
Over the main road, you will find the residential part of the village. Hidden beyond some houses is the lovely village church of St Nicholas. The earliest surviving feature is the round tower, which dates back to the 12th century and has a 14th century octagonal extension, one of the best preserved in the country. Inside, you will find a stunning hammerbeam roof (Gothic open timber), an almost unique 15th century brick font and a scheme of wall paintings dating back to the 14th century.
Potter Heigham church of St. Nicholas
Inside Potter Heigham church
The Church Font
Sunset over the old bridge at Potter Heigham
Potter Heigham summary of what to SEE and DO
Watch the boats attempt to pass under the bridge
Try a shopping excursion in Lathams
Hire a day boat and head up river
Take a walk along the river bank
Enjoy a refreshment in a pub or cafe
Take a stroll to the residential village and church
Potter Heigham has a reputation of being one of the top boating centre's on the Norfolk Broads and it lives up to that reputation. Add one of the regions top discount stores and you understand why visitors flock to Potter Heigham all year round.