See the full detailed route directions or download by clicking on the map above or here:
This relaxed 50 mile tour takes in a few of our favourite views of the Broads National Park and ends in a blast along the (in)famous Great Yarmouth Promenade – or Strip as we call it locally!
Our route starts at the Gorleston Cliffs free car park. A great view along the coast North towards the Pier Hotel (famous from the recent Danny Boyle film Yesterday) and South towards the UK’s most easterly point highlighted by the giant on-shore wind turbine at Ness Point over the border in Suffolk. There is a great cafe below on the prom a few hundred yards North if you need a cuppa.
Cross the busy A47 and head towards Fritton Lake and then St Olaves on the quiet backlands. As for every other road in this route, the roads are quiet and off the beaten track wherever possible and is never too narrow, rough or gravel filled for our cars. Great roads for Healey-ing.
At St Olaves we cross the River Waveney on the old bridge and then on the new bridge cross the “New Cut” which was made to shortcut the river route inland towards Norwich and save boats having to navigate all the way around Haddiscoe Island. For the next few miles you have far reaching marshland and Broads views with countless mills and windmills dotted amongst the skyline.
Ay Haddiscoe it’s off the A-Roads and onto the byways again with marshland views and big skyscapes. Follow the lanes to the chain driven ferry (just 2 cars at a time and just a enough clearance for a Healey). From this side there rarely ever a queue even in the full flight of the summer and it costs £4. It is a very traditional flat bed chain driven ferry and don’t expect any facilities on board – it’s not that kind of ferry and only takes 5 mins to cross the river dodging Broads hire boats, weekend yachters and the odd Norfolk Wherry if your lucky. I can think of no where else a Healey can swerve around sailing boats and cruisers!
Follow the road into Reeham and head for the Riverside where you will find the best cuppa and cake on the Broads we have found at the old Post Office. You can park by the river, sit opposite with tea and cake at your table and pretend to look at the river and far reaching Broadland landscape – when secretly just admiring your Healey with a great view behind it:-)
We now head back towards Norwich for a bit on quiet country lanes and from Cantley the road sweeps and climbs up onto Hassingham Hill. It’s Norfolk so its not really a Hill but below is the excellent Strumpshaw estate and home to the Strumphaw Steam Museum and collection.
We are really pressing on through Brundall and Blofield and on to perhaps the hidden gem of the Broads, Ranworth. Park by the green and enjoy the cafe, shop or Maltseters pub. If you wanted a picnic stop this is it on the green. After, follow the path and stroll up to the church and climb the 80 odd steps inside the tower for a totally amazing 360degree view from your elevated position. On a reasonable day you will see as far and the read and white striped lighthouse on the coast at Happisburgh, the Scroby Sands wind farm off Caister-on-Sea and countless other Broadland landmarks like St Benets Abbey and Horning. What you can now clearly see is that the Broad by the green at Ranworth is actually Maltsters Broad and Ranworth Broad lays beyond only visible from the tower. It is worth the climb. On the way back to the Healey there is also a Boardwalk trail out to Ranworth Broad and a Broads Authority shop and hide.
Back in the cockpit and its a faster blast on smooth roads to Acle, turn towards the coast and over Acle bridge and wheelspin into a delightful Broadland village. Stokesby. Park up on the green and river front and you will find the best village community shop we have experienced that makes there own pastries, cakes and artisan choccies. It backs onto the Stokesby Ferry pub if you fancy more. From the river wall looking across the reeds and marshes you see in the distance the infamous Acle Straight A47. Seven miles dead straight narrow single carraigeway with one bend and a magnet for queues, holdups and prangs. Somehow, sitting peacefully by the river with your Healey alongside looking out across the Broadland landscape it is hard to understand why most drivers are trying to get from A to B as fast (and dangerously) as possible and it reinforces why we all love our cars and the lifestyle that comes with Healey-ing. Life doesn’t always have to be fast in the 2020’s….
From Stokesby, leave with a small box of 6 handmade choccies and munch away as you thread through lanes and past the tiger enclosure on the roadside at Thrigby Wildlife Park and into Filby which regularly wins a Britain in Bloom award.
Just before Caister-on-Sea you will see the brown signs for the Castle Car Collection. There are hundreds of great old cars to see and a cracking ruined castle if you have the time. Caister-on-Sea is also home to a private community run lifeboat on the beach and has an impressive Roman castle remains. This fort guarded the Northern coast of the estuary that extended towards Norwich. Infact, since just after Gorleston (where the South entrance was guarded by Burgh Castle in Roman times) much of our route today was under water once upon a time!
Our route concludes with a dash along Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile promenade. Love it or hate it, it does was it says on the tin and provides family fun for millions of holiday makers every year and post-lockdown it is as busy as it used to be in the 1970’s and 1980s.
At the end of the Prom past the famous Model Village and Pleasure Beach you find the Nelson Monument. You can climb it on selected days. It was built before Nelsons Column in Trafalger Square and was originally not in the industrial area but originally the harbour area, then a racecourse, an army barracks which included one of the first Army Air Corp air sea rescue stations manned by seaplanes and then the centre of the Herring fishing industry that defined Great Yarmouth as a fishing port. As you leave the monument you pass some old disused Smoke Houses, the Gasometers and Great Yarmouth latest fashion statement – a Banksy mural above a bus shelter.
Locals will tell you holiday makers flock to Great Yarmouth and locals go to Gorleston-on-Sea. As you roar up the narrow Cliff Hill and onto the clifftop Prom the golden beach free from modern attractions shows you why.
We hope you enjoy the tour, its a regular favourite drive for us and a few hours escapism from the pace of everyday life. That’s what Healey-ing is all about… isn’t it ?
Neil & Jane