Hi, I’m Louise King and I live in the Broadland area of Norfolk, just east of Norwich, with my husband Jon and two children, Ellie-Rose and Alfie.
I’ve lived in Norfolk most of my life, as I was brought up in Attleborough. After meeting Jon at University in the East Midlands, we both decided we wanted to settle in Norfolk. We lived in Norwich and Hethersett, before moving to the Broadland area six years ago, as it was the ideal location for both of our jobs. It’s a fantastic area to live as the Broads are right on your doorstep, the beach is only a short drive away and you can still get into Norwich quickly and easily, which was a top priority for us as we absolutely love the city.
I don’t think I fully appreciated how much I loved Norwich until I left to go to University, as it’s such a fantastic city. What I love most about it though is that it’s so family friendly. I used to worry that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy visits to the city so much once I had children, but due to the number of parks and child friendly shops and restaurants, I still love to pop in with the little ones in tow.
Living in the Broads National Park means we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to open space, but one of our favourite places is Salhouse Broad. We love the woodland walk down to the open space in front of the broad itself, having a paddle in the water on a warm day, and the fact that it’s entirely buggy friendly. The view over the broad is lovely and is the perfect spot for a picnic. Plus there is an annual Halloween and Easter trail at the broad, both of which are always great fun!
Our favourite pub has to be The Fur and Feather in Woodbastwick. The food (and beer!) is excellent and they have a very good children’s menu. For a lighter bite, we love East Hills Bistro in Brundall (again, great kids menu, and an excellent cooked breakfast!), and the coffee shop at Moulton Nurseries garden centre in Moulton St Mary. They always have delicious cakes, good coffee and have a small indoor play area to keep the little people happy!
Ellie absolutely loves the beach and one of our favourite places to spend time with her (and this year, Alfie) is Winterton-on-Sea. In winter, we spend time stomping around in the dunes, before warming up in the excellent beach café with a bacon roll and mug of tea, and in summer an afternoon is naturally whiled away building sandcastles and splashing around in the sea. You can normally spot a seal or two in the water at both times of the year. Thrigby Hall wildlife gardens are also well worth a visit and another place that we really enjoy visiting as a family.
On those rare occasions where we have some child free time, it usually involves food! Staying close to home, Jon and I love the Indian restaurant Tamarind in Blofield Heath, and when we go into Norwich, we tend to head to the excellent Thai restaurant The House. We also enjoy mooching round the shops in Norwich, minus a dawdling toddler or pram, and have a chat over a glass of wine or coffee at Café Bar Marzano at the Forum.
Strumpshaw Fen and Buckenham Marshes would have to be my hidden gems within Broadland. They are both owned by the RSPB and are just a few miles off the A47, so easily accessible by car. Strumpshaw Fen has the facilities you’d expect from an RSPB reserve such as toilets, marked trails and lots of activities throughout the year for children to get involved in. It’s worthwhile checking their website regularly to see what events are upcoming. Buckenham Marshes has no facilities, but if you just want to take a walk with the family, spot some wildlife and get some fresh air, then it’s ideal. Plus, as it’s so open, it’s a great spot to experience Norfolk’s huge skies in all their glory!