Pubs have always been right at the heart of British communities and this is certainly true in rural Norfolk.
With its long coastline and inland waterways, it’s no surprise that many traditional pubs are found in scenic waterside settings.
We are grateful to Jeff Hoyle from the Norfolk Campaign for Real Ale for his in-depth research (lucky man!) and his recommendations for some of Norfolk’s finest waterfront pubs.
The Albatros is a former cargo ship built in the Netherlands in 1899 as a North Sea clipper.
This is a brilliant place to meet friends and enjoy some of Woodforde’s excellent Norfolk ales. Relax on the deck with its stunning views over the marshes or head down the steep stairs (steady!) to the cosy bar and restaurant on the lower deck.
Owned by Dutch Captain Ton Brouwer, The Albatros serves top-notch food in a very relaxed ambience (children and dogs welcome). Weekends offer live music too – check the website for listings.
Jeff recommends: Dutch pancakes, sweet and savoury. Oh, and the real ales!
Best for conversation
Only a short walk from Kings Lynn’s historic Tuesday Market square, this traditional pub is placed discreetly on the banks of the Great Ouse.
Sit at the bar or head up to the vinery, a conservatory style wooden gallery overlooking the river, and enjoy good value pub food served in generous quantities.
TVs and fruit machines are strictly off the menu with conversation, good beer and proper pub food being the order of the day.
Jeff recommends: winter visits for the cosy atmosphere from the big warming stove behind the bar.
Great ales and comfortable surroundings
Little more than a stone’s throw from the sea, the Fishermans Return is a historic Norfolk inn much treasured by locals and visitors. The heart of this building has been a pub for over a hundred years and, remarkably, it has only had a handful of landlords in all that time.
The mostly local brews are expertly selected and served. Expect to meet happy regulars from Winterton-on-Sea and in-the-know visitors enjoying a pint. The expertly prepared food is fresh, local and seasonal.
A riverside haven in the city
This is a friendly, welcoming pub serving traditional pub fare, excellent cask ales and a fine selection of wines and spirits.
The peaceful riverside terrace and triangle garden are a real delight with a feeling of getting away from it all whilst being close to Norwich city centre. How about a lazy Sunday lunch by the river followed by ‘The Ribs’ live music in the evening?