We were looking forward to eating out at a few pubs during our tour of the Southern Broads. We managed 6 during our week, and had some fabulous meals as well as tasting local ales. The pubs are listed in the order that we visited them.
The Maltsers, Ranworth
Ranworth is a picture postcard setting, there’s a village green with a local shop, and the tower of St. Helen’s church peaks out from the trees. The Maltsers is visible from the water, a brick built county pub, painted cream, with a beer garden at the front.
It was a Friday evening and the pub was busy, undeterred by a comment from a disgruntled client leaving that we’d be luck to get served, we found a free table outside.
I joined the fellas with a pint of Ghost Ship, whilst we soaked up the ambience and waited for our meals. The pub has a pizza den in the garden, which was popular with take aways.
Ghost Ship 4.5%
A pale ale with a good assertive pithy bitterness and a malty backbone. It’s brewed with a selection of malts – Pale Ale, Rye and Cara – Adnams use Citra, and a blend of other American hop varieties to create some great citrus flavours.
I ordered their chicken and crispy bacon salad (£10.50) and Mike had a smokehouse burger (£12.00). They were both good sized portions, my green salad included a boiled egg, coleslaw and beetroot, there was plenty of roast chicken and bacon, topped with croutons.
Mike’s 6oz beef burger was speared with 3 onion rings, it included a bacon & cheese topping and was smothered in a smokey BBQ sauce, served with a pail of chips and side of coleslaw.
We’d highly recommend the Ranworth Maltsters, it’s a family run, traditional country pub in lovely setting with good food.
More info: Ranworth Maltsters
Wayford Bridge Inn
The pub isn’t visible from the free mooring at Wayford Bridge, although only a few steps away. We ducked under the low bridge and there it was on our right. We arrived shortly after midday when they open for lunch and it was already starting to fill up. We decided to sit out on the terrace as it was a nice day, all four of us opted for the Sunday roast, 3 for beef and 1 for pork. The other options were chicken or nut roast, all priced at £9.95.
They certainly know how to load up the plates here, our waitress could hardly carry two at a time. The Yorkshire puddings were the biggest I’ve ever seen! It was disappointing to hear that the cauliflower cheese normally served wasn’t available, so they had included mashed potato instead. We now had roast potatoes, mashed potatoes and sweet potato on the plate, which was too much in my opinion. The roast beef was tender and tasty, and I liked the medley of fresh vegetables. We had to ask for more gravy, which wasn’t a problem, and in fact our waitress apologised as a jug was meant to be left on the table to top up as required.
My choice of pint this time was the Wayford Bridge Ale on draught, which is made specially by Adnams for this pub.
We had been searching for somewhere with room to moor up and enjoy a Sunday lunch on the broads, and the Wayford Bridge Inn hit the spot.
More info: Wayford Bridge
Bridge Inn, Acle
We had spotted an advert for the Bridge Inn at Acle when reading the Broadcaster, we were promised a warm welcome to a family pub situated on the waterfront. What we found was a beautiful & historic bar & restaurant which despite it’s size had just two tables left for our evening meal on a Monday night. There were plenty of staff on, and our waitress delivered brilliant service, she was friendly and always appeared at the right time if we needed anything.
We sat at a large round table by the bar where there were some interesting black and white photos of the premises. The earliest we found was one of the Acle Hotel in 1932.
On draught the local ale choice was Ghost Ship, Broadside or Wherry. I ordered a pint of the WWoodforde’s Wherry bitter which was good, however I had beer envy when Mike ordered a pint of the Adnams Broadside.
Woodforde’s Wherry 3.8%
A light bitter full of flavour and with a delicious citrus aftertaste.
Adnams Broadside 6.3%
Rich in fruit cake aromas and conserved fruit, Broadside is a beer to savour. Adnams Broadside commemorates the fierce battle of Sole Bay fought against the Dutch Republic in 1672 off the Southwold coast, just across the green from their brewery.
I ordered the haddock fish cake salad (£11.25), which included 2 crispy fishcakes with mozzarella. It may sound a strange combination but it really worked. I couldn’t finish all of the salad, it was a huge bowl and I really liked the mix of salad with fruit and a serving of coleslaw.
Mike ordered a local dish called hunters chicken (£12.75), which was very tasty but the meat a little tough. Hunters chicken is a chicken breast smothered in BBQ sauce, topped with bacon and cheese. It was accompanied by chips, onion rings, corn on the cob and coleslaw.
It started raining as we left the pub to head back to our mooring and there was a glorious rainbow over the waterfront.
More info: Acle Bridge
The Ferry Inn, Stokesby
We hadn’t been planning another pub stop when we called in at the Ferry Inn in Stokesby, but as we couldn’t find a seafood restaurant to our liking in Great Yarmouth, this was our second option. It was raining, and despite the boats moored along the river here, the pub was empty when we arrived just after 4pm.
We spotted an Adnams we hadn’t tried and ordered a pint of the Blackshore Stout, which was perfect for a rainy afternoon drink.
Adnams Blackshore Stout 4.2%
Brewed with Pale Ale, Brown, Double Roasted Crystal and Roasted malts, this stout is brimming with coffee and chocolate flavours, hints liquorice and dark fruits. Hopped with Phoenix and other British hops.
It wasn’t the pub’s fault but their menu seemed to be so similar of the other places we’d already tried. I was tempted by the steak and ale pie, but in the end opted for two starters instead. Our friends ordered the Ploughman’s (£9,95) which was available with ham or cheese, and they did accommodate a request for the farmhouse pate as a substitute.
My garlic and stilton mushrooms on toast (£5.95) was superb. The stilton provided a creamy sauce full of flavour, there was a good quantity of button mushrooms, a round of wholemeal bread toast and a handful rocket leaves.
The salmon and dill fishcake (£5.95) was perfectly cooked, the crispy crumb outside, had a nice crunch and the filling was tasty, this was served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and a handful of mixed salad leaves.
Mike chose the full back of BBQ ribs (£10.95) for his dunch (dinner / lunch) the rack of ribs was served with lightly spiced wedges, corn on the cob and coleslaw.
A couple of punters arrived just as we were leaving, we couldn’t complain about the food or setting, but there was no ambience. I put this down to the great weather for ducks and our odd timing, I’m sure this place is heaving on a normal day.
More info: The Ferry Inn
The Swan Inn, Horning
The Swan Inn is the most obvious place to eat in Horning, sitting in prime position on the waterfront. We did have a wander to check out the menus in the other eateries. The Bure River Cottage Restaurant looked fabulous but sadly only opens in the evenings. We all agreed that we would dine at the Swan Inn for our lunch.
My pint of choice today was the Mosaic Pale Ale by Adnams, which was on draught and perfect for a lunchtime drink in the sunshine.
Mosaic Pale le 4.1%
This golden pale ale, is a single hop beer, made with Mosaic hops at each of the four stages of the brewing process. Bags of personality with bold mango, peach, lemon and pine flavours and a dry hoppy finish.
We were tired of the standard pub dishes, however there were some interesting options on the menu at the Swan. Our friends chose the seafood risotto (£14.50) and smoked haddock kedgeree fishcakes with vegetables and new potatoes (£10.75).
We had decided on a selection of starters to share between myself and Mike. Our first choice of the sticky sharing platter wasn’t available, so we had the chargrilled lamb kofta (£5.75), deep fried brie with panko crumb and apricot chutney (£5.25), stone baked garlic flat breads (£4.75), king prawn and lobster cocktail (£5.95).
It was all good, however the crispy Asian coleslaw served with the lamb kofta was fabulous, Mike promised to try and recreate this at home.
The Swan Inn occupies an enviable spot on the Waterfront in Horning, it’s a great place to enjoy watching the river boats go by.
More info: The Swan Inn
Fur & Feather, Salhouse
The exterior of the Fur & Feather in Woodbastwick is lovely, it’s a red brick pub with a thatched roof, which was originally a row of cottages.
The beer garden is a grassy area complete with pond and lots of picnic style benches to choose from. Situated next door to the Woodforde’s Brewery, you can visit their shop too.
We headed inside to order, instead of ordering a pint, I decided to take a Woodfordes Flight of 4 taster beers, selecting Reedlighter, Flagondry, Nelsons Revenge and Nog. There were some tempting specials on the board, plus a varied menu, it was actually quite difficult to choose what I wanted, the 1/2 fresh lobster sounded lovely but wouldn’t really go with my ales, again with the crab salad, so I ordered one of the pub’s favourites, a Nogin Yorky.
I worked my way through the ales on my beer paddle, starting with the lightest in colour, the Reedlighter which I really liked, through to the malty Nog which is what I would have ordered as a pint.
Dry- hopped and very pale in colour, this refreshing beer is hopped using a distinctive blend of five varieties including Summit, Centennial and English Goldings, plus a complex malt base of Maris Otter, lager malt and malted wheat.
Is a guest ale, it’s aromatic and easy drinking which has been brewed with Maris Otter malted barley blended with the finest Norfolk honey. The result is a wonderfully fragrant amber ale with delicious notes of tropical fruit. Originally brewed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Broads Authority.
Nelson’s Revenge 4.5%
Rich and floral aromas, sweet Norfolk malts and a burst of citrus hops embody this mouth-watering premium beer.
Norfolk Nog 4.6%
A classic ‘Old Ale’. Wonderful in the winter after a day outside and to be savoured in a great pub in front of the fire. A worthy former Champion Beer of Britain.
The Nogin Yorky (£11.95) was fabulous, it’s braised beef, mushrooms and onions cooked in Nog ale, served with fresh vegetables and new potatoes, in a giant Yorkshire pudding with gravy. I really enjoyed every mouthful, the slow cooked meat fell apart and the veg was slightly al dente. All three of us that ordered this dish, couldn’t finish the huge portion.
Mike had ordered a lamb burger (£13.95) from the specials menu, which came with a handful of pub chips, a green aioli dipping sauce and a tub of slaw. The lamb meat was minted and delicious. I’d highly recommend eating at this pub if you get the chance.
The Fur & Feathers was the perfect place to end our week in the Broads, this beautiful country pub is definitely worth the 1 mile walk from Salhouse Broad, we voted it our favourite pub of the week.
More info: The Fur And Feather
Of the above, the two most likely that I would return to is the Maltsters at Ranworth and the Fur & Feather at Woodbastwick, although it is very hard to choose, The Swan Inn at Horning and Bridge Inn at Acle were also fabulous.
One of the things we noticed during our pub tour, was that Sunday Roast Dinners are generally not served during the summer months.
We had fabulous fun boating on the Norfolk Broads, please do contact us if you’d like more information and a quote for a boating holiday.