An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Tel: 01603 270900
A picturesque broadland pub with large outside garden in full bloom; an ideal place to spend a sunny summer’s afternoon in the countryside
Where to find it
The Malsters is situated in the village of Ranworth, 13 miles from both Norwich and Great Yarmouth. It can also be reached by boat just off the river bure taking a turning into Ranworth Dam then following the river to Malthouse Broad. The pub does not have a riverside location but please don’t let this put you off. It’s no more than a two minute walk away and has such a delightful frontage that the lack of visible water is more than compensated for. Ranworth Broad is owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and across the interpretive boardwalk is a floating visitor’s centre. From here there are lovely views across the Broad. To reach the pub, walk around the centre and down the lane. You’ll soon spot its cream and nautical blue make up and the garden will beacon you in.
What to expect
Describing itself as a traditional country inn, The Malsters is what life on the water is all about: finding a nice pub and dropping anchor for a few hours. Discovering this pub is indeed a delight. It’s well presented, the outside having been revamped last winter, and this summer it was heaving. There are plenty of tables in the garden as well as a shaded pool table which is a popular outside novelty. Everywhere there are beautiful hanging baskets and pots of flowers in bloom. This was still the case at the end of October when I took these photos.
The inside is currently a typical traditional pub but is also about to be revamped and if the outside is anything to go by, it should be brought back to life as a tasteful modern country pub offering maximum comfort whilst retaining its traditional inn feel. I’m excited to see the end result.
Food and drink
The menu will obviously change come next spring but as it stands it offers a good selection of quality meals ranging from pie of the day and beer battered cod and chips, to slow roasted lamb shank and broad bean and asparagus risotto. Prices are average and portions are large. There is also a children’s menu with a good variety of dishes all £4.50. They also serve local ales such as Woodforde’s Wherry, Adnams and Broadsman.
Ferry and boat trips
If you’re approaching on land you may decide to make a day of it and take a boat trip on the water. The wildlife trust offers regular trips around the reserve and around malthouse broad during summer months. If you’re arriving by the water ways, you’ll find the broad is a large circle of water with several options for mooring. In peak season it does get very busy though and spaces on the side where the pub can be accessed are limited. If you find yourself moored up on the opposite side however, perhaps the ferry boat will take you across. I can’t vouch for this but it’s certainly worth an enquiry at the time.
Malthouse broad is a lovely place and The Malsters is proving to be its key attraction. In my opinion by next summer it will have joined the elite of quality Norfolk Broads pubs. People complain that there aren’t enough of these and they’re probably right so it’s refreshing to see this one being restored to a high standard to meet this demand.
The Malsters is open from midday onwards every day from April to the end of October. During winter months food is served from 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 8.15pm. For more information on the ferry service, please call 01603 270479.
Photos of the inside to follow next spring.