An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Tel: 01603 783762
Craft studios in abundance covering all manner of artistry to browse and buy plus fun fairs, mini golf, ceramic painting and a Junior Farm providing an inexpensive family day out.
Where to find it
Wroxham Barns is in the village of Hoveton just through Wroxham itself, the flagship destination of the Norfolk Broads. Spend a weekend here wandering along the river or taking a day boat out, followed by a browse around these craft studios and fun for the kids. There’s plenty to explore for young and old to enjoy.
What to expect
Finding an attraction that has appeal for all family members can be a challenge; either the kids are bored or the adults find themselves in a world of cartoon characters and FruitShoot chaos. But Wroxham Barns is almost cut in two. On the one hand you’ve got extensive craft studios and a large courtyard full of shopping potential; on the other is children’s heaven: play areas, a fun fair, bouncy castle and mini golf as well as a Junior Farm. There’s also the opportunity to sit down as a family and get creative; Made by You is a hands-on art studio for on-site ceramic painting and decoupage. Celebrating 30 years of success these barns have evolved in tune with today’s family requirements and now offer a variety of facilities for an enjoyable and reasonably priced day out.
Artists & craftspeople
There’s a good selection of artistry on offer to browse around appealing to all eclectic tastes. Demonstrations of nineteenth century apple pressing on antique Norfolk equipment in The Apple Shop are an enjoyable watch. You’ll find the usual jewellery, pottery and sculpture offerings as well as coastal stained glass and wooden crafts. Worth a visit by anyone’s standards though has to be the work of artist Chris Hutchins. From sketchpad to printing press his Norfolk pictures are a must see. Fine pencil lines and unbelievable attention to detail; his results are in a league of their own.
What can you buy here?
As well as creative items for sale by all the resident craftspeople, there’s also a large and well stocked gift shop. Unlike many venues this is home to only stylish well made products. They stock the East of India range of home décor gifts as well as big names like Emma Bridgewater. The children’s toys are wooden and educational with a complementary selection of high quality cuddly toys. There are gift books, unique cards and a clothing range upstairs. I’m a sucker for wandering around gift shops and this one delivered on all accounts; if you’re looking for different and unusual then The Gallery is well worth a look. There’s also a plant centre, Bill Le Grice, who specialise in over 300 varieties of rose.
Wroxham Barns have won many an award over the years including the 2012 certificate from Trip Advisor and remains a top attraction on the Norfolk Broads. It’s a shame it’s not in Wroxham itself as hopping off your holiday boat and entering its doors would be ideal but its ability to occupy the kids coupled with top browsing potential makes it well worth the trip.
Open 10am to 5pm 7 days a week all year round, the craft barns and shop are free admission. Junior Farm cost £5.75 for entry, mini golf £3.90 and the fun fair is token based.