Broadland Charters

Did you know the Norfolk Broads are man-made?  Way back in the 12th Century, East Norfolk was a busy little place and the large population needed fuel.  Having cleared the land of trees, the timber was running out so they turned to peat instead.  Digging miles of trenches to extract the peat, the foundations of the Broads were inadvertently being laid.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature got the better of the workforce and the rising sea levels eventually flooded the trenches, creating the Norfolk Broads as we know and love them now.

Whilst boating along the Broads was popular for commercial purposes, it was the arrival of the railways that brought tourists to the area and the advent of boating holidays along the Broads.  Still hugely popular today, we’re delighted to have teamed up with local company Broadland Charters  who offer the only luxury, skippered sports cruiser along the Broads – “Without a doubt, the very best way to discover the Norfolk Broads is by boat – unashamedly biased, there really are so many stunning places which are only accessible by river.”  Why not try a luxury Cruiser to slowly meander along and enjoy the peace and beauty the Broads has to offer?  Take a break from hiking and sit back and relax aboard the Broad’s only luxury Cruiser – Broadland Charter’s Norfolk Time is just the ticket.  Even better, guests at Eastern Beach can enjoy a 5% discount on the cost of a day cruise, just quote “Eastern Beach” when you book.

Pop over to their website here or call 07515 904946 for more info.

What’s the story behind St Patrick’s Day?

With St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at some St Patrick’s Day facts to raise your glasses to!

Why 17th March?

Simple – the date marks the saint’s death.  Patrick dies in 461 in Saul, County Down.  It was here that he had established his first church in a small and simple barn, after arriving nearby at the mouth of the Slaney River.  He is buried in the grounds of Down Catherdral in Downpatrick and a memorial stone, made from local Mourne Mountain granite, marks his grave.  For those who celebrate its intended meaning, St Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal.

When was the first parade?

Interestingly, the first St Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland at all, but in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737.  This was followed by an official parade in New York in 1766.  Ireland was a little further behind with their first parade being held in Waterford in 1903, while Dublin joined the club in 1931.  Today, the parade in Dublin is a huge colourful, theatrical event that snakes through the historic city centre with vivid displays and music.

Who invented St Patrick’s Day?

Raise your glasses to Luke Wadding, an Irish Franciscan friar from Waterford whose persistent efforts turned March 17th into a feast day.  Born in 1558, Wadding dies in Rome on 1657 and his remains are interred there in the college of St Isidore’s which he founded. 

Was St Patrick really Irish?

No, he was born in Britain around AD 390 to a wealthy family and reported to have been kidnapped aged 16 and taken to Ireland to herd sheep.  On his escape, he returned to Ireland to spread the word of Christianity alongside building churches until his death in 461 in County Down.

Where is the best parade?

Short, long, silly or serious you’ll find every manner of St Patrick’s Day parade al over Ireland, from the biggest in Dublin to the earliest in Dingle, County Kerry where it kicks off at 6am.  There’s a week-long festival in Armagh and a carnival parade and concert in Belfast.  The shortest parade used to be in Dripsey, County Cork from one pub to another.  Sadly the parade is no more but you can still celebrate in the town with the annual vintage tractor and car run.

Why green?

The donning of everything green is said to be attributed to the shamrock or possibly refers to ‘The Emerald Isle’, Ireland’s nickname, although the original celebratory colour was blue!

What about the snakes?

Tradition has it that St Patrick banished all snakes into the sea however, scientists believe the slithering creatures never inhabited Ireland in the first place!

Now you know all the facts, it’s time to dig out your green clothes, eat green food and raise a toast with a pint of Guinness to “the luck of the Irish”. 

Make your Easter Happy with a trip to Norfolk!

Visit Norfolk over Easter

With Spring just about on its way and Easter around the corner take a look at all the fabulous, local events and places to visit over Easter.
Whether it’s keeping the kids entertained or taking a relaxing walk for a spot of bird watching, there’s something to suit everyone in Norfolk and something for all weathers too!
Check out this link to the Visit Norfolk website for more details and of course, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we have fabulous holiday caravans to hire and we’re ideally located to make your trip to Norfolk a great one!

Valentine’s Day – a history of love?

If you’re planning your romantic evening for Valentine’s Day, have you ever wondered what the origins of the popular celebration are?

From the Romans beating naked women in the belief it would make them fertile to the romance of Shakespeare there’s a whole history behind why we now celebrate love and relationships on this day.

Valentine's Day - Beach heart

Thankfully, we moved past the traditions of the Romans and women and men alike are treated to displays of affection and tokens of love. Click here for the full article.

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads

If you’re a keen bird watcher, there’s no better place to while away the day than along the Norfolk Broads – one of the UK’s most important and popular areas of wildlife.

As Winter sets in and with Spring just around the corner, now’s a great time to explore the Broads and all the wildlife it has to offer – you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Amongst the marshes, reedbeds and shallow lakes there is an abundance of fantastic birds to look out for.  Bearded tits, coots and bitterns are just some of the birds to note.

NWT Hickling Broad National Park is a favourite where you can enjoy a walk any time of the year.  Or why not try a boat tour (April-Sept) to sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife?  RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, in the heart of the Broads has nature trails that lead you through a myriad of habitats.  Listen out for cuckoos and woodpeckers and keep your eyes peeled for swallowtails too!

Experience the spectacle when thousands of wintering ducks, geese and swans visit the estuary and surrounding grazing marshes at RSPB Berney Marshes and Breydon Water.  The reserve is also home to pink-footed geese, lapwings and avocets.

If you’re looking for a base from which to explore, Eastern Beach Caravan Park is ideally located.  Open from 1st March to 14th January, visit our website for more info and to check availability.

For more information on nature trials, wildlife, boat trips, walks and much, much more, take a look at the websites listed below.


Norfolk Wildlife Trust –

Visit Norfolk –

There’s also a great article on “Birding on the Broads” here…

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads


Top Cultural Attractions near Great Yarmouth & Caister

Top Cultural Attractions near Great Yarmouth & Caister
The great thing about visiting the Great Yarmouth area is that, while you can enjoy the fun and frivolity of the seaside, you can also immerse yourself in the culture of the local area. Not only is it a traditional seaside town, Great Yarmouth was also an important historic port in the East of England, which means there is plenty of heritage to enjoy. If you want to explore some of the area’s culture, but don’t know where to start, here are some places you should consider visiting:

Roman Fort, Caister-On-Sea

The Roman fort at Caister-On-Sea is an English Heritage site, and was occupied by Roman soldiers until the end of the 4th Century, when the Romans were withdrawn from Britain. Situated on the north estuary where the rivers Ant, Bure, Yare and Waveney entered the sea, the fort was occupied by 500 to 1000 men. Between 1951 and 1955, the ruins were discovered in archaeological excavations and now stands for visitors to walk around and explore for themselves. Dogs on leads are welcome here, and the site is open (with free entry) during any reasonable daylight hours.

Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth

The Elizabethan House Museum is a National Trust property and offers visitors plenty to learn and do – from trying on clothes to sampling some fine art – with some collections dating back to the 1500s. Step back in time and experience the difference between Victorian upstairs and downstairs life. There are also a number of special events throughout the year, covering a wide range of history about the area. The museum is great for children, too, with the activity-filled toy room, and pushchair accessible layout, and is open Sunday to Friday 10am until 4pm.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, Great Yarmouth

This annual festival takes place each September and celebrates the rich maritime history of Great Yarmouth. The free two day event gives visitors the opportunity to climb aboard historic ships, dance to live shanty music and enjoy some great street theatre. Visitors can also try their hand at traditional maritime skills and buy some local maritime craft. The Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival offers fun for all the family, regardless of age or interest!

The Caister Lifeboat Experience, Caister-On-Sea

Caister Lifeboat Station is home the UK’s only two lifeboats that are independent of the RNLI. At the Caister Lifeboat Experience, visitors can dress in waterproof lifeboat crew equipment and climb aboard a real lifeboat, the Shirley Jean Adye, which served the area from 1969 to 1991. Visitors can also learn about some interesting lifeboat stories from old crew members in the interactive displays. The experience is free, and is open Sundays and Wednesdays from Good Friday  until the last Sunday in October. Caister Lifeboat Station is also open every Bank Holiday during the season, and every Thursday during the school summer holidays.

Whether you are looking to fill a day with Great Yarmouth and Caister cultural attractions, or just an afternoon, there is something for you here.

[Photo Credit:  snigl3t]

Caister On-Sea and the History of the Saxon Shore

Caister On-Sea and the History of the Saxon Shore
Visitors to Caister-on-Sea today would probably be surprised to learn of the ancient military history of this peaceful and tranquil seaside town. Whereas modern day Caister is known for sea, sand and (occasionally) sun, ancient Caister was synonymous with its military fortifications. Indeed, the name ‘Caister’ itself is actually derived from the latin term for fortress, ‘castra’. The fortress at Caister-on-Sea was built by the Romans in around the 3rd century AD to protect against the frequent incursions of Saxon raiders, and was one of a series of such fortifications erected in the south-east of England, known as the ‘Saxon Shore’.

A Time of Crisis

The era in which the fortress at Caister was built was a time of severe crisis for the Roman Empire. The halcyon days of the Caesars were long gone, and the empire had been weakened by internal strife, and increasing external threats in the form of ‘barbarians’ from Northern Europe.

Under these increasing pressures, the Romans undertook new measures to protect its sprawling borders, which ranged from Western Europe to the Middle East. In Britain, fortifications were built in the north in the form of the Hadrianic and Antonine Walls, while in the south-east, a series of sea-side forts were constructed to defend the Empire against the growing threat of seafaring barbarians.

The Saxon Shore

The series of fortresses that became known as the Saxon Shore were heavily defended military installations, capable of housing thousands of Roman soldiers. The most distinctive feature of the Saxon Shore forts was their heavily fortified defences, comprised of massive stone walls and surrounded by ditches.

The term ‘Saxon Shore’ is derived from a contemporary Roman document, the Notitia Dignitatum, which lists nine sea forts under the command of an individual who bore the title of COMES LITORIS SAXONICI PER BRITANNIAM, which translates to ‘Officer of the Saxon Shore of Britain’. The existence of the Saxon Shore forts provides a fascinating insight into a turbulent period in British and world history, and helps us to understand the crucial role that the south-east of England played in the defence of the borders of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Fort in Caister

The Roman fort at Caister, which gives the town its name, and which is part of the wider network of ‘Saxon Shore’ defences, was built sometime between the years 225AD and 285AD. The fort was originally situated on an island in the confluence of the rivers Waveney, Yare, Ant, and Bure. Over hundreds of years the estuary gradually became silted up, leaving the Saxon Shore fort at Caister stranded firmly inland.

The fort played host to a garrison of perhaps as many as 1,000 Roman soldiers, members of both the infantry and navy, ready to defend the empire at a moment’s notice. The main threat to the soldiers stationed at Caister would have been the Germanic tribes who began to invade, plunder and destroy Roman held territory with increasing confidence as the power of the great empire faded. Eventually Rome became incapable of defending its borders, and abandoned its many imperial outposts, Britain among them, around the 5th century AD. The sea fort they left behind appears to have been abandoned completely, before being re-occupied, over 100 years later, by the Saxons, the descendants of the very tribes the fort had been built to repel. Gradually, the fort was abandoned altogether as it failed to serve any purpose for the Saxon, and later Norman community of Caister. The fort stood, in some form, until the 18th century, when it was demolished completely. Thus the Roman fort of Caister-on-Sea remained buried until the archaeological excavation of 1951, which unearthed the remains of the fort, and allowed us rediscover the ancient military history of Caister-on-Sea and the Saxon Shore.

For more information on the Roman fort at Caister and the history of the Saxon Shore please see:

[Photo Credit: little minx 1]

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Norfolk Broads

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are a popular holiday destination and attract many visitors throughout the year. There are a range of different activities to do on the waters and in the surrounding areas, but there’s more to this beautiful area than meets the eye. Impress your family and friends next time you visit with these five things you probably didn’t know about the Norfolk Broads.

1.The Broads are man-made

Though they may look as if they occurred naturally, the Norfolk Broads are actually man made. The Broads were an accidental result of flooding caused by peat digging. From the 12th Century, people dug for peat as an alternative fuel supply to timber, and this continued until the 14th Century when sea levels rose and flooded the pits. The Broads were then extended in 1640, where three locks were installed at Geldeston, Ellingham and Wainford, which were open for public use to navigate the waters until 1934.

2.The Broads have inspired great works of art

The Broads have inspired a number of different artists, from authors to musicians. The Norfolk Broads were mentioned in David Bowie’s Life on Mars, ‘From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads’, but were also the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s famous ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series of children’s books.

3.The only monastery that Henry VIII did not close is here

Unlike all other monasteries in England, St Benet’s Abbey on the River Bure survived King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. You can still visit the remains of Abbey today by boat by mooring on the Broads Authority’s free moorings. In fact, there is still a Sunday service on the first Sunday in August, which is led by the Bishop of Norwich, who is also the Abbot of the Abbey.

4.The Broads are the country’s 3rd largest inland navigation area

With the length of the Broads’ navigable waterways totaling 125 miles, and the total area covering 117 square miles, the Norfolk Broads is the 3rd largest inland navigation area in the United Kingdom. It is also one of the most diverse, with nearly 2 miles of coastline and passing through a variety of villages, towns and even the city of Norwich.

5. 25% of the UK’s rarest wildlife resides here

Some of the country’s rarest wildlife species can be found on the Norfolk Broads. In fact, the Fen Raft Spider was considered extinct until it was spotted on the Broads in 1986. The Broads is also the only habitat in the country for the Swallowtail Butterfly, which feeds on the milk parsley that grows in abundance in the area. The Broads Authority carries out conservation work to help preserve the area as an important habitat for these rare wildlife species, ensuring that tourism does not affect these habitats.

The Norfolk Broads are open throughout the year for a variety of different activities, just make sure you remember these five facts to impress your friends and family the next time you visit.

[Photo Credit: mira66]

What’s on in Caister and Great Yarmouth this Month – September 2017

Great Yarmouth seafront


As we enter the last month of summer, and say good-bye to the holiday season, there’s still plenty of fun things to see and do in Caister and Great Yarmouth this September.

On Board the Titanic Trail

On Board the Titanic Trail is part of the ongoing Titanic: Honour & Glory exhibition at Great Yarmouth’s Time and Tide Museum. This immersive exhibition allows you to step inside the shoes of a passenger on the doomed ‘ship of dreams’ and discover what day to day life was like before disaster struck.

On Board the Titanic Trail is open until Sun 24 Sep 2017, 10:00 to 16:30.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival at Historic South Quay

Get yourself down to South Quay in Great Yarmouth this month for the 2017 Maritime Festival. The festival celebrates Yarmouth’s maritime past, and you’ll really feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you see the historic ships docked in the South Quay.

Festival goers will be able to climb aboard and admire these magnificent maritime vessels, while elsewhere, children’s activities, exhibitions, demonstrations and traditional maritime music will be ongoing throughout the festival.

The 2017 Maritime Festival is scheduled to take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September.

Last Night of The Proms – Live Screening at St. George’s Theatre

Classical music lovers are in for a treat this September when the legendary Last Night of the Proms is screened live at St. George’s Theatre.

The Last Night of the Proms celebrates the best in classical music, and traditionally ends with a flag waving, soul stirring rendition of Rule Britannia.

Ticket prices include fish & chips and a selected drink from the theatre bar which will be open throughout the evening.

Summer Spectacular Circus & Water Show 2017 at The Hippodrome Circus

One of Great Yarmouth’s most popular attractions, The Summer Spectacular Circus & Water Show, ends this month. The Summer Spectacular includes a variety of amazing circus acts, including high-flying acrobats, a globe of death bikers, flying trapeze artists and a stunning water show.

The Summer Spectacular Circus & Water Show 2017 comes to a close on 17th September.

Out There Festival at St. George’s Park

The Out There Festival of International Street Arts & Circus Entertainment returns to Great Yarmouth this month, promising an action packed weekend of circus and street entertainment. The Out There Festival includes some of the finest circus and street artists from the UK, Europe and South America, performing acrobatics, dancing, juggling, theatre, circus, music and much, much more!

The Out There Festival will take place at St George’s Park and the Market Place on the weekend of Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September.

With prices from just £59 per night you can afford to splash out a little and enjoy a peaceful break by the sea! Call Eastern Beach now on 01493 720367 to take advantage of our low prices!  

Top Coastal Walks Near Great Yarmouth

Top Coastal Walks Near Great Yarmouth

The Norfolk coastal town of Great Yarmouth has so much to offer visitors, from amusements to museums, from dog racing to fish and chips, but for those that prefer something a little quieter, the town and its surrounding areas boast many walking routes.

Whether you’re an experienced walker looking for a challenge, or simply want to spend a day exploring the surroundings, Great Yarmouth has the coastal walk for you. We have put together a list of the top coastal walks in the area, to help making choosing your perfect path a little easier.

Caister to North Denes

This 1 mile walk is perfect for those looking to enjoy a relaxed wander with a beautiful backdrop. The wonderful thing about this route is that the scenery changes each time you walk it, as a result of the coastline’s dynamism, which means there’s always something new to see.

Along the short route, which will take under an hour, you are treated to a variety of sights as you start on the disused railway and walk along past the lifeboat centre to the accreting low-lying sand dunes of North Denes.

Gorleston Circular Promenade

Explore Great Yarmouth’s neighbouring seaside town on this 2.1 mile circular walk around Gorleston. Start your stroll at the promenade beside the Pier Hotel and enjoy views of Scroby Wind Farm and the Outer Harbour across the sea.

This route is perfect for the whole family to enjoy, as the firm terrain is wheelchair and pushchair accessible, and there are plenty of refreshment stops along the route. A relaxed stroll along this route will take you around 2 hours, so could be the perfect afternoon activity, after enjoying some of the local fish and chips the town has to offer!

Great Yarmouth to Burgh Castle

Why not use your walk to sample a taste of local Norfolk heritage, too? This walk along Angles Way will lead you 4.5 miles from the historical Burgh Castle Roman fort to the seaside town of Great Yarmouth, giving you the opportunity to see some of the area’s beautiful countryside and wildlife around Breydon Water during your journey to the coast.

Whichever end of the route you choose to begin from, the walk is not too challenging, and will take you around 2 and a half hours to complete- the perfect length if you find yourself at a loose end one morning!

Winterton Circular Walk

This 6 mile circular walk is a little more of a challenge, and perhaps more of an all day activity than the others, but it allows you to really explore the historic village. Along the route you will be able to enjoy views of a National Nature Reserve, the ancient shoreline and the beautiful Winterton Ness.

The Winterton walk is of moderate difficulty and will take around 4 hours to complete, meaning you will deserve a refreshment at The Winterton Beach Cafe after your walk.

There is so much to see along these routes, which means they are great come rain or shine! However, you shouldn’t forget that there’s more to the Great Yarmouth area than just the coastline, there are also plenty of wonderful walks in the countryside and woodland closeby to the town.

[Photo Credit: Gary_Troughton]