Christmas Shopping and Winter Fishing Breaks on the Norfolk Broads

04 October 2023

Take the strain out of the lead-up to Christmas with a Norfolk Broads Autumn Cottage Break

Wroxham makes an ideal base for a late autumn fishing break and festive shopping.

As a centre point of the Norfolk Broads, Wroxham becomes genuinely magical in late autumn, with migrating birds filling the skies, good fishing from your cottage frontage and the ideal opportunity for a festive shopping spree in preparation for Christmas. The picturesque landscapes and warm community spirit make it the perfect destination to immerse yourself in the joy of getting ready for Christmas while experiencing a relaxing change of scenery.

During the autumn, shoals of fish, followed by predator Pike, are leaving the faster-flowing rivers and heading for the yacht basins, making autumn an ideal time for fishing from the frontage of one of our waterside holiday cottages.

Local festive retail therapy

Roys of Wroxham, said to be the ‘largest village store in the world’, has everything you could need from present ideas, decorations, festive food and lots, lots more. What’s more, it is just a five-minute walk from the holiday cottages, so there is no need to queue for a car parking space.

Wroxham Barns has an extensive range of craft shops and stores where you can go behind the scenes to meet the makers of heritage crafts. Chat to book a workshop or commission one of their creative craftspeople. Each inspiring store and studio is owned by local experts who are passionate about their work. Don’t miss Gallery Gifts & Clothing – a shopping experience guaranteed to make you feel special. Clothing, accessories and jewellery, plus country & lifestyle labels.

If you are staying on Saturday 25th November 2023, from 12:00 pm to 04:00 pm, there is the Wroxham and Hoveton Christmas market with 30 stalls booked, this is a fab opportunity to get everything you need for Christmas 2023 while supporting local makers and small businesses.

If that isn’t enough, Norwich is about a 20-minute drive away, or you can take the train from Wroxham station. Norwich is widely regarded as the top place to shop in the UK and is often featured in the national press as a top shopping destination due to the wide variety of independently owned shops and the wonderful historic shopping streets and arcades.  Festive shopping in Norwich is a unique experience with high-street stores, designer brands, independent shops, and quirky goods all on offer.  Norwich has national department stores and a fantastic local independent department store, Jarrolds, which is celebrating their 200th year of trading. If you don’t want to drive into Norwich city centre, you can take the train from Wroxham station.

Whilst you’re here, take in a pre-Christmas show.

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit with a visit to one of the many Christmas shows and performances on offer in the Norfolk Broads and surrounding area. From pantomimes and musicals to concerts and carol services, there is something to suit every taste. Experience the magic of live theatre as you watch classic Christmas tales come to life on stage or sing along to your favourite carols at a traditional candlelit service. The Norfolk Broads is known for its vibrant arts scene, and during the Christmas season, it truly shines. So sit back, relax, and let the talented performers entertain you with their heartwarming and enchanting performances. Our suggestions include:

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular Show – from 8th November – 23rd December

A west-end quality Christmas show hosted in rural Norfolk attracts audiences and performers nationwide. It may be a 40 to 50-minute car ride away, but we promise it will be a fantastic Christmas experience that creates lasting memories.  Advanced booking is essential for more details.

Believe in the magic of Christmas Family Show at nearby Wroxham Barns – from 25th November – 24th December

Hop on an enchanting train ride to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus himself. Get lost in a world of wonder as you journey through twinkling lights, snowy landscapes and festive cheer on your way to magical destinations, including:

– The North Pole Express – take an extraordinary journey to meet Santa himself
– Santa’s Grotto – each family will get a personal experience with Santa
– The Mrs. Claus Show – an all-singing, all-dancing show on the hour, every hour
– Reindeer HQ – mix your own magical reindeer food
– The North Pole Post Office – with the help of the elves, children can write their letter to Santa
– The Elves Workshop – get crafty and make a wonderful keepsake for home
– Santa’s Toy Factory – is full to the brim of toys for all ages. Children can pick a gift of their choice.

Every family will get some special time to spend with Santa Claus, with each child given a very special gold coin to spend in Santa’s Toy Factory.

Advanced booking is highly recommended, more details

Santa Special and Chrismas Light Express  train trips in the Norfolk Broads area – from 10th November to 1st January*

The nearest of these is operated by the Bure Valley Railway, with a station on the outskirts of Wroxham. Please note the Festive Express starts at their Alysham station, about a 25-minute drive from Wroxham.

A little further away, the North Norfolk Railway, a heritage railway based at Sheringham, has two festive rides, the Lights Express and their Santa Specials.

Advanced online booking is recommended.
* Dates based on North Norfolk Railway events

Santa River Cruises – from 2nd – 22 December

For the younger generation, there is the unique Santa River Cruises,  which departs from Wroxham. Santa’s Elves will have a gift bag for all children over three years old, including a juice box, activity book & crayons, and a festive treat. Plus, all children can visit Santa in his grotto and receive a present from Santa himself!

Booking your late Autumn pre-Christmas break on the Norfolk Broads

To book your late autumn break on the Norfolk Broads, please browse our range of holiday cottages that can be booked online. If you need more information or have a query, we will be happy to assist you in finding the perfect accommodation for your pre-festive getaway.

A short autumnal break on the Norfolk Broads is a truly magical experience that will leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime. From the stunning scenery and charming holiday cottages to the shopping experiences, local events and activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So why not unwind and create lasting memories on the Norfolk Broads? Book your break today and make your late autumnal season one to remember.

Check availability and book your Norfolk Broads autumn shopping and fishing breaks here!

Alternatively, phone us on 01603 782625 – we’d be happy to help. Don’t forget when booking accommodation, you will also get the use of a Day Boat free of charge for the duration of your stay!






Is the thought of Christmas shopping sending you into a panic?  The stress of finding that perfect present, along with all the pushing and shoving and horn-blowing that goes with city-centre shopping, is not a great start to the Festive season, is it?

This year, why not combine your Christmas shopping with a short break to the Norfolk Broads?  Our two-bedroomed properties, Rivers Edge and River View, both have en-suite bathrooms, making them perfect for families or for two couples to share, a short break makes an affordable treat just before Christmas.

Roys of Wroxham, said to be the ‘largest village store in the world’, has everything you could need from present ideas, decorations, festive food and lots, lots more. Moreover, it is just a five-minute walk from Barnes Brinkcraft, so there is no need to queue for a car parking space.




If you do want to go into Norwich city centre, you can take the train from Wroxham station.  Norwich is listed as one of the Top 10 places to shop in the UK.  Shopping in Norwich is a unique experience, with high street stores, designer brands, independent shops, and quirky goods are all on offer.  Outside of London’s Oxford Street, Norwich is the only place in the UK to have four national department stores and a local independent department store, Jarrold, within its city centre.

There is still lots going on in Wroxham outside of the primary holiday season, so while those who want to can go shopping, there’s the option for fishing outside your door. The local pubs and restaurants are still open, and the Bure Valley Railway offers their ‘Santa Special’ trips from the 24th of November until the 24th of December, so a chance for the little ones to see Santa with their wish lists.

A little further afield, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular is on from early November until the 23rd of December, “the biggest and most exciting Christmas show of all time in Britain.” Booking is essential, see website for details.

You can book your accommodation online or by phone on 01603 782625 we’d be happy to help. Don’t forget when booking accommodation, you will also get the use of a Day Boat free of charge for the duration of your stay!

To get you into the Christmas spirit, we will give you a bottle of Mulled Wine or Bubbly to enjoy during your stay – please state which you would prefer when making your reservation.

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