The Route of the Bittern Line
The Norwich to Sheringham Railway, Part of the National Rail Network
Train services are operated by Greater Anglia.
Starting at Norwich, Bittern Line stations are at Salhouse, Hoveton & Wroxham, Worstead, North Walsham, Gunton, Roughton Road, Cromer, West Runton and Sheringham.
Starting in Norwich...
When you arrive in Norwich you can travel to the city centre from the rail station on the frequent First buses from outside the front of the station. When buying your rail ticket please ask for a ticket to Norwich Buses when booking your train ticket from any Bittern line station.
A pleasant riverside walk starts by the Compleat Angler pub across the road from the station, into the city centre which will take you past one of the two Cathedrals. Leaving the station on the left you can take the short walk to Norwich City football ground situated in nearby Carrow Road and the Riverside Retail and Leisure complex is next to Norwich Railway station. The city offers many attractions including ancient medieval streets and buildings, museums, a large outdoor daily market, art galleries, parks, gardens and the best shopping facilities in the East of England . There is a good range of accommodation in the city as you will need more than just a day to visit the best sites. For further details on Norwich please visit www.visitnorwich.co.uk or telephone the TIC on 01603 213999
Leave Norwich behind and glide towards the Norfolk Broads, which are famous for their wildlife, boating holidays and tranquil scenery. The railway follows the course of the River Yare with coots and grebes, before turning left towards Salhouse. Nearby Salhouse Broad can be reached from this station along a pretty footpath, also a short walk away is the unusual thatched 15th century parish church of Salhouse All Saints.
Travel onwards to Hoveton and Wroxham, capital of the Norfolk Broads and where you can change to join the narrow gauge Bure Valley Railway www.bvrw.co.uk which runs steam trains to Aylsham or you can follow the route on foot or by bike along the Bure Valley path. In summer the boats are lined up along side the river, jostling for space. Here you can hire a day boat, take a tour of the Broads by boat, shop or visit one of the many attractions this bustling resort has to offer. In the winter months this becomes a quiet and relaxed back waterside retreat ideal for bird watching, walking or cycling along the Bure Valley path (see our cycling page – please provide a link). For information on boat hire and the Norfolk Broads please call Hoveton TIC, Station Road, Hoveton, run by the Broads Authority, Tel: (01603) 782281, Open Easter to 31 October every day, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, or visit www.visitnorfolk.co.uk.
After leaving Hoveton & Wroxham, look out on the left for the Bure Valley Railway narrow gauge tracks, curving away left to follow the old course of the East Norfolk (Great Eastern ) Railway line to Aylsham. Bure Valley Railway
The Next station is Worstead. Wrdesteda or Ordested, as the Domesday book calls the village. It was given by King Canute to the abbots of St. Benet of Holme, amid the Norfolk Broads. These abbots held the manor till the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. During the time of Edward the Confessor the manor was held for the abbots by Robert, an officer of the cross-bow men. His son Odo took over the holding on his father's death and assumed the name of De Worstead.
Worstead gives its name to a type of cloth, worsted, woven in the village in the middle ages. From the Conquest onwards, Flemish weavers migrated to England, but it was not until the reign of Edward II that their cloth came to be known as worsted. Hitherto most of the Norfolk wool had been exported to Flanders whence it was imported in the form of cloth. Today the pretty village has many reminders of its prosperous past including the large ‘wool’ church of St Mary’s which can be seen after leaving Worstead station on the right. The New Inn (good food and beer), the post office and the church are all well worth a visit. Like some Brigadoon image, the village comes to life once a year (the last weekend in July) during the famous Worstead Festival. During the festival extra trains call at the station. For further information on the village and the festival please visit www.worstead.co.uk.
The next station is North Walsham.
The busiest intermediate station on the Bittern Line, North Walsham is a prosperous market town with an historic church and a wonderful collection of eclectic shops including a specialist cat pottery!
The Norfolk Motorcycle Museum is opposite the main station entrance and offers a generous admission discount to rail ticket holders. North Walsham has a lot to offer visitors by train - to find out more about this vibrant Market Town, please visit www.northwalshamguide.co.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The North Walsham Poppybus provides a dial a ride community bus service providing onward free travel to Bittern Line ticket holders.
For details of destinations, times please call 01692 500840 during office hours.
The town is famous for Sir William Paston who founded his free Grammar School in 1606. A new School House was built in 1765, the one >seen today, and shortly after in 1769, the school received the brothers William and Horatio Nelson as boarders. It was from here, in March 1771, a young Horatio Nelson set out on his legendary career. The school boasts other fine scholars, including Archbishop Tenison, who crowned Queen Anne & George I. The founder's amazingly elaborate tomb can be seen inside the Parish Church. The School is now part of a Sixth Form College for the local area. For more information on North Walsham please visit: www.north-walsham.biz. The Cat Pottery and the Motor cycle Museum offers discounts to Bittern Line ticket holders.
As our train moves further North we come to the next station at Gunton. Gunton Station was built primarily for the convenience of Lord Suffield (a major investor in the original East Norfolk Railway Company, who built the railway from Norwich to Cromer), and despite its rather splendid station buildings which are still extent and privately owned, was probably never heaving with local commuters. Although there is no village of this name, the station was built to serve the nearby Gunton Park home to Lord Suffield. This extensive parkland estate was partly landscaped by Sir Humphrey Repton. Built for Sir William Morden Harbord, Baronet who became the 2nd Lord Suffield. The house was burnt out in 1882, with only the shell of the building left. The grounds of the estate were split at some time. The gutted building was used to build apartments.The estate is now private and no visitors are allowed. A rather splendid gateway to Lord Suffield's estate was built in nearby Thorpe Market in 1838. Its tall tower, from which Norwich cathedral is visible on a clear day, later served as a lookout for Royal trains arriving at Gunton Station. By the 1980s the tower was completely derelict, but has since been carefully restored. The main station building served as a reception area for royal guests arriving and departing from Lord Suffield’s estate. You can also alight at Gunton Station for Northrepps International Airport.
A new coffee shop has recently opened in Southrepps Post Office, while many small rural post offices are closing, Southrepps is developing. The post office is a delightful stroll from Gunton station and well worth seeking out in this pretty North Norfolk village dominated by its wonderful church. From Southrepps it is an easy walk to continue on to either North Walsham or Cromer for your return train.
Please call in advance if you are taking a group 01263 833397.
After leaving Gunton the train continues North East towards the coast to Roughton Road on the outskirts of Cromer. The station in this mainly residential area is the closest to the National Trust at Felbrigg Hall, a short walk from here or Cromer station.
For further details about Felbrigg Hall, please click here.
On arrival at Cromer the train reverses to access the last short stretch of the former Midland and Great Northern Railway from Cromer to Sheringham. This once extensive system stretched from Little Bytham, just North of Peterborough to Lowestoft North in East Suffolk. The town has a popular annual carnival
and all year round attractions, we strongly recommend a visit in the winter months for peace and quiet and a less crowded chance to enjoy the beautiful coast and countryside. Many attractions remain open during the winter including local museums and the pier.
We are now in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk)
and what beauty this area offers…seabirds, wildlife and artists flock to this area for peace, scenery and the sea. Holiday makers have been visiting this town since the railway opened and such was its popularity the town once boasted two train stations.
From Cromer station there is a short walk to the town centre, which is crammed full of fascinating shops and eateries. In Bond street there is the little Aristocrat Restaurant which offers super meals and morning tea/ afternoon coffee and delicious cakes. Bittern Line passengers can treat themselves to a discount here when their ticket is shown on ordering.
The Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier is one of the most famous and successful theatres on the East Coast and is perhaps one of a very few in England that has increased its seating capacity. The theatre has been extended and a new 50-seat balcony put in. The Bar and front of house area was extended and a brand new restaurant ‘Tides’ and gift shop ‘Footprints’ were built at the land end of the pier. This, along with the improvements to the promenade, has made Cromer seafront even more popular with visitors and locals alike. Take a trip on the Bittern Line and see for yourself what a great place it is to visit at anytime of the year.
For full details of concerts and shows see the web site www.thecromerpier.com. As an added incentive the theatre offers free tea/coffee before during and after performances to Bittern Line ticket holders, just show you train ticket at the bar or coffee shop.
The Box Office, Pavilion Theatre, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9HE Telephone 01263 512495.
The beaches in Cromer are superb blue flag award-winning stretches of sand ideal for sand castles and children. Walks along the coast path either going East or South is a surpassingly hilly landscape offering views along the wild expanse of the North Norfolk Coast. The best view point in Cromer is from the top of Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s parish church in the town centre, which claims the tallest church tower in Norfolk. For a small contribution to church funds it is a steep climb to the top but the views are well worth the breath. Cromer is renowned for its fresh crabs and these can be purchased locally.
For further information on Cromer please visit www.thisiscromer.co.uk.
The train ride from Cromer to Sheringham runs along side the North Norfolk Coast providing a vista of the seaside on the right and countryside on the left.
After leaving Cromer the train continues to West Runton. The station here is renowned for its national award winning station gardens maintained by the local station adopters, so do take time to view them even if only passing through on the train. Alight here for some walks around Incleborough Hill, The Links Country Park Hotel and The Hillside Animal and Shire Horse Sanctuary
near West Runton railway station, tel: 01603 736200, website: www.hillside.org.uk.
Come and see our Heavy Horses, Ponies and Donkeys, also Sheep, Pigs, Rabbits, Ducks, Hens, Goats and many more rescued animals in their home in the beautiful North Norfolk countryside. Visit our Museum and relive the farming days of yesteryear surrounded by our extensive Collection of Carts, Wagons and Farm Machinery.
There is plenty of space for Children to play around our activity areas.
Try our ‘Animal Friendly’ refreshments in the Cafe and take home a souvenir from the Gift Shop to remind you of your visit. You may even ’adopt’ a rescued animal.
Open: Daily from 10am-5pm Sunday 16th March until Sunday 2nd November.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays in March, April and May (open Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday).
Closed Saturdays only in June, July and August.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays in September and October.
For details of accommodation in this picturesque area please see our accommodation page.
From West Runton to Sheringham look out on the right as the railway passes the little church of All Saints at Beeston Regis locked between the railway and the sea.
Sheringham is the end of the Bittern Line but not your journey, there are things too many see and do here. On arrival at Sheringham (the station is the smallest passenger terminal on the National Railway Network), you can walk just across the road to the Poppy Line Railway, home to the North Norfolk steam railway which runs from Sheringham (the original station) to Holt – a small gorgeous Georgian town. During the summer season a vintage bus service links the station at Holt to the town centre.
From Sheringham the CoastHopper bus runs to Hunstanton. It departs from outside the Tourist Information Office just across the road from the railway station roughly every half hour. The service goes to Hunstanton via the many splendid coastal villages between Sheringham and Hunstanton along the North Norfolk Coast to the edge of the Wash. There is a special stop for those wishing to alight for a ride on the wonderful little Wells to Walsingham Railway. A Bittern Line Ranger ticket is valid on this bus service and you may alight and rejoin at any location on route during the day - discounts to Bittern Line Ranger ticket holders are available on the Wells and Walsingham Railway. For further details on the Coasthopper and to request a timetable, please call 0344 800 8003. For more details on bus services from Sheringham, click here.
There are too many things to do in and around Sheringham so please visit our accommodation page for an idea of where to stay –some accommodation providers offer discounts to train ticket holders. Also see www.experiencesheringham.co.uk.
A walk through the High Street to the beaches will take you past many fascinating small shops and cafes. Close to the Bittern Line station at 44c Station Road is the hugely popular Mulberry Tearooms, a real must visit while in Sheringham, with the added value of a discount to Bittern Line ticket holders as well.
Visit the Little Theatre in Station Road just a four minute walk away from the station. While there, check out the wonderful programme of year-round events for all the family – The Bittern Line is happy to sponsor some of the excellent shows at this theatre, so for more information please call the box office on 01263 82 23 47 or visit: www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com.
Two miles aways on the edge of Upper Sheringham (a pleasant walk along the coast from the rail station) is the very popular National Trust’s Sheringham Park.
Sheringham Park was designed in 1812 by Humphry Repton, the great landscape designer. Repton himself said it is "my most favourite work". There is space for the family to roam with way marked walks all year round and lots to explore. There are viewing towers with spectacular views of coast and countryside - one is built on the site
of a Napoleonic lookout.
There are many species of trees and shrubs including 15 kinds of Magnolia, Maples, Oak, Sweet Chestnut, Beech, Pieris, Snowdrop Tree, Pocket Handkerchief Tree and Scots Pine. Meadow grasses and wildflowers can be spotted on walks and in May and June there is a magnificent display of rhododendrons.
During the autumn the colours are just as magnificent. The park is well worth the visit at any time of the year and best of all admission to this National Trust property is FREE.
For details and a map on the walk from Sheringham station please visit :
http://www.go4awalk.com/thpaco/0080par/nf172pa.pdf. For details on Sheringham Park please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Sheringham Tourist Office is open from April to September on:
0871 200 3071, during the rest of the year please call the Cromer TIC on 0871 200 3071.
For some of the details on these pages the Bittern Line Partnership are grateful to:
John Hewes for maps and information - www.visitbytrain.freeuk.com/index.htm
Tim Venes Norfolk Coast AONB - www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk
The National Trust - www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The North Norfolk Railway - www.nnr.co.uk
The Bure Valley Railway - www.bvrw.co.uk
Broadland Cycle Hire - www.broadlandcyclehire.co.uk
North Norfolk District Council - www.north-norfolk.gov.uk
Broadland District Council - www.broadland.gov.uk
Where discounts are offered on goods and services to Bittern Line ticket holders, all proprietors reserve the right to change the level of discount offered, refuse entry or offer any discount. Opening and closing times Where shown, are subject to change, visitors are advised to check before travelling.
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This does not affect consumer rights and is deemed to be correct at the time of uploading to the internet. July 2010
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