Visitors to the Norfolk Broads are spoilt for choice when it comes to al fresco eating and drinking. In the interests of research we felt it our duty to sample as many as possible on our recent recce of the area. While some stood out for the quality of their food and drink, it was the idyllic setting that won the day for the Bridge Inn at Acle.
Perched right on the banks of the river, next to Acle’s main river crossing, the Bridge Inn takes pride of place in an expanse of well-tended lawns. This is the perfect spot to while away a lazy afternoon, sampling some of the best local ciders and ales and watching the world go by along the waters of the River Bure.
Whether you are traveling alone or in company, the Bridge Inn offers a warm welcome, but there is no doubt that it really comes into its own if you have little ones in tow. There’s plenty to amuse even the most demanding of children, from crazy golf and an al fresco pool table to a well-stocked play area and mini go-carts. This could of course be kiddy hell, but the management have thoughtfully stuck all the children’s facilities in one rather chaotic but spacious corner, keeping the kids contained and leaving plenty of room for peace and harmony amongst the rest of the clientele.
The menu doesn’t set the world alight, but there is something to be said for well-cooked pub grub that does just what it says on the tin. It’s easy to get carried away on a quest for gastro delights, but in our experience these rarely go hand in hand with a pair of fussy pre-teens. Give them a tuna melt, a well-cooked burger, a whopping great plate of chips and couple of quid for the go-carts and they’ll invariably give you an extra hour or two of rest and relaxation in one of the most idyllic locations in the country.
The Bridge Inn offers plenty of car-parking space but the real way to enjoy it is to arrive on your river cruiser and moor up right outside. You’ll be charged £4 for the privilege but this includes an electric hook up and 24 hours to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the gateway to the Norfolk Broads. Bliss. The Bridge Inn earns a place in our British Beer Gardens Top 10 and a coveted spot in the photo albums for providing some of our favourite shots of the Norfolk Broads.