Horning is an ancient village and parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 11 km2 and had a population of 1,033 in the 2001 census. Horning parish lies on the northern bank of the River Bure south of the River Thurne and is located in The Broads National Park. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of North Norfolk, although areas alongside the rivers and broads fall into the executive area of the Broads Authority.
he name Horning means the “folk who live on the high ground between the rivers”. Its history dates back to 1020 when the manor was given by King Canute to the newly founded Abbey of St. Benet at Hulme. The Bishop of Norwich, as Abbot of St. Benets, is still Lord of the Manor.
Horning Parish extends along the south bank of the River Bure to Thurne Mouth and includes the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey & St. James Hospital. St. Benet’s Abbey is a Grade I listed building, and dates back to the 9th Century. The importance of the Abbey as a medieval place of pilgrimage is reflected in the medieval finds of two papal seals, that would have secured documents from the Pope.
The Church of St. Benedict lies half a mile east of the village and dates back to the 13th Century.
Archaeologists have found ancient earthworks in Horning, which run alongside the River Bure, possibly dating to the early Saxon period. The earliest ancient monument is a Bronze Age ring ditch and possible burial pit. Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts have also been found.
The village of Horning is a very popular tourist destination within the Norfolk Broads, having attractions both around the village and surrounding areas. The village lies on the north bank of the River Bure, and has many waterside properties, pubs, shops, restaurants, tea-rooms, boat-trips as well as other features to enjoy.
Horning is picturesque, and described as the prettiest village on the broads. The sights to see are: the River Bure from the landing stages, Lower Street, St. Benedicts Church and many properties with thatched roofs.
Following Lower Street to the east, leads to the school, marina, leisure centre, church and the old riverbank. North of Horning are the broads of Barton, Alderfen and Burntfen, and village of Neatishead. West is the popular area of Hoveton & Wroxham. East lies the quaint village of Ludham. To the south, across the river via the ferry, are Bure Marshes and village of Woodbastwick. Adjacent to the ferry, The Ferry Inn reopened in 2010 after a period of closure. The Ferry Inn was largely destroyed in a Second World War bombing raid by the German Luftwaffe on 26 April 1941, during which 15 bombs are believed to have been dropped on Horning and the surrounding area by a single aircraft. Most landed in the local marshes but one hit the ferry and one hit the Inn, where 21 of the 24 people in the pub at the time were killed. The Ferry Inn was open for business with a makeshift bar only three weeks later. Rebuilt in the 1950s, the pub was damaged again by fire in 1965.
Horning is home to “Southern Comfort” the Mississippi Cruise boat, which leaves from the staithe adjacent to The Swan Inn.
The village is popular for sail & motor boating, and Horning Sailing Club hosts regular annual events. Several boatyards specialise in boat sales, boat hire, boat building and repairs. There are two marinas which offer private mooring facilities. The River Bure is navigable from the North Sea at Great Yarmouth all the way to Horning.
The village centre is quite small, consisting of just a single street, a village green, The Swan Inn pub (built early 19th century but dates back to 1696), a few shops and restaurants and a riverbank adjacent to the River Bure. The main Village Hall, playing fields and children’s play area are located behind Lower Street on the upper side of the village.
Outside the village centre is the popular Bewilderwood theme park, which was voted best large attraction in the East of England (2009), as well as having many other UK and International awards. Broadland Cycle Hire is located within Bewilderwood, from which there are many good cycle routes through rural areas to villages and broads.
Other local attractions nearby include Barton Broad boardwalk, Neatishead village, Ludham village, shopping in Hoveton & Wroxham. A short distance away are many beautiful beaches such as Waxham, Sea Palling and Winterton-on-Sea, as well as the more popular holiday destinations of Great Yarmouth and Cromer. The North Norfolk Coast is approximately 1hr away, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.