It can get pretty depressing in late winter. In those awkward, cold, dark months after the festivities of Christmas but before the weather starts to perk up, it’s often difficult to maintain any kind of excitement or motivation.
But there’s a positive side to the month of February too. While everyone else is nursing a sore head and an empty bank account, savvy shoppers can bag a bargain on a Norfolk Broads boating holiday. Never mind that it’s cold enough and windy enough to warrant three layers of thermal knitwear. Never mind that it’s only so cheap because no sensible person would venture onto the water at this time of year. Gunning up and down the Broads at 5 miles per hour is an annual tradition now; inclement weather is just part of the appeal.
Of course, it’s not just about sitting on a boat, guzzling cups of instant coffee and freezing off our proverbials. We’re here for the many pubs lining the waterfront. You can’t really call it a pub crawl if you’re on a boat, so here I’ve settled for Pub Float.
Our first stop after the boats picked us up was the Ferry Inn in Stokesby, a small Adnams pub right on the bank of the River Bure. It’s a traditional-looking pub – all exposed beams and brickwork, with a weathered pool table in the games room round the back of the bar.
There’s Ghost Ship and Southwold Bitter on tap – both decent beers, but inferior to the phenomenal Broadside which had just run dry. Fortunately, they still had plenty of bottles. Unfortunately, bottled Broadside comes at full strength: 6.5%.
We stuck around for dinner – on Monday nights the Ferry Inn runs a burger and a pint deal. I receive a fair amount of mockery for ordering the veggie burger. Others order a Texan burger, which is predictably massive and dripping with barbecue sauce. The food is a bit like the beers on tap: not phenomenal, and less variety than we’d hoped, but certainly not bad.
The Stokesby Ferry Inn is worth stopping by for a game of pool (or chess) if you happen to be passing through. It’s not the best pub on the Broads, but you could certainly do a lot worse. 3/5