A waterfront pub on the Broads which has been closed for several months has been bought by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, which hopes to revive it.

The charity plans to re-open the Pleasure Boat Inn, at Hickling staithe, following a refurbishment project.

It is believed to be the trust's first deal of its kind and it hopes to use the site to increase visitors to the area, which is already home to one of Norfolk's largest nature reserves.

Eastern Daily Press:  

The pub has struggled in recent years, partly as a result of a fall in the number of boats visiting Hickling Broad.

The broad is renowned for its thick weeds, which discourage many boaters as they can cause problems for engines, while larger vessels cannot reach it as they are unable to navigate through the low bridge at Potter Heigham. 

The charity already owns extensive property around the broad, which is famed for its wildlife and is a nature reserve.

Its purchase includes buildings surrounding the pub, a car park, public toilets and moorings on the staithe.

The trust already owns the adjacent Whispering Reeds boatyard and Hickling Broad Sailing Club.

READ MORE: Pensthorpe Natural Park launching camping and glamping site

Eastern Daily Press:

Eliot Lyne,  CEO of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to get a step closer to our vision of creating a wilder Hickling Broad for our local communities and visitors to the area.

"In addition to taking care of this unique and vital landscape for wildlife, we aim to create facilities that will provide new opportunities."

He added: "Investing in a popular local pub will allow us to create new ways to introduce people to the nature, landscape and wildlife of Hickling.

"We want to create a business that will serve the local community, as well as attract new visitors to the area."

The project will involve "significant building works" that are set to begin soon, with updates to come in 2024.

The pub - which dates back to the 1700s - originally closed in 2021 for refurbishment.

However, it later shut again and was closed over the summer.



The pub also has a royal connection involving a young King Charles... and a rowdy pillow fight.

The young prince was part of a royal party on a shoot at Hickling Broad in 1959.

The group had planned to stay at Whiteslea Lodge, on the other side of the Broad, but flooding meant a switch to Plan B: The Pleasure Boat Inn.

At the time landlady Gwen Amis and her husband Alfred were sworn to secrecy.

But, years later, Mrs Amis's nephew Graham Turner recalled the night and the infamous pillow fight.

"The three boys were in one bedroom directly above the bar and there was quite a lot of commotion. Philip instructed my aunt to sort them out and they were squarely put in their place."

The then prince wrote to Mrs Amis on her 90th birthday telling her “I have particularly fond memories of the time we stayed at the Pleasure Boat Inn all those years ago and I have certainly never forgotten the famous landlady."