A Summer Evening on board the Southern Comfort from Ranworth to St Benet’s Abbey

Event Details

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Jolly Boating Weather

This Boat trip is currently still planned but subject to future developments – a final decision will be made at the end of April.

Join us for a summer’s evening aboard the Southern Comfort on Wednesday 17th June 2020.  Watercolourist and Clergyman Canon Phillip McFadyen will be our guide to the treasures of the Broads.  Phillip writes:

St Helen’s Church, Ranworth

“As Vicar of Ranworth for a dozen or so years, I never found occasion to sing the Eton Boating Song, but took every

opportunity as Broads Chaplain to indulge work and pleasure by “messing about in boats”.  When I was invited to host a trip on board the Southern Comfort paddle steamer (although it has neither paddles nor steam), I was more than willing.

The programme will take a broad sweep of Broadland’s unique canvas.  An evening of jollity and relaxation will begin with a visit to the treasures of Ranworth Church, as well as a glass of fizz and strawberry scones.  Then we drive to Horning to board the Southern Comfort for supper and a cruise along the Bure to St Benet’s Abbey.  This picturesque ruin was the delight of the Norwich School of painters, who painted the gatehouse en plein air before the French Impressionists thought of

St Benet’s Abbey

such a fancy.  Here we will think about King Canute, who founded the abbey in Saxon times, and Sir John Fastolf.  Was he the Bard’s inspiration for the bawdy Falstaff?

The “hullabaloos” gone, we enjoy the peace of an evening hymn and prayer and the landscape, studded with wind pumps and churches. The gentle sound of hooting coots and dabchicks dappling will put us in mind of Ratty, Mole and Badger, as well as Swallows and Amazons.”


Wednesday 17th June 2020

Booking opens on New Year’s Day – For catering purposes Bookings close on 1st June 2020

Suggested donations: £45 Norfolk Churches Trust members, £55 non-members


4.00      Park at Ranworth Visitors Centre.  Welcome glass of fizz and
strawberry scones.
4.30      Guided tour of Ranworth Church with our guide, Canon Phillip McFadyen.
5.30      Drive to Horning via Wroxham.  Directions and a map will be included with your booking confirmation.
6.15      Board the Southern Comfort.  The licensed bar will be open.  Please be aware that cash payments only are taken.
6.30     Cast off from Horning.
6.45     The main course is served, beginning with upstairs seating.
7.30     Arrive at St Benet’s Abbey.  We are most grateful to Norfolk Archaeologists Trust for permitting us to use the Bishop’s Mooring.  Unless weather conditions prevent us, we go ashore for a guided tour.  Guides kindly provided by Norfolk Archaeologists Trust.  There will be a short act of worship from the service of Compline, including prayers and a hymn.
8.30     Cast off from St Benet’s.  Pudding is served.
9.30     Arrive at Horning and disembark.

Special diets can be catered for.  Please let us know your needs on Part B of your booking form, where you can also tell us whether you wish to join the event at Ranworth for tea and the Church tour, or at Horning when you board the boat.


To book, please complete both parts of the booking form attached here