St Helen's, Ranworth

Woodbastwick Rd Ranworth NR13 6HT

Situated on the edge of the village of Ranworth, the church of St Helen is known as the “Cathedral of the Broads”. It's a fairly typical Norfolk medieval church in most respects, but its 100ft bell tower is not only visible from just about anywhere in the northern Broads; it also gives marvellous views over the surrounding area and is open to the public – although be warned that it’s a pretty strenuous climb up a set of steep and irregular steps, with a couple of ladders to negotiate  at the top. Inside the church, the font, bang in front of the entrance, dates from the building’s foundation in the eleventh century, and there’s a rood screen painted with saints. Just in front is an ancient lectern, decorated with the symbol of St John the Evangelist on one side and a fifteenth-century verse on the other, although it normally supports the so-called Antiphony – a late fifteenth-century illuminated service book that you'll find in a display case by the entrance. There’s also a small café on the far side of the churchyard – handy for the cup of strong sweet tea you'll need after climbing the tower.

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