St Benet’s Abbey

The Abbey of St Benet at Holme lies deep in the Broads, close to the meeting place of the rivers Bure and Ant. This was the only Norfolk monastery founded in the Anglo-Saxon period which continued in use throughout the Middle Ages, and is the only monastery in England which was not closed down by Henry VIII – the Bishop of Norwich is still the Abbot.

As well as being of great historical interest, St Benet’s Abbey is also very atmospheric. For over 200 years it has been a favourite spot for artists, photographers, and tourists.

2019 St. Benet’s Abbey 1000 years!

In 1019, King Cnut granted the manors of Neatishead, Ludham and Horning to a group of monks in order that they could establish an Abbey. 1000 years later St Benet’s Abbey is still an iconic site on the Norfolk Broads.

To celebrate its 1000 year anniversary, the Friends of the St Benet’s Abbey (TFoSBA) are running some exciting events for everyone to get involved. Check the news page for latest details.

St Benet’s Abbey
NR12 8NJ


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Download a printable PDF guide here.

Site survey

Download a the geophysical survey as a PDF guide here.

Access and facilities

The site lies on the north bank of the River Bure in the parish of Horning. It is about 3km south of the village of Ludham, on the A1062 Hoveton-Potter Heigham road.

  • by boat: this is the easiest way to reach St Benet’s. There is a public mooring place on the Bure a short distance west of the Abbey, and the route from there to the site is clearly marked.
  • by foot: a permissive path near Ludham Bridge/Johnson Street leads from opposite the public toilets along the river to St Benet’s Abbey – circa 25 minutes walk. For more details on how to walk to the Abbey please see our sister site:
  • by road: St Benet’s is quite remote from main roads. From the A1062 (Hoveton-Potter Heigham) road, turn onto Hall Road (which is signposted to Hall Common) at the junction next to the Dog Inn, a short distance to the east of Ludham Bridge. About 900m along this road, a very minor road turns off to the right. This leads onto a long farm track extending across the marshes to the site. Car drivers must beware of cattle: livestock have right of way at all times! A small car park at the end of the track has capacity for 10 cars and 3 designated spaces for visitors with disabilities.
  • by bus: For up to date timetable information, please visit




You can visit at any reasonable time during daylight hours. There are no toilet or other facilities at the site, and little shelter from the weather except within the standing remains of the gatehouse. There is a pub (the King’s Arms) and a tea room in Ludham, and another pub (the Dog Inn) on the A1062 closer to Ludham Bridge. At Ludham Bridge there is a shop, a cafe and public toilets. The Trust has published a guidebook to the site by Dr Tim Pestell. This can be purchased at Ludham Church, Ludham Bridge Stores and Ludham village stores (Throwers); plus Horning Church, and Horning Post Office.

Guided tours

Guided Tours take place at St Benet’s Abbey from May until the end of September each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm. No need to book – meet by the interpretation board near the Gatehouse. These tours are led by volunteers and organised by The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey.

Talking bench

When you visit the site don’t miss the talking bench which can be found on the west side of the ruined church!

External website

St Benet’s Abbey website: information-packed website, National Lottery funded as part of Conservation, Access and Community Project 2012-2014