8 reasons to go holidaying on the Broads
Love Your Waterways and explore new ones, including those not connected to the bigger network. See eight fantastic reasons to take a trip on the Broads this summer.
When the sun is out and the water is clear and calm, being on a boat on the broads is a glorious way to enjoy your free time and see the countryside at a leisurely pace. The freedom and flexibility of a boating holiday makes it ideal for families, couples or even a solitary escape. Whether you want to spend your time fishing in calm waters, or taking a stroll through the rich grass, a boating holiday on the Broads can be a perfect and peaceful get-away for those looking for some much-needed time away from the hustle and bustle of city life. So, here’s a list of eight things to make your boating holiday on the Broads unforgettable.
1. Soak up the area’s history
From Boudica and the Iceni, to WWII airbases, Norfolk is a county with an exceptionally rich vein of history. Travelling the Broads is a wonderful way to discover this. As well as hundreds of beautiful old buildings, Norwich has a stunning cathedral, a historic castle and 32 churches, making it a wonderful place to dive into Norfolk’s rich history.
Outside Norwich, one of the first stops for a history fanatic should be the Nelson museum in Great Yarmouth, where you can learn about Lord Horatio Nelson. You could even explore the history of the Broads themselves at Stalham’s waterside museum of the Broads.
2. Discover interesting local attractions
Cruising the Broads will treat you to peace, tranquillity, and incredible natural beauty, but that is rarely enough to keep the kids entertained. Luckily, Wroxham Barns and Bewilderwood, the outdoor adventure park, offer plenty of family fun and excitement to tire them out. With zip wires, treehouses, jungle bridge and more, the kids are sure to have a great time.
Other fun days out include taking a ride on the Bure Valley railway, exploring 130 miles of ancient woodland at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Gardens or simply taking a stroll along the historic Cromer pier.
3. Catch up on a spot of fishing
With over 300sq km of rivers and lakes, the wetlands of the Broads are one of the finest angling locations in the country. Naturally, such a large area is teeming with different fish – from roach, bream and perch to pike, tench and carp, you may well make a catch.
Open season fishing licences from the Environment Agency can easily be paid for online and will supply you with 1 to 8 days of fun, whether you’re a serious angler or just having fun with your kids.
Photo above and top: Norfolk Broads by Charles Stride.
4. Take a walk
If you are getting a touch of cabin fever then perhaps it is time to grab your boots and go exploring. You could even take the dog along for some exercise!
Some rivers, canals and Broads cut through cities, towns and villages. The Southern Broads, for example, offer incredible scenery and woodlands as well as beautiful towns including Brundall, Loddon and Beccles for you to discover. So, make sure you take a map with you and see what else is close by.
5. Sit back and enjoy cruising
While operating locks can be a fun part of the boating experience, it can also be hard work. Thankfully, the Broads offer unencumbered cruising due to Norfolk’s famously flat landscape.
Whether you want to cruise past or hop on and off and explore the numerous picturesque villages and towns surrounding the Broads, these lock-free waterways are easily navigable.
6. Marvel at different types of boats that can be spotted
As you travel the waters, you are sure to discover people enjoying the Broads on different types of craft including rowing boats, yachts, day boats and canoes on the water. If you are lucky, you may even see a Norfolk Wherry. These famous historical boats feature a distinctive high-peaked sail and a stepped mast. The most famous of these is the Wherry Albion, a 119-year old cargo vessel with a vast black sail. Despite its age, the Albion can still be seen on regular day cruises during the summer months.
Photo: Albion, by Flickr user Fimb [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
7. Head down to the coast
On your travels through the never-ending rivers, be sure to visit the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Ranworth Broad. Not only is this stunning nature reserve free to explore, but it is also a wonderful place to see the local wildlife including swallowtail butterflies, hawker dragonflies, marsh harriers, and even otters!
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, you could always visit Great Yarmouth’s theme park, The Pleasure Beach. With traditional rides including cups and saucers and dodgems, Pleasure Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a little family fun. And if you’re feeling brave enough, why not take on the 22-metre tall Sky Drop!
8. Sample local delicacies
Foodies won’t be left out as Norfolk is brimming with local delicacies. Naturally, with its location near the coast, these include a lot of seafood. Two of the most famous are Brancaster mussels and Cromer crab. Cheese and game are also local specialties. Be sure to enjoy the best of the best by keeping an eye out for the Broads Quality Charter, a mark of quality for local pubs, restaurants, and tea rooms in the area.
Local real ale is a source of great pride in the region and there are a number of pubs on the Broads so you can sample a few. Many of these pubs offer public mooring spaces including The King’s Head in Hoveton and The Ferry Inn in Horning.
Whether you want to soak up the area's rich history, or visit some of the postcard-perfect villages, a boating holiday on the Broads can be wonderful for family, couples, friends, and even solo travellers who just want to get away from it all.
Guest post by Sabrina Bucknole on behalf of Herbert Woods.
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