Jul
09
2010

Why does boating on the Norfolk Broads make a great holiday?

boat on the norfolk broads

Boating on the Norfolk Broads (photo by Pengannel CC-BY)

The Norfolk Broads have been a popular destination for boating holidays since Victorian times. Boating on the many waterways of the Broads provides a chance to enjoy its unique landscapes, history, and wonderful wildlife.

The Broads is a network of six rivers, man-made waterways, and open expanses of water called Broads. These were created by the digging of peat centuries ago and have since filled with water. There are over 125 miles of navigable waterways open to leisure boating, with not a single lock to go through.

Depending on where you go on the Broads, you can sail yachts in the larger broads and wider rivers, or where there are low bridges, take motor boats and cruisers. To explore the smaller rivers and broads, canoes and rowing boats are ideal.

The landscape varies between open fen country with its wide, open skies, or heavily wooded river banks, or reed beds which seem to stretch for miles. You can see kingfishers, herons, otters and a host of other riverbank wildlife. They are accustomed to seeing boats passing by and have little fear of them, so you can get very close to them.

While boating you plan stop offs to visit windmills, nature reserves, medieval churches, and many picturesque villages with their pubs and restaurants which are to be found on the river banks.

The one thing about this holiday is there is no need to rush around. Besides, there is a speed limit of between 4 and 6mph on the Broads. Even the nervous first time ‘captain’ will find it easy to steer, moor and navigate his craft because the water flows very slowly, and there are plenty of more experienced boaters around who will help and advise you.

There are numerous boat yards across the Broads where you can hire a boats for between 2 and 12 people. They come with all the mod cons including toilet, fridge, cooker, tv, and beds. Most have a sunroof, or sliding canopy, or sun decks. The boats can be hired for 4 or 7 day breaks.

For just a day’s trip, day boats are also available for up to 8 people (no facilities), while picnic boats (with toilet and cooking facilities) cost a little more.

The Broads are very busy during July and August, so I would advise to try and avoid these months.

An alternative is to try a canal holiday.

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