Canoe, Paddleboarding and Kayaking Your Norfolk Broads Guide

Hiring A Canoe, Kayak Or Paddleboard On The Norfolk Broads

Searching for Norfolk Broads canoe, paddleboarding, and kayaking likely means you’re planning an adventure on these tranquil waters. Whether you’re deciding which of these activities suits you best, looking for the top spots to enjoy them, or simply looking for how to make the most of them, you’re on the right track. Hiring anything can be done as a sole activity of adding to your itinerary as part of your Norfolk broads boat hire horning trip or why not pair it up when hiring a boat in Wroxham. The choice is completely yours.

Having spent countless hours exploring these waterways, I understand where you’re coming from and your excitement and questions.

In this guide, we’ll look at ideal locations and what to expect from each type of water sport. So, whether you’re interested in the relaxed pace of canoeing, the challenge of paddleboarding, or the thrill of kayaking, this guide is exactly what you were looking for. 

What is The Best Route for Norfolk Broads Canoe, PaddleBoarding, and Kayaking

Horstead Mill and River Bure 

Horstead Mill is a popular place for canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking. Make the most out of this picturesque area of Norfolk

Let’s start at Horstead Mill, the gateway to the River Bure and the Norfolk Broads Authority area, located at NR12 7AT. Launching your canoe here, you’re faced with two tempting choices:

  1. For the Adventurous: If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, start from the side of the mill pond. The ground slopes gently towards the flowing water, offering a Whitewater experience – a rarity in Norfolk.

    However, be prepared for a potentially muddy bank, which can add to the difficulty of entering and exiting your canoe. This spot suits those seeking an adrenaline rush and a chance to tackle faster currents.
  2. For a Calmer Experience: For those preferring a more serene start, walk over the mill sluices from the car park and turn left to launch into the still waters by the lock. Here, you’ll find a slipway facilitating a graceful water entry. This route is ideal if you’re looking for a tranquil paddle, especially if you’re a beginner or simply prefer a peaceful journey.

Upstream of Horstead Mill

The great thing about the stretch upstream of Horstead Mill is that it doesn’t require a Broads Authority permit, meaning you can do your frolicking without worrying too much about formalities. This is one of the most popular Canoe, Paddleboarding and Kayaking spots on the whole Norfolk Broads.

Now, this part of the river, though not included in many guides, is incredibly beautiful and shouldn’t be missed. It’s especially perfect if you plan a trip from or around the Coltishall area. I highly recommend the upper part of the Bure from Horstead Mill. It is simply breathtaking and filled with so much wildlife. Want an insider tip just between us? Keep an eye out for kingfishers and, if you’re lucky, otters!

Directions to Horstead Mill

  • From Norwich: Take the B1150 towards Coltishall. Enter Horstead village and turn down Mill Road just before the Recruiting Sergeant pub roundabout. The car park for the mill is about 300 meters on the left.
  • From Wroxham/Hoveton: Take the B1354 into Coltishall, then left onto the B1150 towards Norwich right after the roundabout with the Recruiting Sergeant on your right. Turn left down Mill Road immediately after the roundabout, with the mill car park about 300 meters away.
  • From Great Yarmouth: On the A47 towards Norwich, at the Blofield and Brundall roundabout, turn back towards the A47. After about half a mile, follow the signs for Blofield Heath, then turn left after leaving the village and right onto Honeycombe Road towards Wroxham. After passing Wroxham Bridge and Roys department store, turn left at the roundabout onto the B1354 towards Coltishall and follow the above directions.

Belaugh Staithe

Belaugh Staith is a small staithe on the broads and is often used by experienced canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking hobbies. It's peaceful and easy to launch

Nestled between Coltishall and Hoveton, Belaugh Staithe– located at NR12 8XA– offers a charming and somewhat hidden launching spot onto the River Bure. This quaint village, though tricky to find, is a gem you can’t afford to miss!

Launching from Belaugh Staithe puts you on the River Bure, one of the main waterways in the Norfolk Broads. This stretch of the river is great for relaxing paddles and challenging adventures. In addition, its location makes it an excellent starting point for Norfolk broads Canoe, paddleboarding, and kayaking.

Parking and Launching

The parking at Belaugh Staithe is free, but space is limited to about four vehicles. Launching into the River Bure involves a vertical drop of about a meter, but it’s manageable for both canoes and kayaks. The Broads Authority has installed an excellent slipway right next to the car park, easing access to the water.

One thing I particularly like about Belaugh Staithe is that it has picnic tables, benches, and a well-kept grassy area, making it perfect for picnics! And to top it off, because it’s halfway between Horstead Mill and Wroxham, it’s a perfect midway stop on a longer journey.


Accessing Belaugh Staithe:

  • From Norwich: Take the A1151 into Wroxham. After crossing Wroxham Bridge and passing Roy’s department store, you’ll encounter a pair of small roundabouts. Turn left onto the B1354 towards Coltishall and Belaugh. Continue for about half a mile past the Bure Valley Railway bridge, then turn left onto Top Road, signposted for Belaugh. Follow The Street to reach the riverside car park.
  • From Wroxham/Hoveton: Take the B1354 towards Coltishall, then follow Norwich’s directions.
  • From Great Yarmouth: Take the A47 towards Norwich, and at the Blofield and Brundall roundabout, make a U-turn onto the A47 for a short distance. Follow signs for Blofield Heath, then turn left after the village to reach a crossroads with The Brick Kilns pub. Turn right onto Honeycomb Road, following it to Wroxham. After crossing Wroxham Bridge, follow the directions from Norwich.

River Wensum

River Wensum is an urban section of river which makes great landscape for a canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking adventue

If asked which route had Norfolk’s most beautiful paddling river, I would undoubtedly say the River Wensum. This area is beautiful and makes a wonderful setting for your Canoe, Paddleboarding and Kayaking adventure

Begin your adventure above Fakenham at Norwich Paddleboard Hire, near the Gibraltar Gardens Pub. This spot is ideal for easy access to the river, and they offer a variety of paddle boards, including larger ones for groups and specialized boards for SUP yoga. Rentals start at £19.99. Make sure you cross-check before you set out, though.

There’s ample free parking at Gibraltar Gardens, making it convenient for those driving to the starting point.

If you’re a beginner paddler, I would avoid the upper sections regularly filled with tree blocks or convoluted portages, making it ideal for experienced folk. However, the lower sections, particularly from Attlebridge downstream, are more popular and accessible.

For pre-paddling checks, contact the river access officer or TheCanoeMan for up-to-date information on river conditions.

Gliding through Norwich, you’ll experience a blend of urban charm and serene waterways, showcasing the city’s historic architecture from a unique perspective. However, paddling upstream, the scenery shifts to tranquil countryside. This path is quieter, offering a serene escape from the city bustle.

For a unique experience, join a sunset SUP yoga session to relax and unwind on the water. Try their 6-person paddle boards for a fun group activity, perfect for friends or family outings.

If you love fishing in Norfolk broads like I do, you’re in for a treat. The River Wensum hosts a variety of fish, including barbel and trout, attracting anglers to its banks. But be prepared for a 400-yard portage in the middle section, a necessary detour to bypass certain obstacles.

The only downside about this is that the popularity of fishing along the Wensum can sometimes lead to friction between paddlers and fishermen, so remember that no matter what, stay respectful. And if you need advice, equipment hire, or even guided trails, TheCanoeman is your go. 

Where to rent equipment for Norfolk Broads Canoe, Paddle Boarding, and Kayaking

  1. North Norfolk Paddle Boards Lessons & Tours
North Norfolk paddleboards specialize in paddleboarding lessons and tours. It's worth familiarizing yourself before taking part in canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking

If you’re looking for top-notch paddleboards, safety gear, and properly trained and qualified professionals, then Norfolk Paddle Boards is your best bet. 

It offers many guided tours in Burnham Overy Staithe North Norfolk Paddle Boards. Let’s dive into them: 

Services Offered:

  • Taster Sessions (Beginner Lessons): Perfect for newcomers to paddleboarding, these sessions are designed to introduce the basics of the sport in a fun and safe environment. These lessons provide the foundational skills necessary for paddleboarding.
  • Guided Tours (3 hours): These tours navigate the picturesque creeks Burnham Overy Staithe Harbour salt marshes and the Scolt Head Island nature reserve. This is an exceptional way to experience the unique landscapes and wildlife of the area.
  • Improver Lessons (2 hours): Aimed at those with some paddleboarding experience, these lessons focus on advancing skills and building confidence on the board.
  • Large Group, Hen & Stag, Team Building: North Norfolk Paddle Boards caters to large groups and special events, offering a unique and fun experience for team building, parties, or celebratory gatherings.
  • Lake Paddle Boarding Lessons: When coastal conditions are less favorable, lessons shift to a nearby lake. This offers a serene alternative with sheltered waters, ideal for lessons and practice.
  1. BarnesBrinkCraft
Barnes Brinkcraft has been around for a while. This company offers to hire out the equipment for your canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking

If you’re looking to hire a paddle board for an extended period, for example, if you’re taking part in day boat hire Norfolk Broads check out BarnesBrinkCraft. You can hire a paddleboard for a week at £90 or a short break at £65. This is ideal if you stay in one of their boats or holiday homes. Usually, a refundable deposit of £250 is required but research the updated prices beforehand. 

Each hire has a buoyancy aid, paddle, ankle strap, and essential instructions on safe paddleboard use. Apart from paddleboards, they also offer rowing and sailing dinghies. 

Before you start, I must emphasize that you plan your exit route, especially considering the tide and the height of boats and quays. I would also recommend you stick to the Northern Rivers for paddleboarding, especially if you’re a beginner or paddling with one. Tides can be really strong here. A quick hack to check the tide’s direction: just drop a leaf in the river, and its floating direction will point it out. 

  1. Salhouse Broad: Canadian Canoe Hire
Salhouse broads is a very lively broads, especially in the summer. This is the most popular broad with tourists as it's big and has everything on-site needed for your canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking

Salhouse Broad offers an exceptional opportunity to explore the Norfolk Broads through their Canadian Canoe Hire service. They’ve got options for both 3-hour and 6-hour hires, giving you flexibility when planning your trip. The canoes are suitable for up to three adults or two adults and two small children, making them perfect for family outings or small groups.

They also have single kayaks available for hire. Both options include buoyancy aids, paddles, and dry bags to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. For those with their own SUP, kayak, or canoe, Salhouse Broad provides a launching service for a nominal fee, contributing to the upkeep of facilities and paths.

  1. Go Paddle

Go Paddle is a premier destination for paddleboard enthusiasts in Norfolk, with a standout feature, “Big Clive,” which adds an exciting dimension to group paddleboarding.

Big Clive is a large paddleboard that can carry up to 6 people (maximum 4 adults). It’s a Norfolk paddleboard perfect for families, friends, or team-building activities. It’s got a half-day rental option, but if you’re looking for special rates and longer hires, try their unique group experience. That way, you can enjoy your Norfolk paddleboarding over several days.

They also have regular paddleboard half-day and full-day rentals for short excursions and longer adventures. Perfect if you want to explore at your own pace. Each hire includes a paddleboard, paddle, pump, leash, board bag, buoyancy aid, phone case, and dry bag, so you’re all set.

To top it off, they’ve got tailored service options for the youngsters to join in on the fun.

  1. TheCanoeMan
TheCanoeMan is a great choice for hiring a canoe or paddleboard around the Norfolk broads. His experience is unmatched on a much more intimate level

You can’t talk about Norfolk broads Canoe, paddleboarding, and kayaking without mentioning TheCanoeMan. They’re a go-to name for anyone looking to hire canoes, kayaks, or SUPs in the region, and for good reason. Their network of hire centres is sprinkled across the Broads – Buxton, Beccles, Norwich, Wroxham, and Coltishall.

Their range of options caters to all sorts of paddlers. Whether it’s a canoe’s stability and communal vibe, perfect for families or small groups, or a kayak’s more personal, close-to-the-water feel, they’ve got you covered. And SUPs are a trendy pick for those balancing between adventure and calm. I’ve tried them all, and each offers a different way to connect with the stillness and beauty of the Broads.

What sets TheCanoeMan apart is its inclusivity. Many of their activities are dog-friendly – because why should your furry friend miss out on the adventure? And those with more structure to their paddling have guided trails and one-way trips. 

Then there’s the canoe camping and bushcraft courses. After a long day of paddling, I can never get over the feel of canoeing camping.


Alright, let’s wrap this up! If you’re dipping your toes into Norfolk Broads Canoe, paddleboarding and kayaking, you’re in for a treat. Whether you’re gliding through calm waters or navigating lively streams, each activity provides a unique way to connect with nature and the stunning landscapes of Norfolk.

It’s just you, the serene landscapes, and maybe a few curious ducks for company. So, grab your gear, pick your vessel, and let the Broads show you what real water adventure feels like. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t forget!