Norfolk Broads Boat Hire & Boating Holidays.
Planning a holiday is stressful at the best of times. Furthermore, planning a boating holiday to a location geographically small but with a lot of different options sure brings its own challenges. My job is to make things a little simpler. By the end, you’ll hopefully be able to pick one or the other and kick-start your Norfolk Broads Holiday preparations.
Visiting the Norfolk Broads can be done in various ways, and I’ve got the benefit of having this fantastic location inside my back garden. Lucky me! Even being so local, I’ve stayed in a variety of locations and many different boats. It Doesn’t matter if you’re bringing your family, partner or your four-legged friend, there’s something for everybody here In the Norfolk Broads
What to Expect on Your Norfolk Broads Holiday
The Norfolk Broads in my opinion is one of the most diverse, beautiful systems in the world. I’ve been to many rivers from the Nile to the Mekong and the Norfolk broads is special.
As you approach the Norfolk broads via any route, the roads just get smaller, windier and feel like you’ve returned in time. The old thatched cottages of the riverside and the scenic meandering network of rivers, it’s incredibly picturesque, it’s like every corner is a postcard opportunity. Life these days is about pictures and memories and there’s a reason why it’s probably the most snapped river system in the UK
Quaint Towns and Villages
You’ll find beautiful little towns and villages throughout the Norfolk Broads River systems. You’ll get the main attractions like the world-famous Wroxham, or the little brother and the equally stunning Potter Heigham. There’s one of the best Norfolk broads restaurants up in horning with free mooring, there’s one of the most peaceful villages On the Norfolk Broads being ranworth and a short distance away there’s Coltishall. These are just a few locations accessible by boat. I will say now, some of the most incredible locations I’ve discovered are just by aimlessly boating from town to town. Seriously, if you just spend a day exploring, you’ll come across some sites worth a few pictures.
If you’re big into birds, the Norfolk Broads has a rich diversity of bird life. I’m sure it will satisfy the needs of any beloved bird watcher. You’ll see everything from Seagulls to the super rare Bittern. I was lucky enough to see one of these in Ludham once. It was an honour, as it’s one bird that’s eluded me for many years. You’ll hear them before you see them, for sure.
I think the one bird Norfolk has become famous for is its healthy Heron numbers. If you spend any amount on the river, you’ll likely of seen them expertly perched riverside. They almost look like a statue. By far the best place to find this is Horning. They know the local fisherman will bring in the fish, so patiently wait for their next meal.
Talking about expert fisherman, there are plenty of otters around the broads, I’ve mostly seen these in and around where people feed the ducks, although they’re abundant throughout the broads. Keep an eye out, they’ll probably scare the life out of you, popping up out of nowhere. I once saw an otter jump out of the water, on the boat of a family, to take the fish they’d just caught. Madness! For sure getting braver..
Other mentions are rare dragonflies like the Norfolk Hawker, butterflies and many species of bees. I once ended up in some tiny section of the river and witnessed a family of little water voles go from one side of the river to the other. It was a moment that makes you really appreciate nature just that little bit more
If you wanted to experience the water on a little bit more of a personal level, check out paddleboarding! It’s incredibly fun and can be as long as you want it to be. Moor up in many free mooring areas of the broads and spend a few hours. There are safety guides and nobody is expected to venture out too far. I paddleboard probably two or three times a year. Just remember, you’ll probably get wet! If you’re unsure or apprehensive about paddleboarding, just remember I can’t swim for the life of me. I can manage it and feel confident enough to get out on the water. Make the most of your holiday on the Norfolk broads.
Cycling is another must! Dust off that bike and make sure you bring it alone. There are so many places to moor around the broads. Most mooring places are situated in scenic villages, allowing ample room for a cycling adventure. Don’t just limit yourself to just cycling around the broads, there are a few wonderful places within a very short drive. You’ve got a few RSPB sites and national trust locations. My two recommendations are Blickling Hall and Felbrigg Hall. Felbrigg is a little easier if you value your legs, some routes in Blickling are inclines, and I’ve made that mistake before.
Selecting the right Norfolk Broads Holiday
There are essentially two ways to experience the broads national park. Firstly, you can either hire a boat for the duration, There are choices for any budget. You can opt for a standard boat with everything you need, a luxury boat, or a general cruiser hire boat. It all goes down to preference, I’m not going to give you the ins and outs of what these boats entail as you’ll find them in other blog posts. You’ll be limited to mooring from place to place and purely spend all night on the water. Some people have no issues with this, as most boats these days have everything you need to have a comfortable holiday. You can really capture the beauty of your waterside holiday. Most are all pet friendly as well.
Spending the majority of time on the boat with enhance your boating experience. You’ll get to experience the early morning sunrise, and the beautiful 125 miles of river before all the other tourists have woken up. Late at night after around half 7 when most of the boats have gone, this is the prime time for fishing, wildlife and having a gentle cruise.
Secondly, hiring accommodation either riverside or close to the river. By this, I mean having the river right outside your accommodation. You’re probably asking why would we want to come to the Norfolk broads and not stay on a boat? Some people prefer the feeling of stepping off a boat and having fixed accommodations. There’s a reason why most of the holiday accommodations across the Norfolk broads sell out year upon year.
If you opt for this, you have the advantage of visiting other towns and villages at your own will. Not limited to time or worried you have to get back to the boat. You can venture up to Norwich for the day, and visit some of the coast’s most loved RSPB locations like Strumpshaw Fen and a little bit further north is RSPB Snettisham. There’s plenty of accommodation across the broads or the facility of.
If you do opt for one of the waterside cottages, just remember you can still hire a day boat. Many companies in short distances have a day boat for hire. You can pick and select what days you want to spend on the water. Many times I’ve hired a boat for the week and haven’t really left the boat because I’ve paid for it, It’s a flexible approach and one that should be carefully thought about.
Although fishing is entirely possible from a boat, it’s nice to have a Basecamp if you’ve opted for a waterside property. Nothing like a quiet bit of fishing in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.
All Budget Options For Your Broads Holiday
Budget plays a huge part when booking a holiday. What your perfect Norfolk Broads adventure might be, could be the opposite of the next person. The stumbling block for most people is the budget. I think if you can find a company not based in the main hubs of Wroxham, Horning or Potter Heigham, the rates can be slightly cheaper. It also depends on the time of year you’re planning on visiting. If you can get away with not coming during peak summer, the availability of cheaper options is much more achievable.
You can opt for a luxury cruiser, which generally has a higher price point than say the more basic holiday cruisers. You have to think if needing a more modern kitchen is worth spending 100s of pounds more. At the end of the day, they all have at least one toilet. If you’re just wanting to explore the Norfolk Broads National Park, whether it’s the river bure or southern broads, opt for a boat which provides adequate space and all the necessities needed to provide the perfect start to your adventure on the water. These can be half the price of a luxury.
You can opt for all-inclusive deals and some come with its own little fishing boat. Again, this pushes the price up. Have a think, about what you really want before you hire on the Norfolk Broads.
If we talk about land properties, either a waterside holiday cottages, an apartment in one of the main hubs, or just accommodation within driving distance to the broads. There’s a lot more flexibility in the budget. Some people go as far down as Great Yarmouth and spend a couple of days on the water. You can treat it like a Norfolk broads boating holiday or a holiday in Norfolk. You can also come back again another year. I met a family 7 years ago when I was fishing, that was their first time, they hired a luxury boat, I stayed in contact with them and meet up fishing every year. Now, they opt for accommodation inland from the river and plan their itinerary. It shows there’s variety, just find your perfect Norfolk Broads Holiday.
Selecting The Right Time Of Year To Holiday On The Norfolk Broads
We all daydream about boating down the river, 30 degrees, music on, sunglasses on. That is all entirely possible, I’m not going to ruin that dream just yet! With such temperatures come the seasons, and with the seasons come the tourists, and with the tourists comes busyness. Do you see where this is going? If you don’t mind the hustle and bustle, then you’ll have no issues. Just be mindful when you’re out on the water, heading towards some of the broads, like Wroxham, Hickling, Martham and any other, it can get pretty busy so stay vigilant and stick to the guidance given by the operating company.
Late Springtime is my favourite time, even if I was just opting for a Potter Heigham day boat hire or Wroxham day boat hire, I’d still prefer late spring. There’s a slightly lighter atmosphere, you can feel the area slowly waking up ready for a busy summer.
With accommodation, you’ll find most of the ones with a river flowing through the back garden so to speak, very difficult to get hold of all year. You’ll have to plan well in advance to secure those. Furthermore, though, there’s plenty around even if you stayed a few miles from the river, the prices are generally cheaper in the springtime.
Norfolk Broads Boating Holidays
Most of the companies that deal with Norfolk broads boat hire, offer additional boats to cater for any party of any size. I think this is where your preferences come into it, mine are a little more basic than the next person. I recommend having a read through our favourite Norfolk Broads Boat Hire companies. Prices can go from around 550 up to 2500+. There are just too many variables.
Norfolk Broads Holiday Cottages
As mentioned earlier, prices vary and can be a lot more affordable. I’ll show you my choices, all are dog friendly and suited for couples or large families.
Hawthorns Lower is a great place for families to stay and is conveniently located near many local attractions, offering an excellent starting point for further exploration. The Broads, which are world-renowned for their stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, can be easily accessed by boat, which can be rented just half a mile from the property. The area is also home to various wildlife, including herons and kingfishers.
Families can enjoy exciting and entertaining activities at BeWilderwood (6 miles away), Dinosaur Adventure (20 miles away), and Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park (26 miles away), all of which are easily accessible. Moreover, the neighbouring coastal region is scattered with charming towns and villages with classic seaside fairs and attractions. There are sandy beaches nearby, with the closest one being less than 5 miles away in Sea Palling. This beach is known for its resident seals. If you are looking to go shopping, the city of Norwich, which is just 16 miles away, is a beautiful and historic location for some retail therapy.
This beautiful and roomy vacation house is perfect for the entire family. Since there are no stairs, everyone can stay together on one floor and make cherished memories. The kitchen is fully equipped and provides all the necessary tools to prepare a variety of meals, from simple snacks to delicious, filling dinners. The dining table can accommodate six people comfortably, while the lounge area is spacious enough for all guests and features several sofas perfect for snuggling up and enjoying your favourite streaming service on the Smart TV. At bedtime, the option of a king-size room is available to ensure a restful sleep. The accommodation includes either two rooms for two people each or two identical rooms with enough space to store clothes and personal belongings. All guests share a bathroom with a shower and toilet. Additionally, there is a communal utility room equipped with a washing machine, dryer, trouser press, and ironing board.
There are two outdoor spaces available for your pleasure, allowing you to follow the sun’s path. At the back of the property, there is a gravelled and enclosed section with seats, while at the front, there is a garden and patio that is also enclosed. This spot has a picnic-style bench that is perfect for drinking and dining with a group of friends. Enjoy the open air as the sun sets. In the vicinity of Hawthorns, there is a chalet park that provides a pass for swimming in their outdoor pool. The pool is only open during the summer months, from May to September. The chalet park also has a bar and restaurant that is accessible. between March and October.
Tilly’s Meadow is a fenced area for dogs that is fully enclosed and covers 2 acres. It is situated 15 miles away from the property and comes with a shelter, as well as tables and chairs. If you want to use Tilly’s Meadow, you can rent it out for an extra cost of £10 per hour. The owners can help you arrange for access to the meadow.
St Benets offers a wonderful countryside experience for your Norfolk broads holiday, with its attractive traditional design, beautiful gardens and wide-ranging country views. This Norfolk cottage has four rooms and can accommodate eight guests, making it a great choice for larger families or two families travelling together. Located in the outskirts of Ludham, about 14 miles away from Norwich, it is a perfect getaway retreat.The city of Norwich is located about 8 miles away from the sandy beach at Winterton, where you can enjoy swimming in the sea and occasionally see seals.
If you travel around 2.5 miles to Potter Heigham, you can rent cruisers to sail on the Broads. Besides, you can visit Norwich to shop at independent and mainstream stores, explore restaurants, and see tourist attractions.Visit the castle, cathedral, and provision market. Bring the kids to Bewilderwood, a forest-themed amusement park located 4 miles away.
Enter this cozy cottage to discover lodging adorned with visible wooden beams and brick walls. Move into the living room to ignite the wood-burning stove in the traditional fireplace and unwind while watching TV or a DVD in its warm and comfortable atmosphere. Proceed to the snug, where there is additional comfortable seating. Enjoy a comfortable seat or listen to music with the additional TV and CD player provided.
When it’s time to eat, head into the spacious kitchen to cook up a delicious meal for your group. The kitchen includes an electric double oven, stovetop, and microwave, as well as a dishwasher, fridge, and freezer. You can even catch up on your favourite shows while cooking thanks to the TV. On the ground floor, you have the option of cooking a meal or enjoying some music on the radio/CD player.
Afterwards, you can all gather in the dining room, which has a charming decorative fireplace, to share a meal. Additionally, there is a bathroom located on the ground floor for convenience. As you explore the first floor, you’ll find three double bedrooms and one twin room. It’s worth noting that one of the double bedrooms can be accessed either through the twin room or by climbing up a ship’s ladder. Please ensure that children using the ladder are monitored closely while accessing the cosy space.
The two twin bedrooms have different amenities, with one having a third single bed and the other having a television. The property also features two bathrooms suitable for families, one equipped with a bathtub, shower, and toilet, and the other with a bathtub, handheld shower, and toilet. It is important to bear in mind that there are some areas in the space with limited headroom.
Take advantage of the lovely enclosed garden by observing the children playing on the grass, cooking on the BBQ, and having a meal outside in the bright seating area while taking in the scenery. There’s enough room to park two automobiles on the driveway and more space on the grassy shoulders.
Greengages Lodge is an ideal hideaway for a couple, as it accommodates two people. This small retreat is located within the property of the owner’s thatched cottage, but it also offers privacy. The cottage is situated in Threehammer village. Located just one mile from Neatishead in northern Norfolk.
You could also travel a bit further, about 2 miles, to Horning to rent motor cruisers and spend some time out on the water for a few hours. If it’s summer, travel 14 miles to Winterton and enjoy spending time on the sandy beach, or visit during the winter to see the seals. For a deeper cultural experience, head 12 miles to Norwich and explore its vibrant history and culture. Immerse yourself in the urban environment, which offers a multitude of cultural experiences, artistic attractions, retail opportunities, and dining options.
You cook up a storm in the fully equipped kitchen. This hideaway offers all amenities necessary to ensure a comfortable stay, with a well-thought-out layout comprising of a spacious lounge/kitchen/dining area, allowing for enjoyable evenings by the open fire whilst watching a movie on the wall-mounted flat-screen TV.
The spacious room is helpful as you can prepare dinner and make tea while talking with your companions during lazy nights at home. There is an electric hob, oven, fridge, and many countertops available in the kitchen area. Additionally, this accommodation is equipped with an ice box, microwave, and washer/dryer, and there is a freezer available for communal use in an adjacent building. After a thrilling day, unwind in a luxurious soak in the bath, which includes an electric shower and toilet, before retiring to the master bedroom for a peaceful night’s rest. night’s sleep.
Take advantage of the serene atmosphere in the secluded garden located beside the cottage. Savour your meals here, whether it’s lunch or dinner, and relish a beverage on warm evenings while watching the sunset. Additionally, revel in the owner’s shared accessibility to the orchard and woodland. A parking space for a solitary car is available on the premises.
Hopefully, you’ve got a lot better understanding of your preferred Norfolk Broads Holiday. Just remember though, no matter what you decide, you’ll be experiencing the very best of what Norfolk has to offer.
Don’t forget to check out the many pubs and restaurants and areas to moor up your boat. My advice is to also familiarise yourself with the Environmental Agency and Broads authority rules and regulations before booking any boat, especially more than just a day boat hire.
Let us know how you get on with your Norfolk Broads Holiday. Any advice I can give, I’ll be sure to pass on the knowledge