All aboard the Broads! We round up some of the best boat hire to start your journey on the Norfolk Broads
Think of Norfolk, and for most the Broads immediately comes to mind. The National Park features over 125 miles of lock free waterways, meandering its way through stunning countryside, historic towns and villages. It’s the perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a day out, and with the weather warming up, there’s never been a better time to visit.
Boat rental on the Norfolk Broads
Without a doubt the best way to see the Broads is by boat. Hiring your own boat for the day is an exhilarating experience, it’s a chance to get up close with the beauty of the Broads and feel like a captain for the day – no wonder it appeals to almost everyone. Families, groups of friends, couples – boat hire is big business on the Broads.
A Google search will list hundreds of companies offering both day hire and boating holidays. Norfolk Broads Direct have been specialising in boating holidays for over 100 years. It has a modern fleet of luxury cruisers available to pick up from the ‘capital of the Broads’ Wroxham. It also has riverside cottages available for hire for those that prefer to stay on dry land.
Wroxham is a popular place to start your journey. It also makes a great day out even if you’re not planning to take to the water. Famed for Roys, said to be the world’s largest village store, it is home to plenty of places to eat, a terminus of Bure Valley Railway and the popular family attractions of BeWILDerwood and Wroxham Barns. Read our guide to Wroxham.
Pubs on the Norfolk Broads
If you’re hiring a boat from Wroxham get to grips with your vessel as you make your way to Horning, a popular pit-stop for boaters. Dotted along this stretch of water are The Innkeeper’s Lodge, The Swan and New Inn, great for a spot of lunch on the water’s edge. Just be prepared to wait for a mooring spot in the summer months!
From here, make your way to Ranworth, a beautiful little village which is home to St Helen’s Church, known as the Cathedral of the Broads, a nature reserve and a fantastic pub, The Maltsters. Ranworth is a popular place for overnight mooring so it’s recommended you arrive prior to sunset as space is limited.
Boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads
Potter Heigham is another popular place to begin your Broads journey. It is home to Herbert Woods, which has had a presence on the Broads for nine decades. Brand new to its fleet of modern cruisers is ‘Adventuring Light,’ a small compact cruiser, perfect for couples and first-time boaters.
The boat is easy to moor with an in-built bow thruster and a central steering position. Sleeping two, short breaks from Friday to Monday start from £428.
If you fancy taking to the Broads in old school style, you can now hire ‘Spark of Light’; Herbert Woods’ original wooden motor cruiser. The wooden boat, built in 1927, captures the old-time cruising fashion of idyllic motor boating in that era, with in-built mod-cons you would expect to find in its modern fleet of boats. It has been refurbished, ready to hire to couples, families and boating enthusiasts for week-long breaks from May 2017.
Sailing on the Norfolk Broads
Fancy sailing? Hunter’s Yard in Ludham, offers the opportunity to get behind the sail with its fleet of 14 engineless cabin yachts and seven half deckers (day boats) available for hire. You can take a two-hour class with an experience skipper or holiday and learn to sail at the same time.
Of course you don’t have to hire a boat to enjoy this part of Norfolk. There’s plenty of cottage and apartment hire available, which make a great base for other activities such as fishing and wildlife spotting. Keen anglers will love the wide range of fishing on offer. Among the rivers and shallow lakes, the waters are rich with Bream, Roach, Eels, Perch, Rudd, Tench, Carp and Pike.
Get back to nature with a visit to one of the many nature reserves or take a walk along nearly 200 miles of footpaths to discover 11,000 species of wildlife and rare plants such as the nationally protected fen orchid and crested buckler fern.
Dotted along the Broads are picturesque villages, market towns and some of the counties best-loved pubs! Are you tempted yet?
Visiting with your dog, check out dog-friendly guide to the Broads at www.eastlife.co.uk/article/visit-broads-dog/