There is nothing more satisfying than being by the river on a hot sunny day. It’s even better if you can dip your toes and cool off! But waterside days can be a year-round adventure. Escape the seasonal coastal crowds and opt for a day on the river.
The village of Grantchester is one of those picture perfect quintessential English villages. Cobbled cottages sweeping with wisteria, a beautiful church, plenty of green space and a few fabulous welcoming pubs. During the warmer months its biggest attraction is the River Cam which runs through the meadows.
The banks are the perfect spot for a picnic, ball games or a dog walk, while on the hottest days, the river comes to life with children swinging from the rope swing, swimmers braving the murky water, paddle boarders and punts. Punts can be hired at various points along the bank.
For those looking to get active, this is the ideal location to launch your own kayak. Equipment such as the Itiwit three man inflatable kayak can be picked up from Decathlon, for a reasonable £249. Easy to pack and inflate, the kayak can bring hours of family fun. Launch from the shallows and spend the afternoon paddling up and down the river taking in the stunning scenery and wildlife, including the resident cows!
The River Orwell offers some of the best views of Suffolk. Hop aboard the Lady Orwell for a sightseeing tour or enjoy an afternoon tea cruise from Harwich Harbour or Pin Mill. There are a number of cruises throughout the year, including sunset options during the summer.
If you’d prefer to keep your feet on dry land but still want to experience the River Orwell landscape, pack a picnic and head to the Nacton Picnic Site, where you can watch ships navigating the narrow channel up river to Ipswich.
For a sense of escapism visit Dedham Vale; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s clear to see why this was inspiration for artists Constable and Gainsborough, there’s beauty at every turn. The village is lined with pastel coloured cottages, the landscape is dreamy and the River Stour provides a haven for picnics, paddleboards and punts. Laze along the banks on the finer days or stop for a bite to eat at one of the riverside pubs for lunch with a view!
This river forms part of the boundary between Essex and Hertfordshire. Beginning in the Chiltern Hills (a fantastic walking location), it flows south east before meeting the River Thames. Follow the Lea Valley Walk from Hertford to Broxbourne taking in sights of barges, historic malt buildings and tree lined banks. If you fancy navigating the waters and locks yourself, head to the Lee Valley Boat Centre in Broxbourne, where you can hire a Rosie & Jim style boat for the day. Pack a picnic and have a fun day navigating the water and locks.
The Rickmansworth Aquadrome is a wonderful free day out. With free entry and parking, settle down at one of the many waterside picnic spots for lunch and games. There are plenty of walks and the opportunity to join in one of the many watersports for an additional fee.
Paddle boarding by the river in Norfolk
You are spoiled for choice for picnic locations along the expansive Norfolk Broads. With a pub, museum or café never far away you can make a day trip anytime of the year. Come the warmer days and Paddleboarding and canoeing on the Broads has become a popular past time. However, if you’d prefer something a little less wet and wild how about taking a Broads Cruiser; a great way to enjoy the water and be guided through tranquil Norfolk countryside. There are several passenger boat companies that run scheduled hourly services from numerous locations across the Broads during the summer season.
River Great Ouse
Discover the River Great Ouse with a trip to Bedford. Enjoy this stretch of water with walk along the pretty tree-lined Embankment. Here you’ll find a number of riverside pubs, perfect for a Pimms in the sunshine. Ouse Valley Way offers a number of walks that flows the flow of the river. Try walking from upstream from Bedford which leads to Turvery, Sharnbrook and Stevington or walk from Bedford to Great Barford. Learn more about the waterway with a canoe or kayaking trip, available at www.canoetrail.co.uk. For a leisurely afternoon opt for a John Bunyan river cruise complete with afternoon tea or a fish and chips supper. Of course, you don’t have to be on the water to enjoy this stretch of river, there’s plenty of riverside pubs where you can enjoy a Pimms on the warmer days including the Bedford Swan outside bar & The Embankment river garden.
For more information on up-to-date info and things to do why not check out our Facebook Page or Groups dedicated to your county Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk. Those dog lovers out there would be barking mad not to join our Doglife Group and vegan’s, you’ll be pleased we have one dedicated to you too.