The Norfolk Broads are, perhaps, the feature for which Norfolk is best known (that and the myth that it's flat, although the fact that there's not a single lock on the Broads does rather tend to add credence to that stance!).
The Broads, which in fact, stretch through Norfolk and North Suffolk, comprise around 150 miles of navigable rivers and over 40 lakes, without a single lock. Thought until the early 1950s to be a natural feature, it is now accepted that the broads themselves (unlike the rivers connecting them which are, for the most part natural features) resulted from the digging of peat for fuel in medieval times which flooded in the 14th century (due to a rise in sea levels!) to form the current landscape of shallow broads joined by a series of rivers.
It is a unique area of water, grazing marshes, fen and woodland, and home to some of the rarest plants and creatures in the UK. The Broads, which have a status similar to that of a National Park, offer fishing, boating, nature trails, bird watching, waterside pubs, cycling and walking.
The Broads can be enjoyed on foot, by car, by bicycle, by train, on a tour boat, by canoe, via a self-drive launch or on a number of guided tours on larger boats and small launches, some of the latter being electrically powered. Larger parties might even consider a skippered private charter.
Day boats, as the name suggests, are usually hired by the day (!) or half day, although some boatyards will hire by the hour, especially out of the peak season.
Guests at White Lodge Farm Cottages can benefit from discounts on day boat hire and we will be happy to assist those travelling by bicycle or on foot with itineraries, perhaps enabling part of the journey to be undertaken by train (many carry bikes) and/or using the Broads Hopper bus service, which also conveys cycles. There are maps available via our cycling page or cycle routes around the Norfolk Broads.
For the ultimate in low environmental impact you could take a trip on the Electric Eel. Departing from How Hill (which is worth a visit in itself), the trip lasts 50 minutes, including a short walk to a bird hide. An experienced guide will show you the wildlife - stunning dragonflies, marsh harriers, wildflowers and swallowtail butterflies. Booking is essential. The boat takes six people and has a roof but the sides are open.
Whilst at Whitlingham Country Park, which is on the River Yare on the edge of Norwich, you could take a trip on ‘Ra’, Britain's first solar-powered passenger boat, offering a hi-tech boating experience, excellent views and the chance to see Broads wildlife close to the city.
Visitors in April until the end of October to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham can take a short (20 minute) boat trip on the private broad or a relaxing 50 minute trip down the river to the historic ruins of St. Benet&rsquos Abbey. It is a great way to see Kingfishers, Grebe and Swans or maybe even an Otter.
Guests with limited mobility will be interested to know that there are a number of boats on the Norfolk Broads which have been adapted for use of wheelchair users and those who would benefit from being able to board a boat via a ramp or hoist.
Due to their limited availability and popularity pre-booking of these adapted craft is either advisable or essential:
Guests say ...
“Horning: We really enjoyed time watching life on the Broads. Lovely riverside pub and small shops.”
-The G & E Families
“Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden: Lovely here and wonderful walks. You can also do boat trips. If you sit where the boat comes in you can take advantage of watching swans and ducks. A really lovely spot.”
“Boat Tour of the Broads from Wroxham: Interesting and relaxing. The Broads really are beautiful.”
-The F Families
“Lovely day boating from Wroxham - Boat accommodated 8 plus dogs. Scenery and housing along riverside amazing.”
-C, I, F & Molly
“If you go for a day on the Broads probably best to hire your own boat.”
-K, P, G, C & C & P
“Recommend Southern Comfort Broads boat trip from Horning - very quaint village and you can take a large wheelchair on board.”
-The M Family