Holidays on the Norfolk Broads

For anyone wanting to mess about on the river the Norfolk Broads offer great scope and endless variety. So it's no wonder that holidays on the Norfolk Broads are very popular with English and foreign visitors alike. Thanks to that popularity, amenities are plentiful, be it lakeside holiday cottages, boat hire places or restaurants and pubs offering tasty food.

My only complaint would be that during the height of the season it can get rather busy. But even then you can usually find a quiet corner to contemplate Norfolk's endless skies or the wildlife in the Broads.

There are many ways to enjoy the Broads and not all of them require you to get on the water. Boardwalks and hides allow a glimpse into the inner workings of the wetland, the trees and plants that grow there, and the wildlife calling it home. Some of the visitor centres offer guided walks with a ranger or time in a hide with an ornithologist to help you identify the birds you spot, and others provide a secluded, peaceful place to sit and doze or have your lunch.

In our experience, the only thing the Broads are not really ideal for is cycling - and even that's not strictly true. There are plenty of small, quiet roads to meander through - but from most of them you just don't get a good view of the water. The road is often edged by trees and the peace and tranquillity of the Broads is hidden from you as you pedal along the lanes soaking up a different kind of serenity.

Atmospheric Norfolk Broads © RonPorter | pixabay.comAtmospheric Norfolk Broads © RonPorter |

So What About Activities on the Water?

For many visitors a rowing boat is their first introduction to the expanse of the Norfolk Broads and they can be rented from a number of hire centres around the Broads.

Canoes are also popular and many centres offer introductory classes or training courses for more experienced canoeists.

Windsurfing enthusiasts can find two main centres catering to their interests at Hickling Broad and Oulton Broad. And if you've never taken to the board, these would also be a good place to learn how to do it.

Motor boats are a good introduction to the Broads if you've never been on the water. Many centres offer tours with a skipper who knows the Broads. Or you can hire a boat from a company specialising in boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads and go exploring on your own, knowing that you'll have everything with you that you could possibly need and that competent help is at hand if you need it.

Impressions from the Norfolk Broads © essentially-england.comImpressions from the Norfolk Broads ©

Still, for me, the most beautiful sight in the Broads has to be a sailing boat passing. They come in all shapes and sizes from small dinghies to traditional Norfolk wherries to quite large boats and their elegant, effortless progress along the channels looks simply stunning. So far, I haven't managed to go out on one yet, but it's high on my wish list.

If you're not comfortable hiring and sailing your own boat, you can join one of the sailing schools for a course or go out with an experienced skipper.

Are You Planning a Holiday in Norfolk?

Where You Could Stay

Norfolk has no shortage of fabulous holiday accommodation whether you want to spend time on the beach, love boating or want to explore inland. You may covet a tiny fisherman's cottage like the one in Blakeney we kept returning to. You may like something larger and more modern like a loft overlooking the Norfolk Broads, or the right place for you may be a chic city apartment perfectly placed to explore Norwich...

Holiday Cottages in Norfolk: The Granary, Hingham |

The Granary
Sleeps 4

Holiday Cottages in Norfolk: The Dingle, Cromer  |

The Dingle
Sleeps 9

Holiday Cottages in Norfolk: The Old Stables, Mileham |

The Old Stables
Sleeps 2

To see other holiday cottages in Norfolk click here. Or check out holiday cottages in other parts of England by clicking here.

However, if you fancy a hotel how about some of these...

Hotels Norfolk: The Goldern Lion Hotel, Hunstanton |

The Goldern Lion Hotel

Hotels Norfolk: Blakeney House, Blakeney |

Blakeney House

Hotels Norfolk: Chalk & Cheese, Shouldham |

Chalk & Cheese

To view more hotels in Norfolk click here.

What You Could See and Do

It's next to impossible to be bored in Norfolk, there's just so much to do and see. The list below includes some of our favourite places

  • Explore Norwich with its shops and two cathedrals and pay a visit to Norwich Castle and its teapot museum.
  • Visit Admiral Lord Nelson's birthplace at Burham Thorpe and read the report of the Battle of Trafalgar in a copy of The Times from 1805
  • Spend a day at Sandringham and Castle Rising Castle
  • Take a ride on the Holt to Sheringham Railway and explore the beautiful little town of Holt and the seaside town of Sheringham
  • Explore the ruins of Castle Acre  and Castle Acre Priory
  • Shop in Burnham Market
  • Wander around the small town of Blakeney, explore the church and harbour before making an attempt to reach the seals at Blakeney Point
  • Admire the famous windmill and go birdwatching in Cley-next-the-Sea
  • Be wowed by the rhododendrons in Sheringham Park
  • Visit Anne Boleyn's family home, Blickling Hall, or explore Oxburgh Hall, a fabulous manor house with a moat.
  • Go wildlife spotting while walking through the Cley marshes from Blakeney
  • Or even fish for crabs and wander along the famous pier at Cromer.

The Norfolk Broads are a great place to be whether you like to watch wildlife, explore old wind pumps, enjoy a peaceful afternoon tea or sail, surf and explore on the water. Try a week's holidays on the Norfolk Broads and bring some of that space and tranquillity back with you!

For more ideas return from Holidays on the Norfolk Broads to the Norfolk county page.