Boating holidays are a great way to relax. As you meander through the countryside you’ll have no option but to slow down. This article gives some suggestions for routes you can take if cruising in the Norfolk Broads.

One of the first things to remember when considering a route is not to overestimate how far you will get on your journey. The speed limit on most of the inland waterways in the UK is four miles per hour and you will not necessarily want to achieve this. The second thing to remember is that, unless you are taking a circular route, remember that you need to allow sufficient time to get back to the holiday base   it’s amazing how many people don’t do this!

A tranquil boating scene at Wroxham, Norfolk Broads.

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The Norfolk Broads are one of the most popular areas for those boating in the UK. Cut off from the rest of the UK’s river and canal networks, the Broads encompass a large area of Norfolk and Suffolk. There are a number of boatyards near to Wroxham, the largest village on the River Bure, including one at Horning. LeBoat operate from here and offer a range of short and longer term breaks. You can visit them at

If you’re looking for a short break that starts at Horning then you may want to head west out of the boatyard and travel towards Wroxham. It’s famous for a particularly low bridge so you’ll need to concentrate on your navigation skills! Wroxham itself is a pretty village with a number of shops, restaurants and pubs, including the Wroxham Barn Crafts Centre.

The How Hill Nature Reserve near Ludham is also within easy reach if you’re only boating for a couple of days. There is plenty to see and do at this large fen which is home to a variety of rare animals and plants, a cottage museum and some restored mills.

If you’re boating for a week or longer you’ll have the choice between cruising a short distance with lots of stops that you can enjoy all that the immediate area has to offer or heading further afield and spending a lot more time on the water.

For a typical Broadland village stop in at Ranworth and admire the view from the tower of the village’s imposing 14th century church. There is also a nature reserve to explore, local pub to enjoy and gift shop located her.

Enjoy a boating break at Ranworth, Norfolk Broads.

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The nearby River Ant will give you access to the busy town of North Walsham which has plenty of facilities such as shops and restaurants and the lovely villages of Stalham and Sutton. Stalham is only about four miles from the beach and also home to a farmers market.

Or you could travel up the River Thurne and stop at Potter Heigham. The Boating Centre here has a chip shop, pub and newsagent. If you continue further you end up at the village of Horsey, only a mile from the sea. The Horsey wind pump located here is owned by the National Trust and is open to visitors.

Of course, there are plenty of other villages and towns that you could stop off at in the Norfolk Broads and routes that you could navigate. This is part of the reason why the Broads retain their popularity and why many visitors return again and again.


Shirley Jones writes regularly about UK holidays for a number of blogs and websites. She used and other boating sites to research this article.


Image Credits: ell brown and Peter Munks.

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