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Norfolk Broads

One of the UK's largest and finest wetland landscapes. A unique patchwork of lakes, rivers, woodland, marsh and wide open skies.

An Introduction to the Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads Sailing
Mooring Staithe
Norfolk Broads Birds
St Benets River Bure
Ludham Yacht

The Norfolk Broads is the UK's largest and finest wetland landscape. This unique patchwork of rivers and lakes is not, as was first thought, a natural landscape, but a result of intensive digging of peat in the Middle Ages to provide fuel. The empty pits were soon filled by rising water levels and now form a network of over 125 miles of navigable waterways providing leisure interest for many. The Norfolk Broads landscape is one of beauty and peace, of water, marsh, woodland and wide skies - with views of church towers and windmills. There is abundant wildlife including many rare butterflies and dragonflies. Some of the nature reserves can only be visited by boat and a tour by road can disappoint. Visit Broadland and you can enjoy many activities including Norfolk Broads boating holidays, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, walking, fishing and cycling. The Norfolk Broads has many lovely hotels, B&B, country cottages, parks and camping sites in which you can stay.
Dogs The Norfolk Broads are pet friendly and dogs are welcome in most local pubs and inns. Please keep pets on leads when near wildlife. Most boat hire companies allow dogs on-board and we recommend pet life jackets are used.
Children Kids love the water! There is plenty of local wildlife to spot including birds and even a thriving Otter population. Make sure your child is wearing a life jacket at all times while near the water.
Local Websites

Norfolk Cottages

Norfolk Broads Map

Norfolk Broads Map Trinity Broads Coltishall Wroxham Ludham Thurne Stalham Hickling Horsey Winterton on Sea Potter Heigham Martham Great Yarmouth Norwich Whitlingham Horning Salhouse Ranworth South Walsham Neatishead River Ant River Bure River Bure Barton Broad Barton Turf Acle Loddon Belaugh Burgh Castle Hemsby Reedham How Hill

Norfolk Broads Guided Picture Tour

We start our tour of the Norfolk Broads in the Capital of the Broads - Wroxham. From Wroxham you can either hire your own self-drive cruiser for the week, weekend, day, or just for a few hours. Alternatively, you can take an organised cruise aboard one of the large comfortable cruise boats. Norfolk Broads boating holidays date back to the 19th century, when John Loynes founded his boatyard business in 1878. By the late 19th century, boating on the Broads by the Victorians had mushroomed into a substantial tourist trade and that trade continues into the 21st century.
Wroxham Scene
A typical Wroxham scene of boats, refreshments and feeding the ducks!
Wroxham Bridge
Wroxham bridge over the River Bure
Broads Boat Tours
Norfolk Broads Boat Tours
Barnes Brinkcraft Cruisers
Holiday cruisers for hire at Barnes Brinkcraft
Broads Cruisers
River cruisers for holiday or weekend hire
Broads Day Boat
The inside of a typical Broads Day Boat
River Cottage
Riverside holiday cottages in Wroxham

See our suggested 3 day and 7 day Norfolk Broads cruising routes from Wroxham and from Stalham

Wroxham is also good for shopping, it claims to have world's largest village store - ROYS - but also contains plenty of other independent retailers. Wroxham also has a good choice of places to eat and drink, including restaurants, pubs and cafes. With plenty of FREE car parking, Wroxham is a popular day out all year round.
Department Store
Roys Department Store in Hoveton
Hoveton Precinct
The small shopping precinct in Hoveton, now with a Costa Coffee
Bridge Gift Shop
Bridge Gift Shop
The Bridge American Restaurant
The Bridge American Restaurant (currently closed)
Wherrymans Restaurant, Bar and Cafe
Wherrymans Restaurant, Bar and Cafe in Wroxham
Old Mill Restaurant and Cafe Bar
The Riverside Old Mill Restaurant and Cafe Bar
Kings Head Pub
The riverside entrance to the Kings Head Pub

Wroxham has plenty of tourist attractions located in the local area, including the Bure Valley Railway, Miniature Worlds, Wroxham Barns, Barton House Railway, Hoveton Hall Estate, Bewilderwood and Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden.
Bure Valley Railway
Steam train on the Bure Valley Railway at Wroxham
Great Britain Model Layout
Part of the Great Britain model layout at Miniature Worlds
Riverside Line
A steam train at the Barton House Railway
Wroxham Barns
Individual Craft Barns, situated around a courtyard at Wroxham Barns
Hoveton Hall Gardens
The cottage in the walled Spider Garden at Hoveton Hall Gardens

Next on our tour around the Norfolk Broads is Salhouse Broad, located a little way down the River Bure from Wroxham. Salhouse Broad takes our vote as the most beautiful of the Norfolk Broads and yet it is one of the smallest. It is surrounded by ancient woodland and is the only Broad to feature a small sandy beach. It is ideal to anchor the boat and go for a walk, enjoy a picnic or let the kids splash around.
Salhouse Broad
Salhouse Broad
Mooring at Salhouse
Boats mooring at Salhouse Broad

A short cruise down the River Bure takes us to Horning. This is one of the most picturesque villages on the Norfolk Broads and contains some fine old cottages, shops, pubs with river gardens and riverside walks. Horning is also one of the main boating centre's on the Broads. From here you can take a cruise aboard the paddle steamer "Southern Comfort" or watch the sailing from the Horning sailing club, which organise's the famous annual three rivers race.
River Bure at Horning
Riverside properties backing onto the river Bure at Horning
Norfolk Broads Pub
Swan Inn, Horning, Norfolk Broads
Swan Inn
Horning thatched cottage
Holiday Cottage
Holiday cottage at Horning
New Inn Garden
A lovely Norfolk Broads riverside garden at the New Inn

Downstream, just off the main river, you will find the lovely village of Ranworth. Here you will find the Cathedral of the Broads - a beautiful old church with steps allowing you to climb the church tower for fantastic views over the Broads. The village also has a fine pub (the Maltsters), a nature reserve and attractive local walks.
Norfolk Broads View
The fabulous view of the Norfolk Broads from the top of Ranworth church

The Cathedral of the Broads, Ranworth
Nature Reserve Centre
The thatched visitors centre at Ranworth Broad

Ranworth Broad is a boating paradise with all style, shape and size of boat, and their crew can often be found having a pint of local beer in the pub! Ranworth Broad is said to be haunted by a 12th century monk that is often seen rowing his boat out onto the Broad early in the morning mist.
Norfolk Broads Staithe
Ranworth Staithe, Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads Pub
The Malsters Pub, Norfolk Broads (currently closed)

Moving up the River Ant, we pass How Hill, a lovely place to moor up and explore. Although the main house is not open to the public (as it is a study centre) there is loads of things to see and do at How Hill. You can enjoy views of the river, including Turf Fen windmill, or take a river trip aboard the "Electric Eel", operated by the Broads Authority. Adjacent to the staithe is a small marshman's cottage, open as a free museum during the summer months. Walking up the hill towards the house, you will also find a nature reserve (small cost), a beautiful secret garden (free) and a large grass field for a picnic or family games.
How Hill View
An aerial view of the River Ant from How Hill (looking north towards Barton Broad)
Electric Eel
Mooring the Electric Eel at How Hill
Toad Hole Cottage
Toad Hole Cottage, now a museum
Nature Trail
Part of the Nature Reserve at How Hill
How Hill Secret Garden
The Secret Gardens at How Hill

The River Ant opens onto beautiful Barton Broad, the second largest of the Norfolk Broads and until recently you could only enjoy its delights from a boat. The Barton Boardwalk changed all that by providing a viewing platform at the end of a walkway through ancient woodland. Barton Broad itself is a magnet for boats, particularly sailing. The Broad is also home to the Norfolk Punt Club, one of the most famous sailing clubs on the Broads. The villages surrounding Barton Broad (Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf) offer much to the visitor, including historic churches, a fine village pub and plenty of beautiful countryside to explore on bike or foot.
Viewing Platform
Barton Boardwalk Viewpoint
Barton Broad Sailing
Sailing on Barton Broad
Riverside Cottage
Thatched riverside cottage in Irstead
Barton Staithe
Barton Turf Staithe
Country Lane
A typical country lane near Neatishead

Upstream from Barton Broad are the villages of Stalham and Sutton. Stalham is home to the Broads Museum, showcasing the history of the Norfolk Broads, including mans influence on the Broadland landscape. Returning to the river, you will can also find one the most picturesque windmills in Norfolk - Hunsett Drainage Mill - now privately owned.
Norfolk Broads Windmill
Hunsett Mill on the Norfolk Broads
Broadland River
Cruising the River Ant near Stalham
The Museum of the Broads
Norfolk Broads Museum at Stalham

Returning to Thurne Mouth we come to the junction of the River Bure and River Thurne. The village of Thurne is marked by its famous white windmill and is also on the Weavers Way, the long distance footpath covering much of Broadland.
River Thurne
The entrance to the dkye at Thurne, with its magnificent windmill,, looking south towards Thurne Mouth
Norfolk Broads View
Enjoying the view at Thurne
Norfolk Broads Footpath
Norfolk Broads Footpath

Womack Water leads from the River Thurne to the village of Ludham. Here you will find Hunters Yard, the home of the Hunters Fleet, who hire out original heritage 1930's gaff and lug rigged yachts. Ludham village also has an attractive staithe and tea room. A road leads from the village towards the ruins of historic St Benets Abbey, founded in 1020 and at one time was one of the wealthiest Benedictine houses in the country.
St Benets Abbey, Norfolk Broads
St. Benets Abbey, Norfolk Broads
Hunters Yard
Hunters Yard, Ludham
Norfolk Broads Hunters Yacht
Norfolk Broads Boat Building
Ludham Staithe
Ludham Staithe
Norfolk Broads Tea Rooms
Al Fresco Tea Room in Ludham

Further up the River Thurne lies the village of Potter Heigham. Here you will find the famous medieval low arched bridge and the Herbert Woods Tower. Herbert Woods is one of the most famous names in the Norfolk Broads boat hire industry and he built the first ever yacht marina on the Broads at Potter Heigham.
River Thurne
The view of the River Thurne from Potter Heigham bridge
Potter Heigham Bridge
Rowing through the medieval bridge at Potter Heigham
Norfolk Broads Herbert Woods
Herbert Woods Tower, Potter Heigham

Above Potter are the villages of Martham, Hickling and Horsey. These are lovely remote places to visit, as many boats cannot navigate through Potter bridge to get here! The largest expanse of water is Hickling Broad which is popular with sailors from Hickling sailing club. From Hickling, a dyke leads to Horsey, the closest of the Norfolk Broads to the the sea. Located on the staithe at Horsey is a fabulous four storey windpump, that was built in 1912 and is now owned by the National Trust.
Hickling Heath
An aerial view of Hickling Heath
Norfolk Broads Dyke
Martham Dyke, Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads Boat Houses
Boathouses at Hickling on the Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads Windpump
Horsey Windmill, Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads View
Horsey Windmill View, Norfolk Broads

Returning back to Thurne Mouth, the River Bure continues its journey across the Norfolk marshes, through the bridge at Acle and towards the sea at Great Yarmouth. Acle is a lovely riverside Norfolk market village, with plenty of historic buildings to admire. The village also contains plenty of shops and other facilities.
Acle Bridge
The modern Acle Bridge, built in 1997
Norfolk Broads Wherry
Norfolk Broads Wherry
Queen Victoria Memorial Markers
The Jubilee Memorial in Acle

Across Breydon Water are the Southern Broads which lead to Loddon, Reedham, Brundall and the Norfolk Suffolk border, before eventually arriving in the capital of East Anglia - Norwich.
River Waveney Cruising
Cruising on the River Waveney past Burgh Castle
Breydon Water View
Sailing towards Breydon Water
Berney Arms View
Enjoying the view of Berney Arms Mill
Loddon Staithe
Loddon Staithe
Loddon Cottages
Loddon Cottages
Reedham Fishing
A vehicle crossing on the ferry at Reedham
Reedham Boatbuilding Statue
Statue to commemorate the building of wherries at Reedham Quay
Norfolk Broads Yacht Station
Norwich Yacht Station
Norwich Pulls Ferry
Norwich Pulls Ferry

Check In Date
Check Out Date

Norfolk Broads summary of what to SEE and DO

Take a boat trip along one of the rivers and Broads
Visit one of the pretty riverside villages, such as Horning
Explore a nature reserve, such as the ones at Hickling or Ranworth
Wander around one of the major boating centre's - Wroxham, Horning, Potter Heigham
Launch your own boat or canoe and explore the quiet back waters
Enjoy a pub lunch in one of the many riverside inns - try Horning
Walk along the riverbank at Ludham or Thurne
Cycle along the rural lanes such as those around Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf
Get to see one of the iconic Broadland windmills
Visit the capital of the Broads at Wroxham and enjoy some shopping!
Explore the Cathedral of the Broads at Ranworth
Visit one of the tourist attractions such as Bewilderwood or Wroxham Barns

Our Verdict

There is nothing quite like the Norfolk Broads anywhere else in the UK. It is a beautiful mix of woodland, marsh, meadow, water and sky. But to enjoy it you need to get out on a boat, a visit by car will usually prove disappointing.




Norfolk Broads Map
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Bure Valley Railway
Wroxham Barns
Miniature Worlds
Broads Tours
Wroxham Launch Hire
The Canoe Man
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Broadland Cycle Hire
Hunters Yard
Museum of the Broads
Indulge Beauty Salon


Black Boys Hotel Aylsham
Recruiting Sergeant
The Ship Inn
White Horse Inn


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