10 places to enjoy the water this summer
14:52 25 June 2014
Water, water everywhere – it’s tricky to choose the highlights of our coastline and waterways in our area, but we’ve tried. Where will you go?
Marram grass on the dunes, samphire in the saltmarshes, a fresh catch of Cromer crab, seals swimming in the waves or sailing boats racing on the Broads. We have a wonderful choice of ways to enjoy the wet stuff in the area.
Whether that’s watching the fun on the boating lake at Eaton Park in Norwich, trying one of the activities on offer at Whitlingham, sitting by the Mere at Diss or playing in the waves at the beach; enjoying the water is a wonderful way to spend a few hours.
We’ve ten suggestions for waterbabies this summer.
A family favourite, along with nearby Holme-next-the-Sea. It can be wonderfully sheltered on the beach, but with enough sea breeze for the kite-surfers and windsurfers to give wave watchers something to enjoy. Masses of sand, plenty of parking, and rather excellent ice creams and fish and chips close by too.
Wide expanses of sandy beach with a wooded backdrop adding to the atmosphere. Remember change for the car park and leave time to head into the town centre for eating, shopping and watching the harbour activity. Just as eye-catching is Blakeney, a very pretty spot to stop with views over the marshes, a small harbour, shops and restaurants, and boat trips to see the seals from nearby Morston.
From Overstrand to Happisburgh, via unspoilt Mundesley, are some of north Norfolk’s finest beaches. There’s golden sand at Mundesley, plus shops and one of the country’s smallest museums. Look out for the stilled sails of Stow Mill, tall church towers, and the iconic lighthouse at Happisburgh.
The quieter little sister to the vibrancy, amusements, bustle and attractions of nearby Great Yarmouth, Gorleston has a glorious beach and atmosphere loved by families seeking a traditional day at the seaside. There are ice creams and bucket and spade shops, surf spots, cliff-top walks, model yacht pond, paddling pool, and space to park within easy windbreak-carrying distance of the beach.
How Hill National Nature Reserve
north of Ludham Bridge
There’s an electric eel wildlife water trail, nature trail and Broads Authority Information Centre, and the likelihood of spotting, in the right season, swallowtail butterfly, Norfolk hawker dragonfly, brown hawker dragonfly, emperor dragonfly, bittern and marsh harrier.
Not far from Hemsby, this is the five Broads of Ormesby, Rollesby, Ormesby Little, Lily and Filby. At Rollesby, only electric engines, rowing boats and sailing boats are allowed, making it one of the quieter areas of the Norfolk Broads. There’s a restaurant at Rollesby or follow the wheelchair-friendly footpath to Ormesby Little Broad and boardwalk to Filby Broad at Filby Bridge. Keep an eye out for otters, along with bittern, marsh harrier, buzzard, reed bunting and yellow waterlily.
Not only Norwich’s beach, but a hive of activities to try too. Wander along the waterside and watch the swans and ducks or take a solar- powered boat trip at Whitlingham Country Park aboard the wheelchair accessible Ra. There’s a pretty café in the Broads Authority’s visitor centre, where the wildlife touch screens offer information.
Whitlingham Visitor Centre, 01603 756094.
Not far from Great Yarmouth, this is the spot to rent a warden! A tailor-made wildlife safari here or Breydon Water nature reserves takes about four hours and costs £55 per person (minimum two people), including light refreshments. The income directly supports the Broads and guided explorers even get the chance to wander areas not normally accessible to the public.
One of the few spots in Britain where you may get the chance to swim with the seals. Don’t forget your camera for this picturesque area. Besides the seals, there’s a five-storey windpump open at various times during the year, boats on the Dyke, views over the marshes and a path to one of the quieter beaches in Norfolk.
Take a trip back in time at the Museum of the Broads at Stalham Staithe, where there are all manner of interesting exhibits – and characters – showing how people’s working lives and the Broads are woven together. Take trip on the Victorian steam launch, Falcon.
Next head to the Broads Wildlife Centre at Ranworth to learn more about the Broads’s wildlife and history and climb the church tower of the Cathedral of the Broads, St Helen’s Church, for impressive views.