Norfolk’s beautiful Broads named among top 50 family-friendly destinations worldwide

A sailing boat and a holiday cruisers on the River Bure at Horning on a fine early October day.

Picture: James Bass A sailing boat and a holiday cruisers on the River Bure at Horning on a fine early October day. Picture: James Bass

Monday, April 21, 2014
8:15 AM

The tranquil waterways, stunning landscapes, dazzling wildlife and rich history of the Norfolk Broads has long made them a favourite with visitors.

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Waterways prepare for spring festival

With spring truly sprung Broads businesses and attractions are now gearing up for one of the biggest events in the tourism calendar, when they host their outdoor festival.

The annual event, now in its fourth year, aims to give residents and visitors alike a taste of what the popular wetland has to offer.

More than 100 special events - both free and paid for - are being laid on throughout the two week festival, including canoe trails, guided walks, train rides and the chance to sail on a traditional Norfolk Wherry.

Among the highlights are; the Horning Boat Show, which takes over the village centre with displays, activities and entertainment, a literary cruise aboard a classic 1930s boat, a trip following the traditional trading routes of the Wherries and crafty sessions for youngsters at Bewilderwood.

The Broads Outdoor Festival runs from May 3 - 18. For more information visit www.outdoorsfestival.co.uk

*Don’t miss the EDP on April 29 for a supplement on the festival.

But the peaceful wetland has now been recognised as one of the leading destinations in the world, after being voted as one of the top family-friendly holiday hotspots in a nationwide poll.

The Broads have made it into a rollcall of the 50 best child-friendly destinations across the globe, coming in above Nice, St Tropez, Rome, Tuscany and New York.

It also pipped the Caribbean, Barcelona and Los Angeles to a higher position in the poll, commissioned by Holidaylettings.co.uk.

Chris Haycock, park manager at Clippesby Hall, hailed the Broads as family friendly and thought the fact it catered to all ages was among the qualities that made it so popular.

The early morning sunlight over the River Yare on the Norfolk Broads, near Cantley.The early morning sunlight over the River Yare on the Norfolk Broads, near Cantley.

He said: “There’s nature reserves and gardens like Fairhaven, that cater for slightly older interests, and Bewilderwood for families with younger children.

“And we have got the wildlife. Seals out at Horsey and Winterton, all the bird life and otters now in the Broads, and it’s exciting.”

Mr Haycock thought the Broads’ location within the UK and Norfolk also made it a hit with families, as it was easy to get to from other parts of the country and close enough to other attractions within the county, such as Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Tracey Stachini, customer services manager at Herbert Woods boatyard, said the business had been inundated with families over the Easter break, and numbers were up by about 20pc compared to last year.

Breydon water on a late March afternoon.
Picture: James BassBreydon water on a late March afternoon. Picture: James Bass

Mrs Stachini thought the Broads was a popular destination for families as it gave parents and youngsters a chance to enjoy time together.

“You don’t get wi-fi [on the water] and a lot of the time you don’t get your phones so it gives them an opportunity to spend quality time together,” she added.

“Life is so fast paced and a lot of parents work so when they go away on these types of holidays, it’s time away for the family.

“They can moor up and go on a nature trail and nice walks.”

Holidaying by boat was also a hit with youngsters, she said as it provided an alternative mode of transport.

She added: “Children get so excited, even on our day boats. It’s not getting on a plane, it’s a totally different experience for them.”

Peter Waters, brand manager with Visit Norfolk, hailed the Broads’ spot in the top 50 as good news, but thought more needed to be done to promote it even further.

While the waterways beat the Cotswolds, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons to a higher position, it fell behind Cornwall - voted the number one destination - Devon, Somerset, the Isle of Wight and the Peak District.

Mr Waters said: “This is a great boost for what is the unique holiday experience of the UK’s magical waterland, and one that will hopefully help bring more visitors to the county.

“Any promotion for our year-round tourism economy is welcome, but the fact we lag behind the south west of England in this poll shows how much more work we have to do.

“Norfolk’s overall holiday, short break and day trip offering is second to none, but the private sector should be encouraged to engage with promoting the county as a whole so we can become more top-of-mind when it comes to preferred UK destinations.

“The more we speak with one voice the more our message will be heard.”

For more information, visit www.holidaylettings.co.uk.

■ What do you think? Are the Broads your favourite family destination? Write, with full contact details, to Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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