Our top 10 ways to enjoy the Broads National Park
PUBLISHED: 11:55 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 19 April 2018
Trying to choose our favourite 10 ways to have fun in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads isn’t easy, is there anything we’ve missed?
1. Taking a boat trip
Hire a day boat, book a boating holiday or let the experts take the helm and sit back and enjoy the waterways while a skipper and their crew do the work. However you take to the water, cruising the Broads is a definite highlight.
2. Go up – and up
Climb the tower of the Cathedral of the Broads (St Helen’s Church at Ranworth) for an unbeatable panoramic view. There are a lot of steps, plus ladders to climb to the very top, but it is worth it. Explore next door visitors’ centre and the church too which has a famous medieval rood screen and beautiful stained glass.
Places to eat in the Broads have truly upped their game (and meat, fish, vegetarian and other dishes too) in recent years so there is now a rich selection places of good places to dine to suit various budgets. Micro breweries – and bigger brewers – are increasingly appreciated too and the Broads now has several creating a variety of interesting brews. Try www.alldaybrewing.co.uk and www.woodfordes.co.uk for starters.
4. North Walsham and Dilham Canal
If you love the peace and quiet of gliding along the waterways, the only sound the splash of your paddles in the water, head to the only canal in the Broads system. There’s hardly any other traffic here, so the tranquillity is delightful. There are plenty of other areas to paddle and hire canoes on the Broads too.
5. Hunt the butterfly
Enjoy the iconic Horsey Windpump where the remote location is famed for its internationally important wildlife such as the swallowtail butterfly and overwintering wildfowl. Climb to the top or wander the area and relax. Hickling Broad, Ranworth Broad and Strumpshaw Fen are also top for Swallowtail butterfly spotting.
6. Head south
Soak up the calm atmosphere of the southern Broads with a trip along the River Waveney or River Yare where the views are expansive and the feeling relaxing. Visit pretty, and interesting, towns in the area such as Beccles, Loddon and Bungay for plenty of independent shops and a laid back vibe.
7. With a wherry
Wherries are the traditional wooden sailing boats, unique to the Broads, build initially to carry cargo and later as luxury holiday boats for wealthy holidaymakers and well to do local families. With a shallow draft to enable them to cruise the Broads, today there are only eight still sailing. Five are in the hands of the Wherry Yacht Charter for public sailing trips and can be hired for private trips and holidays.
8. Feel the need for speed
There’s a very different side to the broads when the power boat races hit the water at Oulton Broad. Fast and furious and brilliant fun to watch, the race season organised by the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club draws an enthralled crowd during the season from April to the end of August.
9. Park life
There are beautiful places to stroll, or stop and enjoy the sunshine at Whitlingham Country Park, just outside Norwich. Walk, run, or wander beside the Broads here with a wheelchair and pushchair accessible path, watch the swans and ducks or get involved with the action at Whitlingham Adventure.
10. On foot or by bike
The Broads isn’t all about the water; the country lanes, footpaths, cycleways and bridle paths in the area are perfect for exploring under your own steam. Choose a circular walk of whatever distance you fancy from the walks pages within the Norfolk trails section at www.norfolk.gov.uk Bike hire and fourteen circular rides at thebroadsbybike.org.uk