Eight things to do on the opening weekend of Broads Outdoor Festival

Kayaking on the Broads. Photo: Julian Claxton/Salhouse Broad

Kayaking on the Broads. Photo: Julian Claxton/Salhouse Broad - Credit: Archant

The 2018 Outdoors Festival starts on Saturday promising two weeks of amazing events celebrating all that is great about the Norfolk Broads. Here is where to get involved on the opening weekend.

Opening weekend event at the Broads Outdoor Festival.

Opening weekend event at the Broads Outdoor Festival. - Credit: Archant

Surlingham Paddle

The Ferry House, Surlingham, Norfolk, April 29, 10.30am-3.30pm, £30, £20 children, £90 family, pre-book 01603 617332, visitthebroads.co.uk/outdoors-festival

Paddles up for a canoe trip down the River Yare to explore the jungle-like swamp backwaters of Surlingham Broad, a series of shallow waterways both large and small. One of the central lakes, Bargate, is connected to the Yare by two dykes; the area is known as the 'wherry graveyard' as 13 wherry hulls have been sunk here. No experience necessary, but you must be able to swim 50m. Equipment and instruction provided.

Bluebell Walks

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, until May 13, 10am-5pm, included in normal admission 01603 270449, fairhavengarden.co.uk

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Fairhaven at South Walsham always has beautiful pockets of bluebells. Get exclusive access to our neighbouring nature reserve and its bluebell woods. There is also a special guided bluebell walk on April 29 (12.30pm, just turn up). Dogs allowed on leads.

Dawn Chorus

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, April 28, 6am, £15, £7.50 children, booking essential at www.rspb.org.uk/strumpshawfen

RSPB Strumpshaw is a magical place for close encounters with wildlife. Set your alarm clock and experience the thrill of the dawn chorus. Learn some of the distinctive songs and calls as you walk through woodlands and reedbeds with the expert warden Guide. Croissants and hot drinks included. Also takes place on May 6.

Wind Museum Open Day

Wind Energy Museum, Staithe Road, Repps-with-Bastwick, April 28-29, 11am-4pm, £4.50, £2.50 children, bookings online at windenergymuseum.co.uk

Experience this unique museum which has the UK's only collection of historical windpumps. There will be a guided tour around our exhibits showing the history of the drainage of the Broads. Meanwhile on April 29 there is also a full day tour to meet the marshman, take a look inside Thurne Mill and visit the Wherry Maud and meet her crew before an enjoyable sail (£45).

Boat Trip and Dawn Chorus Walk

Salhouse Broad, April 29, 5am, £15, £8.50 children, book via 07795 145475, theranger@salhousebroad.org.uk

Join this sunrise boat trip from Salhouse Broad moorings to Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail for a guided dawn walk, listening to and identifying birds and birdsong. Meet the boat skipper at 5am at the Salhouse Broad moorings (by the beach area). Price includes a full English breakfast and return ferry trip. Ages 7+

Dyke Dipping

Thorpe Marshes, Whitlingham Lane, off Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, April 29, 10.30am-12.30pm, places free, 01603 625540, norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Bordering the River Yare, Thorpe Marshes is one of Norfolk Wildlife Trust's more urban sites, located on the eastern fringes of Norwich. This family friendly event offer the chance to learn about the wonderful wildlife that can be found in the dykes. The experts will be on hand to help you tell your boatman from your beetle larvae. No need to book, just turn up.

Sundowner Kayak Safari Paddle

Hickling Broad, April 29, 5pm-8.30pm, £35 per person, booking via norfolkoutdooradventures.co.uk

The largest of the Broads, Hickling is a year-round haven for wildlife and you could hardly get more evocative of the Norfolk Broads. Enjoy an end-of-a day kayak safari on the stunning, flat, calm waters as part of this event, relaxing and listening to nature as it beds down for the night. Minimum age is 14 – no upper limit. Cost includes refreshments.

Wherry Maud & Thurne Mill

Thurne Dyke Drainage Mill, Thurne, April 29, 10am-2pm, free, wherrymaudtrust.org

Norfolk Wherry Maud will be on view at the iconic Thurne Windmill. Meet the enthusiastic volunteers who will be talking about Maud's long, hard life as a trading boat on the Broads and providing guided tours. See the on-board display of photographs. No booking needed – just turn up.

• Broads Outdoor Festival full listings at outdoorsfestival.co.uk

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