The Broads

The Broads is a vast network of waterways in Norfolk and Suffolk, formed from seven connected rivers. The broads themselves are lakes formed from flooded medieval peat diggings, and are often found alongside the rivers. A national park covers 303 square kilometres, making it Britain’s largest protected wetland. The waterways and fens are home to an abundance of wildlife, including rare species such as Bittern and Swallowtail butterfly.

Since the late 19th century, the Broads have been a popular tourist destination. A huge 200 kilometres of the waterways network is navigable, so many visitors choose to explore by boat. Boats are available to hire for a relaxing holiday afloat or just a day trip. If you prefer, there’s a variety of other accommodation options available including B&B’s and self catering cottages. In this week’s blog, we look at just a few ways to experience The Broads.


Walking is a great way to explore the Broads and experience the natural surroundings. The Barton Broad boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly path through the swampy carr woodland that was built over deep mud. The short route takes in a special viewpoint looking out across the broad.  Kids might love the boardwalk adventure, but dogs aren’t allowed in the reserve.

If you’re a keen walker looking for a bigger challenge then head down Wherryman’s Way. This lengthy 35 mile route runs along the River Yare between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and will be sure to work those leg muscles. The route takes its name from the wherry, a large cargo barge whose elegant black sails were a once common sight on these waters.

Taking To the Water

Boats can be hired for almost any period of time, ranging from an hour to a week or more. If you don’t fancy hiring your own boat then you can take a guided boat trip. The Broads boats come in all shapes and sizes too, from modern powerful cruisers to canoes. There’s something for every age and ability.

  • Motor Cruisers – Motor cruisers have always been a popular choice for travelling the Broads. Modern cruisers are equipped with beds, cookers, fridges and provide a comfortable home from home.
  • Sailing – Sailing taster sessions are available for novices; Professionals can take part in one of the many regattas that take place throughout the year.
  • Canoes & rowing boats – If you are open to light physical exertion then hire a canoe or rowing boat. This option may be more cost effective and will enable you to see the wildlife up close.

Map of The Broads

Whether you are on the riverbank or at the helm of a boat, the Broads Adventure Atlas will come in handy. One single slim map book contains detailed Ordnance Survey mapping of the whole of The Broads. You can use it to plan your route, explore riverside locations, or use the index to quickly find places to visit.

However you navigate, The Broads offer a fantastic selection of activities for all the family. The quaint villages, bustling market towns, and unique landscapes make the Broads a wonderful, individual wetland attraction.

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