One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked is 'how far can we get?'. There is no simple answer if you travel non stop for a full day and the tides allow passage under the bridges, you could travel from one end of the Broads to the other. But would you want to?? The whole point of a Norfolk Broads holiday is that it is slow paced and relaxing, and to travel all day would mean that you miss out on exploring all the pretty towns and villages along the way, the cosy waterside pubs & restaurants, historic churches, abbeys and windmills and all the beautiful mooring spots where you can sit quietly and read a book, do some painting, catch a fish or just watch the passing river traffic.
We have put together some ideas for you, assuming a start base of Wroxham, using our own experiences. We are always adding more, click on the links below, have a read and don't forget to sign up to our newsletter to ensure you have the latest information about the broads and if there is something you'd like to know more about or think we should add to these articles, please tell us.
Staying on a Hire Boat
Get active on board
First Night Mooring
Dog Walks by Moorings
Wildlife safari by boat
Rainy day plans
Staying in Wroxham
What to do in 3 days
What to do in 7 days
Top 10 Wroxham
Let the train take the strain
Get on the water
Hiring a Dayboat from Wroxham
4 Hour trip
Day trip East
Day trip West
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3 Day Cruise A
Salhouse Broad - Mooring Charge of £9.50 per boat per night
This is a choice of mooring for your first night as a short trot from the boatyard. It’s a really pretty broad, and you have the choice of mooring stern on (parking with the back of the boat against the quay heading) or dropping your mud weight (an anchor that holds your boat in place in the middle of the broad, provided it’s not too windy)
Salhouse Broad is one of the prettiest in Norfolk and is a good place to walk the dogs, & enable the kids to let off steam. There is a small "beach" which is great for paddling and feeding the ducks
They run a canoe hire centre here - 3 of you can hire a canoe for £10/hr – so it’s a great place if you fancy having a go
Salhouse Broad is the best place to meet the ice cream man - he's an institution on the River Bure, and what can be better than an ice cream bought to you on your boat river.
You can walk from the Salhouse moorings to the Woodfords Brewery and Pub about a 1-mile walk.
There is a nature trail opposite the river from the entrance to the broad, which looks onto Hoveton Great Broad, the ranger is really experienced and enthusiastic and you can usually spot some amazing wildlife with her help. This trail can only be reached by boat.
A quick stop at Horning for a leg stretch and look around
Free Moorings on the staithe (marked by a sign with a dragonfly on them) are difficult to find after lunch, but not normally a problem before 12.
If they are full, choose a pub, We'd recommend the New Inn, the food is good and the kids (and a few adults) love the 2p slot machines!
Horning is a good place to pick up supplies. We can recommend the butcher and the Deli which also has a good gift shop - ideal for picking up a thank you present for your cat sitter. All the shops are on the lower street, just meters from the moorings mentioned above
We would also recommend Bewilderwood Its about a miles walk from Horning and is basically a huge (and I mean huge) magical adventure playground in the sky built by Twiggles and Boggles for kids aged 6 to 12 ... and a few kidults I know. It is a fantastic experience, but if you've only got 3 days on board it might be something you save for another visit.
As you leave Horning you begin to really experience Norfolk’s classic big sky, you can see for miles, over the reed beds and it will be your first opportunity to see yachts that appear to be sailing through the fields in the distance
Turn off the River Bure and onto the River Ant, It's a much narrower river so requires a little more concentration when passing other boats. After about an hour you will pass under Ludham bridge (check your boat height, you may need to lower the canopy and fold the windows onto the deck to get through) and just a little distance on from there you can find How Hill, where you can take a walk around their lovely secret gardens & visit Toad Hole Cottage the tiny reed cutters cottage museum
This is a great place to learn a little more about how the Broads National Park was created
Neatishead Staithe - Free Mooring
Continue up the River Ant, cross Barton Broad to Neatishead Staithe If the mooring is full, turn around and continue to Gay Staithe or Barton Turf (both good, free moorings, they just involve a slightly longer walk to the pub !)
Turn right out of the staithe to find the White Horse Inn and local village shop
If you are at all interested in this sort of thing a visit the RAF Air Defence Musem is a must - it's just over a 2-mile walk from the Staithe
There are also several top-notch nature reserves nearby, and if you wanted to hear a bittern boom - this is the part of the broads you might choose to visit
St Benets Abbey - Free Mooring
Return down the river Ant, and turn Left as you meet the River Bure again, very shortly you will see St Bennets Abbey on your LeftEven on a bright and sunny day, there is something otherworldly about this spot. You can feel the history as you walk between the tower and the church's high altar. But do look out for cow pats!
Turn around now - and head back towards Ranworth Broad
Ranworth Broad – Free Mooring
A really pretty little broad, and a very popular area managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who maintain a boardwalk and floating visitors centre there. The church has a very tall spiral tower with a fantastic view from the top.. you just have to climb 89 steps, 2 ladders and pop through a trap door to access the view.
If you need refreshments after that The Maltsters does a good range of pub food and there is always some entertainment to be had watching others moor up stern on for the first time too. Be warned, TV reception is often poor here (lots of trees to block the signal) A small shop on the staithe will enable you to stock up on the basics
Please note boats need to be back at the yard for 9 am the following morning so this would mean a pretty early (7 am) start on your last day. (a great excuse for bacon butties on the go)
You could alternatively head back to Wroxham and, moor at Wroxham Broad (a really peaceful spot but isolated, with no access to the village, pubs or shops) Barnes Brinkcraft (which will get busy in the morning as the staff start work at 8am) or, if your boat will fit under the bridge on the public staithe. Here you will have a large choice of eateries, with several takeaways plus several restaurants. We recommend The Station Smokehouse if you like your rack of ribs, Bijou Bottles a great wine bar, wine shop and deli combi, Liberties for a burger or the Wroxham Hotel if you enjoy watching boats coming and going under the bridge
3 Day Cruise B
Outbound:- Wroxham - Salhouse Broad - Horning - Ranworth - Barton Broad - StalhamReturning:- Ludham/Womack Water - Potter Heigham - St Benets Abbey - Wroxham
Returning:-Loddon - Reedham - St Olaves - Burgh Castle - Great Yarmouth - Stracey Arms Mill - Horning - Salhouse Broad - Wroxham
(*please check bridge heights for your boat!)
Our 7-day cruise is quite ambitious, so whilst you will see a lot of the Norfolk Broads, you may not have long to spend in each place. Remember, the beauty of cruising is making the journey up as you go along.