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The Norfolk Broads - What are they?
The Norfolk Broads area consists of around 150 miles of navigable rivers and inland lakes taking in parts of north Suffolk. These lakes were formed in medieval times when peat was extracted from the land to burn as heating. Over time, these peat diggings became flooded and now offer the boat hirer wide expanses of water and river to sail and explore.
|What about boat hire on the Norfolk Broads?
The boat hire industry is well established in Norfolk and you would have been able to charter a boat as far back as the turn of the 1900's. Today there are around 800 boats for hire on the Norfolk Broads, most of which are powered craft and offered for holiday charter on this website. Your Norfolk Broads boating holiday can begin from a number of boatyards spread across the region including Wroxham, Stalham and Acle on the northern rivers and Reedham and Brundall in the south. .
Where should I start my boating holiday?
The northern rivers are defined as those which lead north from Great Yarmouth such as the Bure, the Ant and the Thurne. The southern rivers start from Great Yarmouth again and head south to include the rivers Yare, Waveney and Chet. The greatest concentration of hire bases is on the northern rivers. This is partly because the rivers above Acle (around 10 miles north of Yarmouth) are relatively unaffected by tides and so make for a benign holiday playground for those of less experience. The river below Acle and indeed most of the southern rivers are tidal and the current which can run at around 4 to 5 miles per hour in places is more testing when handling your boat. Also, the rise and fall of the river levels have to be taken into account as the tide will drop the level by up to 2 metres at Yarmouth and up to a metre at points further up the southern rivers. These conditions are quite manageable for the able bodied but less so for those with mobility problems. However, all of this is balanced out by the wonderful countryside you find "down south". If you have one week's holiday or less and this is your first time on the Norfolk Broads the advice is to stay north. If you have longer then definitely include the south but stay a few days north first to acclimatise and get the feel of your boat.
Any advice on which boatyard to start from?
Everybody's ideal holiday perception is different so this is tricky. I find first timers often go for the cheapest boat that fits their needs but this can be a mistake as they pass the nicer looking, better equipped boats on their travels. It's a little like hiring a car. You might go for an older mini type car to get you there or you could upgrade to a full size executive vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Both serve the purpose of getting you there but if you want the bells and whistles you need to upgrade. Another consideration is if you are arriving by train, choose a start point close to a railway station such as Wroxham, Reedham, Brundall and Acle. All connect well with trains to Norwich.
|Do we need to take pots and pans, bedding etc?
All cooking utensils and crockery are provided on your boat as is bedding so there is no need to bring these items. For more information on what to take see our packing list page.
|How do we plan where to go and what to see on the Norfolk Broads ?
You have the freedom to travel anywhere on the Norfolk Broads system. You can cruise for as little or as long as you like, though our advice to not travel for so long that you pass by delightful villages or places of interest. You will not get lost as all river junctions and Broads are signposted. You can start planning right now as everything you need is on this website. Look at the nine icons above for help on how long it takes to travel between villages, where you can moor once you arrive, what amenities you will find in each village and what to take on holiday with you. For further help planning your boating holiday itinerary, take a look at the suggested itineraries we have put together to help you see more while on holiday. We realise that people's holiday tastes are varied and as such you will find plans for couples, families, those wanting to visit both North and South of Great Yarmouth and one especially for those new to boating which avoids many of the more testing mooring spots.
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