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Boating and sailing in Norfolk

With the unique Broads and 93 miles of coast, there can be few better places to sail or boat than Norfolk.

There are so many options when it comes to enjoying the Broads, Britain's Magical Waterland: motor cruisers for hire by the short break, week or longer, self-drive day boats by the hour up to a full day and numerous boat trips to choose from, on which you can sit back, relax and let the crew do the work. There is also the opportunity to sail serenely, or get a canoe – the reedy wetlands are perfect for paddling.

It's been said that the Broads have a Tardis-like quality: even in high summer when the waterways are at their busiest, it's still possible to find a lonely stretch all to yourselves.

Day boats & boat hire: Perfect for those taking to the water for the first time or novices, day boats can be hired from many locations around the Broads, including Wroxham, Horning, Hickling and Oulton Broads. Be your own skipper for the day and take your crew on an adventure! With hires available from one to eight hours you can spend as much or as little time cruising as you like. Many are powered by diesel although there are also electric boats for hire.

Or why not enjoy the Broads under your own steam and hire a canoe or rowing boat, and see the Broads wildlife at close quarters?

Cruisers: The famous Broads motor cruisers have been holiday favourites since the 1930s, and today's boats have all the comforts of home on board, so if you prefer to visit during the quieter, cooler months, you'll have a cosy base for your explorations. With fresh air, sparkling water and wide horizons by day, and wonderfully dark, starry nights, a boating holiday on the Broads is an unforgettable experience.

Ranging in size and with all the necessary creature comforts, cruisers are excellent crafts either for day hire or longer. Whether there are two or twelve people in your party there is sure to be a cruiser to suit your needs. Equipped with comfortable berths, galleys with cookers and fridges, your cruiser will be home from home.

River Tours and Boat Trips: If you'd prefer a more leisurely trip on the water, then experience a restful river tour. With boats of all different shapes and sizes including a double-deck paddle boat, there are numerous trips available. With refreshments available onboard, you can sit back and relax, take in the scenery and listen to the onboard commentary about the broads - their history, the landscape and the wildlife.

The Broads Authority offer a range of boat trips around nature reserves, broads and rivers. An Edwardian-style electric boat, the Electric Eel, will take you on a silent journey around the beautiful How Hill nature reserve, through a maze of reed-fringed dykes. Barton Broad can be explored on the Ra, a solar-powered boat aptly named after the Egyptian Sun God, while the Liana, an electric launch, will take you on a relaxed tour of the gorgeous southern Broads and River Waveney.

Wherries: Step back in time and experience a journey on a historic wherry. Used in the 1800s until the early 20th century throughout the Broadland region, the wherry played a vital role in transporting goods until the arrival of the railway and road links. Later, wherries were converted or specially built as pleasure crafts. Today only 8 exist: trading wherries Albion and Maud, pleasure wherries Hathor, Solace and Ardea and wherry yachts Olive, Norada and White Moth. Albion can be chartered for daily hire and Norada, White Moth and Olive can be hired for daily or weekly charters.

Sailing: The Norfolk Broads are perfect for sailing with the wide open spaces of the many broads and rivers. Taster sessions are available for those who have never sailed before, while there are also day and residential courses where you will receive expert tuition and improve your existing skills. For experienced sailors why not take part in one of the many regattas that take place throughout the year such as Wroxham Week in late July and the Barton Regatta.

Sailing in north Norfolk: Blakeney is the north Norfolk hotspot for sailing activity, but you'd need your own boat, whereas at Brancaster Staithe it's possible to hire or learn to sail, and there’s all sorts of nautical activity at the National Trust's Millennium Activity Centre. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are popular at Hunstanton.

Boating in the Fens: Sailing can be undertaken in the Great Ouse and relief channel, but the Little Ouse, River Wissey and Great Ouse Cut and the Nene Ouise naivgation link are ideal for cruisers. Like a well-kept secret, it seems that many have yet to discover the wonders of boating in The Fens so cruise along and enjoy the peace of this tranquil landscape. To make this pastime more accessible, a Fens Waterway Project is also underway to connect the area to other waterways in the UK.

Visiting the east coast by yacht or cruiser: Some new visitor pontoons on the riverfront at historic King's Lynn provide a great new destination to stop over. In fact the special coastal area of the Wash is now being promoted as a sailing destination Sail The Wash with the visitor pontoons at King's Lynn combining with the marina facilities a few miles to the east at Wisbech and the marina at Fosdyke Bridge just along the coast into Lincolnshire. The pontoons in King's Lynn which are right at the heart of the historic old town are also enjoyed by boats visiting the town from the inland waterways along the River Great Ouse.

Boating and sailing in NorfolkTraditional Norfolk wherries on the Norfolk Broads.
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