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Flying Bittern

where to see broads wildlife

The Broads National Park is the largest wetland area in the UK and one of the most important in Europe, and it’s a haven for birds and all kinds of wildlife. Indeed, there are more rare species in the Broads than anywhere else in Britain. You can see grebes, herons, kingfishers, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the rare bittern.

You might also see the rare swallowtail butterfly, which is found nowhere else in the UK, and these days it’s not unusual to spot an otter poking its whiskered snout out of the water.

Explore the Broads

Barton Broad

Grey heron by Elizabeth Dack
Wheelchair-friendly boardwalked paths through the woodland take you to a lookout where you can spot grebes and herons.

Fairhaven Water Garden

Fairhaven Water Garden
Unique garden that offers an accessible taster of the local landscape, and boat trips.

Hickling Broad

Hickling Broad
The wildest Broad, with bird hides, a visitor centre and regular boat trips.


Horsey at sunset
Cranes overhead at Horsey Mere, and seals on the nearby beach, especially in winter when the Greys have their pups (Commons have their June-August).

Hoveton Great Broad

Hoveton Broad
Part of the Bure Marshes Nature Reserve, and a good place to see swallowtail butterflies.

How Hill

How Hill view
Nature trails and magical trips through reeds and narrow dykes on the Electric Eel.

Ranworth Broad

Boardwalks through the reeds and woodland, boat trips and a conservation centre.

Strumpshaw Fen

Otter by Mark Ollett
Family-friendly RSPB reserve with woodland, reed and meadow habitats for birds of all kinds. And look out for otters!

Upton Broad and Marshes

Swallowtail by Brian Francis
Peaceful haven for swallowtail butterflies, hawker dragonflies, water voles and otters.

Wheatfen Nature Reserve

Once the home of naturalist Ted Ellis, who called this stretch of reeds and dykes ‘a breathing space for the cure of souls’.

Explore the Broads

Norfolk's Natural World