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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.

it's the only way to see the broads

There are so many options when it comes to enjoying the Broads: 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.

And if you really want to see the Broads at their best, then by boat is the only way.

Day boat hire

Boating holidays

Boat trips

A great family holiday

Boat hire and watersports

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.

There are also numerous places in the Broads where you can hire canoes.

Boat hire

Watersports & canoeing

Day boat on the Broads


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.

 Boating holidays

Cruising on the Broads

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 on board, you can sit back and relax, take in the scenery and listen to the on board 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.

Broads Tours river trips 

Broads Tours


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.

Norfolk Wherry charter

Wherry Albion

sailing on the broads

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.

You can also learn many waterborne activities at Whitlingham Outdoor Centre, including sailing.

Whitlingham Activity Centre 

Whitlingham Activity Centre

sailing 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 and on the beaches on the east coast, such as Gorleston-on-Sea and Winterton-on-Sea.

Millennium Activity Centre 

Sail boats at Brancaster Staithe

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 Ouse navigation 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 underway to connect the area to other waterways in the UK.

River Little Ouse at Thetford

visiting by yacht or cruiser

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.

Pontoon at King's Lynn

So much to do on the Norfolk Broads