If you’re after a UK-based holiday either as a couple or a family, the Broads are the UK’s best-kept secret - so why not enjoy a change of pace, and give them a try?
Firstly, accommodation. There are numerous self-catering cottages, B&Bs and hotels to stay in. If you’re after a slice of adventure, give Richardson’s Boating Holidays a shout - they offer up to 12-berth boats, and many of their cruisers allow pets, so the whole family can come along. Either way, whether you’re sleeping on land or being rocked to sleep by the river, you’re bound to have an enjoyable stay - peace and quiet is a valued commodity on the Broads.
For activities that’ll keep the family entertained, there are a range of establishments available. St. Olave's Priory in Reedham, a beautiful 14th century brick-vaulted refectory undercroft, is open all year with free entry. The Museum of the Broads, at Stalham, is open until October. A family ticket costs £12. Or give How Hill National Nature Reserve a go - perfect for smaller members of the family.
Walkers and cyclists won’t be disappointed with what the Broads have to offer - there are over 300 km of footpaths to explore.
The Beccles Antique Trail and the walk from Ludham to Low Hill come highly recommended. Keen cyclists will find several cycle hire centres on the Broads, many of which are sited close to moorings.
For bird watching. Cley Marshes, Hickling Broad and NWT Holme Dunes are all wildlife hotspots, so a quite few hours here with a book and some binoculars can he hugely rewarding.
If you’re after a slightly faster-paced activity, the Bure Valley Railway is Norfolk's longest narrow gauge steam railway, and runs between Aylsham and the Broads town of Wroxham. An adult ticket is just £12.50, children travel for £6.50 and under 5’s travel for free. This company also offer a marvellous tour that combines a boat trip and a train journey, called the Broadland Boat Train. A family ticket is £58, but the journey by train through picturesque Norfolk countryside to Wroxham where 'Broads Tours' will have your boat waiting is unmissable. It’s a great day out for everyone.
There isn’t much nightlife on the Broads - happily, the closest you’ll come to a noisy bar is one of the local pubs that will welcome you in and make sure you enjoy your time there. The Broads Quality Charter has looked at some of the best establishments in the area - high-scoring pubs include The Bridge Inn at Acle, The Lavender House at Brundall and The Ship Inn at South Walsham. Surlingham’s Coldham Hall Tavern is holding a four day Jubilee Bank Holiday Festival from Saturday 2nd June until Tuesday 5th June this year, so if you’re in the area, pop by to enjoy their children's entertainment, local produce and live music.
Finally, if you just can’t get enough of the water, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of it. Barton Turf Adventure Centre, Based at the north end of Barton Broad, is a family-run sailing school that teaches sailing, canoeing and powerboat courses. If you love the idea of a gentle cruise around the Broads just for the day, there are plenty available - The Norwich River Bus, the Electric Eel at How Hill and Blakeney Point Seal Trips are three crowd-pleasers. Or take a ride on The Wash Monster at Hunstanton - an ex-military vehicle that drives straight into the sea, reaching an impressive 8 knots in the water.
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