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Boat hire on the Norfolk Broads
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# 1
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butterfly72
Old 23-02-2008, 11:01 PM
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Default Boat hire on the Norfolk Broads

Does anyone know if boating on the Norfolk broads is a good idea at this time of the year or best done in the spring/summer months? The OH and I are considering a few days in the next few weeks. We are complete novices and a bit nervous about managing a boat so wondered if now was a good time (not too bothered about the cold.. just the handling the boat thats worrying us ie currents, winds etc, we've no idea of conditions on the norfolk broads!). We just fancied doing something a bit different thats all!!

Also, any company recommendations?

thanks
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# 2
moonrakerz
Old 24-02-2008, 10:33 AM
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The Broads can be a bit bleak and desolate this time of the year, I would leave it until Apr/May when it should be a bit warmer and not too busy. In mid summer it can be a nightmare - too many boats, everywhere !

Don't worry about handling the boat, the yard will show you the controls and take you for a "spin" before you are let loose on the rest of us. When you get away from the yard find a quiet mooring and spend half an hour going in and out and finding out how the boat handles.
I would go for the type of boat which can be steered from below, in the dry; or up top, in the sunshine. The high position is a boon when coming alongside.
There is a huge choice of boats from the very basic to the totally luxurious - depends on what you want to pay.
The main sources of boats are Blakes & Hoseasons, who are basically agents for lots of individual boat yards. You can go direct to the yard in many cases but you won't get the huge choice of boats.

We've been 3 times, it's great fun.
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# 3
butterfly72
Old 24-02-2008, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for that! Maybe bleak and desolate is what we are after at the mo!!

Sorry, another question.. is it easy to find somewhere to moor for the night.. and can you moor within walking distance of the pubs!!

also, if it gets a bit windy.. is it still safe!! The boat won't capsize will it?

cheers
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# 4
jackieblack
Old 24-02-2008, 12:47 PM
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Most riverside pubs have moorings alongside/nearby, some are free, some have to be paid for - there should be a sign to say.
Be aware that you will be colder at night on a boat than you would be at home. Take extra layers to wear at night eg a spare t-shirt under warm pyjamas plus socks.
Your boat won't capsize. Mooring in a high wind can be quite interesting though! A mistake we saw lots of people making was in thinking that mooring a boat is just like parking a car. Is isn't. The river is moving beneath you and the boat will be more affected by the wind than a car would. The other big mistake people make is to hire a boat that is too big. Stick to a smallish boat if there is only two of you. The longer the boat the more difficult it will be to handle, particularly if you are inexperienced.

Having said all that, if you are sensible and use your common sense, you will have a great time.

We've hired from Royalls boatyard at Wroxham. Long-standing family firm, excellent customer service. Would recommend highly.
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# 5
butterfly72
Old 24-02-2008, 1:17 PM
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Thanks, I'm glad you said about people going for a too large boat. Theres 3 of us going. The OH likes the look of a flash new boat. (its got PS2, ipod, LCD Tv in cabin and lounge, ensuite!!) Its fairly large and won't pass under the Potter heigham, wroxham or beccles bridges. I'm not sure whats beyond these bridges.. any ideas? I'm guessing they are in the actual villages?? Would we be able to moor up and walk into the villages without passing through?

thanks
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# 6
Vampgirl
Old 24-02-2008, 4:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly72 View Post
The OH likes the look of a flash new boat. (its got PS2, ipod, LCD Tv in cabin and lounge, ensuite!!) Its fairly large and won't pass under the Potter heigham, wroxham or beccles bridges. I'm not sure whats beyond these bridges.. any ideas? I'm guessing they are in the actual villages?? Would we be able to moor up and walk into the villages without passing through?
thanks
Wroxham is lovely, most of the moorings are the other side of the bridge but I'm sure there are some on the right side for you. In Potter Heigham there are plenty of moorings before the bridge, but really we didn't find anything interesting in PH itself so wouldn't bother with that again. We didn't go as far south as Beccles so I can't comment.

Our favourite places were mostly on the northern broads:
Acle Bridge: nice pub and plenty of moorings
Ranworth Broad: nice pub, busy free moorings but possible to find space if its not too busy
Salhouse Broad: you have to pay (but they never got round to asking us!) BBQs permitted, in the middle of no-where but very lovely, wish we'd spent more time there
Wroxham & Horning: really nice little towns but moorings can be difficult to find at busy times.

On the southern broads there was one place that really stood out: the Reedham Ferry....FANTASTIC food, moorings plus showers/toilets for boaters moored there (saved using your own onboard). We stayed there twice overnight (coz our yard was in Brundall) and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

One thing I would say is that the heating on boats isn't really sufficient - we were there in late April and I found it chilly at night and early mornings. Having said that, we had a fantastic time and I can't wait to go again! We only had a 2 berth which was a bit cramped inside, but we were lucky with the weather so that wasn't an issue, and it being a small boat meant that it was really easy to steer and moor.
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moonrakerz
Old 24-02-2008, 7:14 PM
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I can recommend Norwich as well, we spent two days there last time. The yacht station is in the middle of the city and very convenient.
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# 8
hollydays
Old 24-02-2008, 7:30 PM
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Coltishall is nice, So is Hickling and Horning, Salhouse Broad is lovely too.Wroxham has a department store and supermarket,and is a large village,I would say rather than a town.This area is is in the Broadland district see www.broadland.gov.uk for info on all the villages. (Leisure and culture then tourism and travel).I personally would give Great Yarmouth,Potter Heigham a miss.

Last edited by hollydays; 24-02-2008 at 7:53 PM.
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# 9
trevor_john
Old 24-02-2008, 8:41 PM
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I live close to the Broads and guys its GREAT anytime of the year.In the school hols it gets very busy and the waterways and pubs very crowded.

Take a look at this link for any help you may need.

www.norfolkbroads.com

hope this helps Trev
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# 10
jackieblack
Old 28-02-2008, 8:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly72 View Post
Thanks, I'm glad you said about people going for a too large boat. Theres 3 of us going. The OH likes the look of a flash new boat. (its got PS2, ipod, LCD Tv in cabin and lounge, ensuite!!) Its fairly large and won't pass under the Potter heigham, wroxham or beccles bridges. I'm not sure whats beyond these bridges.. any ideas? I'm guessing they are in the actual villages?? Would we be able to moor up and walk into the villages without passing through?

thanks
If I remember rightly, you have to pass under Potter Heigham bridge to get to Hickling Broad and under Wroxham bridge to get to Coltishall. We didn't venture onto the south broads as we think the north broads are prettier (and I'm allergic to the reeds, which are in far greater abundance in the south broads).
Our boat was meant to be able to go under these bridges, but the water level was very high when we were there and hardly any boats could get under them!

We love Ranworth Broad and Womack Water (near Ludham).

Each to their own, but it seems a shame to go to the NB and spend your time playing PS2 or watching telly, we like it because we can get away from all that stuff and enjoy the peace and quiet. Our daughter loves wildlife, last year we saw otters, herons, Marsh harriers and kingfishers as well as all the ducks, swans, geese, cormorants, coots and moorhens and much more.

And no mobile 'phone! Bliss!

.

Last edited by jackieblack; 28-02-2008 at 8:25 PM. Reason: forgot something!
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# 11
andyjsim
Old 06-04-2008, 5:19 PM
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Hi, just been reading your thread. You have to go to the Norfolk Broads at this time of year. In the summer they are swamped with tourists so if you are happy yo brave the cold go for it. My personal fav is Cockshot Broad (aside the amusing name). This the video we made. http://www.norfolkdaysout.info/detail.php?link_id=54 You can't sail on it as it is a nature reserve but you can easily walk there if you moor up near the Ferry Boat Inn.
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# 12
thetafferboy
Old 02-06-2008, 4:44 PM
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I've been on the broads many, many times. Don't worry about sailing the boats, it's pretty easy- I got the hand of it aged 9!

Couple of tips:

Boats sail on the right hand side, not the left!

There are speed limits, so watch the signs, river police do actually exist!

If you need to do a sharp turn, you need more power, not less.

Try not to go too close to the verges and be aware of tides so you don't end up sitting on the bottom (I'm speaking from experience!)

I've been with Richardsons before for boat hire and that worked out very well:
http://www.richardsonsboatingholidays.co.uk/

Or if you just want a cheap day out, maybe get a Barne's Brinkcraft! Have fun!
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# 13
knightstyle
Old 02-06-2008, 6:09 PM
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There is a site called sosimpleholidayswaps (I think) where you can swap your house or something for a holiday home, includes several houseboats.
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