As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Broads, Jackie King picks out a selection of walking, cycling and boat trips in this popular waterland in the east of England.
The Broads is the perfect environment for activities of all kinds, and the great thing is you can explore on the water, on foot or by bicycle. Even if you’re not permanently afloat you can get out on the water in numerous ways: hire a day boat or canoe, take a guided canoe tour of the region’s wildlife or take a skippered wooden dinghy for a spot of sailing.
You can also explore The Broads on foot by way of marked paths through designated nature reserves – plus of course the long-distance Wherryman’s Way and Weaver’s Way pas through the region. Or just hire a bike and make the most of the relentlessly flat countryside.
We’ve listed lots of the best – and greenest – alternatives – but the Broads Authority also has lots of information on where to hire bikes, canoes and boats, and indeed where best to take them.
This 35-mile, mostly riverside footpath follows the course of the river Yare from just outside Norwich to Breydon Water and Great Yarmouth, and is one of the Broads’ best routes for walking, cycling, or for mixing these with a bit of boating. wherrymansway.net
The Weavers Way runs for around 60 miles from Cromer in North Norfolk to Great Yarmouth, and as such takes in some of the best and most scenic Broads walking in its latter stages, from Stalham down to Hickling Broad, Thurne, Halvergate and beyond, where it joins the Wherryman’s Way. norfolk.gov.uk/out-and-about-in-norfolk/norfolk-trails
Soak up the Broads from the water on a Broads Tours river trip, with entertaining commentary and refreshments provided throughout the day. Or take in the wetlands at your own pace by hiring a boat for the day. Broad Tours also hold regular events, such as nature trails and evening music cruises. broads.co.uk
Much the best way to see the Broads is by boat, and the quietest and least impactful way is either under sail or by canoe. Apart from the CanoeMan, who rents canoes as well as offering guided canoe trails, there are lots of places to rent canoes, by the hour, half-day, day or more – at Outney Meadow campsite in Bungay, Waveney River Centre, Hickling Broad, in Martham, Potter Heigham, Salhouse Broad, Sutton Staithe, Bank Boats in Wayford Bridge and Wroxham. Pick up a leaflet from a Broads Information Centre. canoethebroads.co.uk
Mark Wilkinson was a financial advisor in a previous life; now he spends his time paddling the Broads and hosting a wide range of mainly canoe-based activities, from straight canoe rental to guided canoe trails, bushcraft experiences, overnight canoe trips sleeping at his carefully positioned bankside teepees, even river snorkelling and Swallows & Amazons adventures for kids. They also have bikes for rent from their office by the bridge in Wroxham. thecanoeman.com
For more information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby visitor attractions, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the Broads