Latest News: Forums Cruising Are the Norfolk Broads good for cruising?

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  • #4097

    I’m trying to decide where to take my Wayfarer and two children (10 and 14) camping this year. Does anyone camp and cruise the Norfolk Broads area? Are there suitable campsites? Where is the best place to launch?

    Thanks for any help


    Dave Bevan

    Hi Roger,

    We’ve had many happy holidays sailing on the broads, but mostly stayed in cottages near Hickling broads where we could almost sail up to the front door. It can get a bit busy with streams of motor-cruisers coming in either direction down the narrow rivers, and some of the Broads can be a bit weedy, but this just adds to the challenge and also limits the motor-boats to the main channels 😆

    We’ve had one night in a boat-tent at Candle Dyke, near Martham. In our pre-Wayfarer days, we camped for a couple of discrete nights at St Benet’s Abbey (we didn’t have permission 😳 ). I don’t know of any campsites where you can sail from, but I can recommend Walnut Farm at Waxham. For a family holiday, you should probably avoid Heather House Farm 😉

    Dave Barker did an excellent write-up of a cruise on the North Broads rivers on the main W website, it was also published in the W news last year. He describes the village slipway at Hickling Staithe that we’ve often used.

    The rivers may have quite a flow depending on the tide, and tacking against the tide can be painfully slow, with the impression of being carried back down-river and the only progress being made as you turn, compounded by tall trees causing wind-shadows along the rivers whilst you dodge impatient cruisers – all this makes for great boat-handling practice!


    I had a brilliant holiday with daughters (approx 8 & 9) some 15 years ago. Ok it was a Yachting World Dayboat (smaller than a Wayfarer) We camped every night near Pub! Left car and trailer at Brundall. Day 1 Brundall to Reedham. Day 2 Reedham to Stacey Arms. Day 3 Stacey Arms to Potter Heigham. Day 4 Potter Heigham to Ranworth. Day 5 Ranworth to Coltishall and back to Wroxam. Day 6 train Wroxham to Brundall on train (via Norwich) and back to Wroxham with boat trailer. You need to lower the mast sometimes – I got people on cruisers to help – no tabernacle on Dayboat – but if you practise before you go I’m sure you’ll manage ok on the water. Girls let off the forestay, you support mast on shoulder and then crutch on transom. In my opinion you need engine – anything around 2 hp will be fine. Have a good holiday – I keep meaning to do it again!! NB “Jarold” map of broads (Old) excellent

    Bob Harland

    The best site for launching places is;

    Campsites close to the river with launching however are few.
    I know of one at Repps (near Potter Heigham). The staithe is a short walk and launching a Wayfarer looks ok.
    This is also the best sailing area on the northern boards.

    If you don’t have a license remember that you will need one to take your boat on the Broads.

    Hope that helps


    We stayed one night at campsite Reedham but its not ideal for a base as its on the river not a broad. We only stayed one night at each place and had no problem finding somewhere for the temt (Vango). I like to stay near a pub as apart from the obvious advantage of Ale the crew can go to the loo and have a decent wash


    Are the Broads good for cruising? Has to be a definite yes.

    I live in Norfolk and therefore 99% of my sailing is on The Broads.

    Personally, I would launch at Hickling. Give John at Whispering Reeds a call

    John may also have some space to put a tent, if not there are campsites at Repps (as mentioned) or Thurne Dyke. I have also seen people camping at Upton Dyke.

    Stick to the Northern Rivers, the tides down South can get a bit fierce at times.

    Launching at Hickling, you have the whole broad to play with plus a few miles of river down to the bridge at Potter Heigham. Due to the size of the hole in this bridge not many cruisers can get through it. As well as Hickling and the Upper Thurne, there is Horsey Mere. Plenty above the bridge before navigating below it into the traffic.

    Once through the bridge the fun starts! Firstly there is the cottages to sail through, plus the extra boats. The wide open space around Thurne Mouth, down to Acle Bridge and up to Ant Mouth.

    West of the Ant is treelined, as is the Ant above Ludham Bridge until you reach Barton Broad (some bloke called Horatio learnt to sail there 🙂 ).

    Why not enter the 3 Rivers Race this year? Its the 50th running of the race and my write up from 3 years ago is here.

    There is no where near the amount of boats on the Broads that there used to be.

    Have fun.


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