Latest News: Forums Cruising Is the Norfolk Broads too busy in summer?

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  • #4664
    David Stanford

    Just wondering if anyone could give some idea of how busy the Broads get in the summer holidays. Considering a few days there with the family early August, but my only experience of the Broads is Easter. Is it crazy in the summer?

    Was thinking of northern rivers, above Potter Heigham, but also maybe Ranworth etc.


    David Stanford

    Well I have now got back from a few days on the Broads in the Wayfarer, and may as well answer my own post for anyone who digs up this thread on google in a few years time.

    Bit of a subjective question, but my answer would be basically, no. The Broads does not seem to be as busy as it was at one time (boatyards selling off ex hire boats etc). We were there from 4-7 August, and stayed to the north, and mainly on the Thurne. Put in at Thurne mouth (public slipway) and headed up to Horsey Mere. Then back down through the bridges again and round to Horning where we took her out of the water at the public slipway there.

    Never had any problem finding space to moor. Horsey at the windpump was fairly filled up in the evening, but there were still quite a lot of spaces (especially further down the dyke where the larger boats did not want to venture). Potter Heigham is a bit manic off the water, but on the water there was plenty of time get through the bridges without too much traffic. Horning was busy, but there was a regatta at the sailing club the evening we arrived.

    We did not sail to Ranworth but dropped in for a meal on the way home after loading up. The staithe was full and there were a number of cruisers on their mudweights in the broad, although there was only one dinghy in the dinghy section, so no problem for a Wayfarer.

    A few other points:
    We did not take an outboard, and there were a few occasions where we would have liked it, especially between Ranworth and Horning where the fairly light winds anyway were kept off the river by the trees. Similar problem on parts of stretch back from Horsey to Potter Heigham. Maybe the Broads is better for sailing when the weather is less settled? But we had some good sails too so not all bad.

    There are not loads of public slipways on the Broads (that I could find). The one at Thurne was fine for a Wayfarer off a launching trolley (honesty box for donations). Would probably drop off the edge if you were launching from trailer. The public slipway at Horning was OK – looked rarely used, was slippery, rutted, and local swans regarded it as their territory, but it did the job once they had been shifted. Despite all that you have to pay £8 for the privilege which seems a lot. And then the only place to get sorted out is a minor road in front of the pub which seems to be used far more than you would expect – that may have just been because of the regatta though.

    Apologies for answering my own question, but some of that may be of use to someone somewhere. All in all, not too busy to not be enjoyable. On a number of occasions, especially between Potter Heigham and Horsey we felt we had it to ourselves.



    Hi David,

    I agree the Broads are not as busy as they were. Now you’ve conquered the Northern section, maybe try giving the Southern rivers a go? The tidal river Yare is a wilder landscape and at some times of year you can sail all day and barely see another boat. Get up towards Brundall and you will find clubs like Coldham Hall Sailing Club and Buckenham Sailing Club to be friendly.
    Usually they race on a Sunday morning but there is social sailing at other times. If you are lucky, you may even spot an Osprey in the summer; the bird, not the boat! Beccles is also a great place to visit with a club that favours youngsters and an easy walk into town from the clubhouse. There is a cantankerous old swing bridge at Reedham which, if the mood takes it, will open for you and a ferry pub that serves good food and ale. Get the tides right though, or you could find yourself sailing backwards in a force 4!

    Well worth a visit.


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