Friday, 30 May 2014

Boating on the NORFOLK BROADS

We've just returned from a lovely 4 days cruising on the northern Norfolk Broads and would like to share some tips for giving you an even better chance of having an enjoyable trip.

These are some things you may want to consider.

Many companies offer boats on the broads.  We are lucky enough to live in the area so prior to booking we toured a few boat yards and looked over some boats.

We finally booked with Herbert Woods finding staff extremely helpful and the boats a good quality.  Hoseasons are another good option as they market on behalf of numerous other companies.  Richardsons boats were mostly older ones but they offered really good discounts for repeat customers.

Expect to pay about £40 on top of the listed price of the boat for damage waiver cover and a deposit of around £125 for fuel the balance will be refunded or charged at the end of the trip.  In four days we used £33 worth of diesel.

Picking a boat - When you research on line the pictures and write ups are not always quite as accurate
as they might be and the quality of the boats is not always reflected in the price.  It's worth speaking to someone at the boatyard to find out which ones are newer or have recently been refurbished if the interior quality is important to you.

Considerations for design will obviously be the number of passengers but also whether they are adults, how many bathrooms you need and whether you want adjoining cabins or ones at opposite ends of the boat.  As 2 couples I thought we wanted equal sized cabins at opposite ends of the boat but this meant a cockpit area with poor visibility and a more closed in saloon.  Giving the living space and visibility a higher priority we finally settled on Starlight with the big windows at the front and split sliding roof.  The large windows meant it was possible to look out without standing up and the split sliding roof was great if there was wind in one direction but you wanted the fresh air.  The lounge was light and airy and had a door leading to the front of the boat.

Steering positions will also be a consideration.  In the design we chose there was just one position at the front of the boat whilst others have steering at the back or dual steering up top as well.

Boating trips are now becoming very popular with hen and stag parties so weekend moorings by pubs can be more difficult to come by and can lead to a noisy night.
Even during the week evening moorings by pubs are at a premium so we opted to have our main meal at lunchtime and moor in a town then take quieter moorings at night and it worked out really well.

As you chug along scenery varies from woodland, open country side with reeds to areas with magnificent waterside homes.

Duration varies from a 3 night weekend up to a week and more.  The 4 night weekday breaks come in at the same price as a 3 night weekender and in reality you pretty much get a day less as pick up is late afternoon and the boats have to be back by 9am the following day.  On our 4 night break leaving Tuesday from Potter Heigham, we visited Wroxham, Sutton, Stalham, Acle and most places en route.  Mooring was the only difficult part and this got easier with practice.  Mooring stern on was the hardest and for overnighting this set up means you may be slotted between two boats giving you no view and probably more noise so we chose to moor sideways on.

Whilst this is not a cheap holiday you can keep costs down by sharing a boat with more people and eating on board, it's certainly a very relaxing experience and well worth trying in our opinion.

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