Visit North Norfolk

The Broads National Park

The man-made Broads winds its way through the stunning Norfolk countryside. The Norfolk Broads is a National Park with over 125 miles of lock-free waterways with pretty towns and villages along the way, and is home to over quarter of the rarest plants and animals in the UK.

explore the broads national park

The man-made Norfolk Broads were created in the 14th century when peat was dug out to provide fuel and a sellable commodity. The holes left behind began to fill with water with the rising sea levels and these 'holes' formed the beginning of The Norfolk Broads. More than 200km of rivers and Broads were created by peat digging which provided channels for commerce throughout the 16th century. The waterways transported bricks, coal, tiles and timber and Norfolk Wherries, with their single black sail, were the boats that plied these routes.
 
The Broads National Park has become a popular holiday destination and is the only National Park with a city in it! The tranquil setting of the Broads is like no other. Big skies, stunning landscapes of marshland, woodlands and reeds that change with the seasons, is a unique holiday. Discover the Broads on its lakes and rivers and alongside them, on quiet cycle ways and paths. With miles of peaceful country lanes, exploring the Broads by bicycle and walking means you can enjoy some of Norfolk's most stunning scenery. You can hire a bike from cycle hire centres in the Broads, many of which are close to moorings and there are plenty of cycle routes suitable for all ages and abilities.  
 
 
Choose from over 300 km of footpaths through attractive landscapes and nature reserves when exploring the Broads by foot. There are circular routes and long distance footpaths suitable for short strolls or striding out on hikes.
 
 
Exploring the Broads by boat is one of the best ways to discover these magical waterways. The popular Cruiser is an easy to handle boat with plenty of home comforts on board. Discover hidden places only reached by water, find great places to fish and wonder at wildlife along the way. And there's plenty of it! The Broads is home to over a quarter of the rarest plants and animals in the UK and is Britain's largest protected wetland.
 
With its many nature reserves, the Broads is also an excellent place for birdwatching all year round. In the summer, keep an eye out for kingfishers and marsh harriers. There are 11,000 wildlife species and 230 nationally important invertebrates in the Broads, such as beetles and moths including the fenn's waistcoat and reed leopard. Keep an eye out for the darts of colour of dragonflies and damselflies, the flash of yellow and black of the swallowtail butterfly, and you may even spot an otter.
 
The Broads National Park is great for family days out. Choose from miniature railways, country parks, animal parks and guided boat trips. The nature reserves are ripe for exploring with expert staff on hand to answer questions and tell you what to look out for. See the what's on page for details of Broads outdoor festivals. 
 
With wide horizons, fresh air and beautful landscapes, a holiday or trip by boat on the Broads is a unique experience. There are plenty of places along the winding waterways to moor up and explore pretty market towns and villages or to stop at a friendly pub.

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