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A four day trip on the Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads holidays are perfect for a nice relaxing waterside break and staycation in the UK. It is nice to hire a broads cottage or a holiday home but luxury boat hire on a Norfolk Broads holiday is even more special! Cruisers and cruise lovers will also love booking a Norfolk broads boat more than booking homes or cottages. This is an itinerary of a boating holiday that is a four day trip on the Norfolk Broads riverside. It is an ideal short break to start first your boating experience with too.
You can do boating holidays at any time of the year and your boat hire can be booked on the broads direct.
Wroxham is ideal place to start as It can be a bit confusing if you have never been before but there is so much to explore.
This is the intinary we took for 4 days with no rushing. For tips on booking your trip take a look at booking a trip on the Norfolk Broads post.

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This is overall review of our broads trip and a look at some of the beautiful village sand pubs you can explore along the riverside.

So which villages should you visit on the Norfolk Broads? Try this perfect itinerary for a four day trip on the Norfolk Broads.

What is it like to hirIng a boat on the Norfolk Broads?

Cruising along the Norfolk is a fantastic way to holiday. It is so peaceful and quiet and hiring a boat means you have your own bit of space. And can hop on and off as you please in wonderful British natural surroundings.

How easy is it to drive a boat on the Norfolk Broads?

Driving and navigating a vessel on the Norfolk broads is easy! The Broads are a great place to try boating for the first time. The rivers are much wider than the canals and there are no locks. To hire a boat you don’t need any boating experience they will give you full instructions when you arrive to your boat. You will be given a tutorial on how to drive the boat and where to go by map to plan your route. Then its all down to you!

How to choose a route on the Norfolk Broads

You will usually need to start and finish in the same place as you picked up your boat. The boat company will give you some indication of how far to go and a map for help. You also need to check if your boat can fit under bridges as all are boats are different heights and there are some low bridges. This may dictate your route.

This is an ideal four day itinerary starting from Wroxham and finishing at Wroxham. In this Itinerary you will visit;

  • Wroxham
  • Horning
  • Ludham
  • How hill
  • Neatshead
A 4 day trip the Norfolk Broads reeds long grass photo

The village of Horning on the Broads

From picking up our boat in Wroxham we decided to head on down to Horning for our first overnight stay. Horning is a pretty little town approximately an hour and a quarter away by boat with plenty of moorings.
There are many pubs to choose from here, the first one being the Black Swan which is nice and big serving good pub food. The black Swan is dog friendly and your furry friends are allowed inside on the hard floor areas. Set right on the riverside with many picnic tables you feel like you are in another pretty little world. Please do bear in mind some pubs get busy so it is advisable to book especially in the summer months.

There is a post office in Horning as well as a pretty tea room and a few gift shops too. For the keen fishermen there is also an angling shop just down the road.

We soon had the hang of mooring with Owen jumping off of the boat to pull us in. I could not believe we were in charge of this floating home it was so much fun.

It was pretty quiet here and we had no trouble sleeping on our boat but we were up early and off to our next destination first thing.

The Black Swan Horning Norfolk Broads

Ludham along the Norfolk Broads

Arriving at Ludham you pass under the bridge just before mooring up. Ludham is a great place to stop, there is a large cafe and a shop right on the corner.

In Ludham the local pub is The Dog Inn and is a wonderful dog friendly pub, it serves great food and has a large beer garden with play facilities for the children. We had a lovely lunch here and Dolly sat very well behaved under the table before walking to St Benets Abbey.

This is a nice quiet dog walk and St Benets Abbey is such a beautiful and historic site.
St Benets is an old medieval monastery and much of what survives today is ruins. A mill stands on the site and holds up what is left of the Abbey. You can moor up at St Benets Abbey just Before Ludham but don’t worry if you miss it as the walk only takes about 30 mins along the path.

Just outside the front of the moorings in Ludham is Chandlers yard a mix of tiny shed shops. Antiques and books are on offer put please be aware that some may not be open as it is a very relaxed atmosphere.

ludham bridge Norfolk Broads boat view

Book shop on the Norfolk Broads in Ludham

Perhaps my favourite little shed was the book shop with a key in the door and an Honesty box. I spent ages in here reading the blurb on the books and took a few home with me after putting my pound per book in the box.

A four day trip on the Norfolk Broads Chandlers Yard Book shop Ludham
St Benets Abbey Ludham Norfolk Broads

Remember you are never very far from a pub or corner shop on the Norfolk Broads

We were not very prepared with food onboard so we decided to try another pub in the evening. So leaving the boat moored up we popped by taxi back to Horning and the Ferry Inn pub.

The villages may be 40 minutes apart by boat when travelling just 6 miles an hour but by taxi it is about 10 minutes.

The ferry inn is a wonderful carvery with different pies as well as meat and vegetarian choices. The roast potatoes were the best I have eaten out by far! A definite treat.

The ferry Inn Horning trip on the Norfolk Broads

The secret gardens of How Hill

The next morning after our second night on the boat we decided to pop just 20 mins down the road by boat to How Hill.
How Hill is a beautiful part of Ludham, the river Ant sweeps around to the bottom of How Hill where there are windmills on what seems every corner.

The How Hill trust look after How Hill House which used to be a holiday home to Edward Thomas Boardman. Built in 1905 and later extended in it became a permanent home with many plants and some 70,000 planted trees.
It is now used as a recreational and educational centre for children so you can not go inside but you can explore the gardens.

How Hill House Ludham trip on the Norfolk Broads

We had heard about the secret garden and really wanted to visit. If you are a garden or nature lover you can not miss this!
The gardener of How Hill does a fantastic job in keeping the gardens looking superb. Stream lined hedges, wisteria hidden paths and rose gardens galore.
Just beyond the gate is the hidden secret garden. Along a wooded path you will find an exquisite garden full of amazing trees such as acers and rhododendrons bushes which unfortunately were not in bloom when we visited.

How Hill House Ludham trip on the Norfolk Broads The secret garden

Toad Cottage

Back down to the mooring we stopped by Toad Cottage showcasing the old days of living on the Norfolk Broads.
This quaint cottage in original condition  is a marshman’s cottage and was home for a whole family in Victorian times. See how they lived and the tools they used for working on the marshes, there is also a cottage fruit and vegetable garden and a sensory garden.

How Hill House Ludham trip on the Norfolk Broads Toad Cottage

Neatishead in the Norfolk Broads four day Itinerary ary

Leaving How Hill we decided to moor up at Neatishead and try a spot of pike fishing. There is a beautiful pub here called the Black Horse which is advisable to book as it can get very busy.

There are 12 Moorings at Neatishead, but it is tight and you may need to reverse in. We learnt a lot of new boating skills here, but had plenty of help from fellow boaters.

Going in to Neatsihead you cross Raw Malt House Broad this wide almost lake like area is so beautiful. It is so relaxing and on the boat especially with the roof off and the sun shining through. A big blanket, a glass of wine and a book was all I needed to cosy up in Autumn time. The boys enjoyed fishing and we had no worries of cooking with so many pubs around.

How Hill House Ludham trip on the Norfolk Broads The River Ant

Heading on Home

After out evening in Neatishead we decided to head on back the way we came. We could of gone up to Stalham which is not far but as we are great foodies and we decided that we had missed the New inn at Horning so we booked a lunch time meal on our last day.

The New Inn serves fabulous food in fact all of the pubs we could not fault. The Inn offers you a reserved mooring on arrival if you have booked a table. They also have amusements for the kids and a huge outside eating area where dogs are welcome.

Heading back to Wroxham was our last jaunt and you are spoilt for choice here also. With many shops, restaurants and pubs you will have lots to explore.

We covered only a small snippet of what was on offer on our trip on the Norfolk Broads so we are determined to go back.

It really is a beautiful and relaxing part of the country with so many lovely places to visit. Thank you for reading our four day trip on the Norfolk Broads

D x

How Hill House Ludham trip on the Norfolk Broads The River Ant


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  1. Haven’t been to the Broads for years but this would be great to do with our boys – especially now they’re a bit older – and I suppose it would only be polite to try some of the pubs on the way.

  2. Donna I love this post, this is something we have wanted to do for so long, we might even come with you next time how much fun would that be? Thanks for linking up #MondayEscapes x

  3. It looks like you had a really relaxing holiday. I love the Norfolk Broads and took a holiday there a few years back before the girls arrived. I think it’s about time to have another visit

  4. a boat trip through the broads is on my to do list. I love the idea of stopping along at all those fabulous pubs for refreshment as we go! Not sure whether to wait until the toddler is less toddler though

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