Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding

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Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding the Broads

With freedom to move on your own terms and a different perspective on the beauty of the Broads, intrepid explorers should consider taking to the waters on less conventional craft.

With exceptional views and a vast array of flourishing flora and fauna, some being unique to The Broads National Park, these thriving waterways and landscapes are best explored up close.

Kayaking the Broads
Kayaking at Strumpshaw Fen

Anyone from a first timer, all the way up to an experienced paddler can take part. Whether you want to enrol in a half-day trail, or complete a 3-day bush craft camp, there’s an adventure to be had out here for everyone.

With a variety of canoe, kayak and paddleboard hire centres available, you can choose a trail based on its length and location to best suit you.

No matter your level of experience, we strongly urge anyone taking part in paddle sports to wear a  buoyancy aid at all times, and a tether (leash) if you are stand-up paddleboarding. You can find more important information about paddling by visiting the Broads Authority's canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding page or watching the videos below.

Paddling videos

Do I need a licence?

If you are a member of Paddle UK, you are licensed to canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard on any of the Broads Authority waterways including the main rivers and associated broads and dykes without the need to pay a toll on your craft.

If you are not a member of British Canoeing (Paddle UK), you will require either a Broads Authority short visit toll or an annual toll, depending on how frequently you plan on using the waterways.

Where can I launch?

The Broads is dotted with slipways and launching points from which you can get your craft in and out of the water.

Many of these launch points will be free to use, but some may charge a launching fee so please check ahead of time.

There may also be limited parking at certain locations and again, paddlers should check ahead of time to ensure they can be accommodated.

Please be aware that commercial canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding ventures are only authorised to launch and retrieve their vessels from these locations. Any on-shore training sessions, safety briefs or vessel storage is strictly prohibited.

Where can I paddle?

Canoeing on the Broads
Explore the Broads by canoe

Canoeing and paddleboarding are great ways to discover this beautiful wetland, and as they're silent, you will be able to get closer to the wildlife which includes water voles, great crested grebes and even otters.

Discover the many nooks, crannies and otherwise inaccessible areas out of view from both passing pedestrians and larger pleasure boats. Be aware that you must respect nature reserves and paddle away from the edges to minimise disturbance to breeding birds. We also do not recommend paddling in the lower reaches as these more tidal waters will require you to be extremely experienced, fit and able.

To help you navigate your way around, we have produced a number of paddle trail maps that give you the chance to experience everything from an hours paddle out to a full day’s excursion:

You can also download a free app that will allow you to scan the code on signs to get info on your phone. We have QR code signs at the five places listed below, so you can find out about these here on our website or read it whilst actually out and about on your canoe or your paddleboard.

  • Beccles
  • Geldeston
  • Ellingham
  • Wainford
  • Bungay

View more canoe, kayak and paddleboard events in our boating listings.

Trinity Broads

Although they may look appealing to paddlers, the Trinity Broads (Ormesby, Rollesby, Filby, Ormesby Little and Lily Broads) are privately owned bodies of water and are not connected to the navigation.

They are managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust on behalf of Essex & Suffolk Water and are a drinking water supply, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of the Broads Special Area of Conservation (SAC). No paddle craft are allowed to use the Broads, and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust have strict controls in place to reduce the chance of invasive species contaminating the ecosystem.

If you have any enquiries about access please contact Eilish Rothney, Nature Reserve Warden by emailing