Two day boating itinerary: Upper River Bure

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Wroxham, Salhouse Broad and Horning

Day 1 – Wroxham and Salhouse Broad

Boating on Salhouse Broad
Boating on Salhouse Broad

Holiday cruisers are available to hire from Norfolk Broads Direct and Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham, and Ferry Marina in Horning.

This 2-day itinerary starts in Wroxham, the heart of the Broads. The two villages of Wroxham and Hoveton sit on either side of the River Bure. Bustling hubs full of places to eat and shop, they are often referred to as the capital of the Broads. There is a Broads National Park Information Centre based at Station Road Hoveton. Book an early table at the Hotel Wroxham where you can enjoy breakfast on the terrace overlooking the water. The restaurant and stunning waterside terrace are open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Watch the hustle and bustle of the day unfold as the hire boats go out and people start to arrive for their Broads Tours river trips.

After breakfast, wander up to the Bure Valley Railway station at Wroxham, where you will take a nostalgic trip by steam train on Norfolk’s longest narrow-gauge railway. Steam trains operate regularly between the old market town of Aylsham and Wroxham. The Bure Valley Railway was built on the trackbed of part of the former Great Eastern Railway and the 9 mile line runs through meadowland, ancient pastures and picturesque Broadland villages. The trip to Aylsham by train takes about 45 minutes. At Aylsham station, you’ll find lots of facilities including the Whistlestop CafĂ© and a shop stocking a wide range of railway-themed souvenirs and gifts, as well as being a paradise for any model railway enthusiasts.

Leave the station and take in the historic market town of Aylsham. The prominent marketplace is surrounded by beautiful 18th-century houses and reflects the town’s prosperity from the textile and cloth trade at the time. A mile from the marketplace you will discover Redwings Horse Sanctuary, home to almost 90 friendly horses and donkeys who now live there. They love visitors and you can get up close and cuddly every day between 10:30am - 4pm until the end of August. Take the return journey by steam train back to Hoveton station, where you will pick up your holiday cruiser.

The Fur and Feather at Woodbastwick
The Fur and Feather at Woodbastwick

Follow the River Bure south out of Wroxham, taking in the pretty riverside properties along the way. After about 30 minutes, gently cruising you’ll come to Salhouse Broad. Moorings are available but it can get very busy in high season, so please arrive early. Salhouse Broad is a place of great natural beauty, where you can explore the nature boardwalks, walk through the woods or hire a canoe. In fact, you might find that one night just isn’t enough. If you decide to stay on, it’s worth hiring a canoe and paddling over to Hoveton Great Broad to discover some real Broadland wilderness at one of Britain's finest National Nature Reserves. Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail is only accessible by boat and promises a peaceful hour-long stroll around this isolated reserve. Alternatively, you can moor up on the River Bure, just on the other side of Hoveton Great Broad, and walk to the start of the route.

Spend some time enjoying the peace and tranquillity of Salhouse Broad before dinner. You’re on holiday, so it’s time to leave the cooking to someone else! When hunger gets the better of you, head up to Woodforde’s Brewery and the Fur & Feather Inn, 20 minutes’ walk from the edge of the Broad. Their award-winning real ales and traditional home-cooked food are a Norfolk institution. Visit early for a brewery tour and some shopping, or just enjoy a great meal and a pint in the cosy pub or outdoor beer garden. You’ll need to take a torch if you’re planning to walk back to your mooring after dark.

Day 2 – Horning

Paddleboarding at Horning
Paddleboarding at Horning

In the morning take a 15 minute walk, into Salhouse village for a stop off at Prima Rosa. Combining crafts with a passion for baking, the owners Judith and Martin have created an amazing vintage style tea-room and craft shop that’s well worth a browse. From 9:30am you can treat yourself to breakfast or pick up a packed lunch to take away for later.

Back on board your holiday cruiser, continue your journey south along the River Bure for about half an hour or so to the pretty village of Horning. There are several places for you to moor at Horning, either side of the river, although it can get incredibly busy so please do arrive early. For this itinerary, you’ll need to access land from the north bank. Not to worry if you’ve moored on the other side, as the Horning Foot Ferry is available to take walkers and cyclists across the River Bure and also provides a customised water taxi service in the area.

Horning is full of riverside houses and pubs, restaurants and shops. It’s a stunning iconic Broads waterside location with so many places to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. At the weekends you can watch the sailing races from Horning sailing club. If you’d like to try something a little more energetic, book yourself a paddleboarding session with GoPaddle. They provide beginner sessions for adults and children of all ages and abilities as well as daily and weekly hire.

Walk from Horning village for approximately 20 minutes to BeWILDerwood, the award-winning forest of wild family fun and adventure. At BeWILDerwood you’ll discover treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, Crocklebogs, boat trips, storytelling and fabulous marsh walks where the whole family can enjoy a few hours running off some steam and exploring the wild Norfolk landscape.

After all that fun and adventure, it’s time to relax on board your cruiser and plan what you’re going to do tomorrow.

If you would like to do this itinerary as part of a land-based holiday, here are our suggestions for places to stay nearby.…