Dawn, Heather & Zoe from Waterways Holidays were lucky enough to be invited for a weekend’s boating on the Norfolk Broads on the beautiful cruiser ‘Supreme Light’ from our Potter Heigham base. Here’s what they got up to:
On Friday morning we set off nice and early from Surrey and had a fairly good journey across to Norfolk. We arrived at the boatyard just before 1pm and popped in to say hello before heading over the road for some lunch. There are two cafes and a pub opposite the boatyard at Potter Heigham, we chose the Bridgestones Cafe. They serve a great range of food from all day breakfasts, to toasted sandwiches, afternoon teas, full roast dinners, burgers and fish & chips.
After lunch we headed back to reception and were met by the Chairman John Butler for a grand tour of the Potter Heigham boatyard. We saw it all – from the laundry, to the boat building sheds to the repair centre; it was all so interesting seeing what goes on behind the scenes.
Then it was time for our tuition and training session. We picked up our life jackets, popped all of our belongings on board and were joined by Stuart, our instructor. Firstly, we were shown through the exterior of the boat including the engine and the checks we were to do each morning. The internal show-through consisted of how the electrics work, the shower, toilets, oven & hob.
Next came the steering and mooring training, we were taught the controls of the boat, the speed limits and the gears. We all had a practice steering the boat up the river and we practised mooring up and how to tie the ropes properly. We dropped Stuart back to the boatyard and we were on our way! We’d decided to head down the River Thurne to Thurne Dyke and hope for a mooring space there.
We were in luck and found a large mooring. We used our bow & stern thrusters to ease ourselves into the gap. Feeling rather proud of ourselves we decided to treat ourselves to a little tipple; taking in the gorgeous views surrounding us. We walked up to the local pub at the end of the dyke – The Lion at Thurne. Luckily they had a spare table and we were seated and fed quickly. The food was absolutely lovely and we headed back to the boat feeling satisfied and ready for an early night!
The next morning we cruised past St Benet’s Abbey – one of the most iconic attractions on the Norfolk Broads. We headed through the village of Horning and onto Wroxham. Wroxham is known as the ‘Capital of the Broads’ and is a great village to pick up supplies or grab a bite to eat; with department stores, fish and chip shops, restaurants and a pub. We popped into the King’s Head for a refreshment and picked up some chips from one of the fish & chip shops to go with our lunch back on the boat.
Our next stop was Horning, we travelled back along the River Bure and kept an eye out for a mooring near the waterfront pubs. We were lucky enough to take the last spot at The New Inn (moorings can be prebooked- highly recommended in peak times). After a stroll into the village, which was really quite quaint and pretty. We had a quick pit-stop at the Swan Inn and sat out overlooking the river as the sun was setting. Dinner back at the New Inn was delicious and filling so once again we headed off for an early night, ready for the last day ahead.
Our final morning we awoke to glorious sunshine (finally!) and set off down the river in good spirits. We were greeted further down the river by a large number of sailing yachts competing in some sort of race. At first this can be quite daunting as yachts sometimes need to ‘tack’ down the river, meaning they zig-zag from one side of the river to the other. Navigating our way through did take some concentration!
We took a detour on the way back down Fleet Dyke to visit South Walsham Broad; a pretty Broad with lovely views across the marshes. There are some nice moorings here with access to a footpath that leads to a pub. We retraced our steps back up the Dyke and passed by St Benet’s Abbey again before joining the River Thurne back to Potter Heigham.
We returned to the boatyard and moored up in one of the available spaces before unloading our belongings. As we were doing this one of the engineers came and refuelled the boat to work out our fuel usage. We said our goodbyes to the boatyard team and a fond farewell to our lovely cruiser Supreme Light. We all thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring the Broads and wouldn’t hesitate to return with so much to discover!
Start planning your own Norfolk Broads adventure by visiting: www.waterwaysholidays.com/norfolkbroads.htm