Find my Holiday

Norfolk Broads Waterways

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Norfolk is that the network of Norfolk Broads waterways are man-made. For over 200 years farmers in Norfolk dug peat as it could be sold as a supply of natural fuel. Then, when tides began to rise the area filled with water to create 200km of lakes, rivers and marshes that are now fondly known as the Broads.

The Norfolk Broads are a network of waterways, comprising of 303 square kilometres. The network’s largest waterways are the Rivers Bure, Yare, Ant, Thurne, Chet and Waveney.

Since Victorian times the Norfolk Broads Waterways have been a popular holiday destination for many thousands of visitors. There are a number of important nature reserves and many windmills which were once used for drainage purposes. Some of these restored mills are now open to the public during the holiday season.

You can view our river guides here

Information about the Rivers and where they pass through:
River Bure

The River Bure is a tributary of the River Yare and is navigable from Coltishall to Great Yarmouth.  Ranworth Broad is a very popular Broad with a floating Broads Wildlife Centre. The River Bure passes:

  • Coltishall
  • Belaugh
  • Wroxham
  • Hoveton
  • Salhouse
  • Woodbastwick
  • Horning
  • Malthouse Broad
  • Ranworth
  • South Walsham
  • Upton
  • Acle
  • Oby
  • Stokesby
  • Great Yarmouth
River Thurne

The River Thurne is a tributary of the River Bure and passes:

  • Hickling
  • Horsey
  • Martham
  • West Somerton
  • Thurne
  • Potter Heigham
  • Ludham
  • Womack Water
River Ant

The River Ant is a much narrower waterway than the River Bure and is entered at St Benets Abbey.  The river flows south through some extremely scenic areas including Barton Broad and How Hill. How Hill Nature Reserve has a large area of woodland. It has nature trails and a water trail. It is here that you are most likely to see the rare Swallowtail butterfly. The River Ant is a tributary of the River Bure and passes:

  • Dilham
  • Barton Broad
  • Stalham
  • Sutton
  • Neatishead
  • Barton Turf
  • How Hill
  • Ludham
River Yare

The River Yare is navigable from Norwich Yacht Station to the port of Great Yarmouth and passes through:

  • Berney Arms
  • Reedham
  • Cantley
  • Strumpshaw Fen
  • Surlingham
  • Haddiscoe
  • Brundall
  • Langley
  • Postwick
  • Thorpe St. Andrew
  • Norwich
River Chet

The River Chet is a tributary of the River Yare. It passes:

  • Loddon
  • Chedgrave
  • Hardley Flood
River Waveney

The River Waveney is a tributary of the River Yare and is navigable as far as Geldeston. It passes:

  • Burgh Castle
  • Beccles
  • St. Olaves
  • Somerleyton
  • Fritton
  • Gillingham
  • Geldeston
  • Burgh St. Peter
  • Bungay
  • Ditchingham
  • Oulton Broad
  • Lowestoft