Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are the ideal place to enjoy birdwatching, with so many places to see some rare and unusual birds that live within the county. Better yet, if you’re enjoy a boating holiday with us then you’ll be pleased to know that the Broads is one of the best places to go birdwatching in the whole of Norfolk! The county houses many nature reserves, with a vast array of bird life waiting to be spotted. Here, we have listed our top 3 sites for birdwatching on the Broads – though the opportunities are endless! There’s also some tips on which rare bird you should keep an extra keen eye out for when visiting each reserve… Happy spotting!


Strumpshaw Fen, Tunstall, NR13 4HS

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads

Kingfisher illustration

This reserve is located close to the River Yare and features reedbeds, woodlands and meadows, offering a wide range of Broads wildlife to visitors. In spring and summer the meadows are in full bloom and butterflies and dragonflies are aplenty. The reserve offers a range of guided walks and has 3 hides as well as a disabled access viewing point.

What to look out for:

    • Barn owls
    • Bitterns
    • Cetti’s warblers
    • Kingfishers
    • Marsh harriers

Helpful info: the reserve is open from dawn ’til dusk everyday (except 25th December). Entrance is free to RSPB members, under 5s and carers accompanying registered disabled visitors. For non-members it is £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for concessions and £1.50 for children aged between 5-17. One child per family goes free. Dogs are not permitted, except guide dogs.

Hickling Broad, Hickling, NR12 0BW

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads

Bearded Tit illustration

Located off the River Thurne, Hickling is the largest of the Broads. The nature reserve offers many trails for visitors and is a real haven for wildlife including birds, deer and insects. You can take a boat tour around Hickling Broad in the summer months.
What to look out for:

    • Bitterns
    • Common Cranes
    • Barn owls
    • Bearded tits
    • Hen harriers

Helpful info: the reserve is open from dawn ’til dusk everyday. Entrance is free to members and children. For non-members it is £4.50. Dogs are not permitted. There is swing mooring available on Hickling Broad.

Berney Marshes and Breydon Water, Great Yarmouth, NR13 4HS

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads

Lapwing illustration

Berney Marshes are one of the UK’s largest expanses of wet grasslands and are located near Great Yarmouth off the River Yare. The area is extremely atmospheric, and you can often witness tens of thousands of wintering ducks, geese and swans all at once. In spring, there are different species to be found.

What to look out for:

  • Lapwings
  • Golden plovers
  • Red shanks
  • Pink-footed geese
  • Wigeons

Helpful info: the reserve is open from dawn ’til dusk every day. Entrance is free to all, but donations are welcomed. Dogs permitted on public footpaths only.

For more information on birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads, visit the RSPB or the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. You can also see our top tips for birdwatching on the Norfolk Broads here.

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