Studies show that spending time near water and connecting with nature - something which the Broads has in abundance -can give our wellbeing a real boost. And spring is the perfect time to get out and explore this unique part of the country. Here are some ideas.

Ready, steady, slow yew down...

Go Paddle

Stand up paddle boarding has a whole host of health benefits including strengthening muscles, burning calories, providing vitamin D - and improving your mental health. Wellbeing and water are intricately linked, and being around what have been dubbed 'blue spaces' has been shown to have a positive effect.

'Being out on the water and watching the landscape from that vantage point makes the world look different. When you are out there, you feel very much a part of the water,' says Katie Baxter, founder of Go Paddle, based at Horning.

'I have always loved the water - surfing, diving, wake-boarding, boating, diving - [it's] a real happy place for me.

'It was while living in Malaysia that I first got into stand up paddle boarding more than 15 years ago. It took a while to reach the UK, and so my first board was a big chunky fibreglass hard board. I remember during my time as chair of Broads Tourism writing an article about paddle boarding on the Broads being the next big thing – when there were no boards at all on our waterways, and here we are now in 2024 with it being the fastest growing water sport.

'With a love of water sport, and being fortunate enough to have grown up on the Norfolk Broads, Go Paddle was created in 2020 with a small fleet of boards and a passion to share our special waterways. Go Paddle has now grown to offer sessions to schools and colleges, charity network events on the Broads, and regular fitness sessions. We have special accessible boards and a lovely base in Horning where the kettle is always on!'

If you're new to paddle boarding, it is advisable to join a group session or have some tuition. And check the Broads Authority's guidance on paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking before you set out.


Great British Life: Eastwood Welpton offers wellbeing experiences on its traditional wooden yachts. Eastwood Welpton offers wellbeing experiences on its traditional wooden yachts. (Image: Eastwood Whelpton)

On Water Wellbeing Retreat

Spend a weekend on the water and enjoy guided walks, meditation and wild swimming with Upton-based sailing holiday specialist Eastwood Whelpton on its first Norfolk Broads wellbeing retreat from May 17-19. Accommodation is a beautiful yacht, with a skipper on board.

The retreat has been created following the success of its Women on the Water evening social sails, which launched last summer and return from April .

As office manager Suzy Strowger says: 'The ladies that joined us every week came for various reasons. Some wanted to learn to sail in a non-competitive and relaxed environment, some to support their mental health and immerse themselves in nature. We had lawyers, carers, mothers and groups of friends all wanting to enjoy something mindful for a couple of hours.'

Discovery Hubs

The first three of a network of Discovery Hubs aimed at encouraging people to leave their cars at home explore the Broads on foot, by bike and on the water were unveiled last summer. Located at Beccles, Great Yarmouth and Salhouse Broad, the accessible information points explain the history, wildlife and landscape of the area. They have been designed and built by the Broads Charitable Trust in co-operation with the Broads Authority. They have been created with funding from Norfolk County Council, Visit Great Yarmouth, the Broads Authority, Suffolk County Council and several local charities, with Richardsons Leisure Limited the launch sponsor.

Beccles is traditionally the southern gateway to the Broads. Home to a number of places to hire cruisers, day boats and canoes, it is also a great starting point from which to explore the countryside, with footpaths leading off in all directions and along both sides of the Waveney. Beccles is on the Angles Way long-distance footpath, which follows a 92-mile route from Great Yarmouth along the Waveney Valley to Thetford. From Beccles there are two easy stages: a loop via the pretty village of Geldeston or a walk along the river towards Lowestoft with a return journey by bus or train.

Great Yarmouth’s Discovery Hub is on the seafront, and points out the town's attractions and the delights of the Broads just beyond the town centre. Three long-distance footpaths start at Great Yarmouth railway station and lead into the Broads via Breydon Water, an internationally protected water nature reserve, renowned for its birdlife. The Angles Way takes walkers along the southern banks of Breydon Water while the Weavers' Way and Wherryman’s Way follow the northern shore.

And on the River Bure in the heart of the Broads, Salhouse Broad is one of the prettiest of the northern Broads, a mixture of woodland, reedbed and grassland. As a largely rural county with few large towns and cities, Norfolk has some of the darkest skies in the country. The Salhouse Broad hub has been designed to take full advantage of its location, with a platform to lie down on to marvel at the night sky or the ever-changing cloud formations on a summer’s day.

Elsewhere, there are paths to explore and canoes for hire. Paddle across to Hoveton Great Broad on the far side of the river and you might spot dragonflies, butterflies, a heron or kingfisher.

Nancy Oldfield Trust

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Nancy Oldfield Trust offers accessible boating opportunities in the Broads, giving people who are disabled or disadvantaged the opportunity to enjoy a day out on the water, try new activities and improve their self confidence.

It is funded entirely by donations, charitable trusts, grants and bequests and activities available include sailing, canoeing, pedal boating, paddleboarding, wildlife watching and motor boat cruises. Family members and carers are very welcome too.

The trust has three wheelchair accessible motor cruisers: Nancy Bee II, which carries nine passengers, Maureen Kenyon, which carries eight passengers and the electric boat White Admiral, which also carries eight people. Nancy Bee and Maureen Kenyon are based at Ludham Bridge during the summer months and cruise the rivers Ant, Bure and Thurne. White Admiral is based at Neatishead for trips to Barton Broad, upstream to Dilham, Stalham or Sutton or downstream towards Irstead and How Hill.

Equanimity Festival

Held at Salhouse Broad over two weekends in June, Equanimity Festival has wellbeing at its heart. The programme of water and land-based activities is carefully curated to help festival goers to find balance and tranquility in everyday life and includes paddle boarding, yoga and pilates classes, meditation, fitness classes, wood carving, forest bathing, sound baths, saunas and ice baths. Camping and glamping options are available.

Salhouse Broad has become something of a wellbeing hub, offering canoe and kayak hire, forest bathing walks, stargazing, bioflourescence walks which show nature in a whole new psychedelic light and back to basics camping.

Equanimity Festival is being held on June 21-23 and 28-30.

Canoeing and kayaking

If you're more adventurous, canoeing or kayaking is a great way to explore the beautiful wetland at a slower pace and get closer to the Broads' flora and fauna which you otherwise might miss.

There are hire centres around the Broads and a variety of trails of varying lengths, including Bungay to Geldeston and Norwich to Rockland. For a real back to basics, unplugged experience, the Canoe Man offers bushcamp experiences, and other activities such as fungi foraging.

For details of paddle trails - and safety guidance - go to

For more about the Canoe Man's Broads excursions visit the

Great British Life: Boating with Richardson's Boating Holidays. Boating with Richardson's Boating Holidays. (Image: Richardson's Boating Holidays)

Stay for more than a day

A day spent on the Broads can really boost your wellbeing - imagine how good it must feel to make a staycation of it and holiday on your doorstep. The area is home to a number of companies where you can hire a cruiser to be your home from home on the water.

'There really can be nothing more satisfying than gentling cruising along the peaceful waterways of the Norfolk Broads taking in the big skies and picture-postcard Broadside villages,' says Greg Munford, chief executive of Richardson's Boating Holidays.