5 heavenly Norfolk boating holidays to try

A magical night with Norfolk's Coastal Exploration Company

A magical night with Norfolk's Coastal Exploration Company - Credit: Coastal Exploration Company/Peter Naylor

With gathered some wonderfully peaceful Norfolk boat holidays include wherries, adventure and glamping

Voyages of discovery 

The Coastal Exploration Company creates idyllic mini-adventures sailing along the north Norfolk coast or threading through meandering tidal creeks in restored traditional wooden boats.  

It was launched by Henry Chamberlain when he returned to his native Norfolk after a career patrolling some of the most beautiful and dangerous places on earth. 

Day trips leave Wells on the morning tide to explore sea or marshes. Overnight adventures can include a day of sailing, swimming, foraging and relaxing, fuelled by a gourmet meals created from local food and followed by a night tucked into a traditional whelk boat in the saltmarshes. The bespoke escapes might take guests out into the open sea or down secret shifting shallow channels into a low-lying landscape of reeds, marsh, tiny sandy beaches and wading birds. 

Coastal Exploration Company owner Henry Chamberlain. Picture: Andrew Stone

Henry Chamberlain - Credit: Archant

Henry has travelled the world, first with the Royal Marines and then as a United Nations security expert. He monitored war ravaged mountain borders by ski and crossed African conflict zones by camel. He survived a carjacking and suicide bombing in Sudan, took scientists to the Arctic and found ways to get food to the starving, ending that part of his career as deputy director of field security for the United Nations World Food Programme. 

With two young children and needing more stability, he realised he could find adventure, exploration and wilderness in Norfolk too. 


The wherry Albion makes her way under sail along the River Yare near Cantley. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The wherry Albion makes her way under sail along the River Yare near Cantley. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

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Wonderful wherries 

More than 300 trading wherries once carried goods through the rivers of Norfolk. During the summers more than a century ago, the skippers would scrub out the holds and take holidaymakers on trips. 

Wherry Albion is one of just two remaining traditional trading wherries on the Broads and can still be chartered overnight or for weekends or longer, complete with a skipper. Holidaymakers are encouraged to have a go sailing the wherry too – when not too busy enjoying the journey, marvelling at the wildlife or waving at passers-by. 

The black-sailed icon of the Broads usually sails from her Ludham base and even if you can’t holiday on Wherry Albion, regular day cruises are planned and the visitors should be able to step aboard for free at open days. www.wherryalbion.com

On the River Ant with the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust

On the River Ant with the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust - Credit: Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust

Wherry fleet

Hathor, Olive, Norada, White Moth and Ardea are five of the last remaining historic wherries on the Broads.  

They are cared for by the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust which hires out Norada, Olive, White Moth, which were built in Wroxham more than 100 years ago, (and sometimes 94-yearold Ardea too) for short breaks and holidays afloat, complete with an expert skipper. The skippers, like everyone else involved in the Trust, are volunteers who love sailing the historic craft – and welcome help from willing guests. 

For more information on chartering an overnight sailing, or booking a scheduled day sail, email bookings@wherryyachtcharter.org or call 01603 781475. 

The Wild Duck in Heacham

The Wild Duck in Heacham - Credit: submitted

Heacham haven

The Wild Duck in Heacham is no ordinary holiday home. Converted from a boat dating back to the 1870s, the accommodation is beautifully presented, romantic and peaceful. Beached behind the dunes overlooking the Snettisham RSPB reserve on one side, and the waters of the Wash on the other, guests are lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea and the rustling of the reeds. One of the bedrooms is built into the bow with 180 degree views, and children love the bedroom in the hull. The elevated sun decks give front row seats for beautiful sunsets. Available from Norfolk Hideaways www.norfolkhideaways.co.uk 

Secret Water glamping pod 

Hippersons Secret Water glamping pod - Credit: Hippersons Boatyard

Glamping on water

A floating pod, moored on the river Waveney near Beccles is the first of its kind in the UK. Secret Water is a luxury glamping pod with a deck is positioned so that guests can watch the sun rise - and set too. There are lovely views towards Old Beccles bridge and the quay and use of a rowing boat is included. Owners Simon and Mary Sparrow live on a barge at nearby Hippersons Boatyard and also have several pretty houseboats available as holiday lets, plus day boats, kayaks and canoes. www.hippersons.co.uk   

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