Britain’s largest protected wetland is a wildlife-filled wonderland.
There’s nowhere quite like The Broads. A vast protected wetland stretching between Norfolk and Suffolk, it’s a wet and wild playground of winding rivers, lush marshlands, and woodland walks. Take to the water to boat, paddle, and fish along more than 125 miles of lock-free waterways and shallow lakes, spot rare wildlife, and explore more than 190 miles of walking and cycling paths, hopping between historic villages and English country pubs. And among it all are flat, lush meadows that offer the perfect bases for camping. Norfolk’s mild climate makes it a safe bet for campers and caravanners (although we’re still in England, so be prepared for showers nonetheless!), especially from spring through autumn. And the speciality, of course, is camping on the water’s edge. There are plenty of campsites with a stretch of stream, canal, or river running through or past. Some are quiet tents-only affairs where you can part the reeds to launch your own canoe or kayak, and others are larger sites with their own slipways and boat hire. Even campsites without direct access to the water will never be far away from it, because in the Broads, there’s water everywhere.
Scenic waterways twist their way between charming villages in the northern section of the Norfolk Broads National Park. Wroxham, Hoveton, Horning, and How Hill should all be stops on your itinerary, and provide plenty of options for campers. Winter visitors should head to the coast—the seaside village of Horsey is renowned for its large seal colony, and November through January is the time to spot newborn seal pups.
Norwich is the gateway to the western reaches of The Broads, where boat trips set sail along the River Yare into the heart of the national park. Highlights include the walking and cycling trails of Whitlingham Country Park, the idyllic Fairhaven Woodland, and the Bure Valley Railway steam train. Whitlingham Broad is all about water activities with paddle boards and kayaks for hire.
Sun, sea, and seaside fun is on the menu at Great Yarmouth, where coastal campers can take their pick of family campgrounds and sandy beaches. Inland, follow your river of choice—the Bure, Thurne, Yare, and Waveney rivers all meet here—go bird-watching around Berney Marshes and Breydon Water, or bike part of the National 1 cycling trail.
Over the border in Suffolk County, the southernmost slice of The Broads has lively market towns, beaches, and bird-filled marshes, often without the crowds of the Norfolk Broads. Head to Lowestoft for windswept coastal walks, enjoy wildlife-watching and water sports at Oulton Broad, or cruise along the River Waveney between Beccles and Bungay.
Camping is a great option for a family holiday, and The Broads offers an incredible location for it. If you’re a family of water babies, simply messing about in boats can fill every day of your holiday—hire canoes, go for a cruise, or learn to sail while you’re in this natural water wonderland. Kids might also like to look out for wildlife, give fishing a go, and cycle on the towpaths along the river. Plus, Norfolk and Suffolk are home to plenty of kid-friendly attractions too, from fun fairs to the magical woodland adventure theme park Bewilderwood.
Peaceful paddling along the waterways, long days sailing on the lake, epic walks in incredible scenery…camping in The Broads is just as much fun for grown-ups as it is for kids. An adults-only holiday in The Broads gives you plenty of opportunity to indulge in your hobbies or try out new ones. And whether you’re going alone, looking for a romantic break, or after a place to holiday with friends, The Broads National Park offers campsites reserved exclusively for grown-up getaways. Look out for high-end glamping sites aimed for relaxation, or perhaps a cosy cabin, secluded shepherd’s hut, or a wide-open meadow just for your crew.
As The Broads sit on the border between the two counties, a camping holiday here puts you at the heart of the East Anglian action. Head inland for Norwich, the only city within a national park, to see its 900-year-old cathedral and wander the narrow streets. Or head south into Suffolk to visit well-heeled Aldeburgh or Southwold with its quirky pier. To the north, campers love the long sandy beaches on the North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Within reach of London but as rural as landscapes come, many of East Anglia’s grand homes are great places to explore, none more so than the royal residence at Sandringham on the north Norfolk coast. Deeper inland, you can discover the trees of Thetford Forest, while in the Sussex countryside, Dedham Vale inspired many of Constable's paintings.