The Broads of Norfolk are England's watery jewel, an enchanting landscape that mixes earth, sky and waterways in an often stunningly beautiful combination. It is justifiably famous as a holiday destination. Whether you enjoy wildlife watching, walking and cycling, or simply sitting back and relaxing, this attractive part of East Anglia can provide it all.
The real feature of the Broads is the stunning network of waterways that interlace and interlock. There are seven connected rivers in this system of waterways, with 63 lakes and broads forming areas of still water in between them. These lakes and broads are the result of peat digging which took place from approximately the 9th up until the 14th century. As the digging came to an end, the water levels rose and created the beautiful landscape we have today.
Most of the area is navigable by boat, which makes it ideal for low pressure, laid-back sailing and boating holidays. The waterways lead through the pleasantly flat and mellow lands of Norfolk and travellers can navigate all the way to the coast. No wonder then that the area attracts something like seven million visitors each year.
In order to properly explore the natural attractions of the region, it is best to head to the Broads National Park, conveniently located within reach of the city of Norwich. This is the largest protected wetland area and the third largest navigable waterway in the United Kingdom. Hickling Broads is another area of natural beauty where visitors can enjoy both scenery and wildlife.
Wildlife watchers can see a huge range of resident and migratory birds in the area, with interesting species visible all year round. Particular highlights include the swallowtail butterfly, which can be found nowhere else in Britain. Birds that can be seen include the bittern and the marsh harrier, whilst otters are amongst the mammal species, which can be found lurking among the Broads. At Hickling Broads, waders, ospreys and spoonbills can be seen.
There are also buildings in the Broads, though, with many medieval churches still standing in the villages and market towns that dot the area. Wroxham is a pleasant market town located right in the middle of the Broads and is a real hub for boating holidays. Located just over the River Bure from Hoveton, the two towns together are seen as the capital of the Broads.
Norfolk Broads hotels are often more likely to be found aboard a boat rather than on land and booking a boat trip remains the best way to properly explore the Broads. There are hotels and guest houses located in the villages and market towns and also a number of high quality, self-catering apartments and cottages. If you do not want to stay in Norfolk Broads hotels themselves, the city of Norwich has a great range of accommodation on offer.
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