A couple of weeks ago we did one of my favourite things, spent the day out on The Broads in a Picnic Boat from Herbert Woods. Hiring a boat on The Broads is a Norfolk right of passage and the perfect way to celebrate anything, so when my Mother in Law asked for ideas to celebrate my Father in Law’s 65th Birthday I immediately thought of a boat.
There a few reasons we always choose Herbert Woods for our boat hire. Their boats are superbly well appointed and looked after with such care, much more so than with other companies we have tried. The staff are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Potter Heigham is a great start point for a boating adventure. You can get to Ranworth and back in half a day and there is a lovely pub there, you can get to Salhouse and back with a couple of stops if you have a full day, which us what we did, plus it is a quieter place to set off from than Wroxham which does a huge amount of rentals, so it’s easier and less stressful if you are new to it. Most importantly, Herbert Woods have never, ever, not once let us down and we have only ever had great experiences with them. Whether it’s staying in one of their cottages, holidaying on one of the larger boats, enjoying a day boat or spending time in a picnic boat.
We love the picnic boats as they are quite a bit larger than the day boats and offer some very useful creature comforts, comforts that with a young person in tow are invaluable. You get a bathroom, which is a must have when you’ve got young children as you can’t just find somewhere to stop when you are boating, to be fair it also makes life easier as an adult! There is also a little kitchen with a fridge, sink and gas hob that means you can make yourself a cuppa and even cook onboard, very nice. You get plenty of room, heating and you can slide the roof back to enjoy the open air when the weather is nice.
For me, even though the picnic boats aren’t cheap, they are worth every penny for making our day out with L so easy, plus once you are onboard you know you don’t have to spend any extra money unless you want to. We stopped at Tesco on our way to Potter Heigham as I’d arranged a click and collect order for the day and that had everything we needed for the day, the only extra we stopped for were some iced buns and pasties when we stopped in Horning. The money we would have saved by booking a day boat would have easily been spent on a pub lunch for the five of us, plus we were more comfortable in the larger boat. Boats that are large enough to easily fit ten people, so you can make a day of it with friends and split the cost. Winner.
So where did we go on our day out? All over it seemed. We started by heading to Horning, a lovely little stop with plenty of pubs and shops. We walked up to the village hall where there is a lovely playground and L enjoyed a run around and then we all played table tennis until it got too competitive! We enjoyed our lunch moored up at the free Broads Authority moorings watching the boats go by before heading off to do some more exploring.
We got to Wroxham, though didn’t stop, just sailed into Wroxham Broad and turned around, with sailing lessons and day trippers it was very busy. Then we headed to Salhouse Broad and were going to moor up and have a walk, but we had forgotten they were paid moorings, only £2 or so, but none of us had any change and besides, on our way there we had spotted something very exciting! The Aldous Ice Cream Boat, yup, a sailing ice cream van. L could not have been more excited. I had heard of this elusive boat, but somehow, in all the years we have been coming to The Broads and all the times we have had boats out, I had never actually seen it, let alone been able to use it! I tell you, everything we have done this summer, I don’t think anything quite matched the excitement of getting an ice cream from the ice cream boat.
Then we took a relaxed sail back to Potter Heigham and arrived back at around 4.30pm. So we had been out all day. All day. It was wonderful, so relaxing and so much fun. We all got to chat, enjoy good food and celebrated in style.
L was happy as he adores being out on a boat and hadn’t stop asking when we would be getting boat since we had spent the weekend at Reedsmere, a Broads Escapes property in Potter Heigham. My Father in Law was happy as he wasn’t expecting such a great surprise. I was happy and so was my Mother in Law as our favourite place to be is out on the water, it is one of the few places we both slow down and genuinely switch off and relax for a bit. Husb was happy as he just loves being Captain!!!
It is honestly such a great day out I couldn’t recommend it enough and Herbert Woods are just brilliant, they are the only people I ever recommend for boat hire on The Broads.
Disclosure – we were guests of Herbert Woods for the day. All thoughts, opinions and images are my own. I cannot express my love for this company enough.