Yes, we have the Broads National Park, 125 miles of navigable, lock-free waterways, but we have plenty of other stretches of water where you can relax, take a walk, or just let the world pass you by…
Lots of exciting things to do here around the Alde Estuary, whether it’s at the picturesque village of Orford with its medieval castle, in seaside Aldeburgh itself, or from Snape Maltings, the furthest navigable point of the river.
There are various shops at Snape, including a deli and gallery, a pub and eateries, but it’s the opportunity to get waterside is why you’re here. We recommend walking towards the coast, along the estuary, to St Botolph’s Church at Iken and back.
River Orwell and Shotley Peninsula
Take a boat trip from Ipswich waterfront along the Orwell to Shotley Peninsula where you can see the cranes of sea port Felixstowe in the distance.
There are three to choose from: Orwell Lady, Barge Victor and Allen Gardiner restaurant cruise.
If you want to do the work yourself, try Nomad Sea Kayaking.
On land, a trip to National Trust Pin Mill (and the Butt & Oyster Inn) will give you a different perspective, as will a visit to Suffolk Food Hall.
Dedham Vale & Stour Valley
Celebrating 20 years in 2020, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has breath-taking views. No wonder if inspired Constable and Gainsborough.
The River Stour is great for canoeing and kayaking, you can walk the Stour Valley Path, explore National Trust Flatford, and go to Manningtree where the river widens towards the North Sea. Shotley Peninsula on the left is very picturesque.
Gooderstone Water Gardens and Nature Trail
Located in West Norfolk close to Swaffham, the Water Gardens consist of six acres of waterways, ponds, a natural trout stream, thirteen bridges, a nature trail, Kingfisher hide and nature trail.
Pingo Trail, Brecks
8 miles of tracks on the eastern edge of the Brecks, the Pingo Trail will reveal landscapes that there were made during the last Ice Age – perfectly circular lakes. While you’re here, check out High Lodge in Thetford Forest.
With the River Wensum being under the auspices of the Broads Authority, it means Norwich is in the Broads National Park – the only National Park with a city in it in England.
There are some lovely, relaxing riverside walks to enjoy, with views taking in Norwich Cathedral, Cow Tower and Pull’s Ferry, where Caen stone was unloaded to help construct the cathedral. For us, the Wensum is one of the natural wonders of the region. On your way, you could pop into the Adam and Eve, the city’s oldest pub.
Just outside the city is a Broad on the campus of the University of East Anglia that has lovely walks. Check out the art installations that are part of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art’s Sculpture Park.
Alton Water Park
Stretching across 400 acres, Alton Water Park has walking trails and nature walks as well as an 8-mile cross country cycling track and a range of watersports, including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding.
A wildlife oasis to explore with a fabulous landscape of lakes, reeds, meadow and woodland. Kingfishers, dashing dragonflies and ducks are just some of the wildlife to look out for.
Sailing on The Excelsior
The Excelsior Trust is a charitable organisation that provides life changing sailing experiences for young and disadvantaged people, schools, and corporate groups as well as unique sailing opportunities for Individuals, all whilst preserving and maintaining one of the UK’s most historic ships.
Please, before you travel to the East of England, Know Before You Go – ensure places you want to visit are open, see if you have to pre-book. We’ve supplied click-throughs to attractions for you to check.