Our trip through the Broads with Herberts, I hoped would be as memorable as one I'd had as a teenager, back in the halcyon summer of the early 80s – with glorious sunshine, quaint villages and fun with my family including two grandchildren, aged 5 and 6. Now unfortunately, thanks to the unreliable Great British weather, the late spring brought us the coldest, wet, greyest week of the whole season and the forecast was like that for the whole week. So gone was my dream of sitting on the top deck in the evening sharing a bottle of wine or two with the grown-ups and playing games with small children as we sail along the Broads. But we were determined to make the best of it.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
We arrived at Potter Heigham to collect our vessel - the Regal Light – an 8 birth cabin cruiser from Herberts for a 4 night self-catering break. Armed with our information pack, we were given our keysand advised to drive up to the boat to load our belongings and provisions. The boat was clean, surprisingly spacious with plenty of room to store your luggage and had a fully equipped kitchen.
Before we set off, our ‘Captains’ were given a driving lesson and shown the easy maintenance they may need to perform. This was also given in a written format for us to refer to, should we need to. There's a maximum speed limit of around 4-6mph on the Broads, and as they went on, all three Captains found it easy to drive and manoevre.
It had been decided that Great Yarmouth was to be our ultimate destination so the grandchildren could have day at the seaside. The law of the waterway is you have to be at your mooring by dusk, but being so bleak, we didn’t have long, so journeyed to the next pub to moor up for the night and have dinner. Unfortunately, it would seem everyone else had the same idea. There were no public moorings available – and we weren’t aware of the double mooring policy at that time - so we attempted to journey to the next one, but decided to turn back as it was too far. We moored opposite the pub, in the hope we could have a walk and find something on that side of the river. But after walking for half an hour across fields, we turned back. Regrettably we hadn’t hired a dinghy with our boat, so there was no chance of getting across the water without getting wet. So back to the Regal Light we went and had the following morning’s breakfast for dinner.
The journey to Great Yarmouth was equally grey, and too cold and wet to sit outside. We had taken many games, books and DVDs but after three hours of sailing, cabin fever had definitely set in as far as the grandchildren had concerned. And not being able to sit outside comfortably, meant five adults and two children were confined for relatively long periods of time. The moorings at Yarmouth, for which there is an overnight fee, were a welcome sight and a lovely but cold and blowy day was spent on the beach.
Homeward bound, our next stop was the picturesque village of Horning. But by the time we’d found an available mooring, the tea rooms and restaurants in the main village were closed. Despite being grey, it was at least dry, so we wrapped up and walked to the Ferry Inn for dinner and found the play park on the way back so the boys could let off steam.
These protect wetlands, and Norfolk in general, is a very beautiful area, but like anywhere, the weather can make your holiday a very different experience. That’s not to say we wouldn’t do it again, but maybe not with such young children.
Holidays prices vary depending on season/vessel