Covering 300 square kilometres the Norfolk Broads are a series of navigable rivers and lakes.
The 125 miles of East Anglian wetlands are all about windmills and wild bird reserves - but you can visit the historic city of Norwich or the sandy beaches of Great Yarmouth.
Originally thought to have been formed naturally, it wasn’t until the early 1960’s that research conclusively proved that the Broads themselves were the result of medieval man digging for peat to fuel their fires. These peat diggings later flooded to form the beautiful Broadland landscape that exists today.
They have long been a boating destination, and around seven millions people now visit the Broads each year, exploring the picturesque landscape either by land or water, or a combination of both.
My wife and I have always loved being out on boats, so a few days on the Norfolk Broads really was a no-brainer as a destination for our first ever boating holiday.
We arrived at the Barnes Brinkcraft boatyard in Wroxham - just outside Norwich - on a Monday afternoon in mid-September.
Barnes Brinkcraft have been in business for over 45 years, and have a range of 83 cruisers, and 35 day boats.
For landlubbers they also offer a number of shore-based holiday lodges and cottages.
After a quick and straightforward check-in we were shown to what would be our home for the next four nights - the 44ft Superstar cruiser.
Initial impressions were very good, the boat was modern and surprisingly spacious, boasting three cabins, two toilets/showers, fully equipped kitchen, and a roomy saloon equipped with dining table, TV, and DVD player.
There was also an outside upper deck complete with table and chairs.
It was immediately clear that the Superstar would offer plenty of room for our party of four adults and a toddler.
Having never captained a boat before, I admit I was a little bit daunted by the prospect, but I needn’t have worried.
The staff at Barnes Brinkcraft were on hand to give us full tuition and guidance before we set off on our voyage, which gives novices like myself complete peace of mind.
And as soon as we set off my confidence grew still further, as the boats are surprisingly very easy to handle.
One of the wonderful things about the Broads is you can just cruise along and explore at your own pace, and you don’t have to worry about negotiating locks or dodging speedboats - the speed limit on these waterways is a pedestrian 6mph.
Each morning we would just set off and head wherever we fancied, taking detours here and there on a whim, mooring up when we fancied stretching our legs among the reeds or to get a closer look at the picture postcard cottages with their thatched roofs.
There are also an abundance of great pubs within easy reach of the many waterways, serving up home cooked food and real ales.
My personal favourite was the charming Fur and Feather Inn which adjoins the Woodforde’s Brewery in the village of Woodbastwick which is a pleasant stroll away from Salhouse Broad
Peace and tranquility are what the Broads are all about. For the duration of our stay we felt as if we were a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday 21st century life.
As with all good holidays, it was over far too quickly, but we left the Broads with many happy memories and vowing to return to this wonderful part of the world.
A boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads is a truly unique experience and one which people of all ages can enjoy.
by Ben Green
l Prices with Barnes Brinkcraft start at £270 for a two berth boat for a short break or for a weekly break from £385. Prices on the Superstar class boat that we stayed on, start from £700 for a short break and £950 for a week.
Barnes Brinkcraft are offering a 5 per cent discount on 2013 holidays booked before 31st December 2012. If you quote the name of the Worksop Guardian when you make your booking there will be a bottle of bubbly waiting for you on the boat when you arrive.
For more information about Barnes Brinkcraft, including their full range of boats and prices, and to make a booking, visit www.barnesbrinkcraft.co.uk
Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 782625 to request a brochure or make a booking.