Top ten alternative British boating bases

Look beyond the typical South coast boating bases and there are plenty of welcoming harbours that offer some delightful experiences

Lowestoft Haven

A while ago, Jane and I hired a comfortable motor boat for an autumn cruise on the Norfolk Broads. This timeless network of rivers and lakes winds through some exquisitely English landscapes.

The villages are pleasantly old-fashioned and the pubs have a soothing bucolic style where time ticks slowly.

09-Lowestoft-Broads-cruising-04Across low tracts of farmland or reeds you’ll see a distant windmill, church spire or the sails of traditional wherries threading the channels. The cruising is enchanting, especially out of season with a nip in the air.

Right on the coast, the historic port of Lowestoft is famous for herring fishing and bracing seaside holidays. Lowestoft Haven Marina is just inland from the commercial quays, with access to the sea via a lifting bridge.

The marina (pictured below) also connects with the Norfolk Broads through another bridge and Mutford Lock. The lock opens into Oulton Broad, a three-mile boating playground leading to the River Waveney.

09-Lowestoft-Haven-03The coast around Lowestoft is a little stark, but it’s only ten miles south to salty Southwold and another 20 miles to Orford Haven and the river up to Aldeburgh.

For summer cruising you have a relatively simple 100nm passage across the North Sea shipping lanes to the Dutch harbour of Scheveningen.

Berthing: Lowestoft Haven Marina

Getting there: Drive 100 miles on the A12 from M25 J28. By train it is 2-3hrs from London Liverpool Street.

Pilot book: East Coast Rivers Cruising Companion by Janet Harber

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