Enjoy the Norfolk Broads at your own pace from the comfort of a luxury cruiser
Beccles is a charming market town on the banks of the River Waveney which is well worth a visit. Once a Saxon fishing port on the edge of a huge estuary, it today boasts picture postcard riverside houses and winding historic streets filled with shops and cafes.
St Michael’s Church, where Nelson’s parents married, dominates the town and a climb up its fabulous bell tower will reward you with breathtaking views across the Waveney Valley. Beccles Museum is a good place to learn about the town and Beccles Lido open air swimming pool is ideal for family fun. There are also some lovely riverside walks to enjoy.
The best way to visit the town is to moor in Beccles Quay. This large grassed area has children’s play equipment and a little cafe serving ice creams.
Take a short walk into the town centre to visit the magnificent St Micheal’s Church, which dates back to 1369. Naval hero Horatio Nelson’s parents, Catherine Suckling and Edmund Nelson, married in the church in 1749 and Elizabethan composer William Cobbold is also buried there.
Best of all is the church’s separate Bell Tower which ascends nearly 100ft to the heavens. Book a tour to climb the 122 steps to the tower’s rooftop and enjoy stunning views up to 20 miles away on a clear day. Easter to September, 01502 710711.
Beccles Museum is also worth a visit in the Grade 1 listed Leman House on Ballygate. Entry is free and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday afternoons from Good Friday until the end of October.
For a great family day out, head to Beccles Lido open air swimming pool which overlooks the River Waveney. It has a springboard, slide, inflatable aqua run, all weather awning and plenty of room to relax on sunloungers. Open late May to early September. 01502 713297.
Beccles is a great walking area and a popular choice for history and wildlife is the Beccles Marsh Trail. Three trails explore Beccles Marsh, which supports rare plants and wildlife in a network of dykes. It was bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth 1 to recognise Beccles’ importance to the wool trade.
For shopping, Beccles’ town centre has a good choice of quirky independent stores, gift shops and high street chains as well as plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants. Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets are located on George Westwood Way.
Top Tip: You need to pass under Beccles Old Bridge to reach Geldeston Locks. If your cruiser has insufficient clearance, you can take the Big Dog Ferry from Beccles Lido to Geldeston Locks.
Visit Geldeston Lock
Cruise from Beccles to the limit of navigation at Geldeston Lock. The river here is one of the most unspoilt sections of the Broads and has crystal clear water that’s rich with plant and animal life.
There are plenty of free Broads Authortity 24 hours moorings at the locks and one of the most atmospheric pubs on the Broads – The Locks Inn.
Originally built as a mill keeper’s cottage in 1560, The Locks Inn has been pulling pints ever since the 17th century. While it serves gastro pub food today it still retains much of its old fashioned character. In fact, many locals can remember a time before the pub had electricity and proper road access! 01508 518414.
Geldeston – Side on mooring for six boats
Beccles Yacht Station (Beccles Quay) – Privately managed yacht station, where a mooring fee applies. Advanced booking recommended in school holidays by calling the Harbour Master. Electric hook up, toilets, showers and laundry facilities available. 01502 712225.
Beccles Quay Cafe – Casual place for sandwiches, cakes and ice cream by the water with outside seating.
Twyford’s Cafe – Highly rated for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Located in a historic building with a secret garden on Exchange Square. 01502 710614.