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No holiday on the Norfolk broads is complete without getting out onto the water at some point during your stay and the good news is that there are many ways to do it.

The simplest is to hire Hide Cottage’s own classic electric 1920's launch. The boat is perfect for picnics and day trips around the Broads and small enough to allow exploration of the smaller upper reaches. In keeping with our eco principles the boat has recently been converted to electric, making it ideal for bird and wildlife watching and an overnight charge will provide more than enough electric for a full day’s exploring. This also means of course that all fuel (or electric in this case) is included in the rental price, no matter how much you use it during your stay. It has a rather wonderful art deco charm, with an unusual profile, chrome lights and fittings, cream leather seats and mahogany decks. The story goes she was built originally for the British ambassador to Malaysia for him to use on the Malaysian rivers during his time in office. Despite all this she is very easy to handle, even for complete novices. Please click here for pictures, more details or contact us with any questions.

If you want to take a trip with a skipper and crew the The Museum of the Broads in Stalham (8.7 miles) run regular trips on their Victorian steam launch and The Broads Authority run the eco-friendly Electric Eel from the lovely Toad Hall Cottage in Ludham (7.2 miles). You’ll also find bigger companies running larger boats from Wroxham and Horning, but these two provide much smaller, quieter experiences.

Rowing boats (with or without picnic hampers) can be hired on the nearby Rollesby Broad from The Waterside (which is also a lovely place to go for afternoon tea).

For those looking for a more active time on the water day sailing boats (half deckers), paddle boards and canoes can all be hired from Matham Boat Yard (400 yards walking). Whilst The Canoe Man offers guided canoe trips, canoe/kayak hire and a range of other activities across the Broads.

Small kayaks, paddle boards, wind surfers etc can be launched directly from Hide Cottage, whilst larger boats can be launched by arrangement at the Martham Boat Yard and then moored along the front of the cottage (up to 35 ft). The cottage has two external charging points for electric boats, so that you charge them up using the solar panels. Please remember that all boats on the Broads require a licence, further details can be found by clicking here.

Two of Arthur Ransomes’ famous and much loved Swallows and Amazons stories were set on the Norfolk Broads; The Coot Club & The Big Six. And a close study of the second of these reveals that Hide Cottage sits exactly on the spot where The Death and Glories catch the giant pike aboard The Catch-a-Lot, whilst hiding from the angry mob & PC Tedder. You can walk up the path just as they did (giant dead pike optional) and meet the dyke that led to the Kicking Donkey (although sadly as far as we know the pub only existed in Ransome’s imagination!) Opposite the cottage is Candle or Kendal Dyke, mentioned in both books, and the setting for Dick’s very wet lesson in quanting.

You’ll see many Teasels & Titmouses pass the cottage, or go up Kendal Dyke to Horsey or Hickling (as well as the occasional Margoletta and Catch-a-Lot). Even the real Death and Glory is still on the Broads, although this is a much rarer find. For a wonderfully authentic Coot Club experience you can arrange a day charter of Albion an original Norfolk Wherry, which was used in the BBC Television adaption as Sir Garnet or perhaps find her on one of her open days around The Broads.

The Museum of the Broads at Stalham (8.7 miles) have a number of items of Coot Club and Arthur Ransome interest, including the stuffed pike from The Swan in Horning that is said to have inspired The Death & Glories catch, the original supplies boat that The Admiral and crew visit at Acle and Ransome’s own skull and crossbones, that he used to fly on his boat when sailing on the broads.

There are many places a little further afield which are a must for Ransome fans. Perhaps walk down to Potter Heigham (1.1 miles down the river bank) to see the famous bridge and the spot where The Margoletta moored next to The Teasel. Then on to Horning (9.4 miles) of course, to see the staithe, The Swan Pub and the boat yards, that still look much as they must have in Ransome’s time. Or why not hire a boat (see below) and head up Kendal Dyke, past where Dick fell in and out to the Mill at Horsey, where they stayed before heading south to the southern Broads. All the places mentioned in the books are within 30 min drive and the very best are much, much closer...

To celebrate Arthur Ransome’s connections with this part of the Broads we have introduced a gentle Coot Club theme to the second bedroom and of course copies of Coot Club & The Big Six are kept on the bookshelf, together with a DVD of the BBC adaptation.