Canal Camping

UK England East Anglia Norfolk North Walsham

  • Dogs welcome
  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Good walks nearby
Paddle the waterways, read among the reeds and bask beneath the big, blue skies of the Norfolk Broads at this family-friendly, tent-only campsite

No visit to the Norfolk Broads is complete without getting out onto the waterways that make the place so famous. Woven together with meandering rivers and snaking streams, the broads create an interconnected watery wonderland. And it’s campsites like Canal Camping that really make the most of this natural treasure. Why pitch anywhere else when, here, you can pop your tent right down by the riverside and slip your canoe or kayak straight into the water?

Made up of little more than a grassy meadow, with a shower and toilet cabin at one end, a covered washing-up space and drinking water taps dotted about, this simple tent-only campsite offers camping on a casual scale. There are no designated pitches – simply find a nice spot that suits – and campfires are very much permitted, with the scent of wood smoke in the air and the sound of crackling logs backtracking the birds.

On one side of the wash-cabin an OS map is pinned to the wall. It’s a good way to get your bearings before you go out in a boat or take off by bike. You can see the canal running through the local village of Dilham, from Wayford Bridge to Antingham. It was built in the 19th century to help transport agricultural goods and, while today parts are being restored to their former beauty, other stretches have not changed for more than 100 years, retaining a semi-wild charm where nature has taken over. Further south, meanwhile, the waters feed into the large lake at Ant Broads and Marshes National Nature Reserve, where you can explore on boardwalks and signed pathways.

In total, the national park has 125 miles of navigable waterways, so you’re never going to see it all. But Canal Camping certainly offers a very enviable starting point. Between marshmallow toasting, jaunts to the nearby pub and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the camping meadow, getting out and about always takes a little more time than you expected. But that’s the pace of life this riverside place can’t help but instil: Slow, relaxed and meandering.

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Details

Facilities

Toilets, showers, outdoor washing-up sinks, campfire pits (wood available to buy), drinking water taps and rubbish and recycling bins. Canoe and kayak launch point by the canal-side for all to use free of charge.

Suitable For

Tents, dogs (on leads), groups, scouts and guides – yes. Campervans, caravans, motorhomes – no.

Nearby

Bring bikes along to enjoy the car-free routes, though canoes and kayaks are the best ways to explore this watery wonderland. You can rent vessels of all shapes and sizes nearby. How Hill National Nature Reserve (01692 678555) near Ludham, with the River Ant running through it, has reedbeds, grazing marshes, wet woodlands and its very own broad, all full to the brim with wildlife. Entry to the site is free, with free parking and 24-hour moorings. Take a circular walk around How Hill and see Buttle Marsh – home to some of the rarest birds in the broads. The riverside footpath continues to Ludham Bridge and there’s also a 300m access path along the river to Boardman’s Mill and Clayrack Mill. BeWILDerwood (01692 633033), meanwhile, is always a popular choice with families – an award winning forest park, with treehouses, zip wires and more – and Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens (01493 369477), where attractions include snow leopards, tigers, gibbons, deer, otters and crocodiles in a swamp house – is also a good choice (there are several play areas for children and parking is free).

Food & Drink

It's just under 2 miles to the local pub – the Cross Keys (01692 536398) – and there is a good walk there via the banks of the river for most of the way. It's a shame, though, that this old haunt, apparently around since 1730, has been given a pretty ugly facelift inside at some point (we'd guess late 90s) and isn't exactly a country classic. When the sun's out, though, it's got a good beer garden and a big lawn with a goal post and games for kids. For something more off the beaten track, try The Butchers Arms (01692 650237) in East Ruston where portions are hearty and there's a wide variety of drinks. The award winning Recruiting Sergeant pub and restaurant (01603 737077) situated in the village of Horstead, near Coltishall, has perhaps the best reputation in the area. The pub is well-known for its food quality, friendliness and attention to detail. The portions are not sparse… so wear your most loose fitting clothes!

Opening Times

May–end of September.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Located in Dilham, Norfolk, our tucked away campsite is nestled among the water, the reeds and the beautiful skies. Canal Camping caters for those that are looking for a relaxing, natural adventure, with the added bonus of being able to walk out of your tent, launch your canoe and drift along one of the country’s most unique canals. After a long day exploring this beautiful part of Norfolk, come back to your camp for hot showers, clear skies for star-gazing, open campfires for toasting marshmallows, and fantastic pubs within walking distance. What more could you ask for!?

Accommodation

No more than 50 pitches at any one time across the 8-acre campsite. No electrical hook-ups.
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Location

Contact Canal Camping, Honing Road, Dilham, North Walsham, Norfolk, NR28 9PL

Getting There

The nearest train station is Stalham Train Station and the campsite is a 5-mile bike ride away or a short taxi journey.

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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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