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Boating on the River Stour (c) Visit England

THE 8 BEST BOATING HOLIDAYS IN SUFFOLK

Suffolk has a deep and ancient connection to the water, from the fishing towns and villages along its beautiful coast to the watery legends that ripple through its history. Much of Suffolk’s 50-mile coastline is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while its rivers and waterways, teeming with wildlife, inspired some of the greatest artists and writers in history. Put simply, if you love being on the water, then you can do no better than to go on one of the 8 best boating holidays in Suffolk.
Viking Mariners yacht moored at Ipswich marinaBecome a true skipper with Viking Mariners
Photo (c) Viking Mariners

SAILING IN STYLE WITH VIKING MARINERS

If you dream of sailing off into the sunset on an elegant yacht, or speeding into the big blue on a powerboat, Viking Mariners can make those dreams come true. Departing from Ipswich, Suffolk’s maritime county town, you can embark on a chartered sail with Viking Mariners aboard one of their spectacular vessels, heading down the River Orwell and, on some charters, even out to sea. You might choose to stop in a secluded spot for an on-board lunch, or moor up at a fine restaurant along coast; perhaps you’ll stay overnight on the yacht, or spend the night in a luxury Suffolk hotel; maybe you’ll relax and enjoy the spectacular views, or take the helm and learn the ropes from your Viking Mariners skipper – the choice is yours. And for those serious about becoming skippers themselves, Viking Mariners offer sailing courses led by experienced trainers from their Sea School.
View of the River Deben from Waldringfield (c) Martin PettittAn idyllic view over the River Deben at Waldringfield
Photo (c) Martin Pettitt

ROMANCE ON THE WATER IN WOODBRIDGE AND WALDRINGFIELD

Picturesque Woodbridge on the River Deben is a town in love with the water (it even has its own annual seafood festival), and just three miles downstream is Waldringfield, a charming village and sailors’ paradise. Some of the best views of this peaceful region of the Suffolk Coast belong to Quayside on the River Deben, the collective name for two detached self-catering cottages overlooking the river in Waldringfield. Using Quayside on the River Deben as your base, you can explore the river on a short cruise with Deben Boat Trips and Deben Cruises. Alternatively you could head out in your own boat, and what with the excellent fishing in the area, you might even be able to catch something for supper.
Historic barge trips (c) Topsail ChartersSail aboard one of Topsail Charters' historic Thames barges
Photo (c) Topsail Charters

HISTORIC BARGE TRIPS WITH TOPSAIL CHARTERS

All aboard! With Topsail Charters you can discover the Suffolk Coast from the deck of a historic Thames sailing barge, on a short cruise, day sail, weekend away or even your own static boat party. Departing from Ipswich marina, Topsail Charters' Orwell River Cruise will take you on a 4 hour trip to the mouth of the river and back, giving you time to soak up stunning views of the Suffolk countryside, wildlife and birds. On Topsail Charters’ Suffolk Rivers Cruise, you’ll explore the Orwell and Suffolk’s other great historic river, the Stour, enjoying excellent views of the Shotley Peninsula throughout. 
The Orwell Lady in SuffolkDiscover the wildlife-rich River Orwell aboard the Orwell Lady
Photo (c) Orwell River Cruise

EXPLORING ABOARD THE ORWELL LADY

The River Orwell is known for its iconic bridge and superb birdwatching, but did you know it also was a favourite place of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century? Eric Arthur Blair spent a short time living in Suffolk, during which he grew to love the river so much he eventually took its name as one half of his pseudonym: George Orwell. Aboard the Orwell Lady, you can explore this stunning heritage waterway, discovering its history through the informative commentary while enjoying a the sunny deck or taking a drink in the saloon. During the summer season, the Orwell Lady also offers special afternoon tea cruises, wine nights, Sunday lunches and more.
Boats on the River Stour (c) Karen RoeSee the River Stour at its most picturesque from a rowing boat
Photo (c) Karen Roe

KAYAKING AND CANOEING ALONG SUFFOLK'S PRETTIEST WATERWAYS

Canoeing is extremely popular in Suffolk, and with good reason, as journalist Oliver Bennett explains. Renting a canoe and setting off down the River Waveney into the Broads National Park, rowing through Constable Country along the River Stour, or kayaking down the spectacular River Alde in the heart of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: these are the kind of holidays that you will never forget.
The Twee Gebroeders Barge at Pin Mill in SuffolkThe Twee Gebroeders could be your magical home away from home
Photo (c) Heritage Travel

A TIMELESS HOLIDAY ABOARD THE TWEE GEBROEDERS

Suffolk’s Shotley Peninsula is well known for its sailing heritage, from the HMS Ganges Museum at Shotley Gate to the fishing hamlet of Pin Mill, the timeless setting for Arthur Ransome’s seventh Swallows & Amazons novel, ‘We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea.’ If you’re already a skipper, don’t hesitate to join the Pin Mill Sailing Club and take part in weekend cruises along the coast, stopping at characterful pubs along the way. However, if you desire something a little more private, book yourself a stay aboard the Twee Gebroeders. Moored at Pin Mill, this beautifully restored 19th century Dutch barge has all the mod cons, with an atmosphere and setting that are of another, more romantic era altogether.
Sailing Barge Victor in SuffolkSailing Barge Victor was built in Ipswich, Suffolk's county town
Photo (c) Sailing Barge Victor 

SAILING ON A PIECE OF HISTORY

Built in Ipswich at the end of the 19th century, Sailing Barge Victor is something of a Suffolk icon. Departing from Ipswich marina, SB Victor carries its passengers along the Orwell in majestic style, on public cruises and private events, which can be booked for up to 40 people. Throughout the season there are summer suppers, picnic cruises, high and cream teas and music nights aboard the historic vessel, all with spectacular views at no extra charge.

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