Queen of the Broads Completes Makeover

The top deck of the Queen of the Broads has been given a royal transformation and customers are now enjoying an unrivalled visitor experience.

The outside seating area has smart new forward, rather than sideways, facing seats. These give a more engaging view of the river and avoid the need to share seating with other parties as often, as was the case with the large benches they replaced. The central passage between the seats has also been enlarged so that people can move up and down the boat more easily.

A real advantage for private functions is that the seating has been specially designed to slot in and out like Meccano, giving more flexibility in the lay out of the boat for charters.

Completing the makeover, we now have smart new canopies and life rings.

Not to be outdone, the upstairs forward saloon boasts a contemporary new look, having been completely gutted and rebuilt. There is new wood panelling throughout, soft lining on the ceiling and white and coloured LED lights set the look off nicely.

One of the things we are most proud of is that we have much increased the size of the upstairs toilet in the saloon ñ making it more accessible.

As you would expect, the boat has now been given a full lick of paint in Marine Blue.

Broads Tours skipper, Tom Crabb, who spent much of the winter spearheading the changes, said: “I feel extremely proud of what we have managed to achieve in the winter maintenance programme.

The Queen of the Broads is now much more comfortable for passengers and gives people a better all-round experience. We are particularly proud of the forward-facing seats which afford a great view of the Broads and its beautiful landscape.”

Broads Tours Director, Barbara Greasley, added: “Tom and his team have done an excellent job and the Queen of the Broads has never looked better!”

Why not join us for a scheduled boat trip or even charter the new-look Queen of the Broads. Contact 01603 782 207.

Before and after

The Queen of the Broads has seen quite a change in the last three months. These before and after pictures show what the Queen of the Broads saloon looked like on 22 February and how it looks now.

Saloon – facing forward

Saloon – facing backward

New easy access toilet

Pike fishing season comes to an exciting close – bring on June 16th

The coarse fishing season drew to an exciting close on Wednesday (15 March) leaving fisherman anticipating some more great sport when the new season opens on June 16th. The Broads is legendary for its pike fishing and the last few months have produced some great catches, with pike being caught to well over 20lbs in and around Wroxham.

One of our skippers and keen fisherman, Oliver Franzen, hired one of our day boats last Saturday and Sunday and took to the water to try his luck with only a few days left in the season.
As someone who has spent the last twenty five years obsessively pike fishing on the Broads, the last weekend of the fishing season is always a very special time for meÖ.Itís a last chance to try and catch that mystical whopper that could be just another cast away.

This year I had a bit of a treat because rather than being crammed into the usual small little rowing boat I borrowed a Broads Tours Day boat with enough room to stretch out, while still leaving plenty of space to fish from the stern of the boat with the canopy down.

Hopes were high on Saturday morning as I headed downriver with my girlfriend towards Belaugh (in the direction of Coltishall.) The weather was warm and dry and another fisherman had already caught a 19lb pike close to Wroxham Bridge!

The first bit of action came when I landed a small jack pike about three pounds on a floated smelt while moored up close to Belaugh church. I was excited to get off the mark but my girlfriend ñ with whom I was enjoying a strawberries and cream picnic at the time and had come to read magazines and sit in the sunshine – didnít look quite as pleased as me!

The best of the action was to come later in the day though, when I fished a tight bend and had a tremendous run on floating smelt. As soon as I struck the fish felt solid and gave me a superb fight for around 10 minutes, making long runs across the river and even tail-walking. By the time I had landed the pike my arm was aching and I was delighted to have banked probably my biggest fish of the season shown below.

Only a few minutes after returning the first pike I had another run on smelt and by ironic contrast landed my smallest pike of the season ñ barely a pound ñ before having to return back to Broads Tours before dark.

The following day I headed out full of expectation with an old fishing pal. He almost immediately struck into a good pike in the entrance to Bridge Broad, upstream from Wroxham, but sadly it came off. That seemed to set the tone for the day because despite having quite a few runs we either struck into nothing or the pike dropped the bait before landing them.

It didnít spoil the day though as we were treated to some wonderful wildlife that came close to us while sitting quietly fishing. The kingfisher shown below perched on a branch near us, a water deer stealthily past on the opposite bank and marsh harriers and buzzards soared over head.

But the PiËce de rÈsistance came when an otter swam across the river right next to our moored boat. A fabulous sight ñ that nearly made up for loosing yet another pike a few minutes later!

Thanks to Broads Tours for a great weekend and Iím already looking forward to the next fishing season!

Queen of the Broads’ royal transformation

The project to transform the top deck of one of our most popular trip boats The Queen of the Broads ñ for the 2017 season is taking shape nicely.

Perhaps the first thing that our regular customers will notice when our trips start again in the spring is that we have changed the outside seating area to have forward, rather than sideways, facing seats as shown in the picture below. These will not only give a better view of the river and be more comfortable but they are lighter and more versatile as they CAN easily be slotted in and out.

Last month we gutted the upstairs forward saloon to so that we could begin work giving it a fresh new look and expand the upstairs toilet to make it more accessible. As shown in this before and after picture we have now installed much of the wooden paneling on the walls and a new floor. Welding work has been carried on the roof and we have installed insulation and electrics into the ceiling, which we will be paneling soon. Mushroom vents have been installed to aid ventilation.

Saloon from the 17th January

The saloon now

We have started building the new larger toilet, which involved constructing a new bulk head (walls).

As you would expect the boat has now been given a full lick of paint, in Marine Blue no less, and we hope to lift the boat out of the water next week so that we can begin the annual maintenance work on the hull, such as antifouling (a special paint that is applied below the waterline to stop weeds growing on the hull.)

Full steam ahead this winter

Full steam ahead this winter

Anyone who has been to Broads Tours or our sister company Norfolk Broads Direct (which provides boating and cottage holidays) in the summer will have experienced a buzz of activity from our staff. But one of the most common questions we are asked by customers is “what do you all do in the winter months when there are far fewer visitors to the Broads?”
The answer, of course, is all kinds of maintenance to keep things looking great for next season – from transforming and maintaining our boats to building Norfolk Broad’s Direct’s luxury holiday cruisers, decorating cottages and even curtain making.

One of our most exciting projects is revolutionising the top deck of our largest trip boat – The Queen of the Broads – so that it’s even better for visitors in 2017.
In response to feedback from our customers we are changing the outside seating area to have forward, rather than sideways, facing seats. This will give passengers a better view of the river. The old heavy benches have been replaced with modern, lighter seats that are not only more comfortable but that can easily be slotted in and out. This will make it easier for skippers and crew to quickly change the seating pattern when using the Queen of the Broads for private evening charters. To complete the look we will be fitting a smart new canopy to the outside area.

The Queen’s top deck cabin area will also be transformed. We have gutted it inside to replace the wooden panelling for a smart new look, LED lights will set it all off nicely, and the existing upstairs toilet will be enlarged for greater accessibility. The boat will also be completely repainted and have the windows resealed.

Another operation is preparing all four of our trip boats for the annual Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) out of water survey and inspection. This is a little like a car MOT, but on a grand scale, to ensure that boats are safe and seaworthy. The picture below shows the Queen of the Broads being craned out ready for inspection – not a simple task since she is 80ft long!

All the other holiday cruisers and day boats in our fleet are given some TLC over the winter so that they are in tip top condition for the 2017 season. They are craned out of the water and into a large boatshed in batches where they cleaned, repaired and antifouled. The day boats are sanded down and painted, while the fibre glass on the holiday cruisers is thoroughly polished to make them look shiny and new.

Meanwhile our team of boat builders are making our most luxurious cruiser yet – The Entrepreneur – to update Norfolk Broad’s Direct’s fleet of 60 holiday cruisers for 2017. The 46” boat will boast two spacious double bedrooms, both with a full-sized en-suite shower room, and an airy central saloon.
Currently the galley is being fitted and we have just finished installing limed oak effect laminate flooring and a smart new cream ceiling with a purple stripe. New cabinets have also been constructed and a sofa is being built in the saloon.

One of the most interesting winter transformations is Norfolk Broads Direct’s fleet boat reception, which is turned into an upholstery workshop to make fresh new soft furnishings for our holiday cruisers, trip boats and cottages. It’s out with the welcome packs and in with the sewing machines! Two of our seasonal summer cleaners – Richard and Danny – have a real talent for upholstery and are turning their hands to making everything from curtains to pillow cases for a smart new look in the 2017 season.

Not to be outdone, our housekeeper and office staff are busily painting and decorating all of our holiday cottages. So, while the Broads may be quiet at this time of year, we are all turning our hands to different tasks to make 2017 the best season yet.

Hare we go again!

Broads Tours had a very special visitor – A GoGoHare!

More than 50 of the animals will be individually decorated by artists and displayed around Norwich and the surrounding county in a much anticipated art trail to take place from June – September 2018, which is once again organised by Children’s Charity Break and Wild in Art.

The move follows the incredibly popular GoGoGorillas! and GoGoDragons! sculpture trails that captured the imagination of tens of thousands of people in previous years and which raised vital funds for Break by auctioning the characters to businesses at the end of the trail.

For the first time, in addition to the main Norwich Trail of 50 City sculptures, there will be a County GoGoHares! trail to benefit rural communities and towns.
To celebrate this Break took a GoGoHare! on tour and made a surprise visit for a quick photo shoot in our marina outside the Vintage Broadsman trip boat!

Break said: “There were gorillas, there were dragons’ and now ‘Hare is the next sculpture!

“The Hare has been chosen as it is a popular iconic subject for artists and can regularly be seen in the countryside of East Anglia. However this time there will not be just one design, but three!”

The GoGoHares! trail will celebrate Break’s 50th anniversary and shine a spotlight on its work with vulnerable children, young people and families since 1968. For more information visit http://www.break-charity.org