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.

queen of the broads seating in progress

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.

queen of the broads revamp in progress

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!

queen of the broads in the shed from the front

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.

day boat being lifted above the yardnorfolk broads direct cruiser being serviced

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.

Fair Entrepreneur hullmen working on the interior of fair entrepreneurgalley being fitted on fair entrepreneur

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.

upholstery for queen of the broads

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

Christmas magic on the Broads

Ho, Ho, Ho. It’s a magical time of year on the Broads.

Santa has been delighting hundreds of children on board the Broads Tours Santa Cruise that has been setting sail since 3 December and has proved more popular than ever this year. In total more than 2,000 children and grown-ups have bought tickets to join the fun!

Our paddle boat, The Vintage Broadsman, has been transformed into a fabulous, festive grotto for an hour long trip to Wroxham Broad and back.

Santa has made us promise to keep the exact details of what happens on board ship a secret but, rumour has it, that Santa’s pixies have been serving mice pies and mulled wine to the grown-ups and a festive cookie to the kids. There are also some great prizes to be won for colouring and drawing competitions.

child with present standing next to santa with elf in background on board festive cruise boat

All the children must have been very well behaved this year as Santa, who was recently spotted circling over Wroxham Broad, has been making flying visits on his sleigh to bring each child a lovely present.

The Santa Cruise has run for the last two weekends at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and will run on these times on Sat 17, Sun 18, Mon 19, Tue 20, Wed 21, Thurs 22 Fri 23rd December and Christmas Eve.

Due to huge demand The Santa Cruises are virtually booked out, The Christmas Eve Trip sold out in August – but there may be a select few dates available for small groups. Tickets cost £12 each for both adults and children. Call us for details on 01603 782 207.

view of broads tours offices from across the water showing day boats lined up and vintage broadsman with festive lighting
Vintage Broadsman photos take by Mr Boyce staying in Apartment 6

Cordon Rouge lifted out

With the main boating season winding down it’s that time of year we lay down our skippers shirts, don our overalls and pick up a paint brush. Our fleet of trip and day boats all need to be maintained and ñ as these pictures show – we have just craned out our popular trip boat, the Cordon Rouge. We will be working on it until Christmas to ensure that itís spick and span for next season.

We plan to replace the port (left) side propeller shaft and repaint the top, front and back deck. We will also be cleaning the hull and painting it with a special paint called antifouling that prevents weeds growing on the bottom of the boat.

We will update you on other work being carried out throughout the winter season.

Broads Tours Movember effort

It has come to that time of year when our summer work comes to an end and winter looms. For our staff it means a change from shorts and sunnies to overalls and paint brushes. For many of our gentlemen winter hibernation ensues and facial hair seems to grow through a desire to keep warm and a general aversion to shaving, or in some cases, washing.

However, this year, a motley selection of the team have decided to change a life time habit and shave on the 1st November in the name of raising awareness of men’s health issues. Here you can see how they look at the moment, and we’ll keep you up to date on how well their moustaches develop through Movember.


There may even be a few twists taking place as well!

Craig - Norfolk Broads Direct Engineer

Craig – Norfolk Broads Direct Engineer

Giles - Norfolk Broads Direct Yard Hand

Giles – Norfolk Broads Direct Yard Hand

James - Broads Tours Skipper

James – Broads Tours Skipper

Joe - Broads Tours Day Boat Operative

Joe – Broads Tours Day Boat Operative

Neil - Norfolk Broads Direct Yard Hand

Neil – Norfolk Broads Direct Yard Hand

Tobi - Broads Tours Skipper

Tobi – Broads Tours Skipper

Tom - Broads Tours Skipper

Tom – Broads Tours Skipper