To the south, near Great Yarmouth, where the Broads meet Suffolk, is Fritton Lake, a recently launched private vacation club. Located in a 1,000 acre rewilding project, it is home to free-roaming deer, sheep and ponies. Book one of the Japanese-inspired Koto cabins and enjoy facilities including a heated outdoor swimming pool (next to a walled garden) and the Fritton Arms clubhouse, which serves delicious food and is warmed by open fires. There are also turf and clay tennis courts, a private pub and a floating sauna on the three-kilometer-long lake, in which wild swimming is encouraged. At the boathouse, choose to grab a canoe or paddle board – or maybe a quieter wood-fired pizza and local G&T. Cabins from £ 147 per night; frittonlake.fr
Where to set sail
Between 1931 and 1949, Percy Hunter and his sons Cyril and Stanley hand-built a fleet of beautiful wooden boats, perfectly calibrated to navigate the Broads. Today you can still rent one from the hunter’s yard in Ludham, set sail and step back in time in a landscape a million miles (but just around the corner) from waters crossed by plastic cruisers. The six vintage half-decks make good day boats, but they are also equipped with awnings for a night of yoke (yacht camping, of course). An experienced coxswain can take a mahogany cabin yacht for a two (or more) day adventure; the less experienced can book a week’s sailing learning holiday. If you are lucky you will get lullaby, the boat the BBC used in its 1984 adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s film Coot Club.
For young adventurers
A cruiser can take you to 40 percent of the Broads. A canoe, on the other hand, can unveil 60 percent of their secrets and get you within easy reach of much of the bird and insect life. Mark Wilkinson, aka The Canoe Man, has spent 20 years researching the most remote places and now leads groups, along with his spaniels Albie and Suka. The mushroom-hunting tour in the woods near Little Plumstead is a must-see, but for older families, the Swallows and Amazons Adventure Day is a pure vintage escape. Travel up the river from the village of Buxton to a secret wood (much like the Wildcat Island in the book), where you’ll learn explorer skills such as archery and how to find all the natural materials needed to make a fire without matches. Magic. Guided canoe trails from £ 35 per person; thecanoeman.com