Canal Camping

UK England East Anglia Norfolk North Walsham

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • 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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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.


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 Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
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  • Trusted for over 10 years
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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!?


No more than 50 pitches at any one time across the 8-acre campsite. No electrical hook-ups.
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Contact Canal Camping, Honing Road, Dilham, North Walsham, Norfolk, NR28 9PL

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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.


Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 27 reviews


Great campsite!

Canal Camping was a fantastic camp site. We absolutely loved hiring one of their canoes and spending the day on the broads. The facilities were great and were cleaned twice a day. We loved the One Food company who were onsite whilst we were there, it was a lovely added bonus. The campsite was chilled and relaxed and it was wonderful to see lots of families enjoying such a beautiful location.
Sep 3, 2019 by Kirsty Rodger

Lovely for short break

Spent 3 nights here with my partner over August bank holiday and really enjoyed it. The campsite was very busy so there were queues for the showers and toilets but nothing horrendous. The showers were hot and clean. It’s in a great location for us to launch our inflatable kayak and also a quick cycle to the local pub for refreshments. There was also a converted horse box serving food on site some of the nights we were there. The fire pits were useful for when the sun went in. Virtually no phone service either so we had a lovely, relaxing weekend. Would definitely go back.
Aug 27, 2019 by Vicky

Great stay - thank you

Really lovely campsite. Good smooth grass surface for your tent. Very relaxing place with very clean toilets and showers. Really nice touches with the campsite providing fire pits with marshmallows and wood to purchase. Highly recommended.
Aug 22, 2019 by Barry Lambert

Great facilities and location but far too busy for a small site

A nice site but not a lot to it and we found it strange that there seemed to be no presence from owners for our entire stay. This what I would describe as a back to basics campsite (ie showers, Loos and that’s about it) which Is what we wanted and consequently I would expect spaces to be more Restricted to the capacity of the field particularly when it’s not cheap! While the showers and facilities were really really good they did not cope desperately well with the volume of campers. As others have commented, numerous dogs off leads and both nights noise well beyond the 10pm “rule”. Perhaps it would be better midweek when it’s quieter but I certainly feel it was expensive for what was essentially a very crowded field! We hope we might return in off season to enjoy this lovely part of Norfolk.
Aug 19, 2019 by George

Beautiful River, freindly staff

We had so much fun, the staff were great and freindly, super pretty place, the river is nice and calm and full of wildlife. Its not super bust either so you get a lot of time by yourself on the river to enjoy the scenery.
Aug 13, 2019 by Bradley Spice

Fantastic stay

I camped here for a week in August with my husband and son. We had a fantastic week and really enjoyed our stay. The toilets and showers were clean and the showers were hot. The field was perfect for camping, flat and dry and the grass was kept short. The location was great as there was lots to do locally to keep us busy. We took our kayaks and spent an afternoon paddling along the canal. The first section of the canal is very overgrown, some parts with stinging nettles, which made it hard work, there was then a very muddy path to carry the kayaks along to pass the lock, but after that it was easy and very pleasant paddling. If you put your canoe in from the glamping field then you miss the worst of the overgrown section of you aren't feeling too adventurous, or you can paddle the canal starting from the other end at Wayford Bridge. The canal is beautiful and very peaceful as there are no motor boats allowed. The braziers provided were very useful as there are grills so you can use them to BBQ. However, the logs provided for sale at the campsite weren't great as they were damp and, at £5 for a small bag, overpriced too. The campsite was very relaxed and friendly during the week, with everyone being considerate and sticking to the very few rules. At the weekend it got a bit more crowded with a group keeping me awake until 1am. We also had neighbours who didn't put their dogs on leads despite them barking and chasing everyone who went past. We didn't meet the campsite owner the whole week and they seemed to just drive around the site a couple of times a day, which means there was nobody around to sort out any problems. This is the main reason I haven't given the site 5 stars. Overall though we had a brilliant time and would definitely recommend the campsite.
Aug 13, 2019 by Faye Barbary

Idyllic break

Fabulous facilities and great setting. Very little light pollution so wonderful opportunity to enjoy the stars. Great fire pits. Really chilled and quiet (though notably busier at weekends). Loved easy access to Weavers Way for walking/cycling/running and canal, though fairly overgrown, was opportunity for idyllic meander in canoes. Lots of room for kids to play. Looking forward to coming back already! x
Aug 4, 2019 by Jax

Excellent stay, lovely campsite

We came for four nights in July 2019, with three children. The facilities are excellent and the kids really enjoyed having the space to play football. Showers are good and warm and other facilities are kept thoroughly clean. We really enjoyed canoeing down the canal for a while. Can highly recommend it and we will be back.
Aug 2, 2019 by Ben Tucker

Great weekend break

Stayed here for a weekend with partner and dog, site was excellent - good location with plenty of walks around and a great dog friendly beach a short drive away, a number of pubs within walking distance, on site facilities were fantastic and super clean and everyone was so friendly! Woud certainly stay here again and recommend to all.
Jul 14, 2019 by Emma

Quiet. Clean. Good for canoeists.

Quiet site. Very relaxed. Clean toilet and showers. Easy put-in for canoes on disused canal. No shop on site or nearby. No owner/staff based on site but regular visits and chats with campers ensured all clean and running well. Good flat grass field - no marked pitches so pitch anywhere.
Jun 30, 2019 by Martin Chamberlain

The Best

Great 2 days Camping. Relaxed under a big sky with lots of space around us 2 days felt like a weeks break Clean toilets and showers with a rustic feel Canal just a few feet away . Took my inflatable kayak . Main entrance to canal very over grown - lovely adventure feel but perhaps a little dodgy for an inflatable - we headed off to the second canal entrance which was just a field away . Easy access Great walks Along weavers way just a couple of minutes along the road or across the field footpath Fire pits / BBQ to cook on and sit around Great for groups or families or couples
Jun 24, 2019 by Sam Jarman


Thank you so much for an awesome stay, really felt like a proper little holiday. The campsite itself was lovely and quiet, everything was very clean and well cared for. The canal was beautiful and if you get a chance to take out the canoes do it! Couldn't ask for more, will definitely be back. Not having an early set check out time worked really well too as meant we could get the tent dry before packing up - bonus! Oh and would recommend making the most of the firewood and fire pits (and marshmallows) on site rather than heading to the local pub (we were the only ones eating at 7pm on a Sat night in the Cross Keys, food was good, just awkwardly very quiet!)
Sep 24, 2018 by Helen Taylour

Lovely location, great facilities and cool canoeing!

We loved this campsite - a really pretty field with some lovely walks nearby. It was quiet and laid back, even when some large groups arrived on the Saturday night. The facilities were fantastic - the toilets and showers were spotless with lots of hot water. We really likes the little changing area in each shower too. All the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. Our favourite thing was hiring the canoe on the private canal - it really made our trip! Will definitely return here and recommend to others.
Sep 16, 2018 by Emma

Lovely site with great facilities

Wasn't very busy when I was there last week but can't fault the cleanliness of the toilets and showers! The site is ideally situated for both fabulous beaches - Craister especially - and the broads Only 10 minutes from shops including Waitrose and Tescos and takeaways for those who can't be bother to cook!
Sep 2, 2018 by Tricia Thompson

Perfect place to pitch

We've just enjoyed a great short stay at Canal Camping over the late August bank holiday. Despite the less-than-ideal weather we enjoyed walks along the canal and Weaver's Way. The site has a lovely feel to it - warm and welcoming but equally quiet and peaceful, especially on mid-week days. The fire pits are great and bagged wood plentiful. The toilets and showers are a great standard and really well maintained. We will definitely be back next summer.
Aug 30, 2018 by Laura

A sublime, quiet corner of the Broads

Love it here. We've been a couple of times this year and it's top of our 'let's get the camping kit in the car and head out NOW' campsite list. The showers and loos are immaculate, there are firepits to borrow (and marshmallows to buy, should you have forgotten to stock up - cash only). We bring our kayak and love to head out through along the stream towards the wider broads. This initial paddling is through clear, shallow water and you're likely to see dragonflies, kingfishers, herons and various birds of prey as you make your way towards the busier, boat-occupied sections further upstream. It's all very Ransomian and Blyton-esque.
Aug 28, 2018 by fukuokagirl

Open spaces and great facilities..

Just returned from a stay at Canal Camping which was great. Nice field style with nature all around. You get a raised firepit which is very easy to use especially with the complementary Firestarters and available firewood to purchase along with marshmallows. What we were most impressed with Canal Camping was the toilets and showers... All new and clean, I've never been to a campsite where the facilities were cleaned twice a day! It really makes a difference. You can bring a canoe or hire one from the site and the canal/creek is right at the edge of the site. We didn't get a chance to go on the canal as we spent our 2 days at the beach. Happisburgh beach is a 10 minute drive and has parking and toilets, it's a nice sandy beach with a part of the water enclosed by rocks so the kids don't get swept out. Spending the days away from the campsite it was nice to come back to clean facilities and wide open spaces for the kids to play, not like other sites where everyone is clustered together. Would definitely go back to continue exploring the coast and canals.
Aug 23, 2018 by Emm

Simple, but all you need

A lovely level field. Very clean and well maintained facilities in the middle. Plenty of fire pits, wood and marshmallows. Near to beaches, canals and pub. Although well cared for, you don't feel overly controlled or managed. Nice, relaxing experience.
Aug 13, 2018 by Sophie

Relaxing and Spacious

When we arrived there was only about four other tents set up excluding the three bell tents. We pulled up on the flat field, found a brazier and a bench and set up for the night. The toilets and showers are immaculate. I’d recommend taking some firewood or buying your own (£5 a bag) and I would thoroughly recommend taking a canoe out down the abandoned canal (but make sure you are fit) despite the £50 price and leave yourself the whole day. All in all, we would definitely visit again.
Aug 10, 2018 by Aaron E

Lovely relaxing get away!

Canal camping is a lovely peaceful campsite right by the canal with lovely walks and great beaches near by. The facilities are excellent. Toilets and showers are kept immaculately clean. Very laid back atmosphere and the fire baskets are a huge bonus!
Aug 6, 2018 by Lisa

Clean, laid back, stress free

Freindly staff, full of charm and wit. Good toilet and shower facilities. Clean and well maintained. Quiet field away from it all, but amenities a 10 minute drive away. Canoes available to hire for a lovely paddle along a not too overgrown canal - a hidden treasure with surprises around each corner. Dark skies at night great for stargazing. Perfect for families with all ages of kids
Aug 6, 2018 by Rachel

Beautiful setting

We found this to be a very lovely campsite when we stayed during the week. The setting is beautiful, the facilities are clean, new and well maintained and it's a lovely place to relax in. You can hire a canoe from the owners and go on a wonderful expedition up the canal. The campsite is well located for heading to the beach and for exploring the Broads. The weekend, however, felt rather disappointing by comparison - much more crowded and very noisy. The four toilets, four showers and two washing up sinks really struggled to cope with the number of people from the forty odd tents on the site and you always had to queue to use the loo, shower or wash up - it wasn't a disaster but it didn't add to the relaxation. The other issue is that the 10pm quiet policy didn't happen over the weekend we were there - some larger groups of campers were noisy (good natured but loud) until after midnight - again, not necessarily a problem for everyone but not great if you have kids who want to sleep. I would definitely go again midweek but not at the weekend.
Aug 6, 2018 by Bernardtc

Peace and quiet

Loved this campsite. The toilets and showers were quirky but absolutely immaculate. To get the best view of the broads I'd definitely suggest hiring a day boat or canoes.
Aug 5, 2018 by John

Canal adventures in the sunshine

Had a wonderful stay over the weekend! The campsite was a beautiful spot and lovely and spacious ! No set cramped pitches! The toilets were immaculate and the showers hot! There were canoes to hire but we had our own and had great adventures exploring the water! Jo was a brilliant host, really friendly and answered any questions we had. My 10 year old had a great time playing in the fields with his new friends and roasting marshmallows on the firepit! All of which were available on site. A great relaxed atmosphere. Nice beaches a short drive away and pubs with good pub grub nearby ! We just wish we had longer to stay! A perfect family weekend adventure We will be back !
Jul 22, 2018 by Hayley


Absolutely loved staying here, we have even booked another night for my partners birthday! Very quiet and peaceful lots of walks around the lock. Toilets and showers kept very clean and daily stocked with toilet roll. Don't have a bad word to say.
Jul 9, 2018 by rosie

Lovely peaceful setting, great facilities.

Huge open space that never felt crowded even on a fully booked bank holiday weekend. Excellent toilet/shower facilities and easy access to nice walks/canoeing. Love the fire pits and thoughtfully provided lighters, marshmallows and logs for sale! Will def. go again.
Sep 29, 2017 by Luke

Great stay at quiet, well kept, spacious campsite

Brand new toilets and showers Lots of space Fire pits, wood and marshmallows available Friendly and welcoming owners Super canoeing direct from site on quiet part of the canal - great for getting away from it all!
Sep 3, 2017 by KatrinH

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • 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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