Top tips for your first visit to Wicken Fen

Close up of windpump on Sedge Fen

Never visited Wicken Fen before? Here are some ideas for things to see and do whether you have an hour, half a day, or a full day to spend here.

Wicken Fen is one of Europe’s most important wetlands and the most species rich area of the UK, with over 9000 species of plants, animals, birds and insects.  From just 2 acres in 1899, the nature reserve has grown to almost 2000 acres in 2019 under the National Trust’s care.  This means more space for its wildlife to flourish, and big skies and wide open spaces for people to enjoy.

Whether you want to explore on foot, by bike, or aboard our boat, there are lots of ways to discover this special place.

One hour

An hour is plenty of time to take a short stroll around the Boardwalk.  Enjoy the soft rustling of reeds, wild flowers and dragonflies in summer, and hen harriers, barn owls and stunning sunsets in winter.  This route is fully accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.  Families can pick up activities to do in the Family Discovery Area of the Visitor Centre.

Half a day

Looking for relaxation?

Combine a 40 minute stroll round the Boardwalk (as mentioned above) with a peaceful boat trip on the Mayfly.  The boat trip takes you along the beautiful Wicken Lode waterway, accompanied by one of our friendly and knowledgeable boat drivers.  Either book in advance by phone (call 01353 720274), or when you arrive at the Visitor Centre (advance booking advisable at peak times).

Feeling adventurous?

Explore the wider reserve on two wheels and hire a bike from the Cycle Centre.  Follow the Lodes Way cycle route through Baker’s Fen to Burwell Fen and see our herds of highland cattle and konik ponies roaming freely.

Visiting with kids?

Enjoy the buggy friendly Boardwalk and Woodland Walk routes – you can pick up an Explorer Bag or one of our ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities from the Visitor Centre on your way.  Find out more about 50 Things here.  Or just enjoy a stroll and getting closer to nature: look for wild flowers, butterflies and dragonflies in summer, or pop into one of the bird hides to spot other fen wildlife.

Full day

On foot

Experience both sides of the fen in a day by discovering the undrained Sedge Fen in the morning, taking lunch at the Docky Hut Café (or have a picnic using one of our picnic benches), and exploring the wider reserve by walking to Burwell Fen via Baker’s Fen.  Our friendly Visitor Centre team will give you a map and point you in the right direction.

By bike and boat

Our Fen Explorer ticket is great value, offering combined cycle hire (2 hours) and a boat trip (50 minutes) with entry to the reserve at a reduced rate (National Trust members get an additional reduction).  You can explore the wider reserve by following one of the cycle routes, return for lunch at the Docky Hut Café  (or enjoy an al fresco picnic), and then enjoy a boat trip and walk around the Boardwalk.

As a family

Take a stroll along the buggy friendly Boardwalk route to the Woodland Walk area, stopping off to look at the Windpump and to watch for birds at the bird feeders by the Roger Clarke hide.  You can take part in nature’s band and den building in our ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾ ’ area.  (Our ’50 things’ activities can be crossed off our free wall planner – ask for one in the Visitor Centre, more about ’50 things’ activities can be found here)

Eating and Shopping

Eating and shopping