Even on busy days you can usually find an empty beach to breath the fresh air and admire the unspoilt areas of outstanding natural beauty.
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An Introduction to the Norfolk Coast
The Norfolk Coast is simply stunning and yet even on busy days many of the Norfolk Coast beaches have empty hideaways where you feel you have the place to yourself. Come and find a Norfolk beach with miles and miles of wide sand, pine forests, salt marshes and mud flats, most of which is unspoilt Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s easy to see why artists and writers have flocked to the Norfolk Coast for years! The North Norfolk Coast is a wonderful area for walking or cycling with a gentle undulating landscape, some of the best nature reserves in the country, pretty coastal villages, crumbling flint cottages, intriguing shops and galleries and plenty of welcoming pubs and restaurants. The Norfolk Coast is a great part of the UK coast and ideal for those Norfolk beach holidays!
We start our tour of the Norfolk Coast in Hunstanton - or Sunny Hunny as it is often known! This seaside resort has the unusual distinction of being an east coast resort that faces west and as a result gets more than its fair share of sun and enjoys some lovely sunsets. You can enjoy all the traditional seaside attractions, such as donkey rides on the beach, or if you’re feeling more adventurous a ride on a sea buggy, which trawls up and down the coast. There is also a swimming pool, an indoor leisure centre, a theatre and Sealife Centre.
Hunstanton Chapel ruins and Lighthouse
Hunstanton Funfair, West Norfolk Coast
The Wash Monster
Sea Life Sanctuary, West Norfolk Coast
Old Hunstanton is just North of the main resort of Hunstanton and is the site of the original settlement before 1860 when New Hunstanton was built. Old Hunstanton is much quieter and picturesque, with empty beaches.
Beach Hut, West Norfolk Coast
Empty Beach, West Norfolk Coast
At the extreme north west corner of Norfolk, where the Wash meets the North Sea, you will find Holme next the Sea, a small unspoilt village, where the main attraction is the golden sandy beach. It's an ieal place for a family day out and on cooler days, when the beach is less appealing, Holme next the Sea is the starting point of 2 long distance footpaths - the North Norfolk Coast path to Cromer (44 miles) and the Peddars Way to Knettishall Heath (46 miles).
Enjoying a family day out to the beach at Holme next the Sea
Moving along the North Norfolk Coast, we come to the lovely harbour of Brancaster. Fishing boats still operate from this harbour and you can buy their catch from nearby shops. The Norfolk Coast path makes a lovely walk.
The fabulous view over the marsh from the North Norfolk Coast Path at Brancaster
Fishing Boats, North Norfolk Coast
North Norfolk Coast Path
Burnham Overy Staithe is one of 7 villages referred to as "The Burnhams". Overy Staithe comes alive with boats when the tide allows, as there are plenty of creeks and channels to explore in your dinghy or motor boat. A couple of miles inland is Burnham Market, known as "Chelsea on sea" as it attracts visitors from upmarket London and has the sort of shops that you would normally find down the Kings Road!
Burnham Overy Staithe
Shopping on the North Norfolk Coast
Sailing Dinghy, North Norfolk Coast
Holkham bay is a magnificent wooded bay, that is wonderful for a walk. A drive leads from the bay to nearby Holkham Hall, which is set in parkland. The hall is open to visitors (seasonal)
Walking the dogs on the beach at Hoklham Bay
Holkham Hall, North Norfolk Coast
Despite its name, Wells next the sea is situated a good mile or so from open water. In Tudor times, when it enjoyed much easier access to the sea, it was one of the great ports of eastern England. It’s still one of the most attractive towns on the North Norfolk coast, and the only one to remain a commercially viable port. The town has many narrow lanes and facilities including hotels, pubs, tea-rooms and countless shops.
Wells next the sea Quay and Harbour
Staithe Street in Wells next the sea
Wells has 2 narrow gauge steam railways! One to Walsingham and the other along the harbour to the beach.
The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway
The Wells Harbour Railway, North Norfolk Coast
Moving East, we come to the quay at Morston. A channel leads out to sea past Blakeney Point, a spit of sand that sticks out into the North Sea. The point is a nature reserve managed by the National Trust and a visitor centre sits on the spit, open to visitors in season. Morston Quay is a popular starting point for boat trips to the tip of Blakeney Point to view the Seal Colony situated there.
Morston Quay and Blakeney Point (the blue building on the horizon is the NT visitor centre)
Not far from Morston is the the lovely coastal village of Blakeney, which is one of the most enchanting on the North Norfolk Coast. The village is set on a small hill leading down to the harbour and has pretty flint cottages (many for holiday rent), shops, tea-rooms, restaurants, pubs and inns. Fabulous walks take you along the North Norfolk Coast.
Blakeney Quay, North Norfolk Coast
Norfolk Coast Path at Blakeney
Blakeney Shop, North Norfolk Coast
Very close to Blakeney is Cley next the sea. The village is located in an Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty and enjoys an international reputation for bird
watching. Two features dominate Cley. The first is the picturesque 18th century windmill standing on the edge of the marshes.
The second feature is St. Margaret's Church next to the village green.
Cley Windmill, North Norfolk Coast
Cley Church, North Norfolk Coast
Cley has an excellent delicatessen where you
can purchase items for your picnic, but you will also find a gallery, a famous smoke
house, restaurants, tea shops and two good country pubs.
Delicatessen, North Norfolk Coast
Cley Property, North Norfolk Coast
Next along the coast is Salthouse, Kelling and Weybourne. Here a ridge of heathland rises behind the coast, giving fabulous views out over the sea and marshes below - who said Norfolk was flat!
Sheringham is a traditional seaside town, which grew up around its old fishing village, and
a few little boats still bring in the daily catch. Sea, cliffs, fine sands and bracing air are some of the reasons why Sheringham is so popular. It is anything but the monotonous strip, with plenty of facilities, including many interesting shops, pubs, restaurants and tea-rooms. Among the glories of the area are the surrounding woods (including Sheringham Park), with views over the sea, and miles of bracken-covered undulating uplands, covered with golden gorse and purple heather.
Sheringham Fishing Boats, North Norfolk Coast
Sheringham Promenade, North Norfolk Coast
Sheringham Streets, North Norfolk Coast
Sheringham Park, North Norfolk Coast
The nearby town of Cromer is a classic North Norfolk Coast town, situated on a cliff-top overlooking fine sandy beaches. Cromer Pier has survived despite bad damage and has a Lifeboat Station and Pavilion Theatre, which still stages end of pier shows. The church dominates the town as it has the tallest tower in Norfolk. The streets and alleys are crammed with shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Cromer Pier and theatre, North Norfolk Coast
Cromer's beautiful beach
Victorian seaside property, Cromer
Cromer Church Tower
Linking Cromer with Overstrand, is one of the best walks in Norfolk. A cliff top path takes you past the Cromer Lighthouse and the Royal Cromer Golf Course. Overstrand itself is a lovely village and attracted many rich and famous people to build holiday homes.
Cliff top path between Cromer and Overstrand
Overstrand Sea Marge Hotel
Fishing Nets and Boat at Overstrand
Moving down the East Norfolk Coast, we come to Mundesley, which grew rapidly when the Victorians brought visitors to the district by opening a railway in 1889. The railway has long gone, but the fresh sea breezes off the North Sea remain as invigorating as ever. Mundesley today is a holiday resort with a wonderful sandy beach, considered one of the best on the Norfolk Coast.
Mundesley Beach, East Norfolk Coast
Mundesley Beach, East Norfolk Coast
Mundesley contains a number of facilities including shops, eating places, pubs, tea rooms and possibly the smallest museum in the country. Nearby Stow Mill is one of the best Windmills in Norfolk and well worth a visit.
Mundesley Museum, East Norfolk Coast
Stow Mill, East Norfolk Coast
Mundesley Post Office
Mundesley flower shop
The lovely Norfolk Coast village of Happisburgh is dominated by two main buildings - the red and white candy striped lighthouse and the large village church with its tall tower. Both of these buildings are located on mounds, giving wonderful views over the surrounding coast and countryside.
Happisburgh Lighthouse, East Norfolk Coast
Happisburgh Church, East Norfolk Coast
At nearby Sea Palling there is a wonderful, blue flag, sandy beach, which is deserted for most of the year and is a great place for a walk.
Quiet beach at Sea Palling
Horsey Mere is the closest of the Norfolk Broads to the Norfolk Coast (about one mile). Here you can find a superb windmill owned by the National Trust. The beach at Horsey is virtually deserted as there is poor access from the road. It is a wonderful remote spot to visit - with a great pub too (The Nelson).
Horsey Windpump, East Norfolk Coast
Horsey Beach, East Norfolk Coast
At Winterton on Sea, we discover a lovely unspoilt ancient coastal village, with miles of beaches and sand dunes. Although we are only a few miles north of Great Yarmouth, there are no amusements here, just pretty cottages, a lovely 300 year old pub, a cathedral sized church and a nearby windfarm.
Winterton on sea beach
Blood Hill Windfarm near Winterton on Sea
Just north of Great Yarmouth is little Yarmouth - better known as Hemsby! The beach is the main attraction here, but there is plenty of amusements, entertainment, shops and refreshments for the whole family to enjoy.
Hemsby Beach looking north
The Lost World Adventure Golf
The Food Palace
Finally, we come to the king of seaside resorts - Great Yarmouth. With its 2 piers, many attractions, funfair and amusements, Great Yarmouth is everything you would expect from a typical British seaside resort! For example, the horse and carriage ride that takes you along the seafront, past the many amusements to the pleasure beach funfair.
With wide skies, remote beaches and pretty unspoilt villages, the Norfolk Coast offers miles and miles of beautiful rural landscape to explore. Even on a busy bank holiday you can usually find somewhere to yourself.