Kick off those shoes and relax on some of North Norfolk’s glorious beaches
With over 93 miles of coastline, a visit to Norfolk is not complete without at least one day spent at the beach. But which beach is for you? What will you do when you get there? Well read on, as we give you some wonderful ideas for unique experiences in some special places…
Sunbathing and a picnic at Brancaster (or golf if you prefer to stay out of the sand)
In our opinion Brancaster is perfect for a family day out on the beach. Park in the beach car park and walk out towards the sea past the Royal West Norfolk clubhouse. As you walk through the deep sand you are greeted by many miles of fine, sandy beach, lagoons and sand dunes. Perfect for all beach sports, whether it be kite surfing, football or beach cricket. Head out at low tide and once at the beach, head right and you’ll have all the sand you’ll ever need. At low tide you will also see the old wreck but don’t be tempted to wade out through the shallow waters as sometimes the tide can return quickly. By turning left, you are able to walk down the beach for over a mile before reaching a channel of water coming in from the nearby lagoon. Here you will see a number of seals that often bask here and play in this sheltered area, giving you wonderful close-up views. Following the saltmarsh back towards the car park brings you back to the clubhouse. The Skylarks and Reed Buntings may will form a chorus of disapproval as you move past their territories with the occasional Marsh Harrier giving them further (and greater) concerns.
Once on Brancaster beach, you won’t want to leave. So make sure you pack a picnic full of the best local fare by visiting Humble Pie in Burnham Market, The Crab Shed in Brancaster-Staithe, Thornham Deli in Thornham or The Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton to stock up with a tasty selection of local Norfolk produce. Beach towels and sun-cream are all that remain on the shopping list for a good day out.
Alternatively, the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club offers one of the finest, not to mention, most challenging links golf courses in the UK. As part of our concierge service, we are able to arrange for you.
Beachcombing at Holkham
Holkham has provided the setting for many fashion shoots, music videos and moments of cinema, one visit to this iconic location and you will soon see why. Nearby, pinewoods, grassland and sand dunes lay in wait, but the jewel is Holkham Bay. The Bay is a vast low gradient beach at low tide, offering miles of flat sandy beach to explore. It is a popular place to be, but after only a few minutes walking it can feel a world away amongst the dunes and with the razor clam shells crunching underfoot.
The Holkham estate also features a nature reserve, Palladian mansion with surrounding deer park, craft shops and dining in the form of the Holkham Victoria or Stable Cafe.
Crabbing and Beach Huts at Wells-next-the-sea
Wells-next-the-Sea appears to be split into two areas for the unfamiliar visitor; the town with its harbour and eateries, and the pinewoods with the beach beyond, offering walks both east and westward along the coastal path. Both are excellent places to spend the day, but while you’re here you really should try your hand at crabbing. Once you’ve got a good spot on Wells harbour, all you then need to catch the illusive crab is a line, some bait and a net.
Alternatively; try the circular walk between Wells and Holkham, with over seven miles of woodland and sand dunes to walk through. The beautiful individually-painted beach huts provide a wonderful backdrop set against the pinewoods.
Watersports at Hunstanton
For over 150 years, Hunstanton has been a popular holiday destination, its sandy beaches and its north-west facing aspect giving tremendous sunsets over the Wash. The Victorians took full advantage by building a 100 metre pier (complete with its own light steam railway) and it soon become the success its maker, Sir Henry le Strange, intended.
Its surrounding waters and flat beaches now cater perfectly for kite surfing, windsurfing and a great many other sports. By taking advantage of Barefoot’s special discount, you can receive tuition from professional trainers or, for the more experienced, hire equipment and get out there yourself. Hunstanton Watersports offer a wide range of activities, check out their website for more information.
If staying dry is more for you, try fossil hunting or rock pooling below the impressive cliffs at Old Hunstanton.
Over 1 million migratory birds pass through nearby Snettisham and the RSPB offer guided walks during the Winter and Spring, however you will need to set your alarm and take a flask. You will also find a bowling alley on the new (and much shorter) pier before losing your coppers downstairs in the arcade. The Sealife centre in New Hunstanton has recently been refurbished and has many sharks, rays to make it a perfect day out for children . The adjacent seal rescue centre does very valuable work and offers close up views of common and grey seals without the need to step off dry land.
Now you have had a taste of the coast take a look at our Norfolk cottages by the sea to find the perfect place to relax after your days out.