Norfolk's Best Beaches
The Norfolk coast is long and full of contrasts, and all the way from the Wash to Great Yarmouth it is home to some of the best beaches in the country.
In the north of the county the sea appears almost in retreat, giving rise to sandbanks, spits of shingle and silted harbours. But once the coastline turns in a more easterly direction the tides fight back here, the beaches are sandy and theres evidence of erosion in the soft clay cliffs. Wherever you base your Norfolk cottage holiday, this part of East Anglia makes the ideal setting for a seaside getaway, where a day out means sun, sand, buckets, spades and beach huts - not forgetting enough ice cream to have even the biggest of appetites licked!
Here's our pick of some of the finest beaches to be found in Norfolk.
Hunstanton - At the mouth of The Wash, Hunstanton is known as Sunny Hunny because its beach and cliffs face west, which means they capture the best of the sunshine. The golden beach runs for two miles along the coast to Brancaster, while the shallow sea here makes for safe family bathing and is a favourite spot for wind and kitesurfing. Book a Hunstanton holiday cottage and enjoy the seafront which is bordered by large Victorian and Edwardian houses and theres a pleasant walk along the top of the cliffs to the lighthouse this is very much a traditional resort with something for everyone and plenty to do, whatever the weather.
Wells-next-the-Sea - No cottage holiday in Norfolk would be complete without a trip to Wells, a timeless little town with a picturesque harbour and, a brisk one-mile walk away or a narrow gauge railway trip, a vast sandy beach. There is space for everyone on the Wells sands which, lined by colourful beach huts and backed by aromatic pine woodlands, are ideal for sunbathing, picnics and kite-flying. Stay in one of our Wells-next-the-sea cottages and experience this really wonderful beach! For those who love to be busy, Wells is great for windsurfing and as the tide goes out its also the perfect foraging ground for a seafood supper the main channel of water that leads through the sands from the North Sea into the harbour provides a rich harvest of cockles and mussels. But don't get caught out by the notorious Wells tide there is a danger of being trapped on the wrong side of the channel when the tide turns, so listen out for the siren which is sounded when the waters start to rise.
Blakeney Point - Once a busy working port, Blakeney is one of the prettiest places in north Norfolk and an absolute must for those with an interest in birds and wildlife. Blakeney's quaint holiday cottages on adorable narrow streets lead to the quay, which is now mainly used for sailing and pleasure craft. The quay is perfect for old-fashioned family fun with buckets and crab-lines while the estuary leading to it is a fun if muddy! place for youngsters to paddle and potter around in rowing boats. But it's Blakeney Point that is the real gem along this part of the Norfolk coastline the three-and-a-half-mile sand and shingle spit is noted for its colonies of breeding terns and migrant birds passing through in summer. It is also an important breeding and haul-out site for grey and common seals walk along the spit or take a boat trip out to see them for a truly memorable seaside experience.
Cromer - The Victorians made Cromer a popular resort and though it has expanded over the years, it retains an air of elegance along with an all-year holiday atmosphere. A popular destination for families, the golden sands and gently sloping beach make Cromer ideal for summer swimming, while out of season they are filled with an enthusiastic and growing surfing fraternity. If you book a Cromer holiday cottage you will be able to walk along the seafront promenade which has beach huts, cafes and amusement arcades, and there is still a traditional theatre at the end of Cromer's picturesque pier, while the town centre is just a short stroll away. Don't forget... while you are there why not try one of the famous Cromer crabs!
Sea Palling - Set mid-way between the better-known resorts of Cromer and Great Yarmouth, the beach at Sea Palling is one of the most stunning in Norfolk. Miles of golden sand stretch in either direction from the village and thanks mainly to the nine offshore reefs built as part of a flood prevention scheme have retained the coveted Blue Flag award for several years. The water here is safe for swimming and paddling and the Sea Palling dunes are officially designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Seals are sometimes seen in the sea or sunning themselves on the sands to the south of the village, where you can walk along the coastline to the equally beautiful beaches of Waxham and Horsey.
Great Yarmouth - It may have a reputation for kiss-me-quick hats and amusement arcades, but Great Yarmouth is home to a beautiful sandy beach which is a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. Spotlessly clean sands slope gently to the sea just yards from the fast-paced action of the pier and Pleasure Beach, while on the horizon is the Scroby Sands wind farm and seal colony. This is a beach for buckets and spades, sunbathing and swimming traditional family fun and lots of it!
For more information on the best beaches in Norfolk please see our recent blog post.