A Day Out on the East Norfolk Coast
Published: Tuesday 11th Feb 2020
Written by: Isobel Taylor
If you are looking for peace and serenity in your Norfolk holiday, then look no further than the East Norfolk Coast. Quieter than it’s North Norfolk Coast neighbour, the East Coast boasts stunning beaches that go on for miles, a wide range of independent Norfolk eateries and lots of activities for you and the little ones.
If you are looking to explore a different side of Norfolk for your holiday, read on to find out what a day out on the East Norfolk Coast could look like for you….
Start the day off early at Happisburgh with its iconic red and white striped lighthouse standing proudly. This is the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia and the only independent run lighthouse in the UK, run solely by the local community. The volunteers hold open days throughout the Easter and summer school holidays and are a real treat for history buffs and those wanting to get a great view of the Norfolk Coast. To find out when the Lighthouse will be open, head to the village website.
For the days when you can’t climb the lighthouse an early morning walk along the beach will bring you just as spectacular views along the sand and out to sea- if you are lucky a seal may even pop his head out of the water for you! For those eager to get a long walk in, the Norfolk Coastal Path allows you to walk all the way to the seaside town of Mundesley. Stop off for a mid-morning snack in the historical village of Bacton, home to the once important pilgrimage site, the 12th century Bromholm Priory - well worth an explore.
After a peaceful start to the morning I cannot recommend enough exploring East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens. These are a must-see for all nature and horticultural lovers and are completely child-friendly (and even if flora and fauna aren’t your thing, the cake in the cafe is sublime!). With 23 gardens in total, all with their own unique theme and design, the gardens are a real joy to walk around and are truly unique to Norfolk. My favourites are the Dutch Garden and the Clematis Walk where you can get a great view of Happisburgh lighthouse. This also makes a great place to stop for lunch, although the cafe can get pretty packed during the summer so make sure you bag yourself a table in the beautiful Tea Garden.
Back in the car, head back up to Mundesley. With its beautiful sandy beach that stretches on for miles, its dog-friendly attitude and its commitment to keeping the area clean and tidy Mundesley is a favourite among locals. Unlike many of the beaches on the North Coast which often involve a long walk to get to the sea, here the sea is always accessible making it a great spot for a paddle or a swim. On a hot summer's day there is nothing better than indulging in an ice cream while looking out to sea. After their many years of success in Cromer, Glide Surf School have set up a second location in Mundesley. Hire a surf board or paddle board and head out to sea or get some expert tuition to refine your skills.
Perhaps the quirkiest thing about Mundesley is that it is home to the smallest museum in the UK - the Mundesley Maritime Museum. It opens at the beginning of the summer holidays and is a great way to engage with the history of the Norfolk coastline, plus how many people can say they've been to the country's smallest museum!
If you are looking to have an early night and get the kids off to bed, why not treat yourself to fish and chips and bring it back to the cottage. You are certainly not short of choice along this coastline - Mary Janes in Cromer and Kingfisher Fish Bar in Walcott being some local favourites.
For those who want to carry on the evening, head back to your property, wash the sand from your hair and get dressed for an evening of indulgent food and drink. There are so many great options for a meal out on the East Coast but if you are going to have to choose just one it might have to be the Ingham Swan. Opened by Michelin star chef Daniel Smith, this restaurant really makes the best of Norfolk produce. With 2, 3 and 7 course menus available dining here is flexible but always delicious.
WHERE TO STAY?
After that fantastic meal and perhaps a drink or two, it is time to head back to your cottage for the evening. Norfolk Cottages has a fantastic range of properties available to choose from suitable for all types of holidayers - large gatherings, family friendly and cottages for two.
For exploring the East Norfolk Coast we recommend the Pilgrim properties based in Bacton. All part of the same complex, this collection of 5 comfortable properties offers something truly unique. Each property has been extensively renovated with modern bathrooms, spacious bedrooms, well equipped kitchens and extensive gardens with a summerhouse and outdoor chess set. With a wealth of beams, original fireplaces the overall character of these lovely cottages has been well retained. And if that was not enticing enough, the properties all have access to the large onsite swimming pool, sauna and games rooms!
Choose from the 12 person, 16th century, grade II listed Pilgrim House, once the farmhouse of Bromholm Priory. Or opt for one of the smaller properties, such as the quaint Pilgrims Prospect, an outstanding barn conversion. All of the 4 smaller properties are dog friendly and the site has a path connecting you to Bacton Beach, perfect for a morning dog walk.
For those looking to book for a large gathering these properties couldn’t be better. All close together and with spacious living areas for get-togethers yet the separate properties allow privacy and space at the same time for separate families. The Pilgrim properties make a wonderful base to explore the opportunities and the beauty of the East Norfolk Coast.
Take a look at the full range of Pilgrim properties here.