Discover the best places to stay in Norfolk holiday cottages

Discover the best places to stay in Norfolk

Julie Smith 24 May 2023

Once you visit Norfolk, you are bound to return again and again throughout your life, such is its beguiling magic and beauty. With the appearance of a true frontier, the lowlands of East of England are great for fans of wide horizons and big skies. Norfolk has nearly 100 miles of coastline, comprising seascapes that are unspoilt, natural and beautiful.

Lovers of boats will already be familiar with the Norfolk Broads which are synonymous with the county’s reputation as a great British holiday destination. Nature lovers and those who love being outdoors go to Norfolk – it’s the best place in the country to get away from it all.

Continue scrolling to find out about the best places to stay in Norfolk or tap the button to discover some of our lovely holiday cottages.

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Hunstanton – best for sunshine and sunsets

The beach at Hunstanton

Hunstanton is a seaside resort that faces west into an area of the North Sea known as The Wash. The west-facing beach gets lots of sunshine giving Hunstanton the nickname ‘sunny hunny’ and it’s one of the best places in North Norfolk to watch the sun go down. There are two beaches, with Old Hunstanton being a little wilder and less commercialised than Hunstanton proper.

Towering red and white striped cliffs shelter both beaches and the dog-friendly stretches of sand at both resorts are perfect for visiting with four-legged friends. There are fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours and amusement arcades along the traditional promenade at Hunstanton’s seafront and Victorian gardens that are perfect for relaxing in during a visit to this handsome seaside town.


  • The town is located within 11 miles of Sandringham Estate where you can explore grand rooms, formal gardens and extensive parkland.
  • Nearby Heacham is home to Norfolk Lavender where you can see huge gardens featuring this beautifully scented, purple plant. 
  • One of the town’s most popular attractions is the excellent Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, where visitors can come face-to-face with an incredible array of sea creatures, thanks to a ‘viewing tank’ and underwater tunnel. 
  • Stay nearby: The Roost | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea – best for nature reserves

Seals on the beach at Blakeney

For nature enthusiasts, take a holiday in Blakeney or Cley-next-the-Sea, two of the prettiest villages along the North Norfolk coast. Blakeney is a sleepy fishing village a short way in from the coast next to the fens, made up of reclaimed sea land and swathes of reed beds that stretch along much of the coast.

Cley is home to Cley Marshes which is the oldest Norfolk nature reserve and is held in perpetuity as a bird breeding ground.

Both villages are situated along a quiet stretch of the coast but there are handy shops in the villages and excellent pubs and eateries in the area including a fantastic delicatessen in Cley-next-the-Sea.


  • Blakeney is famous for being the location of one of the largest seal colonies in England. Each winter, thousands of the aquatic mammals take refuge from the sea to rear their young in amongst the sand dunes.
  • You can access part of the reserve along Blakeney Point but the best way to see the seals up close is on a boat trip from nearby Morston Quay.
  • The RSPB reserve at Cley Marshes is one of the best places in Norfolk for spotting birds with six different hides to choose from and an excellent visitor centre.
  • Stay nearby: Nooky House | Sleeps 4

Wells-next-the-Sea – best for coastal walks and picnics

The harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea is a lovely coastal town found between Hunstanton and Cromer. This former harbour has been an up-and-coming holiday destination for decades. Offering nature walks out along the seawall to the pine-fringed Holkham Bay, this is a great place to base yourself if you love the sea and unspoilt sandy beaches. Wells-next-the-Sea is a haven for independence where local businesses thrive.

For a picnic, head to the tree-lined park of The Buttlands where you will also find good pubs and restaurants on hand for you to try out. There are lots of independent shops at Wells-next-the-Sea and we recommend picking up your picnic supplies at the Wells Deli.


  • Wells-next-the-Sea is known for a collection of more than 200 colourful beach huts which frame the unspoilt white sands of this dog-friendly beach.
  • For a special day out, head over to the Holkham Estate which is a vast and sublime place to investigate with stunning parkland and free-roaming fallow deer.
  • Wells-next-the-Sea lies on the Norfolk Coast Path which you can follow to Blakeney Point in one direction and to Burnham Overy Staithe the other way which has one of Norfolk’s most unspoilt natural beaches.
  • Stay nearby: Alice Cottage | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Cromer – best for a traditional seaside holiday

Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast

Cromer is the largest town along the north coast of Norfolk. Home to the last ‘End of the Pier’ show in the UK, Cromer is a well-loved trip back to yesteryear. Retaining all the charm of a childhood holiday with its fine pier, promenade, arcades, deckchairs, candy floss, olde-worlde cinema, zoo and cosy pubs, it’s a classic destination that aims to please.

Cromer is also a useful place to base yourself as all the main shops and banks for the entire region are here. Sample the wonderful Cromer crab, a local delicacy, or buy a bag of fish and chips to eat by the sea. Cromer is the main transport hub with road and rail links to Norwich and beyond.


  • Crabbing is a fun activity for kids that can be tried for free along the length of Cromer Pier. All you need to catch a crab is a bucket, a line and some bait which can be purchased in a set from the gift shop.
  • Cromer is home to the largest chalk reef in Europe which houses a variety of sea life and is a perfect place to go snorkelling.
  • Not far from Cromer is the National Trust’s Felbrigg Hall which is one of Norfolk’s finest stately homes with grandly decorated rooms, gorgeous formal gardens and more than 500 acres of dog-friendly grounds that you can explore with furry friends.  
  • Stay nearby: Skippers Rest | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Wroxham – best for boat trips on the Broads

Windmill in Wroxham

Wroxham is ideally situated for visiting the magnificent Norfolk Broads. If you love nature and boats, you can simply watch the world from the banks of the broads or hop aboard a pleasure boat for a relaxing trip down the River Bure where you may even spot some of the resident kingfishers and herons. 

The River Bure divides Wroxham and Hoveton, which are both widely thought of as the capital of The Broads. If you fancy travelling under your own steam, you can hire self-drive picnic boats to explore the winding waterways and seek out secret nooks and crannies.


  • There are a variety of shops and restaurants in Wroxham; it is well worth visiting Wroxham Barns which features a number of craft shops, eateries and a junior farm and fun park with animals, jumping pillows, tractor rides and a maize maze.
  • As well as travelling on the water, you can also catch the Bure Valley Steam Train for a scenic journey through the countryside from Wroxham to Aylsham. It’s worth hopping off at Blickling Hall to explore this Norfolk National Trust site. 
  • Miles of long sandy Norfolk beaches await at Sea Palling and Waxham all within 10 miles. The city of Norwich is 9 miles away with shops, restaurants, theatres, museums and a castle too.
  • Stay nearby: Five Church View Stables | Sleeps 6

Great Yarmouth – best for family fun

Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast

Great Yarmouth is one of Norfolk’s most popular seaside resorts with a long sandy beach that stretches all the way from Winterton-on-Sea to Hopton-on-Sea. There will always be space to put up a deckchair and build a sandcastle, no matter how nice the weather is and there are lots of amusement arcades to keep the family entertained.

Take a walk along Britannia Pier which includes rides and live shows, head up to the top of the Tower Complex for one of the best views of the town or spend the day enjoying the thrills and spills of Great Yarmouth’s famous Pleasure Beach which features a rollercoaster that has been in operation since the 1930s.


  • Great Yarmouth is actually part of the Broads National Park and you can follow the path of the River Yare through reedbeds, marshland and pretty villages to this classic Norfolk seaside town.
  • There is lots of historic interest in Great Yarmouth too, with the remains of a Roman fort and the National Trust’s Elizabethan House Museum to explore.
  • Other attractions include the Hippodrome Circus which is famous for its fabulous water shows and Merridale Model Village which features little versions of landscaped gardens, beach huts, steam trains, waterfalls and an observation wheel.
  • Stay nearby: The Old Warenhouse | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Norwich – best for a city break 

The canal in Norwich

Norwich is the UK’s most complete medieval city so a visit here is a great option for history buffs as there are lots of interesting buildings for you to seek out. There are also lots of cool and quirky things to do including browsing the independent shops of Norwich Lanes which is a series of narrow alleyways and courtyards close to City Hall.  

There are no less than six different theatres in Norwich where you can enjoy some live entertainment and, for something a little different, one of the most unusual things to do is head underground into the hidden city crypts. The River Wensum runs right through Norwich and you can follow the path of the water into the Norfolk Broads where it joins the River Yare at Whitlingham.


  • Head to Elm Hill to see one of the most picturesque streets in East Anglia. The higgledy-piggledy timber-framed houses have been colourfully painted and date back to medieval times.
  • Climb atop the grass mound of Castle Hill to explore Norwich Castle, which is now a fascinating museum. A journey up an original Norman staircase gives one of the best views over Norwich, or you can head deep underground for a tour of the original castle dungeons.
  • Norwich is home to one of the biggest and best outdoor markets in Norfolk with almost 200 stalls trading from Monday to Saturday and selling everything from local produce and crafts to clothing and homewares.  
  • Stay nearby: The Stables - Mulbarton | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Holt – best for pretty parks

Sheringham Park near Holt

Holt is a wonderful Georgian market town that combines the best of the coast and countryside with the North Norfolk AONB just a few miles away. The wonderful old buildings are home to an array of art galleries, antique shops and independent boutiques with a quartet of flint stone yards hidden off the main high street that are just waiting to be explored.

A market is held on the first Sunday of every month in Holt’s market square with live music and artisan food stalls bringing a vibrant festival feel to the town. You can follow a tree-lined avenue from the marketplace to St Andrew’s Church which dates back to the 13th century. 


  • A great way to explore this Norfolk market town is by following the Holt Owl Trail which comprises 24 informative plaques that have been designed in a circular loop covering all the main features of historic interest.
  • Holt Country Park lies just outside the town and consists of 100 acres of beautiful woodland with family-friendly trails, sensory gardens, sculptures, picnic tables and a children’s play area.
  • The grand Sheringham Park is just 5 miles away from Holt and this 1,000-acre National Trust site features dog-friendly walking trails, a colourful collection of rhododendrons and 360-degree views from the top of the Sheringham Park Gazebo Tower. 
  • Stay nearby: Cobble Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Plan your Norfolk getaway

The Norfolk Coast Path

We have properties right across Norfolk, close to all the major visitor attractions and places of historical interest. Why not visit our collection of Norfolk cottages to view an even larger selection of properties in the towns and villages above and across the county too? You can choose from romantic boltholes, family-friendly holiday homes and dog-friendly places to stay by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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