Norfolk Beaches & sea towns
If your ideal short break or holiday is really getting away from it all then the Norfolk coast is the perfect destination.
Leave behind the crowds and daily grind, and escape for a peaceful, relaxing break by the sea, where you can take leisurely walks along quiet Norfolk beaches, listen to the waves gently break on the shore and breathe in the fresh sea air.
Blue Flag beaches in Norfolk
Blue Flags were awarded in Norfolk for 2011 to Sheringham, Cromer, Sea Palling, Mundesley and Hunstanton.
The Blue Flag designation acts as a guarantee to tourists that the beach is one of the best in the world, and has excellent cleanliness, water quality, environmental education and safety.
Please note that not all beaches enter into this paid-for inspection scheme and that there are many other Norfolk beaches which are just as safe and clean!
Hunstanton also won the Quality Coast Award, a symbol only awarded to those beaches that have achieved the very highest standards.
For more information about beaches at seaside resorts, please see our Seaside Towns pages.
Positioned on the beautiful North Norfolk coast, Wells-next-the-Sea is a wonderful location for a break with a difference. With its timeless quality, a holiday to Wells is like stepping into another world where you will soon feel completely relaxed and at ease.
There is space for everyone on this sweeping Norfolk beach, lined by colourful beach huts, a truly picture postcard setting. Enjoy a wander along the sand and through the dunes, find a spot for a quiet picnic or maybe practice your kite flying. Just a short distance from the beach you will find the attractive harbour and main town, with its distinctive individual shops and fine restaurants.
For those who love water sports, Wells is great for sailing, windsurfing and kayaking while there are boat trips departing from the harbour to see the many seals that live on the Norfolk coast. The town is also home to the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, the longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world! A great experience for the whole family the train winds through the picturesque countryside to the quaint village of Walsingham, which has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries.
For more information on Wells-next-the-Sea, see our partner's website www.visitnorthnorfolk.com.
A bustling coastal village crammed full of picturesque flint-lined cottages, the landmarks of Cley Windmill and St. Margaret's Church, delicatessens and locally sourced food, fine pubs and restaurants, and all on a magnificent stretch of coastline which is a paradise for birdwatchers and walkers alike.
Imagine strolling through rich pine woodlands, breathing in the aromatic smell of the forest before stepping onto a wide open expanse of beach. This is Holkham Bay, one of the most dramatic beaches in the area and very popular with visitors in the summer season. It is also a wonderful place to visit on cold, crisp days and during the winter a trip to Holkham will certainly blow away the cobwebs as the North Sea wind blows onto the beach making it a bleak but beautiful place to be. These glorious uninterrupted views have made this beach popular with the film industry and it was the setting for the final scene in Shakespeare in Love.
This part of the coastline is particularly special and forms part of a national nature reserve. The diverse but fragile mix of habitats from sand spits to marshes, saltings to pinewoods, make it a haven for wildlife, numerous bird species and, of course, nature lovers throughout the year! Holkham also has a naturist beach, so make sure you're on the right one!
During your holiday take some time to visit the stunning Holkham Hall and Bygones Museum. Home to the Coke family and Earls of Leicester, it is a magnificent Palladian hall set in acres of gentle rolling parkland. The vast interior will take your breath away - with its marble hall and extensive library - while outside you may glimpse the shy fallow deer that live in the grounds. There are also walking trails round the grounds and lakes, a restaurant serving refreshments and a lovely gift shop and gallery.
Situated between Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-Sea, Brancaster is another highlight of the North Norfolk coast and an excellent place to stay. The village is focused around the harbour, which is great for fishing and sailing. Brancaster is famous for its seafood, particularly mussels, and there are plenty of places to enjoy some of the delicious local food. Just west of the village you will find Titchwell Manor, with an award winning 2 AA rosette restaurant, which welcomes golfers, birdwatchers and walkers along with its residents, to sample their superb cuisine. The beach at Brancaster is perfect for kite flying, watersports or just soaking up the refreshing sea air. Amongst the sandhills is the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, so be sure to bring your golf clubs for a challenging round of golf by the sea!
Blakeney is the ideal location for a short break or holiday. It is a small village and has a blissful air of quietness, yet it is also close to many of the other resorts in the area. It is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with endless views across the estuary and salt marshes out to Blakeney Point, owned by the National Trust. The Point, a long spit made up of sand and shingle, is an important breeding ground for terns while also being home to Common and Grey seals. It can be accessed both on foot and by ferry boat. Fellow holidaymakers will include dinghy sailors, bird watchers and walkers.
A peaceful village set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Holme-next-the-Sea is an escape from the busier seaside towns. Quiet, secluded beaches and a network of bridleways make this area perfect for walkers and horse riders. Visit the Holme Bird Observatory and Reserve with five hides and look out for the many visiting birds across the coastal marsh.
Once a smuggler's haven in the 18th and 19th centuries the village of Thornham is now a tranquil coastal resort. The landscape is an inspiration to many artists who love to come here and put brush to paper, while the miles of marshland and saltwater channels attract many bird species. The village has a beautiful 13th century church and some excellent restaurants including the Lifeboat Inn, once a smuggler's ale house, serving exceptional mussels and the award winning Orange Tree.
The Norfolk coastline has surprises around every corner and during your stay make time to visit one of The Burnhams, a collection of five small towns and villages dotted around the North Norfolk area. Each place has its own character and appeal, from the busy hive of activity at Burnham Overy to the tranquil remoteness of Burnham Deepdale.
Burnham Overy is the most popular place with holidaymakers, and since it is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty it is easy to see why. The coastal village attracts walkers, sailors and birdwatchers, who appreciate the uniqueness of the area and the exceptional landscape. From the staithe, take a boat trip to Scolt Head Island, a nature reserved owned jointly by the National Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, to see common, Arctic, Sandwich and Little Terns in an undisturbed habitat.
For a bit of retail therapy head inland for about three miles to Burnham Market, a pretty town with attractive 17th and 18th century houses and cottages, where you can browse an exceptional variety of interesting shops and grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent eateries. The quiet unassuming village of Burnham Thorpe was the birthplace of Admiral Lord Nelson and the local pub, the Lord Nelson, makes the perfect venue for a toast to him!
Related pages on Visit Norfolk
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