Norfolk's north coast beaches
The only west-facing resort on the east coast of England - there are two sides to Hunstanton. The elegant old Victorian town with its Esplanade Gardens and rather sedate air and the lively buzzing family centre with a large sandy beach, pony rides, amusements and summer season theatre. Old Hunstanton has more of a village feel, with its beach (including rock pools) backed by the famous striped cliffs.
Take the Beach Road off the A149, and you’ll have Hunstanton Golf Links to your right. One of the most secluded beaches in Norfolk, this is where the Peddar’s Way joins the Norfolk Coast Route. Look left to Hunstanton lighthouse and the cliffs, look right for deep, powdery sand backed with grassy dunes. This is the beach where the famous Seahenge was discovered. Nearby is Holme Dunes National Nature Reserve with three birdwatching hides overlooking grazing marsh and pools.
Thousands of migrating birds pass through Titchwell in spring and autumn, and many spend winter here, giving you an unrivalled opportunity to see many species of ducks, waders, seabirds and geese. As the days lengthen again, some birds like curlews are already departing north, whilst others such as wheatear and sand martin are arriving from Africa.
Titchwell Marsh is, not surprisingly, one of The RSPB's most popular reserves from sandy beaches to lagoons and reedbeds - it's all here!
Brancaster beach, accessed at the carp park by the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, has miles of golden sand for long or short walks, a great place for building sand castles and also specific area for power kiting sports.
Why not visit the National Trust Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre at the quay while you’re in the area.
Burnham Overy Staithe
Regularly appearing in lists of the best beaches in Britain, Holkham is accessed by the car park at Lady Ann’s Drive, adjacent to the entrance to Holkham Hall. The miles of sandy tidal beaches are backed by shady pinewoods and popular with horse riders. In summer you’ll often see the Household Cavalry taking their steeds in the water.
Take the beach road from just outside the quaint village of Cley-next-the-Sea to the car park to reach the shingle and sand spit of Blakeney Point. This isn’t a bucket-and-spade beach, but a national nature reserve - it’s attraction being to walk along the spit to see the seal colony. Alternatively, you can see the seals by boat from either Blakeney or Morston quays. From here the westward-moving dynamic coast begins to change to traditional seaside.
The nearby marshes are among the best places in the country for birdwatching.
Beeston Regis, West and East Runton
The last stretch before Cromer has the cliffs at their highest – this is part of the Cromer chalk ridge, the highest point in East Anglia. During low tides beneath the Beeston Bump you can find the curious paramoudras and flint circles. At West Runton children can rockpool for shore crabs, starfish, beadlet anemones and squat lobsters.
Cromer has enormous beaches with pristine sands and a Victorian pier that is home to the last end-of-pier theatre in the country. Low tide leaves lots of rock pools to explore. The beaches are backed by luscious green cliffs and tailored gardens by the promenade. The town, situated at the top of the cliffs, has a handsome church and is surrounded by good walks. Cromer is famous for the quality of the crabs which have been fished in the area for centuries.