Norfolk's north beaches
See Norfolk's beautiful coast on film...
HunstantonThe 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 and low tide rock pools backed by the famous striped cliffs. The shallow water and breezes make this an ideal spot for kitesurfers.
Holme-next-the-SeaTake 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 miles of sandy and pebbly beach. 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.
TitchwellThousands 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!
BrancasterBrancaster beach, accessed at the car 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.
Scolt Head IslandScolt Head Island is an area some 727 hectares of sand dune, beach and saltmarsh, owned jointly by The National Trust and Norfolk Wildlife Trust under licence from Natural England and a nature reserve since 1923. The saltmarshes are considered to be among the finest in the UK and the sandy beach is a hidden gem. The site is reached by a seasonal ferry from the village of Burnham Overy Staithe. Details from Deepdale Visitor Information Centre. You can also wade across but be aware of the fast-running tides.
Burnham Overy StaitheYou have to walk beside the River Burn for around a mile from the staithe to get to the beach but it's worth the effort – it's another of those beaches where you're likely to be on your own. Look to your right and you'll have uninterrupted views all the way down to Holkham and Wells. The tidal beach is backed by marram-tufted dunes. This is the beginning of the Holkham National Nature Reserve which stretches to Morston in the east.
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.
Holkham beach voted best in Britain.
Wells-next-the-SeaDrive the mile-long road from Wells town or take the Wells harbour railway to reach Wells beach. Capacious at any time of the day, the beach is vast when the tide is out – you'll wonder where the sea has gone as you gaze off to the horizon. You'll just be able to make out the tumbling waves far off in the distance, at the end of The Run, the channel that leads from the sea to the harbour. This is home to perhaps the most iconic Norfolk images – the row of almost 100 candy-painted beach huts.
Cley-next-the-SeaTake 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.
WeybourneThe beach here is shingle and pebbles but marks the beginning of the north Norfolk cliff section that stretches all the way around to Happisburgh.
SheringhamAt high tide, the beach is a shallow stretch of pebbles with erosion-resisting groynes that are an effort to get over. Best go for a walk along the promenade or explore the lovely Victorian town. But when the tide's out, you have a fantastic bucket-and-spade beach of hard sand.
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.
On the north Norfolk coast road.
Explore north Norfolk.
And once you've tried all the north beaches, head off to our east beaches.