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Wells-next-the-Sea

100 BRILLIANT things to do at the Norfolk coast

You’re coming to the Norfolk coast and you haven’t done your research yet. Don’t despair. Let the Visit Norfolk team take you through all the best things to do while you’re here, so you don’t waste a moment.

We’ve got spectacular beaches, wonderful walking and wildlife, iconic attractions and much, much more.

To make it easier for you we’ve split the mostly year-round activities into the three parts of our 90 mile coastline and then finished off with specific events and festivals.

West coast - Hunstanton to Holkham

Holkham

1 Count the beach huts at Wells-next-the-Sea. You’ll need more than ten fingers and ten toes…

2 Walk in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love on Holkham beach.

3 Stand on the stripy cliffs at Hunstanton and tell people the land you can see in the distance is Holland. (It’s actually Lincolnshire across The Wash).

4 Walk the Norfolk Coast Path, which starts at Hunstanton. You can do it in chunks and get the Coast Hopper bus back to where you started.

5 Visit Norfolk’s very own desert island, Scolt Head Island. There’s a summer ferry. Otherwise it’s a muddy walk at low tide.

6 Watch the sunset at Hunstanton, otherwise known as Sunny Hunny. It’s the only east coast resort that faces west.

7 Visit Burnham Thorpe, birthplace of Horatio Nelson, and go in the church where his father was rector.

8 Order mussels from a pub menu on the coast. They maybe the ‘poor man’s shellfish’ but the ones we grow in our tidal creeks are FAB-U-LOUS! If you’re flush, order oysters.

9 Take off your shoes and socks, roll up your trouser legs and take a paddle. We’ve got 90 miles of coast with loads of fab beaches.

10 Play beach cricket on any number of our huge beaches. Hunstanton and Brancaster are ideal.

Cromer Pier

11 Have a fresh crab sarnie at The Crab Hut at Brancaster Staithe. Or try the eponymous crab in Cromer.

12 Visit the National Trust Millennium Activity Centre at Brancaster – you could learn to sail!

13 Learn more about the coastal environment at The Lookout visitor centre at the end of Lady Anne’s Drive, Holkham.

14 Take your pooch on one of our many dog-friendly beaches.

15 Have a pint of local beer and know that it was made with some of the best malting barley in the UK, because it’s grown on the high fields of north Norfolk where it benefits from the salty sea frets.

16 Visit Holme-next-the-Sea beach and imagine the day when the tide revealed the prehistoric Seahenge. There’s a replica of it in King’s Lynn Museum.

Titchwell beach

17 Stand on the quay at Burnham Overy Staithe and look at the river where Horatio Nelson learnt to sail.

18 Stand on the end of Cromer Pier and realise that just offshore is a 25-mile long chalk reef, the world’s longest.

19 Take a ride on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, the world’s longest ten and a quarter inch narrow gauge railway.

20 Stand on the cliffs at West Runton and put yourself in the shoes of Arthur Conan Doyle. It was here he got inspiration for the ghostly black dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles, based on the local legend of Black Shuck.

Brancaster

21 Buy some tasty freshly caught fish from The Fish Shed at Brancaster, opposite The White Horse pub (which has a brilliant view from the conservatory of the tidal salt marshes).

22 Look out for samphire on the menu, otherwise known as sea asparagus.

23 Put a picnic together at Walsingham Farm Shop and then head to the beach!

24 Listen out for a booming bittern and watch marsh harriers perform their amazing ‘sky dancing’ at RSPB Titchwell Marsh.

25 Find the large grey stone block in the walls at Brancaster’s St Mary the Virgin church – it was originally used in the walls of a Roman fort that was in the village.

26 Imagine you’re on the location of a James Bond film at Burnham Deepdale – fields here were transformed into ‘paddy fields’ for the 2002 Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan.

North Coast - Wells-next-the-Sea to Cromer

Grey seal pup at Blakeney Point

27 Take a boat trip from Morston to see the seals at Blakeney – they’re SOOOO cute!

28 Learn to surf on Cromer beach.

29 Hunt for mammoth teeth on the beach at West Runton. This is where the world’s largest mammoth skeleton was found.

30 Climb the watch tower at Sheringham Park and be amazed by the incredible coastal view down to Blakeney Spit.

31 Take in a variety show at Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre – it’s the world’s last end-of-pier theatre.

North Norfolk Railway

32 Bird watch at NWT Cley Marshes, one of the top birdspotting reserves in the UK.

33 Ride the North Norfolk Railway, known as The Poppy Line, from Sheringham to Holt.

34 Sit on the promenade at Cromer and eat open fish and chips with lashings of vinegar and salt. Go on, you’re on holiday.

35 Ride the Wells Harbour Railway. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s narrowest gauge railway on which a scheduled passenger service runs.

36 Climb up Beeston Bump at Sheringham and revel in the coastline views.

Cycling at Kelling Heath

37 Look out for Stewkey Blues – cockles from the tidal creeks at Stiffkey.

38 Take a cycle ride on the coastal Quiet Lanes at Kelling Heath – you’ll be on the Cromer Ridge, the highest point in East Anglia!

39 Visit the National Trust-run Felbrigg Hall for a long walk and a sneaky peek in their excellent walled garden.

40 Visit Roughton Heath near Cromer and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of Albert Einstein. He stayed here in 1933 after escaping the Nazis.

41 Go rockpooling at West Runton for shore crabs and starfish.

Rockpool rummage by Matthew Roberts

42 Head down the Gangway at Cromer for the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum, named after the most decorated lifeboatman of all time.

43 Discover the native animals of South America at Amazona at Cromer.

44 Walk along the Prom at Hunstanton, Cromer, Great Yarmouth or Gorleston-on-Sea licking an ice cream. With a chocolate flake. It’s the law.

45 At low tide, walk all the way to the sea from the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea (it’s about a mile) and then walk back with the tide as it turns.

46 At Cley-next-the-Sea by an improvised lunch from Picnic Fayre and Cley Smokehouse and dine out by the River Glaven with Cley Windmill in the background.

Crabbing at Wells-next-the-Sea

47 Take the Bittern Line from Sheringham or Cromer to Norwich and you get to see some of the Norfolk Broads National Park too!

48 Ride a tank at the Muckleburgh Military Collection. There’s lots of army vehicles, artillery and uniforms.

49 Look out for a performance by the Sheringham ‘Lobster Potties’ dancing the traditional Norfolk Morris style or their annual Potty Festival.

50 Go strawberry-picking at Wiveton Hall Cafe and then have a slap-up lunch.

51 Climb to the top of the tower at St Peter and St Paul Church at Cromer – it’s the tallest in Norfolk.

Birdwatching at Cley Marshes

52 Have a casual lunch of a shellfish platter at Cookies Crab Shop at Salthouse – you can bring your own alcohol. Hic!

53 Visit the Glandford Shell Museum in the Glaven Valley, a very picturesque waterside scene. The museum is just as picturesque, a small building with Dutch gables. 

54 Walk the shingle spit at Blakeney to the Point where the largest seal colony in the country reside. It’s four miles so put on some stout walking shoes!

55 Step inside a cosy Victorian fisherman’s cottage at Cromer Museum. People were much smaller then!

56 Go crabbing off Cromer Pier or Wells-next-the-Sea quay. The World Pier Crabbing Championships are held at Cromer in August.

East coast - Overstrand to Gorleston-on-Sea

Great Yarmouth Pleasurebeach rollercoaster

57 Ride the wooden rollercoaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach… the last one in the UK that needs a brakeman because there are no brakes on the track. Eek! (Madness filmed their video for House of Fun here).

58 Discover the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea before the world does. It features in the new Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film Yesterday.

59 Walk in the footsteps of the first tourists ever to arrive in the UK at Happisburgh on our Deep History Coast.

60 Go dune jumping at Winterton-on-Sea. The dunes are topped with marram, which is Norse for sea grass. Then have a cake at the excellent beach café.

61 Order some freshly-made donuts on Great Yarmouth seafront. Bet you can’t eat one without licking your lips.

Hippodrome Circus

62 See a show at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, the country’s last complete circus building.

63 Ride the snails at Joyland in Great Yarmouth. One for adrenaline junkies. Not.

64 Take yourself back to Victorian times by a visit to the restored Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake at Great Yarmouth.

65 Walk through the tropical fish tanks at Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth – yes, through!

66 Visit Time & Tide Museum at Great Yarmouth and learn that in one day in 1907 fishermen brought into port 80 million herring. In ONE day!

Lydia Eva

67 Stand by the walls of the Roman Burgh Castle and imagine that in their time this was a huge estuary and Great Yarmouth didn’t exist!

68 Have fish fingers from the menu in a Great Yarmouth restaurant and know that the dainty digits were invented here in 1952.

69 Have a flutter at Great Yarmouth Racecourse, but don’t lose your shirt – save that for sunbathing on the beach.

70 Visit the National Trust’s Horsey windpump and enjoy the views of Horsey Mere.

71 Have chips from Great Yarmouth Market Place. They’re fried in beef fat and, liberally sprinkled with vinegar and salt, they’re delish!

72 Walk in the footsteps of Ellie Goulding at Happisburgh’s red and white-striped lighthouse – she filmed her video for The Writer here.

73 Step on board the Lydia Eva at Great Yarmouth’s South Quay – an original lovingly-restored drifter from the 1930s.

74 Visit St Nicholas Minster at Great Yarmouth, the largest parish church in the country. Nearby is the house of Anna Sewell, who wrote the children’s classic Black Beauty.

Great Yarmouth seafront

75 Walk the entire length of the Golden Mile at Great Yarmouth and spend a penny – in the amusement arcades.

76 Walk through the dunes to Horsey Gap to see the seals. Please, don’t take dogs with you though. Then it’s time for refreshments at the Nelson Head.

77 Step inside the Tolhouse Musuem at Great Yarmouth – it dates back to the 12th century and is one of the UK’s oldest gaols.

78 Discover the secret-ish beach at Sea Palling with its perfect bays and shallow swimming water.

79 Head to Great Yarmouth’s South Denes and discover the original Nelson Monument, topped by Britannia and inscribed with the great admiral’s victories.

80 Discover more about our country’s greatest naval commander at the Nelson Museum on South Quay in Great Yarmouth.

81 Learn about Great Yarmouth in days gone by at the Elizabethan House.

82 Tell everybody you’ve been to California… the one that’s just north of Great Yarmouth that is. Named after the California Gold Rush. Yes, really!

Now it's time to plan your diary...

Maritime Festival

Most of the activities above can be done year-round but to enjoy our final selection you’ll need to plan your diary. Keep abreast of what’s happening with Visit Norfolk What’s On.

83 Every September step back in time at Sheringham when the town and North Norfolk Railway host a superb 1940s weekend. Expect to see a lot of costume play!

84 The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is one of a kind. Auditions for the November/December show start in the West End in February. Trust us, it’s brilliant.

85 The North Norfolk Music Festival takes place each August. It’s all over the place. In north Norfolk.

86 Holkham Country Fair takes place every two years in July and it’s always brilliant.

87 The Wells-next-the-Sea Pirate Festival has the town sticking a parrot on its shoulder and playing a soundtrack consisting mostly of Aha.

88 In July Great Yarmouth hosts the Wheels Festival on the Golden Mile.

89 In late Summer, Great Yarmouth hosts the world-class Festival of Bowls, the largest outdoor open bowling event in the country. In January, Potters Resort nearby hosts the World Indoor Bowls Competition.

Crab and Lobster Festival

90 The Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament in August is the Britain’s largest open tennis competition and has been running for almost 100 years.

91 Through the summer there are midweek fireworks at Great Yarmouth.

92 Every Summer at Blakeney Quay there is an Aquatic Sports Day which includes sandcastle building, crab catching, tug of war and the infamous ‘Greasy Pole’ challenge!

93 If you’re here in September, enjoy the superb Out There Festival at Great Yarmouth, a weekend of mostly free public performances with a circus theme.

94 Also in September in Great Yarmouth is the Maritime Festival, two days of family-friendly fun on South Quay.

95 If you’re here in May, don’t miss the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival!

96 Carnival Weeks are a big thing at our seaside in July and August. Find them in Cromer, Sheringham and Wells-next-the-Sea.

97 Gorleston has its Clifftop Festival every July. You’ll love to stroll along the ‘Prom, Prom, Prom! Where the brass bands play, "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!’

98 The Hunstanton Kite Festival in August is one of the most colourful events in Norfolk.

99 If you’re feeling very brave there are Boxing Day Swims at Cromer and Hunstanton. Brrrr!

100 In late summer enjoy the county’s largest foodie gathering, the North Norfolk Food Festival, at Holkham Hall.

What’s on in Norfolk

And there are lots more fab beaches too...

Caister-on-Sea beach

Caister-on-Sea

Bacton beach

Bacton

Californa beach

California

Sheringham beach

Sheringham

Gorleston beach

Gorleston

Hemsby beach

Hemsby

Happisburgh

Happisburgh

Sea Palling beach

Sea Palling

Scratby beach

Scratby

Holme-next-the-Sea beach

Holme-next-the-Sea

Rockpool rummage by Matthew Roberts

West Runton

Waxham beach

Waxham

Weybourne beach

Weybourne

Watch why our coast is so wonderful

Norfolk Coast

Where to see the seals

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