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Norfolk dunes

Norfolk's top 10 secret beaches

Norfolk has some Premier League beaches, including Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Hunstanton and Cromer. Oh yes, and the beach voted by readers of BBC Countryfile magazine as the best in Britain at Holkham, right next to Wells-next-the-Sea with its 200 higgledy-piggledy multi-coloured beach huts.

But there are others where you can escape the crowds and you might just feel that you’re Robinson Crusoe on your own desert island.

So here’s out top secret beaches in Norfolk. But ssssh… don’t tell anyone!

Scolt Head Island

Scolt Head beach

Now, this really IS a desert island! Only accessible at low tide and a lot of mud (unless you have a boat) Scolt Head National Nature Reserve has a beach of pure white sand backed by marram-tufted dunes. Walk to it from Burnham Overy Staithe. More people have seen Brigadoon than this beach!

Dirty weekend in Norfolk

Burnham Overy Staithe

Burnham Overy Staithe

If you don’t cross the mud for Scolt, stay on the coast path and you’ll come across a huge expanse of unspoilt sand that sits just to the north of Holkham. If you park on the quay be warned – many people have come back from the long walk to find their car submerged by the rising tide!

Welly walks in Norfolk

Holme-next-the-Sea

Holme-next-the-Sea beach

Situated in a National Nature Reserve between Titchwell and Old Hunstanton this is where Seahenge, a 4000 year old Bronze Age timber circle, was discovered in 1998. It was removed for conservation reasons (see a replica in King’s Lynn Museum) so few people now come to this delightful stretch of sand.

Seahenge - Wonder of Norfolk

Overstrand

Overstrand beach

Backed by vertiginous cliffs, few people know there’s a great beach below and yet it’s just a mile away from the hustle and bustle of Cromer. In fact, there’s a cliff-top path from Cromer you can take if you fancy stretching your legs too.

Happisburgh

Happisburgh

Not so much for its beach but because of what it stands for. This is Deep History Coast, where the earliest evidence of man in the UK has been found, a family of four people from 850,000 years ago. And, would you believe it, scientists think they were rockpooling. This was in the days when this was the last stretch of land connected to the Continent.

Deep History Coast

Beaches in Norfolk...

Eccles

Eccles beach

The name Eccles comes from the Latin ecclesia meaning church so it’s likely this was an early British Christian site. There’s no longer a church here, just a small community of pre-second world war bungalows called the Bush Estate (an early holiday retreat), but it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many people.

Sea Palling

Sea Palling

The laying of stone reefs off the shore to protect from coastal erosion has meant Sea Palling has developed into a unique bay-like beach, with shallow water and few waves, making it perfect for toddlers.

Waxham

Waxham beach

Horsey with its seals and Winterton with its fab café attract more visitors, but nearby Waxham, like them backed by grassy dunes, has its fans too including the Daily Telegraph, which voted it one of Britain’s 40 best beaches. There’s a nice café in a converted 16th century barn too.

Scratby

Scraby beach

Situated between the busier beaches of Hemsby and Caister, Scratby is an altogether quieter proposition, ideal for fishing and swimming. Dogs are allowed year-round too, so it’s a great place to stretch your legs with your four-legged pals.

California

Californa beach

Yes, you can go away on holiday and tell your friends you’ve been to California. Just not the one on the Pacific Coast of the United States. So if you think you might see Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson bounding through the surf to help save a struggling swimmer, think again. That said, it’s got lovely fine sand… perfect for building sand castles.

More images of our beaches and coast

Beach huts at Wells-next-the-Sea

Stunning beaches

Miles of unspoilt sand to play and walk on such Wells-next-the-Sea, voted the best beach in Britain

Great Yarmouth seafront

Traditional seaside fun

Norfolk has many family-friendly seaside towns, not least Gt Yarmouth with its Golden Mile

Blakeney Point

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

North Norfolk's coast is an AONB, punctuated by a wealth of nature reserves for wildlife watching

Burnham Overy Staithe

Tidal creeks and saltmarshes

Norfolk has picturesque harbours from which fishermen leave to catch stunningly fresh seafood and where shellfish are grown

Cromer Pier

Seaside entertainment

Norfolk's seaside towns provide lots of family-friendly entertainment, including Europe's last end-of-pier theatre at Cromer

Coast path at Mundesley

Norfolk's coastal path

It is now possible to walk the entire coastline of Norfolk - taking in beaches, cliffs, shingle spits, tidal creeks and saltmarshes

Wildlife on the Wash

Brilliant birdwatching

Norfolk's coast has the best birdwatching in the UK, such as the winter migration on The Wash

Windsurfing at Hunstanton

Get out on the water

Sailing is popular in north Norfolk, take a boat to see the seals, or go windsurfing - this is at Hunstanton

Other coast-related stories...

Watch why our coast is so wonderful

Norfolk Coast

Where to see the seals

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