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Beach etiquette when you visit Norfolk UK

Okay, so you’ve come to enjoy our wonderful beaches and coastline. Brilliant, top choice! Well done! But here’s the thing… there are rules, starting with always be kind and courteous (because we’re like that in Norfolk and can’t wait to welcome you). Here’s our Visit Norfolk beach etiquette guide to ensure you have a great time…

Clear up after yourself – what comes with you should go back with you. And this goes double if you have a dog. You don’t want to give all dog owners a bad name, do you? And staying with dogs, please make sure they only go where they’re allowed.

Dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk

Skinny dipping – no, unless you’re a very small toddler, in which case it’s permissible. And no naked or topless (for the ladies) sunbathing. Do you want to put people off their cockles and vinegar?

Knotted hanky on head and rolled up trouser legs – it’s a look. It’s not our look, but hey, we live in a democracy. You do realise you look like a character from Monty Python though?

Kite menace – remember that it’s a public beach, not your sole terrain. Be careful where your kite lands, and while you’re having fun don’t absent-mindedly step back on to someone’s picnic or sandcastle.

Frisbee straffing – see above. Don’t try decapitating seagulls either. They have as much right to be there as you do. Oh, and don’t feed the seagulls either… just encourages them to attack innocent people eating their unwrapped fish and chips.

Don’t pretend to drown – it’s not big, and it’s not clever. And if you do it again the lifeguard might think you’re crying wolf.

Don’t stand at the water’s edge and scream’ ‘SHAAAAARK!’ – likewise, not big or clever.

Dig holes – don’t worry, you won’t get to Australia. If you’re digging like PoWs in The Great Escape, make sure you fill in afterwards – otherwise, for you Tommy, ze beach fun iz over! If you bury dad in sand, remember to dig him up again. If you bury dad in sand, head first is not advisable.

In all seriousness, best not to dig as if you’re trying to get to Australia, as it could be dangerous, but by all means let somebody lay down and cover their body in sand up to their chest, as in our photograph above.

Personal space etiquette – if the beach is empty save for one young couple who are enjoying a bit of ‘us’ time, don’t pitch up your windbreak and deckchairs on top of them. Grounds for beach dismissal.

Blakeney Point Seals

Wetsuit – it’s said that sharks often mistake humans in wetsuits for seals but of those two marine mammals, only the latter can be found off Norfolk’s shores. Although with global warming and the Gulf Stream moving closer this way…

Oh, and on that subject, please respect the seals – don’t invade their space. They’re naturally inquisitive but don’t like to be muscled in on. Trying to touch is a very big no-no.

Beach books – nobody’s going to judge you if you’re reading chick lit or Jeffrey Archer. Best not 50 Shades of Grey or the Kama Sutra though.

Behave appropriately with children around – if you hear the phrase, ‘You two, get a room’, then your public display of affection might be excessive.

Sandcastle Gt Yarmouth beach

Sandcastle imperialism – it’s one thing to be the architect while your children are the labourers, but you don’t have to build a scale model of Norwich Castle, okay? It’s a bit of fun on the beach, not Grand Designs.

Towel etiquette – don’t shake up wind, particularly if others are having a picnic. And if you do, don’t say, ‘That’s why they call them sandwiches! Ha ha!’

Portable radios, ghettoblasters, music from your iPhone etc – fine, with headphones. Just because you like blasting out Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ doesn’t mean everyone shares your taste in cheesy, bland 90s pop.

Short break lobsters – wear sun screen. Norfolk has the best overall climate in the country, so beware. You’ll only regret it when you get in the shower later. Ouch!

Daniel Craig 007 James Bond

Budgie smugglers – remember Daniel Craig coming out of the sea in that James Bond film? Was he wearing budgie smugglers? And anyway, do you have Daniel Craig’s body?

Man in a sarong – so wrong.

Drinking in the sun – it is definitely better to drink in the sun, rather than to drink in the sun. But if you must, don’t get too loud. The loudest voices invariably have the least interesting things to say. Also, no drinking from glass. Glass and beaches don’t mix.

Picnic snobbery – ooooh look, they’ve bought a hamper from Fortnum and Mason and an ice bucket for the Bolly, aren’t they so la-de-da? A picnic is best simple – pork pies, sausage rolls, crisps, that kind of thing.

Hunstanton beach cricket multi-generation family

Beach cricket – yes, of course everyone wants to hit a six, but not for it to land on a slumbering granny with a heart condition.

Relieving oneself in the sea – if you’re caught short then why wouldn’t you? To do this successfully ie without drawing attention to yourself, navel level is the minimum acceptable depth. Tugging aside a swimsuit risks detection (and traumatised fish) so hands-free is a must. And make sure you’re away from anyone else. An absolute no-no is relieving yourself in the sea from the shore. Very bad form. An alternative is to find the public loo or get a drink in a café and use their facilities. In fact, in hindsight, those are definitely better options.

Help us combat coastal erosion – leave the sand behind, please.

Okay, you’re ready to go! Have a great time!

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