A decibel-ometer used on Norfolk’s beaches will give you the full range – the higher end of the spectrum coming with the seaside amusements and attractions at Gt Yarmouth and Gorleston, Cromer, Sheringham and Hunstanton.
But where’s the Norfolk equivalent of the Quiet Carriage? Where can you get a bit of peace and tranquillity, the only sounds the light lapping of waves and an occasional seabird screeching? Read on…
On Norfolk’s east coast, once you’re away from the bigger towns and villages the pace of life slows very quickly and there are some delightfully remote stretches of sand.
The dunes of Winterton-on-Sea are a National Nature Reserve and a great place to hide away.
At Horsey park at the Nelson Head, Horsey Windpump or Horsey Gap and walk to the beach, where there’ll probably be as many seals as people.
Offshore sea defences at Sea Palling have created a wonderful series of shallow, sedate bays that will have you wondering if you’re still in the UK.
Just south is lovely Waxham beach, and north is Eccles-on-Sea.
Happisburgh has a nice stretch of sand, and has the added attraction of playing a significant role in Norfolk’s Deep History Coast – this is where 850,000 year old human footprints have been found, the oldest evidence of man found outside the Great Rift Valley in Africa. Yes, go to Happisburgh and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of the first tourists ever to come to the UK! You always get to see a very picturesque lighthouse!
On the north coast, between Cromer and Sheringham, you’ll find West Runton beach – there won’t be many people here and you can while away some time looking for mammoth bones – yes, really! This is where the biggest and most complete mammoth skeleton found in the world came to light after a tidal surge in 1990.
If you go to Wells-next-the-Sea and plonk yourself by the row of candy-coloured beach huts or by what’s left of the dunes (most of them were unceremoniously taken away by a huge tidal surge in December 2013) then you’re going to have company. However, time your visit for low tide and you can walk almost a mile out along The Run to where the sea has retreated. Few people go all the way, so it’s likely you’ll be on your own. Word of warning though: when the tide turns, it comes in deceptively quickly.
Holkham can get pretty busy too, but park at Burnham Overy Staithe and take the walk past the tidal creeks and you’ll find yourself at the north end of Holkham beach where it’s much quieter.
Scolt Head has probably the quietest beach in Norfolk – for the simple reason it’s on an island and you have to wade to get out. Well worth it, but please take heed off tide times!
Oh, and we may have discounted Great Yarmouth at the beginning of this blog, but actually, if you go to the north beach, close to the Venetian Waterways, you’ll find some lovely quiet marram-topped dunes and sand – perfect for finding your own little hidey-hole.
Wherever you go, we hope you find the peace and solitude you crave.