Norfolk is THE place to be because we have so many superlatives, from being a Royal county to being a star film location. Here’s our top 12 reasons…
We’ve got the best beach in Britain
The beach at Holkham in north Norfolk has been voted the best beach in Britain! And why not – it’s simply superb, with vast expanses of unspoilt sand. The picture above is at high tide!
Nearby Wells-next-the-Sea, with its 200 multi-coloured, higgledy-piggledy beach huts, is none too shabby either.
The young Royals call it home
The Prince and Princess of Wales, formerly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have a house on the Sandringham Estate in West Norfolk with their children, meaning the first, second, third and fourth in line to the British throne all call Norfolk their home.
Hollywood likes to film here
You might remember Holkham from the closing shots of Shakespeare in Love, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Viola being shipwrecked on a ‘Virginia’ beach. Natalie Portman has been shooting there as well, for Alex Garland’s Annihilation. The Duchess with Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley was filmed in the nearby Holkham Hall – you can see the Italianate Marble Hall in our picture.
Danny Boyle’s Yesterday was filmed at Gorleston-on-Sea, Charlotte Rampling filmed in the Broads, Michelle Pfeiffer in Norwich, Kristen Stewart was Princess Diana at Hunstanton. We could go on, or you could just read our blogs here…
We’ve got things nowhere else has
Just check these out: the only Neolithic flint mine at Grime’s Graves; Pingos and Deal Rows in the Brecks; a mausoleum pyramid at Blickling Hall and Estate; the last end-of-pier theatre in the world; the only National Park that was created by man and climate change and the only one in England with a city in it; the highest point in East Anglia with views over the sea; the world’s longest chalk reef off Cromer and Sheringham. And that’s just for starters.
Broads are a magnet for celebrities
Hollywood A-listers Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis shunned the glitzy life they’re accustomed to, instead opting to bunk up on a riverboat on the Norfolk Broads before their marriage. And as for Harrison Ford, he’d rather be on a boat on the Broads with partner Calista Flockhart and their son than be seen sailing a luxury yacht around the Caribbean. Jamie Oliver’s a fan too.
Why, even the other day John Travolta was shopping in Morrisons in Fakenham, as you do.
Norfolk hosted the Radio 1 Big Weekend
Norwich was chosen to host the Radio 1 Big Weekend 2015, headlined by Taylor Swift, Muse, Foo Fighters and Florence & The Machine. And Snoop Dog enamoured himself to the local populace by sporting a Norwich City Football Club replica shirt. Okay, it was a few years ago, but still…
It might have helped that Greg James was hosting the event – his alma mater is the nearby University of East Anglia.
Deep History Coast is the new Jurassic Coast
The 16 mile stretch of coast from West Runton to Happisburgh is unique in the entire world! The 600,000-year-old mammoth skeleton found at the former is the oldest and best-preserved found in the world (and twice as big as anything found on the Jurassic Coast), the 850,000-year-old human footprints found at the latter are the oldest evidence of human footprints found outside the Great Rift Valley in Africa (which means the first tourists ever to come to Britain visited Norfolk!). That’s the Deep History Coast for you.
We are Cotswolds-by-the-Coast
You know the problem with the Cotswolds? It’s not by the sea! But north Norfolk is. Drive the A149 from Cromer to Hunstanton (otherwise known as Sunny Hunny) and you won’t see dry stone walls, but you’ll see magnificent flint homes. You’ll see our own version of the wolds – Beeston Bump at West Runton, a circular hill called a kame, step-sided mounds of sand and gravel deposited by a melting ice sheet. You’ll see boutique hotels, gastropubs and spas… just like in the Cotswolds. And Farrow & Ball love it so much they’ve just launched a new Stiffkey Blue paint. Enough said…
We’ve got UK’s oldest arts festival
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival that takes place every May is the oldest continuous arts festival in the country and still in the top five overall. Come along and take part… or just kick back and enjoy. And we’ve got plenty of other festivals too!
We have brilliant food and drink
Yes, we know every county says that, but how many have Cromer crab (meaty and flavoursome because they feed on a chalk reef… yes really!), Binham Blue cheese, wonderful Woodforde’s Wherry, magnificent malting barley, succulent samphire, awesome asparagus, Stewkey Blues and so, so much more? Trust us, a visit to Norfolk is worth it just for the food and drink alone.
Largest seal colony in England
Norfolk has fabulous wildlife throughout the year, including brilliant birdwatching and super seal spotting. Over Winter Blakeney Point in north Norfolk has been known to host over 5000 Grey seals and their pups, making it the largest colony in England. Come on, admit it, they are just SOOOO cute!
The best overall climate in the UK
We’re not the sunniest county in the climate, or the driest, but when you conflate the two we come top! And Thetford Forest, because it’s located in a bowl, has the warmest days of anywhere in the country. So we’re cool… but we’re also warm and dry!