If you’re looking for a traditional British seaside holiday with lots of things to see and do, Cromer on the Norfolk coast makes a perfect destination for a UK staycation. Its prime spot on the beautiful North Norfolk coastline means you can easily go exploring, and a wide stretch of sandy beach is just right for lazy summer days.
You’ll find a pier that’s famous for its family-friendly entertainment shows, a wonderful National-Trust-owned stately home to visit, and plenty of pubs and cafes to call in for refreshments along the way. To help you plan the perfect getaway to Norfolk, we have compiled some of the best things to do in this Norfolk seaside town.
⭐ See a show on Cromer Pier
⭐ Catch a Cromer crab
⭐ Spend the day at Cromer beach
⭐ Visit Felbrigg Hall and Gardens
⭐ Get up close to birds and animals
⭐ Walk along the Norfolk Coast Path
⭐ Head to a Cromer pub or cafe
⭐ Discover the history of Cromer
#01 See a show on Cromer Pier
One of Cromer’s best-loved attractions is a Grade II listed pleasure pier, built in 1901 when British seaside holidays first started to grow in popularity. With a prime position in the middle of the beachfront esplanade, Cromer Pier stretches out 151 metres across the sea. Enjoy wonderful views as you walk along this remarkable Victorian structure to Cromer’s famous end-of-the-pier theatre.
- Cromer Pier is one of only five seaside pleasure piers in the UK to still contain a fully working theatre, and the only one to run a full season of end-of-the-pier cabaret shows filled with spectacular musical and comedy performances.
- There is a choice of places to stop for refreshments as you stroll along Cromer Pier including the dog-friendly Pavilion Bar, which is one of the best places in Cromer to watch the sun go down, and Tides Restaurant where you can dine alfresco at a terrace on the pier.
- Pick up a souvenir of your visit at the pier’s gift shop, which sells everything from beachwear to Cromer Pier branded clothing, as well as nautical items and soft toys.
#02 Catch a Cromer crab
Cromer is also renowned for its delicious Cromer crabs which are caught in traditional pots off the Norfolk coastline. Although only crabs that have been caught by professional fishermen can be eaten, you can still try your hand at catching one for yourself before releasing it safely back to the sea.
- Crabbing can be done along the length of Cromer Pier. It's free to do and lots of fun for the family; special crabbing sets can be picked up at the Cromer Pier gift shop.
- Go snorkelling around Cromer’s Shoal Chalk Reef, which is the biggest one of its kind in Europe. The chalk is one of the things that makes Cromer Crabs so special and you can watch them swimming with other sea life around this beautiful reef.
- You can get dressed, ready-to-eat Cromer Crabs at one of the town’s fishmongers or stalls, and you’ll also find this local delicacy on the menu at an assortment of Cromer cafes and restaurants.
#03 Spend the day at Cromer beach
Cromer is blessed with a wide swathe of beach that’s perfect for children to build sandcastles on and explore the rock pools that appear at low tide. Colourful beach huts add to the traditional British seaside atmosphere of Cromer Beach, with an assortment of cafes and shops also lining the seafront promenade.
- Parking is available on the cliffs above Cromer beach, and if you don’t fancy the steep walk down, a lift can be taken to the promenade below.
- Enjoy a walk along the beach at any time of year - dogs are welcome to join you on the sand, although there are some restrictions during the peak summer months.
- Cromer beach has a lifeguard service with water sports and surfing lessons available if you fancy taking to the water.
#04 Visit Felbrigg Hall and Gardens
Just a couple of miles from Cromer beach is Felbrigg Hall and Gardens, a National Trust site that’s one of Norfolk’s most elegant country estates, with opulent rooms, gorgeous gardens and more than 500 acres of landscaped park and woodland to explore. There is an assortment of dog-friendly waymarked trails to follow around the grounds making Felbrigg Hall a great day out if you are holidaying with four-legged friends.
- One of the highlights of Felbrigg Hall is a beautiful walled garden that’s home to an 18th-century dovecot, fragrant herbs and vibrant flower borders.
- Rooms to explore at Felbrigg include The Great Hall, which features original 15th-century stained glass windows, and a cabinet room with original damask wall coverings and a dazzling array of 17th-century treasures on display.
- One of the highlights of the Felbrigg grounds is a large lake with accessible pathways which you can follow around the water, with lots of wonderful wildlife to spot along the way. Find more National Trust sites in Norfolk
#05 Get up close to birds and animals
If you fancy getting up close to a range of birds and animals during your short break or holiday to Norfolk, there are several great options in and around Cromer. Not only is the Norfolk Coast a haven for seabirds including oystercatchers, lapwings and avocets but Cromer is also home to a Brazilian-themed exotic zoo and a shire horse sanctuary.
- Amazona Zoo features a range of tropical wildlife including jaguars, pumas, parrots, flamingos and spider monkeys. It’s a fun-filled family day out with a rainforest-themed adventure area and an indoor Jungle Tumble soft play.
- Hillside rescues Shire horses and other animals, and you can visit their sprawling sanctuary during several open days throughout the year.
- The Blakeney Point Nature Reserve is just a short drive from Cromer and is home to thousands of seabirds and the largest grey seal colony in England.
#06 Walk along the Norfolk Coast Path
The Norfolk Coast Path runs all the way from Sea Palling to Hunstanton, with Cromer right in the middle of this scenic walking route. You can enjoy wonderful sea views as you make your way along the clifftop path to nearby seaside villages and tranquil nature reserves. Alternatively, follow the Weaver’s Way trail that starts at Cromer and continues into tranquil Norfolk countryside, taking you towards Blickling Estate and the Norfolk Broads.
- Take a scenic walk along the Norfolk Coast Path to Sheringham, which lies about 4 miles north of Cromer. Things to do at Sheringham include taking a trip along the Poppy Line on a traditional steam train and exploring the National Trust’s Sheringham Park.
- Head south along the Norfolk Coast Path and the first village you’ll reach is Overstrand, which is around 2 miles away from Cromer. The pretty village has a dog-friendly pub, which is a good place to stop for lunch, and one of the best sandy beaches in Norfolk.
- Follow the Weavers Way walking trail for around 3 miles and you’ll reach the dog-friendly grounds of Felbrigg Estate. You can either explore some of the waymarked trails here before heading back or carry on along Weavers Way to the picturesque rural village of Gresham, which is just over 4 miles away from Cromer.
#07 Head to a Cromer pub or cafe
When you’re ready for some refreshments, there is a good choice of pubs and eateries in Cromer. You’ll find charming dog-friendly inns, restaurants for romantic three-course dinners and casual cafes serving seaside classics such as ice cream and fish and chips.
- The King’s Head is a dog-friendly, 200-year-old pub that’s just a stone’s throw from the beach. Enjoy pub classics including a Sunday roast in the characterful bar and drinks on a pretty patio that’s a real suntrap in the summer.
- Tuck into traditional fish and chips at No. 1 Cromer, a takeaway and nautical-themed restaurant that’s located on Cromer’s seafront. Top it off with a classic 99 cone from the Ice Cromer kiosk near the beach.
- The Grove is a fine dining Cromer restaurant that holds two AA rosettes and serves seasonal local produce including fresh crab and lobster. During the summer months, The Grove operates a pop-up tipi restaurant called Sundown which serves a selection of tapas and stone-baked pizzas.
#08 Discover the history of Cromer
If you fancy delving into Cromer’s fascinating past, there are some brilliant museums and beautiful historic buildings that are dotted around the seaside town, including Cromer Church which dates back to the 15th century. Head inside the row of traditional fisherman’s cottages that house Cromer Museum to learn more about life during the 19th century, and discover the amazing work of the lifeboat crew at the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.
- A highlight of Cromer Museum is Geology Corner, which features a huge collection of fossils found along the North Norfolk coastline.
- There are lots of hands-on activities for children to try at the RNLI Henry Blogg museum along with morse code machines, light signals and lifeboat models.
- Climb up 150 steps to the top of the tower at Cromer Church for panoramic views out to sea.
Plan your Cromer getaway
If you have been inspired to visit the North Norfolk coast for a short break or holiday there are lots of lovely Cromer cottages to stay in after days spent crabbing from the pier and relaxing on the beach.
Whether you fancy a romantic break by the beach or a family-friendly seaside holiday, browse our range of Cromer holiday cottages to find your perfect base. For more coastal holiday inspiration, find out all about nearby Hunstanton and read our ultimate guide to the Norfolk coast.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.