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A guide to Norfolk

A guide to Norfolk's seaside towns and villages

Julie Smith 31 March 2021

The Norfolk Coast is peppered with an assortment of towns and villages, from traditional British seaside resorts that are perfect for a family holiday to pretty villages where you can relax and unwind on a romantic getaway. With 90 miles of coastline to explore, there are secret coves, beautiful beaches, spectacular sand dunes and peaceful nature reserves waiting to be found. We have compiled some of our favourite places to visit in this guide, all perfect for a short break or holiday to Norfolk. For even more information about the Norfolk Coast, read our ultimate guide to this wonderful part of the world.


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🏖️ Hunstanton

🏖️ Old Hunstanton

🏖️ Cromer

🏖️ Great Yarmouth

🏖️ Holkham

🏖️ Wells-next-the-sea

🏖️ Sheringham

🏖️ Mundesley


Hunstanton

Norfolk seaside towns - Hunstanton

With a west-facing beach that’s one of the best places in Norfolk to watch the sunset, and famously stripy cliffs providing shelter from the wind, it’s easy to see why Hunstanton has been given the name ‘Sunny Hunny’. Hunstanton is a Norfolk seaside town that dates back to Victorian times, and the beautiful 19th-century heritage gardens are still a major focal point for this popular resort.

  • A long promenade is filled with rock shops, amusement arcades, fairground rides and ice cream vendors to keep children happy.
  • A number of different water sports are available on the beach at Hunstanton and seal safaris sail regularly from the promenade.
  • One of Hunstanton’s most popular attractions is SEA LIFE Hunstanton, where visitors can get up close to a range of underwater creatures in different zones such as Penguin Beach and Tropical Reef. 

Where to stay: Liberty House | Sleeps: 10 guests plus 2 dogs



Old Hunstanton

Norfolk seaside towns - Old Hunstanton

Just along the coast from Hunstanton is the smaller and much more peaceful village of Old Hunstanton, with its own quiet stretch of sandy beach and a lovely duck pond at its centre. Old Hunstanton marks the start of the North Norfolk Coast Path, which you can follow all the way to Sea Palling, and is just a short walk from the main resort of Hunstanton so you can enjoy the best of both worlds during a visit.

  • There’s lots of history to uncover in Old Hunstanton, including a lighthouse that sits atop the striped cliffs and the ruins of St Edmund’s Chapel that date back to 1272.
  • The sandy beach at Old Hunstanton is dog-friendly all year round, with rock pools for children and a selection of beach huts available for hire.
  • Le Strange Old Barns is an antiques and craft centre based in Old Hunstanton. The village is also home to a couple of good pubs and The Neptune restaurant, which offers fine dining food as part of a tasting menu.

Where to stay: Sleep Gull | Sleeps: 6 guests 

Cromer

Norfolk seaside towns - Cromer

Located close to the centre of the North Norfolk coastline, Cromer is a classic British seaside resort and the only place in the country where you can still watch a traditional end-of-the-pier variety show during the peak summer season. Cromer also has its own Great Barrier Reef, which at 20 miles long is the longest chalk bed in the world and makes a great spot for snorkelling.

  • Going crabbing from Cromer Pier is a popular activity for families, with equipment available from the Victorian pier’s on-site gift shop. 
  • Cromer crabs can be sampled at an array of pubs, cafes and restaurants throughout this bustling town, including the wonderful Crab Pot Cafe.
  • Learn more about Cromer’s maritime history at the free to visit RNLI Lifeboat Station and the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.

Where to stay: Skipper’s Rest | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs



Great Yarmouth

Norfolk seaside towns - Great Yarmouth

With the famous Pleasure Beach amusement park and a lovely stretch of sandy beach, Great Yarmouth is a popular choice for families looking to visit the Norfolk Coast. The seaside town is actually part of the Broads National Park, and the gentle River Yare runs through the Norfolk Broads to Great Yarmouth and out to the North Sea.

  • Great Yarmouth’s historical attractions include the National Trust’s Elizabethan House Museum, the remains of a Roman fort, and the Tide and Tide Museum which explores the town’s maritime past.
  • Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth features landscaped gardens and a wonderful miniature world that has its own shopping street, beach huts and observation wheel. 
  • You’ll find a huge assortment of classic fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours, and stores selling beach essentials such as buckets and spades for a classic seaside experience.

Where to stay: Tidal Sands | Sleeps: 6 guests 



Holkham

Norfolk seaside towns - Holkham

The pristine white sands of Holkham beach are surrounded by dunes and pinewoods that give a truly magical quality to this part of the Norfolk Coast. It’s all part of the Holkham Nature Reserve, with mudflats and saltmarshes that are home to a number of rare species of plants and wildlife. 

  • You can walk through the pinewoods next to Holkham Beach to the neighbouring 25,000-acre Holkham Hall estate, an 18th century stately home surrounded by rolling parkland.
  • Guided walks by the Holkham Hall estate are available throughout the year to help you discover the wonderful wildlife of the Holkham Nature Reserve.
  • A semi-circular basin behind the shoreline at Holkham beach forms a spectacular natural lagoon at high tide. 

Where to stay: Flagstaff Garden House | Sleeps 2 guests



Wells-next-the-Sea

Norfolk seaside towns - Wells next the sea

Just along from Holkham you’ll find Wells-next-the-Sea, a Norfolk seaside town that is best known for its bustling fishing port and its collection of brightly coloured beach huts. At the heart of Wells-next-the-Sea is the vibrant harbour - one of the best ways to experience it is on board the Wells Ferry, which tours the harbour daily from March to October.

  • Crabbing (or gillying as it’s known locally) is a popular summer activity at Wells-next-the-Sea and you’ll see families lined up along the quay trying to catch them with a line and bucket.
  • Wells Salt Marsh is a protected nature reserve that stretches across to nearby Blakeney where you can see the famous Norfolk grey seals. Plants such as sea-blight, samphire and sea-lavender bring pink and purple hues to the marshes during the summer months.
  • The dog-friendly beach at Wells is a popular choice for walking four-legged friends - call in at the Beach Cafe for refreshments, and look out for the spectacular Lifeboat Horse sculpture which becomes fully visible at low tide.

Where to stay: Jolly Sailor Cottage



Sheringham

Norfolk seaside towns - Sheringham

You’ll find colourful beach huts lining the sand-and-shingle beach at Sheringham, a traditional Norfolk seaside town that was developed around a once-thriving fishing village. You can still watch wooden fishing boats bring in their catch of the day as you wander along the seafront promenade that’s filled with traditional cottages and cafes. 

  • Enjoy a scenic walk through the town and up to the cliffs above to enjoy wonderful views out to sea.
  • Explore around 1,000 acres of woodland parkland and landscaped gardens at the National Trust’s Sheringham Park. Climb to the top of a gazebo tower for 360-degree views, and take a wildlife walk to spot deer, birds and butterflies.
  • Catch a period steam train from Sheringham to Holt on the heritage North Norfolk Railway. Travelling in one of the beautifully restored carriages is a wonderful way to enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery.

Where to stay: The Garden Flat | Sleeps: 2 guests



Mundesley

Norfolk seaside towns - Mundesley

Located around 9 miles from the bustling resort of Cromer is the pretty village of Mundesley, home to one of the finest stretches of beach along the Norfolk Coast. Look out over the sea from cliff-top gardens, take a walk along a traditional promenade with brightly painted beach huts and browse a selection of independent shops. Crazy golf on the seafront is lots of fun for the whole family, and there is also a nine-hole course in the town for more serious golfers. 

  • Mundesley is home to the world’s smallest maritime museum, located in an original coastguard hut from the 1920s.
  • The dog-friendly beach at Mundesley is a popular choice with families as the gently sloping shore here is perfect for paddling.
  • There are two fish and chip shops and a selection of pubs and cafes in Mundesley, including The Ship Inn whose beer garden includes a play area for children.  

Where to stay: Cobbles | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs



Plan your getaway to the Norfolk Coast

Norfolk seaside towns

This is just a small selection of the wonderful places to visit along the Norfolk coastline. If you have been inspired to explore the sandy beaches, historic houses, Victorian promenades and nature reserves in resorts such as Hunstanton, Cromer and Wells-next-the-Sea, browse our full range of Norfolk Coast cottages to find your perfect base. You’ll find dog-friendly cottages that are just right for getting away with four-legged friends, family properties for a traditional British seaside holiday, and beachfront boltholes for a romantic couples retreat. 



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.

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