An almost continuous band of beach ribbons along the coast of Norfolk. Whether it’s soft, golden sand or shingle shorelines. The shallow North Sea is ideal for paddling and the slow creep of the incoming tide creates lots of family fun as it fills the moats of shell-decorated sandcastles.
North Norfolk has some of the finest beaches and no other district in the country has more Blue Flag beaches than north Norfolk! The nearest beach to Chapel Cottage is the beautiful soft golden sands of Wells-next-the-Sea. This is a family favourite and difficult to beat. Just along the coast, and walking distance from Wells beach is the equally stunning sands and dunes of Holkham, another firm favourite with families, wildlife lovers. Further, yet still within easy travelling distance are Cley, Sheringham, Salthouse, Burnham Overy Staithe, Weybourne & Brancaster. Blakeney, whilst not having a beach is equally stunning and well worth a visit.
Wells-next-the-Sea (4 miles)
A jolly, bucket-and-spade beach, a mile from the lively town, which merges into the beach at Holkham to the west. Brightly coloured beach huts, backed by pine woods and with soft golden sand make this a family favourite. It has a dog-free zone at the eastern end. You can walk to Holkham beach by the two mile pine walk or along the sand. This is one of our favourite walks & forms part of the Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way. At low tide, children will love splashing around in The Run, which you can walk a mile or so out to its end. Head back when the hooter signals the incoming tide. Please check the tide times.
Holkham (5 miles)
Head to nature-rich Holkham for white sands, dunes and pinewoods, the setting for many films. The vast sands are ideal for building sandcastles and family days out. Behind the shoreline lies a basin, which, at high tides, fills to form a spectacular shallow lagoon. Holkham Beach is also part of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna. When the tide is out, it’s a long walk to the sea, but still superb for sandcastle making & beach combing.
Blakeney (6 miles)
Blakeney, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is an ideal base to explore the north Norfolk Coast. At the heart is Blakeney National Nature Reserve with wide open spaces and uninterrupted views of the coastline, ideal for walking and spotting local wildlife including seals and migratory birds.
The village itself is full of quaint shops & restaurants. It overlooks the salt marshes and out toward Blakeney Point. There is no beach to speak of, although the sand is often exposed at low tide at the quay, popular with natural lovers and those looking for a good spot to go Gilly Crabbing. There are some lovely walks toward Cley and Morston from here with views out across the marshes.
Blakeney Point has some of the best unspoilt sandy beaches in England, but most people visiting are not there for the golden sands, but the resident wildlife which is no less impressive.
Wells beach is situated a mile from Wells Quay, connected by a beautiful raised path giving fabulous views across the channel & marshes & out toward Holkham Nature reserve. There is a car-park directly behind the beach next to the Wells Beach Cafe.
It is worth noting that due to the popularity of the beach this fills up early in peak season. There is further pay & display parking in Freeman Street.
There is also the Wells Harbour Railway which is great fun & runs all day during the summer. The walk from town is a beautiful one along side the Quay with views of the Lifeboat House.
More details can be found here.
Burnham Overy Staithe (8 miles)
Just off the A149 coast road, the small town & harbour are popular with locals & visitors alike. There is a good sized carpark, but it fills up quickly.
There is the opportunity to hire kayaks and take a trip to Scolt Head Island during the summer months. There are also ferries which operate in in high season. To access the beach you have to walk a mile and a half from the car park. The beach is therefore predominantly frequented by adults and quiet. The beach is vast and breathtaking. There are no kiosks, no cafes & no toilets. Just sand, dunes and big skies. There are some lovely walks here allowing you to take in this stunning landscape.
Cley-next-the-Sea (8 miles)
This beach presents a long, romantic stretch of smooth stones and shingle, backed by a large area of grazing marshlands and reedbeds. Come here to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful walk along the water’s edge with a pair of binoculars to hand. Cley Marshes, directly behind the beach, is the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s longest-standing and best known nature reserve, created in the 1920s. The area of shingly shore and salty pools attracts vast numbers of migrating birds, including bitterns and marsh harriers.
Weybourne (12 miles)
There are large pebbles on the beach and the coastline to the west is flat with views extending to Blakeney Point, to the east cliffs begin to rise which extends all the way to Happisburgh.
In the village there is a pub and hotel together with a corner shop. There are miles of footpaths and bridleways in the surrounding area of Kelling, Kelling Heath and Muckleburgh Hill and areas of outstanding natural beauty with magnificent views.
Brancaster (13 miles)
The tides are strong along this stretch of coast but the sand is perfect for picnics and sandcastle-building, and the water recedes to leave shallow lagoons where young children can safely paddle and play. Rich in wildlife, you can spot avocets, oystercatchers, terns and sometimes seals lolling on the shore. Low tide reveals the 1940s shipwreck of the SS Vina, which lies half-submerged in the sand. With the tidal salt marshes of nearby Scolt Head and the fantastically flat sands ideal for kite surfing (in designated areas), Brancaster Beach has something for everyone.
West & East Runton (17 miles)
East Runton with its Blue Flag sandy beach is backed by sloping sandstone cliffs and countryside beyond.
At neighbouring West Runton beach, the kids will love to explore rockpools and find fossils for it was at West Runton that a mammoth skeleton was discovered.
The North Norfolk coast is internationally important for its wildlife and habitats, protected under national and international environmental law. The Wash and North Norfolk Marine Partnership (WNNMP) and Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) have produced a Wild Recreation Guide.
We hope that you ENJOY this wonderful coastline, RESPECT other people, and help PROTECT the wildlife that makes the area so special.