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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

10 Breathtaking Beaches in Norfolk You Don't Want to Miss

Updated: May 18, 2023

Norfolk, located on the eastern coast of England, boasts a beautiful coastline with some of the most picturesque beaches in the UK (in fact the world, with Norfolk being up there in The Times 76 best holiday destinations for 2023 along with stunning far-flung locations like Costa Rica and The Maldives). Whether you're a sunbather, a swimmer, a nature lover, or a water sports enthusiast, Norfolk has a beach for you. In this guide, we'll take you through the top 10 beaches in Norfolk and what you can do in and around them.

Holkham Beach - Holkham Beach is located within the Holkham National Nature Reserve, and it's considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. With miles of unspoiled golden sand and clear blue waters, Holkham Beach is perfect for a peaceful walk or a swim. The beach has won several awards, and you can also take a horseback ride along the beach, which is an unforgettable experience.

Burnham Overy Staithe Beach - If you’re a more adventurous walker and fancy discovering a less crowded part just down the road from Holkham Beach, head to Burnham Overy Staithe Quayside’s free Car Park (PE31 8FF). The walk out to the beach is a fairly long one (just over 2km) but those who venture out there will be more than rewarded. The walk out itself is spectacular (at high tide you can even paddle board or kayak out from the quay instead of walking) and as you climb the final dune and your eyes meet the view of the uncrowded pure white sand beach and stunning lagoons, you won’t regret the walk for one second. Of all the beaches in Norfolk, this is our absolute favourite by far (just please don’t all come up at once 😂)

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach - Wells-next-the-Sea Beach is a popular family beach, known for its colourful beach huts, which make for perfect photo opportunities. At low tide, you can walk for miles along the beach, or simply relax in the sun. You can also take a trip on the Wells Harbour Railway, a small train that runs from the town to the beach. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, I'd suggest walking to Morston from Wells-next-the-Sea (along the North Norfolk Coast Path - about 11km) after your beach adventure and booking onto a boat tour to go and see the seals at Blakeney Point.

Cromer Beach - Cromer Beach is a shingle and sand beach located in the charming seaside town of Cromer. Cromer Beach is known for its stunning views, particularly of the town's Victorian pier. The pier is a great spot for fishing or crabbing, and there are plenty of shops and cafes nearby to grab a bite to eat. There's also some amazing surf shops which do lessons if you're keen to brave the North Sea waves! Cromer Beach is so good, Banksy even chose one of the walls of the sea defences (past the very last beach hut) as a place to create some of his famous graffiti art. Make sure you take a walk down and get a picture before the choppy winter seas make the fabulous artwork disappear forever.

Happisburgh Beach - Pronounced "Haze-bruh”, not "Hap-is-burg" as we called it for many months when we first moved to Norfolk (much to the locals amusement 😂). Happisburgh is even in the Domesday book. With coastal erosion hitting the cliffs of Happisburgh hard, the landscape is ever changing and it's a fascinating walk, exploring all of the debris which has fallen from the cliffs, sadly including whole segments of houses. There is a large carpark near the Happisburgh Lighthouse but we prefer to drive a little further along the coast and park at Cart Gap Beach Car Park (NR12 0QL) and then walk left along the beach to Happisburgh, taking in the beauty of the lighthouse and the changing coastline from (what we think) is a much better (and quieter) angle.

Hunstanton Beach - Hunstanton Beach is a family-friendly beach with golden sand and a lively promenade. There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Hunstanton Beach, including crazy golf, a fairground, and a sea life sanctuary. If you’re looking for a more remote and quieter beach but are in the Hunstanton area, head to Old Hunstanton Beach instead. More of a “locals” beach, with rolling dunes, miles of golden sand and the opportunity to watch kitesurfer a plenty, this beach is a hidden gem just down the road from the busier and more touristy Hunstanton Beach.

Sheringham Beach - Sheringham Beach is a pebble beach with stunning views of the surrounding cliffs. The beach is a popular spot for fishing and sailing. The town of Sheringham also has plenty of shops and cafes to explore. A great spot for spending a whole day with the family with so many things to see and do, not just on the beach but in the local town. If you do visit, be sure to check out Winibees Bakery for the best homemade bakes in the whole of Norfolk 😋

Winterton Beach - If you're a nature lover, this is the beach for you. During seal season, thousands of seals line the beach to breed. It's such a spectacular sight that a coupe of years ago it was even featured in a Guardian Newspaper article about the best car-free breaks in the UK. Safe to say the coastal carpark was rammed the weekend after! Now the beach is back to it's normal serenity, no matter the time of year (and in or out of seal season), the beauty of the rolling dunes and golden sands with take your breath away.

Sea Palling Beach - Sea Palling Beach is a wide sandy beach with a series of reefs located just offshore. If you're interested in exploring the surrounding area, there's a network of footpaths that lead to the nearby villages of Waxham and Horsey. On weekends, there's a community sauna in a converted horse box which you can book into in advance. On the last Sunday of every month, there's also a group yoga, sea dip and sauna session with proceeds going to a local mental health charity.

Waxham Beach - Just down the road from Sea Palling, Waxham beach is slightly more undiscovered (another one of our favourites) and has a spectacular entrance to the beach up a sand dune. If you take a sunrise walk on Waxham beach during Seal season, you might even be lucky enough to stumble across some tired seals, stretching out and relaxing in the safety of the beaches groins and rocks. If you are a nature lover and visiting Norfolk between November and January, Horsey Gap is also another absolute must-see. Every year, hundreds of Seals line the beach, and walking out over the sand dunes to see them all it's one of the most magical experiences I've ever had.

Norfolk has some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, with something to offer everyone. From peaceful walks on unspoiled sands to adrenaline-pumping water sports, there's something for all beach-goers to enjoy. So, whether you're planning a family day out or a romantic weekend away, be sure to add these 10 breathtaking beaches to your itinerary.


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