Our favourite beaches
With a 93-mile coastline, our beaches range from mesmerising dune-flanked marvels to wild salt marshes, fossil rich cliff-backed bays to family-friendly blue-flag stretches. Here’s a shortlist of ten, from West to East, but by no means is this a definitive list, just something to whet your appetite…
Hunstanton – this two-mile sandy stretch is backed on one-side by stunning red, white and orange cliffs. Close to the shops and the popular Sea Life Centre, it occupies a rare position of being on the east coast but facing west, which makes for stunning sunsets over the sea.
Brancaster – a wide, open beach with rich deposits of shells when the tide goes out – perfect for crafting mosaics with the kids. The open nature mean it’s great for kite-flying, and games of rounders or cricket too. See if you can spot the 1940’s shipwreck of the SS Vina at low tide.
Holkham – worshipped by leading film-makers, and popular with the Royal Cavalry, the sands and sea appear to go on forever. You’re guaranteed to find a peaceful sandy spot no matter what time of year you visit, and to go home eager to return for more.
Wells-next-the-Sea – backed by candy-coloured beach huts and pine woodland, this sandy beach has been voted as the most dog-friendly in the UK. Catch the miniature train from the town, park-up by the beach or walk or cycle from Holkham. The choice is yours.
Cley-next-the-Sea – a pebble beach out over saltmarshes from the village, we adore Cley for a good dog walk, mardle (a Norfolk chat) and stone-skimming over the ocean waves. Why not stock up on some tasty provisions from Picnic Fayre deli and perch on a pebble bank to watch the shifting skies.
West Runton – this is the beach to go to for rock-pooling and fossil hunting. Mammoth skeletons and evidence of sabre tooth tigers have been discovered here. So pack a bucket, spade, net and waterproof shoes and see what you can find.
Sheringham – a traditional seaside town with a local theatre and quaint shopping street, visit when the tide is out to make the most of the blue-flag sandy stretches. If you time it wrong, hop on the steam train and by the time you return the tide will be on its way out again!
Cromer – known for its Victorian nostalgic feel, as well as picture-perfect pier, this coastal town is charming to the hilt. Watch the crab boats unload after a day at sea, try surfing with Glide Surf School or just laze on the blue-flag sandy beach and dream of fish and chips.
Mundesley – with safe swimming at low tide, and a promenade with toilets, shops and beach huts, this is a popular haunt for families. The beaches are large and sandy, and edged by the cliffs topped with lovingly-manicured gardens.
Sea Palling – locals will often refer to Sea Palling when asked to name their favourite beaches. The sea defences offer calm waters for swimming and water sports, and the beach is made-up of a fine, yellow sand – perfect for sand castles! There’s even a small arcade if you find some spare change burning a hole in your pocket.