Our favourite beaches

A guide to the beautiful beaches of Norfolk

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.