Enjoy the beaches of North Norfolk - probably Norfolk's
best kept secret
Old Hunstanton beach (5 minute walk)
More relaxing and quieter than Hunstanton beach, and the start of the coastal path. The beach is beautiful and sandy with dunes to shelter in when an on or off shore wind blowing. Kite surfing and wind surfing lessons available from Hunstanton Watersports or just sit back and relax.
If you follow the Coastal Path it will take you to Holme and then Thornham where you can catch the Coastal Hopper bus back if your legs too tired! Beach Huts can be rented from the Tea Room opposite the Lifeboat station.
Hunstanton beach (2 minute drive)
Hunstanton beach has the unusual distinction of being an east coast resort that faces west and as a result the beaches get more than their fair share of sun with spectacular sunsets. There are two sides to Hunstanton, or Sunny Hunny as it's affectionately known. There is the elegant old Victorian town with its Esplanade Gardens and rather sedate air of days-gone-by, when people flocked to take the water 'for medicinal purposes'. Then there is the lively, buzzing family resort, with donuts and candy floss, ice cream and donkey rides and a whole funfair of amusements to keep you entertained! Hunstanton boasts famous stripy cliffs and a fabulous beach, which has a Good Beach Award for safety and cleanliness. You can walk from one resort to the other, so you can enjoy a morning of fun and activity at the crazy golf or Sea Life Sanctuary and then spend a lazy afternoon lying on the beach beneath the rambling sand dunes. If exhilarating outdoor sports are more your kind of thing, the sea provides a vast playground for sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing, with Hunstanton offering excellent wind conditions for this popular sport.
Brancaster beach and harbour (10 minute drive)
Brancaster beach is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and made up of saltmarsh, intertidal mud and sandflats, miles of sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see, bordered by sand dunes and all just a few yards from the car park. On bank holidays it can get crowded close to the golf club entrance however a short walk down the beach in either direction and life should be much more peaceful. Turn left and a 10 minute walk brings you to where the seals, just inland, bask on the marsh and where you can dangle bits of bacon to catch crabs in the creeks. Turn right and you will have swathes of deserted sand for sunbathing, cricket or sandcastles. At low tide a ship wreck on Titchwell Beach is visible with its barnacle covered bilges and superstructure used for wartime target practise. Be mindful that the tide turns quickly and loiterers can find themselves wading back through the in rushing sea.
Holme-next-the-Sea (5 minute drive)
Holme-next-the-Sea is a favourite with locals who love the Norfolk coast. This beach is a quiet beach, away from the hustle and bustle of some of the busier beaches.
There's a smooth, flat sandy beach, rolling sand dunes and a village pub. Nearby you'll find a wildfowl reserve and a nudist beach: the place has something for everyone! Be wary of the Norfolk coastline though. There is much shifting sand and under the water the sea floor is constantly shifting.
If you want a much quieter day then take the turning down a sandy track on the right hand side just before the beach. You will have to pay for a daily membership to the Wildlife Trust but you can then drive for over a mile down to the Wildlife Centre and walk through the reserve forest to access the beach much further down - the golden sands will be practically deserted.
Holkham bay (15 minute drive)
Holkham has one of the most beautiful beaches on the North Norfolk Coast and indeed in the British Isles. Holkham Bay is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve in Norfolk, with windswept sand dunes, a maze of creeks, shady pinewoods, green pastures and marshes. Perfect for those seeking a bit of solitude on many days the beach seems to go on literally forever. Little wonder that Holkham Bay was the setting for many major TV serials and the golden sandy beach, was trodden by actress Gwyneth Paltrow in the closing scenes of Miramax's Shakespeare in Love. Across the coast road is Holkham Hall, a Palladian style mansion and home of the Coke family. The hall is set in large parkland, full of nature trails and marked walks. The popular Victoria pub and tea room can be found on the main road, between the bay and the hall.
Wells-next-the-Sea (20 minute drive)
The beach at Wells-next-the-sea is one of the hidden gems of the Norfolk coast which links to Holkham Bay. Driving along the road to the car park there are few clues of the beautiful views that lie beyond. From the far side of the car park, take one of the footpaths over a tree-covered ridge to find one of the most secluded and self-contained beaches on the Norfolk coast. The character of the beach is entirely dependent on the tide so it's worthwhile checking the times. At low tide you see just acres of golden sandy beach as the water retreats so far; at high tide it laps just a few yards from the line of the brightly painted beach huts that nestle under the trees. Great for an evening picnic but don't forget that they lock the car park at 10pm.