Some of Norfolk's Best Beaches
Published date: June 2019
Summer, spring, autumn or winter, a visit to Norfolk wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of the county’s stunning beaches. Whether you are looking for a beach to soak up the sun, build sandcastles, fly a kite, wear the kids out, take a paddle, walk the dog or enjoy a romantic stroll, there are plenty of choices and terrains in Norfolk. From vast sandy stretches to rock pools and dunes, breath in the fresh sea air and enjoy Norfolk’s unspoilt coastline.
When the tide is out, there is plenty of sandy beach at Sheringham, however when the tide is in the beach is just pebbles, so it’s worth checking the tide times before you head here if you want guaranteed sand. This north Norfolk beach has a great variety of attractions including a long promenade, cafés, tea rooms, restaurants, museums, lifeboat station, shops and golf course all within easy reach of the beach. As the tide goes out at Sheringham you are left with rock pools and lovely hard sand, perfect for making sandcastles. The rock pools are home to crabs and other crustaceans and many an hour can be spent searching for these elusive sea creatures.
The quintessential Victorian seaside town of Cromer is a popular holiday destination on the north Norfolk coast. Favoured by families, Cromer’s beach is certainly one of the reasons so many people choose to holiday here. With vast stretches of sandy beaches (when the tide is out), iconic pier with its Pavilion Theatre, excellent fish and chips, many independent cafés and restaurants, promenade, amusements, lifeboat station and museum, water sports, lifeguard patrolled areas, stunning cliff tops walks and an array of shops nearby, Cromer beach is the ideal place to spend hours or even days, especially when the sun is shining. Although there is plenty to do on and around Cromer’s beach, the area has managed to retain an unspoilt and uncommercialised feel and old-fashioned seaside resort charm.
Overstrand beach is a much quieter seaside destination than its neighbour Cromer and is backed by steep cliffs and is popular with walkers. There is little in the way of facilities and attractions, it’s a place to come and relax and enjoy the scenery, rather than be entertained. When the tide is out at Overstrand there is lots of lovely flat sand, perfect for paddling, building sandcastles and flying kites. However, when the tide is in the beach can completely disappear, leaving just a promenade, so check the tide times before heading here. At the top of the cliffs there is a nice café that overlooks the coastline, carpark, ice cream van (seasonal) and toilets. The walk down to the beach via a slope is very steep so please take this into consideration when visiting. The village has a lovely pub, shop and a hotel serving food all day.
Discover a wide, clean sandy beach that is backed by pine woods at Wells-next-the-Sea. Park in the beach car park, where you will find a nice café and toilets but if you have parked in the town, there is a cute little miniature railway that runs from the town to save you walking the whole way, operating in the summer. Once you have got to the beach you will find many colourful beach huts and a lifeguard on duty during the summer months. The Run is particularly fun to splash around in at low tide but be mindful that the tide comes in quickly and it is easy to get caught out.
Mundesley has a long stretch of sandy beach and visitors can easily escape the summer crowds if they walk just a short distance from the main promenade. It has a traditional appeal, with good facilities up on the cliffs, including a number of shops, cafés, crazy golf, maritime museum and pub. It’s a good idea to stock up with food and drink before heading down the steep slopes or steps to the beach and there is ample parking in Mundesley, that is close to the beach.
Great Yarmouth Beach
Find miles of beautiful sandy beaches at Greater Yarmouth from those that are heavily populated during the summer months to others that are significantly quieter. With donkey rides, sand dunes, seaside amusements, deck chair hire and bouncy castles on the stretch that runs parallel to the Golden Mile, you don’t have to walk far in either direction to lose the crowds and enjoy a quieter beach experience. The soft, clean and sandy beaches at Great Yarmouth are perfect for lazing the days away during the summer, building sandcastles and enjoying a paddle. There are many facilities and attractions close by, including crazy golf, trampolines, amusements and two piers, Britannia and Wellington Pier. In the summer months visitors can take a trip to see the seals at Scroby Sands, with boats leaving from the shoreline between the two piers. The town with its market and many shops is close to the beach, as is the Hippodrome Circus, Sealife Centre and Pleasure Beach funfair.
Situated on the east coast of Norfolk, Gorleston beach stretches for three miles and is close to Great Yarmouth and often gets overlooked, with holiday makers tending to flock to its lively neighbouring beach. However, Gorleston beach is a beautiful sandy beach, with good facilities and a lot more space. Car parking is free and Gorleston beach to the south is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months. At the top of the beach there is a nice paddling pool and boating pond, promenade and places to buy ice creams, fish and chips and refreshments. Gorleston beach is a hidden gem and worth a visit.
This unspoilt and quiet sandy beach is perfect for escaping the crowds and the place to visit if you aren’t bothered about all the typical seaside amusements and attractions. There are no facilities here, but it’s pretty, sandy and idyllic and during the winter months it’s probably one of the best places in Norfolk to watch the seals.
The main beach at Hunstanton has all the attractions and facilities that you would expect from a popular seaside destination including fairground rides, a vast range of food outlets, donkey rides, amphibious boat trips to see the seals, promenade, large expanse of sand when the tide is out, crazy golf, Sea Life Centre, and a good range of shops nearby. The Norfolk Coast Path starts or finishes at Hunstanton, depending on which way you walk it, and there are a variety of car parks within easy reach of the beach.
Winterton beach is an unspoilt area of Norfolk and is popular with families and dog walkers and can be enjoyed whether the tide is in or out. There is plenty of soft sand backed by dunes and it has an uncrowded feel and visitors can spread out without being on top of one another. There is ample parking nearby and visitors need not worry about rushing early to the beach in order to secure a spot- there is plenty to go around. Winterton beach has a lovely café that is open all year round, serving a great selection of hot and cold food and drink.
Sea Palling Beach
This is a very popular beach with families and has a vast expanse of soft white sand so never really feels overcrowded, even at the height of summer. There are amusements, cafés and amenities just before you get to the beach but not on a big scale. It doesn’t feel touristy, which is probably why it is popular, it’s halfway between no amenities and complete tranquillity and the likes of Great Yarmouth and all its hustle and bustle. There is plenty of parking nearby and then just a short walk to the beach up a slope. The sea at Sea Palling is popular with swimmers as it is relatively calm here and during the summer months part of the beach is manned by lifeguards.