The Norfolk Coast stretching from The Wash in the far west to seaside favourite Great Yarmouth in the far east contains some of Britain’s best beaches and coastal wildlife sites. It was here on the North Norfolk Heritage Coast around the Burnhams that Admiral Lord Nelson learnt to sail. The coastline caters for all, featuring a good sprinkling of family friendly seaside resorts alongside RSPB nature reserves, world class coastal golf links and wildlife boat watching trips to hotspots like offshore barrier island Scolt Head, a world famous site for saltmarshes.
Heritage Coast & Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Birdwatchers, coastal walkers and nature lovers flock to this special coastline in Britain. Great wildernesses are not always mountainous – the saltmarshes of the North Norfolk Coast are widely regarded as the UK’s last real lowland wilderness. Much of the Norfolk Coast, excluding more developed spots like the coastal stretch from Sheringham to Cromer, forms part of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with the finest marshland coast situated between Holme next the Sea and Weybourne.
This is a shifting shoreline mix of marshland, sand dunes, shingle, mudflats and soft sea cliffs, and it has a unique character all its own, with numerous sites of Special Scientific Interest and meccas for breeding and migrating sea birds. Coastal hinterland dotted with heathland and wooded pine also features, and the area is easy to access and explore with the Norfolk Coast Path running all along the coast from Hunstanton to Cromer. The scenic A149 coast road is one of the most beautiful and peaceful coastal drives in the country – or leave the car behind and hop aboard the award-winning Coasthopper bus service.
Things to do & see
Seaside resorts like Hunstanton, Sheringham, Cromer and Great Yarmouth have long attracted holiday makers with their beautiful sandy beaches, vintage piers and at Sheringham the famous North Norfolk Steam Railway. Sailing fans head to the Brancaster and Burnhams area with its sheltered creeks and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast features numerous nature reserves including Blakeney National Nature Reserve, a 3 mile long spit and popular breeding site for sea birds and common and grey seals!
Centrally situated on the North Norfolk Coast sits the great sweeping Holkham Bay, a Best British beach and popular star of film and TV. The beach is part of the wider Holkham Estate and accessed via a footpath through pine woodland. Great seafood centres also feature along the Norfolk coast like Wells-next-the-Sea with its pretty harbour. Classic heritage seaside resorts like Victorian Cromer with its wonderful pier and Sheringham with its popular steam railway are packed with vintage charm. These resorts on the eastern edge of the Norfolk coast have beach bays flanked by soft cliffs.
Between Cromer and Great Yarmouth you will find peaceful seaside villages like Mundesley with award-winning sandy beaches and colourful beach huts. Great Yarmouth is where to find the best of family fun on the Norfolk Coast with its many piers, award-winning beaches, theme parks and seaside amusements. Discover too Great Yarmouth’s fascinating maritime heritage in museums and heritage sites on the quayside along the River Yare.
By road the North Norfolk coast is accessible from the north and south via the A1, then the A47 across the Fens towards King’s Lynn, at which point you can join the scenic A149 coast road to explore the area. Airports including Cambridge, East Midlands and closest airport Norwich are all within easy driving distance.
Mainline rail links end at Norwich and King’s Lynn, although you can pick up the pretty Bittern Line from Norwich to Sheringham. Public transport along the North Norfolk Coast is available via the award-winning Coasthopper bus service with informal hop on/ hop off service. Find out more about public transport and historic railways in the area on the Norfolk Coast AONB website.
Where to stay
One of the largest collections of character coastal cottages, chalets and lodges in the UK are available along the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. Accommodation here is as stunning as the coastal landscape. Choose a beach retreat for two close to the coast path or opt for a character Victorian fisherman’s cottage in one of the many seaside villages. Many cottages are pet friendly – this is a great area for walking holidays with dogs, and you’ll find spacious modern holiday homes around Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth, ideal for families.
Charming Georgian guest houses, old Victorian Station House B&Bs and numerous bed and breakfast award-winners are amongst the selection of accommodation choices and you will find a great selection of classic seaside hotels in popular Norfolk Coast resorts.