Hunstanton, fondly known as ‘Hunston’ by local residents, is a classic English seaside resort and unique on the Norfolk coast as this is the only Norfolk seaside resort overlooking The Wash as opposed to the North Sea. A popular seaside resort since the Victorian era, Hunstanton was actually purpose built as a resort by local landowner Henry Styleman Le Strange. History information boards can be found near the Oasis Leisure Centre on South Promenade featuring photography of the spectacular bathing pool and fountain built in 1928 which once stood on the site of today’s popular Oasis Leisure Centre. Pick up leaflet guides and find out more in the tourist information opposite the Princess Theatre.
Hunstanton’s seaside resort hub sits adjacent to the long South and North Promenades with seaside attractions in this area including Adventure golf, the indoor Oasis Sports & Leisure Centre, Searles Sea Tours, seaside amusement arcades and cafes and the indoor aquarium – Sea Life Sanctuary. Watersports on The Wash are popular and you will find Hunstanton Water Sports for kitesurfing, windsurfing and kayaking equipment hire and lessons on central North Promenade near Esplanade Gardens.
Book Searles Sea Tours from their hut on South Promenade. Searles offer a selection of unique guided sea tours including the Seal Island Tour exploring the shallow tidal sandbanks around The Wash which are one of Britain’s most popular locations for breeding colonies of Common Seals.
The Princess Theatre in Hunstanton overlooks the central Green and is one of the most popular theatres on the Norfolk coast. Seating 400 plus and built with the distinctive Norfolk Carrstone, The Princess Theatre began life as The Capitol Cinema and first opened in 1932. The cinema doubled up as a live show venue in the 1930s. In the early 1980s it was renovated and reopened in 1981 as The Princess Theatre, named in honour of Princess Diana’s marriage in the same year.
Today The Princess Theatre offers a year round magical mix of seaside comedy shows, film screenings, music concerts, musical shows and a popular annual traditional pantomime. Book theatre show tickets at The Princess Theatre in person at the onsite Box Office or online via the theatre’s website.
Hunstanton Beaches & Sea Cliffs
Hunstanton is famous for its distinctive striped sea cliffs, Blue Flag sandy beach and dramatic sunsets. The main sandy beach sits north of the central resort area near Old Hunstanton, the Cliff Top car park and the St Edmund’s Chapel ruins. A mini Land Train runs from Searles Leisure Resort at South Beach to the lighthouse stopping en-route at the central Green and other locations.
The all weather Oasis Sports & Leisure Centre on the seafront contains fantastic leisure pools with aqua slide, tropical paradise area, shallow toddler pool, 25 metre swimming pool plus whirlpool spa. An indoor Funcastle adventure play area for younger children and an Eco Ice Skating rink are also here.
England’s premier lavender farm Norfolk Lavender is just south of Hunstanton off the A149. West Norfolk is famous for its lavender and the colours are amazing when the lavender blooms across June, July and August annually. This period is when the lavender is harvested and taken to Caley Mill for the oil to be extracted by steam distillation.
Norfolk Lavender is open all year round and offers guided tours around the the Fragrant Gardens, Meadow Gardens and Lavender farm (coach parties welcome). The Lavender Shop is essential visiting for a wide range of lavender gifts and fragrances (also online). Local crafts are on sale in the shop and a Fragrant Plant Centre, Rare Breeds Animal Centre, children’s play area and Walsingham Farms Shop are also onsite.
Snettisham Park with unique deer safari also sits just south of Hunstanton off the A149. Onsite activities include a tractor and trailer ride with commentary around the deer park and there is plenty of opportunity to get involved in the working farm. Children will love the farm animals and can get involved in farm animal feeding sessions. A tearoom and farm shop are also onsite.
The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk rural retreat of the Royal family, is located just south of Hunstanton clearly signposed off the A149. Sandringham House sits within 60 acres of beautiful gardens and was built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The ground floor of Sandringham House is open to the public – check the official website for opening times. Edward VII first opened what are widely considered to be the finest of all the Royal residence gardens here at Sandringham in 1908. A museum, gift shop, visitor centre and restaurants all feature onsite.