The 5 best Norfolk beaches to visit in your motorhome or caravan
Beach-lovers are spoiled for choice in Norfolk. It boasts miles of unspoilt coastline, with beautiful beaches and wildlife havens, as well as birdwatching, walking and cycling.
On top of that is a selection of charming seaside resorts, ranging from quaint villages like Wells-next-the-Sea, through bigger coastal towns like Cromer and Sheringham to the bright lights of Great Yarmouth.
The salt marshes of the North Norfolk coastline, which stretch two-thirds of the way along this strip, are criss-crossed by a maze of coastal creeks and alternate with bars of shingle strand and pristine fine sand beaches. Each beach along the north coast from Hunstanton to Sheringham has a different character with one to match the needs of everyone.
Further south, Great Yarmouth is set on a spit of land that is sandwiched between the North Sea and the River Yare. It is every bit a traditional seaside resort but is close to the famous Norfolk Broads too.
At the coast seafood is aplenty, and you can wash it down with some locally-brewed Norfolk beer - the county has more microbreweries than anywhere else in the UK!
Things to do in Norfolk
North Norfolk Railway, Sheringham Station, Station Approach, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8RA
The glorious North Norfolk Railway runs between Holt and Sheringham and The North Norfolk Railway’s Poppy Line from Sheringham to Holt, with its three beautifully restored century-old stations, has been lovingly recreated and maintained by enthusiastic volunteers over the last 45 years and is a must-do when you’re in this part of the world. Call 01263 820800 or visit nnrailway.co.uk
Cromer Pier, Promenade, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9HE
Cromer Pier is the place to go for crab catching. Buy a bucket and line and spend a lazy afternoon crabbing! Local shops, including the pier gift shop, do a roaring trade in selling all the gear you’ll need. The 112-year-old pier is also home to the last end-of-pier show in Europe.
Sealife Centre, Great Yarmouth
Get up close and personal with crocodiles and sharks without getting your feet wet. Sealife Centre features more than 50 displays and 1,500 aquatic creatures including tropical sharks, reef fish, octopus, rays and sea horses. Call 01493 330631or visit visitsealife.com
Top 5 beaches in Norfolk
Despite being on the east coast of England, Hunstanton actually faces west and as a result enjoys lots of sunshine and some dramatic sunsets. Known locally as Sunny Hunny, it is a traditional family resort and the large sandy south beach has pony rides, ice cream kiosks and seafood stalls.
It boasts a long promenade with amusements and a fairground as well as a Sealife Centre and you can take a trip out to sea on one of the Wash Monster vessels that leave from the beach. Dogs are also welcome in certain areas of the beach.
The resort itself was purpose-built in the 1840s, and the beach at the original village of Old Hunstanton, just along the coast, is known for its famous striped cliffs.
How to find Hunstanton beach
From Kings Lynn: Take the A149 out of town and follow signs to Cromer for four miles until you reach the roundabout at the Knights Hill Hotel. Take the second exit towards Hunstanton and stay on the A149, passing Sandringham and Heacham until you reach Hunstanton. There are several car parks in town, with the South Prom (PE36 5BQ) being nearest to the beach.
Where to eat near Hunstanton beach
The Golden Lion Hotel, The Green, Hunstanton, Norfolk PE36 6BQ
Perched at the top of the central Green, just a short walk from the beach, the Golden Lion is the oldest building in New Hunstanton. In summer you can sit outside in the lovely gardens and enjoy panoramic sea views with your lunch. Call 01485 532688 or visit coastandcountryhotels.com
Stunning Holkham beach comprises four miles of white-gold sand backed by pine woods. When the tide’s out, it’s a long old walk to the sea – the dunes and woods here are lovely, though. You can recreate Gwyneth Paltrow’s walk along the sand in Shakespeare In Love, which was filmed here.
Also a nature reserve, you’ll find a maze of creeks, miles of dunes, green pastures and marshes.The beach has ample parking but is short on tourist amenities, so it’s worth packing a picnic if you’re planning on making a day of it.
Nearby is Holkham Hall and Estate, an 18th century country house situated in a deer park, and home to about 800 fallow deer.
How to find Holkham beach
The beach is two miles west of Wells-next-the-Sea on the main A149, within easy reach of Norwich on the A1067, King’s Lynn on the A148 and London and Cambridge from the M11 and A10. Access is via Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham village, just off the A149, opposite The Victoria Inn. Charges apply at the car park (NR23 1RH).
Where to eat near Holkham beach
The Victoria Inn, Holkham
This rambling country house inn is at the inland end of the driveway to fabulous Holkham beach. Pub grub and barbecues outside in summer plus an excellent restaurant, despite its rather posh image, this lovely old inn welcomes all-comers.
With around two miles of unspoilt golden sand, Brancaster Beach is a great place for a day of building sandcastles, paddling in the sea or just relaxing and soaking up the sun. The wide open beach is also renowned for kite flying and kite karting.
The kiosk opposite the car park sells all your seaside essentials, from buckets and spades to sun hats and beach shoes. It also sells hot and cold drinks, ice creams and takeaway food, like burgers, hot dogs and chips.
The beach is dog-friendly all year round but there is a dog-free zone in the summer season. The access road and the surrounding salt marshes are occasionally affected by tidal flooding, making the beach inaccessible by car.
How to find Brancaster beach
Drive to Brancaster village on the main A149 then turn onto Broad Lane near the Ship Inn pub. Follow the road to the car park (PE31 8AX) where you can park all day for £4.
Where to eat near Brancaster beach
The Ship Hotel, Main Road, Brancaster, Norfolk PE31 8AP
This lovely gastropub is a 10-minute walk from the beach and being so close to the sea, you’ll not be surprised to find a fantastic array of fresh fish and seafood dishes here. But that’s not all – the menu also includes the likes of Korean spiced crispy pheasant and roasted cauliflower curry as well as a great selection of gins. Call 01485 210333 or visit shiphotelnorfolk.co.uk
When the tide is in, the shingle and pebbles at Sheringham Beach are great to walk along. But it’s at low tide that this lovely beach really comes into its own.
When the tide goes out, it reveals miles of firm sand that is perfect for building castles and playing beach games. Even on the hottest summer day you’ll never feel that it’s overcrowded.
Sheringham itself is an old-fashioned seaside resort filled with restaurants, cafes and pubs, as well as quirky gift shops and a busy Saturday market, all with the added ingredient of salty sea air. Do watch out for the swooping seagulls as you enjoy your fish and chips on the seafront, though!
Beach huts and chalets can be hired throughout the season and there’s a designated dog-free zone from May to September. For more family seaside fun further along the coast, Cromer Pier is a prime location for crab catching and for a day out.
How to find Sheringham beach
To get to Sheringham from Norwich, follow the A140 towards Cromer, then join the A148 and follow the signs. From King’s Lynn, take the A149 out of town until you reach the roundabout at the Knights Hill Hotel then take the A148. Park at the Chequers car park in the centre of town for the beach (NR26 8BQ).
Where to eat near Sheringham beach
The Lobster Inn, High Street, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8JP
This cosy and friendly pub is just a two-minute walk from the promenade, and offers up good value, tasty food and a selection of real ales. It’s also dog-friendly so perfect for Fido to have a snooze if he’s just tired himself out on the beach!
Photo: Greater Yarmouth Tourism/David Street
For a traditional bucket-and-spade seaside break, Great Yarmouth takes some beating as the regulars who flock here year after year prove only too well - so get here early on a sunny summers day!
The town has a superb and large sandy central beach where you can soak in the sun and let the kids play to their heart’s content. There are two piers to enjoy, Britannia (which is a Grade II listed building) and Wellington and both are worth a look at.
Great Yarmouth’s seafront is known as the Golden Mile and has arcades, crazy golf, fairground rides and numerous other attractions. The town has been a recognised seaside resort since 1760 and is well versed in looking after its many visitors.
How to find Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth is easy to reach by road from all parts of the UK. From London and the southeast you can take tthe M11, A11, A47 and A14, while the A47 and A14 get you there from the midlands and the north. There’s on-street parking for the beach as well as the large seafront car park (NR30 1ED).
Where to eat in Great Yarmouth
Joyland American Diner, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR30 2EH
An American-themed diner close to the beach and Great Yarmouth’s many seafront attractions. The menu features all sorts of breakfasts, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, etc but if you have a sweet-tooth don’t leave without trying one of the amazing sundaes – even if you have to share it! Call 01493 854062 or visit joyland.org.uk/american-diner
Looking for more UK beaches to visit on your motorhome, caravan or campervan holidays? You can check out our guide to the top 6 beaches in Cornwall here. And you can find the perfect campsite for your Norfolk holiday using our Campsite Finder.
This feature is brought to you written in association with Bailey, the Bristol-based motorhome and caravan manufacturer. Find out more about Bailey — and their range of motorhomes and caravans — on their website, or join them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.