Three fabulous areas and inspiring ideas on what to see and do whilst you're there, this guide to the North Norfolk Coast explores the coast and countryside between Cromer, the Norfolk Broads and Norwich; the market town of Holt and the bird reserves and saltmarshes around Blakeney; and the stunning beaches and marshland landscape further west around Holkham and Brancaster. From cool cafes, farm shops and heritage treasures, to scenic trails, wildlife hotspots and country activities, there's something everyone will enjoy.
Best things to see and do while you're there: For a fun family day out visit the traditional seaside town of Cromer - stroll along the promenade and the impressive pier, enjoy an ice cream on the beach or perhaps learn how to surf. For glorious estate walks surrounding stately piles, seek out these National Trust treasures - Blickling Hall, Felbrigg Hall and Sheringham Park. The Norfolk Broads beckons for boating, canoeing and wildlife watching, and climb Horsey Windpump for stunning watery views. Nearby Horsey Beach is the best place to watch seals and their pups in later autumn. For some retail therapy head to historic Norwich for independent shops and the famous foodie market but don't miss visiting the Cathedral, a beautiful Norman building with the largest monastic cloisters in England.
Gunton Deer Park
Sunset at Cromer
Street in Norwich
Woodforde's Brewery, Woodbastwick
Seal on Blakeney Point
Sailing on Norfolk Broads
Where to stay: Expect the unexpected at The Gunton Arms: a chic hunting lodge-style inn set within a stunning 1,000-acre country estate. This is a very special place. Deer roam freely past the inn day and night and there are gorgeous uninterrupted views of open parkland. Inside, bar and dining rooms exude a baronial feel with warm red hues, antique furnishings, blazing log fires and wooden floors, yet the overall vibe is relaxed and informal, and there are soothing views from every window. Cosy, country-house style rooms are split between the inn and converted stable buildings. Cooking is simple, gutsy and ingredient-led. View inn >
You'll find sleepy Wiveton signposted 1 mile off the A149 (coast road) between Sheringham and Wells-next-the-Sea. The village is also easily reached from the A148 Fakenham road just east of Holt.
Best things to see and do while you're there: Art lovers are spoilt for choice - browse the galleries in pretty Holt, Pinkfoot Galley in Cley-next-the-Sea, Birdscapes (with coffe and cake in the Art Café next door) in Glandford, and Flint Gallery close to Blakeney Quay. The coastal marshes are rich in wildlife, best seen at Cley Nature Reserve, by taking a boat from Morston Quay to Blakeney Point to see seals and terns, or by walking the glorious coast path between Cley-next-the-Sea and Blakeney, or exploring Stiffkey Marshes. Kids will love the North Norfolk Steam Railway and enjoy the simple pleasures of crabbing on Blakeney Quay. Foodies should seek out Wiveton Hall Farm Café (delicious dishes and great marsh views), Blakeney Deli and both Picnic Fayre and Cley Smokehouse in Cley-next-the-Sea for local goodies to take home, and Byfords in Holt is a great place watch the world go by over afternoon tea.
Beach walking at Salthouse
Wiveton Hall Cafe
Crabbing on the Quay
North Norfolk Railway
Byfords Deli & Cafe, Holt
Marshland views from Blakeney
Cley Windmill, Cley-next-the-Sea
Picnic Fayre, Cley-next-the-Sea
Where to stay: Sleepy Wiveton stands just a mile inland from bustling Blakeney and the glorious coastal salt marshes and the stylishly spruced up Wiveton Bell overlooks the peaceful village green and church. Expect a chic interior, with earthy Farrow & Ball hues, stripped beams, chunky tables and oak-planked floors. Contemporary oil paintings by local artists (for sale) line the walls of the cosy bar and the airy conservatory dining room. Add innovative food and a clutch of gorgeous rooms upstairs and in adjacent cottages, then the Bell becomes the perfect base from which to explore the stunning beaches and marshes on the doorstep. View inn >
Brancaster Staithe is located on the A149 (coast road) between Wells-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton and just 5 miles from the market town of Burnham Market.
Best things to see and do while you're there: Church towers, sand dunes, marshes and pinewoods feature on this exposed and sandy coastline. Beyond the scenic saltmarshes and sand dunes are vast breathtaking beaches - the best being Brancaster, Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea and the secluded and very peaceful beach at Gun Hill, reached via a 45-minute walk from Burnham Overy Staithe. It's also a land of great estates and houses - Holkham Hall, Houghton Hall, Sandringham - renowned nature reserves at Titchwell, Holme-next-the-Sea and Holkham for viewing wintering waders and geese, and beautiful villages like Burnham Market for independent shops and galleries. The saltmarshes and fishing villages are best explored on foot, so walk sections of the coast path and return on the Coasthopper bus, a regular service between King's Lynn and Cromer. Foodies should look out for samphire and seafood stalls along the coast road, or pop into the Fish Shed at Brancaster, or Gurney's in Burnham Market, and Walsingham Farms Shop and Thornham Deli are also chock-full of local produce.
Saltmarshes, Brancaster Staithe
Houghton Hall, Houghton
Burnham Overy Staithe
Norfolk Lavender, Heacham
Beach at Heacham
Gurney's Fish Shop, Burnham Market
Brancaster Staithe Harbour
Birds at Thornham Marshes
Sunset at Brancaster Staithe
Where to stay: Escape to the magical seaside spot of Brancaster Staithe for some rest and recuperation along the gorgeous North Norfolk coastline. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the White Horse is a slick seaside inn with stunning saltmarsh views, an innovative fish-focused menu and sea-breezy modern bedrooms - book one of cosy annexe rooms for direct access to the coast path. Eat in the sunset-soaked conservatory restaurant and catch the sunset across the salt marshes from the sun deck. A superb coastal bolthole from which to explore the wild, bird-rich marshes and endless sandy beaches that surround it. View inn >
Photo credit: Unsplash