I have many friends who are from Norfolk, grew up in Norfolk, or still have family in Norfolk, and it’s become one of those places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. With over 90 miles of coastline including unspoilt beaches, countryside, national parks, and several quaint villages in between, it’s a wonder I’ve not been before.
I don’t know where to start, but to truly enjoy Norfolk you must be a fan of the great outdoors! You’ll be spoilt for choice, from where to walk the dog, which bike trails to follow, which hiking paths to discover, and which villages to wander through for a well deserved Sunday roast or afternoon treat!
Read on below to see what we got up to over our long weekend in Norfolk, or for more information, check out Norfolk’s official visitor website here.
We arrived in Norfolk around lunchtime, so once we dropped off our bags at the B&B, we ventured out for a nosey around town. Any true British person will confirm the first and most important thing to do at the seaside, is to eat fish and chips! We stopped by French’s Fish Shop, a local restaurant that was heaving with long queues at any time we passed. Watch out for the jumbo size portions! I only ordered a kid’s half cod and half chips, and even that was a very generous size portion that I couldn’t finish myself – lucky for me I had a hungry boyfriend to scarper down my leftovers.
Wells itself isn’t that big and can easily be explored on foot. Once you’ve wandered past the quays, along the coastal path towards to beach, head back to the small alleyways. Here’s you’ll find lots of shops including a pet store, garden store, and market shop selling a random mix of fresh fruit and veg, along with an array of home trinkets. In that particular store, we found a fun drinks dispenser and stand that we had been looking to buy!
With our bellies full and the smell of salt in the air, we plodded off to investigate the beach. There was an elevated grass verge and a cemented pedestrian path that ran for three quarters of a mile up until the beach. Just before you accessed the beach there was a large but busy car park for visitors. There was also a detached public toilet block, which was free of charge. A lovely and welcoming Beach Café was also located before the entrance to the beach. Outside the café there was a seating area, a clothing shop, and an extremely popular ice cream van (note – cash only!). The highlight of the café was their dog drinking bar and dog washing section. I absolutely loved this and haven’t seen this by another beach before. Lots of sandy doggies being washed down before their ride home!
The beach itself was huge. And I mean HUGE! I’ve seen a good few beaches during my travels, yet none could compare to the sheer size of Wells Beach, which went on for miles along the coastline and went out for what also felt like miles! Lined with pretty pastel coloured beach huts, which are both privately owned and rented out, the first section of the beach was extremely busy.
Walk along the beach for another 5 – 10 minutes, and once you are further away from the crowds you’ll be guaranteed to find a spot to yourselves. Dog walkers might want to note the sign upon entry stating dogs are not permitted in the first section of the beach – however I’m not sure how many people actually paid attention to this notice as there were dogs everywhere!
Visit the longest 10¼” narrow gauge steam railway in the world and see the unique Garratt locomotives ‘Norfolk Hero’ and ‘Norfolk Heroine’ which were especially built for this line. Running between Wells and Walsingham, the railway line operates 7 days a week from March until Oct. Dogs can travel free of charge and driving experiences are also available if pre-booked.
The water edge of the quay was lined with kids out crab fishing. This wasn’t something we tried, but it was fun to see so many kids with their persistent little faces trying to catch something. Special crab fishing lines and buckets can be purchased from small huts along the quay. Top spots for crabbing are Blakeney quay, Wells-next-the-Sea quay, and Cromer.
Make a pit stop at Pop In, the most popular ice cream shop along the busy quay. Expect long lines and expect one towering ice cream of your choice. I’d suggest the salted caramel or the raspberry ripple. YUM!
Head out from Blakeney Harbour to see the seals at Blakeney Point. We arranged our trip with Temples Seal Trips where tickets cost us £12 per adult. The crew were lovely and gave us lots of information as our small boat sailed up and down Blakeney Point for everyone to get a good look at the seals as they lay out on the rocks and swam in the ocean. We had 3 additional furry friends on our boat, lovely labs from the same family, spanning three generations. If Temples are fully booked, then try either Beans Boats or Bishop’s Boats who were two other big companies operating similar trips.
Seriously, this is a real thing. Each day we headed out and saw a group of people randomly walking along the street walking a bunch of alpaca’s on a lead like it was totally normal. Click here for more info. From looking at their official website I believe I can identify Eduardo, Pepe, Costello, and possibly Gonzalo & Pedro in my photo below! Prices start from £28 for one hour, for a group of 3 walkers.
A good friend suggested we visit Picnic Fayre in Cley-Next-the Sea for one of their amazing picnic baskets and take it to the beach. Sadly it was drizzling with rain on our last day, so we didn’t get to do this, but if you are lucky with the weather then why not try this!
Although we didn’t get to visit Wiveton Hall, this place has everything under one roof! A restaurant and café, farmers shop, strawberry picking (when in season), gardens, art exhibitions, as well as holiday cottages and bell tents available to rent, there is something for everyone here! Located in Cley-Next-The-Sea, I will definitely be including a visit to Wiveton Hall next time I am in Norfolk. Mainly for the strawberry picking though – I simply love that!!
I’ve written a second post on Norfolk that goes into a little more detail about the cycle trail that we followed. Check out this link here to read more.
Here are some the places we visited:
The Victoria Inn (Holkahm)
Without a doubt the most popular place to be in Holkham is The Victoria Inn. A lovely hotel and gastro pub, this place is always busy so book ahead!
The Hero (Burnham Overy)
A bright restaurant with bifolds that open into the beer garden. A varied yet interesting menu offered up some seriously tasty dishes. This was a great find that we accidently stumbled upon. Hotel rooms also available here. According to my hungry boyfriend the steak was exceptional!
The Golden Fleece (Wells)
Located along the quays in Wells, this busy pub was heaving at any time we seemed to pass. Another one that needs to be booked in advance.
Humble Pie Deli (Burnham Market)
Word of mouth suggests the chocolate wicked cake is a must to order!
Thornham Deli (Thornham)
Another reliable deli worth visiting. Either a quick coffee or a spot of lunch, make sure you stop by if you are passing through Thornham
The Dabbling Duck (Great Massingham)
On our way back to London we passed through Great Massingham and stopped for a late lunch at the Dabbling Duck. Reservations are required but we were lucky to be squeezed in. Expect generous size portions of all your favorite pub grubs, including a special doggie menu for your four legged friends 😀
We chose to base ourselves in one of the larger villages called Wells-Next-The Sea. It was a great location with convenient access to the surrounding villages. We were a short walk from both the beach and the high street. We stayed at a wonderful B&B called Boxwood Guesthouse, owned by Caroline and Tim who were the perfect hosts. I booked us into their annexe room which was situated at the foot of their garden. The room could either be configured into a king or twin room, came with an en-suite bathroom (with both a shower and a bath tub!), a private table & chairs out front, and cost £100 per night in peak season.
We chose to drive so we could take our bikes with us and have the flexibility to do what we wanted, when we wanted. Our journey was 120 miles from North West London, that took us just under three hours. Amazingly, considering it was the Bank Holiday weekend we didn’t even encounter any traffic, so this made for a pleasant drive through a mix of A-roads and country lanes.
Norwich is the main city within Norfolk and can easily be reached by train, flight or ferry. Direct trains depart from London Liverpool Street (to Norwich) or London Kings Cross (to Kings Lynn), and take roughly 1hr 45mins. Book your train tickets in advance and you should be able to snap up a one-way standard saver tickets for as little as £10.
Norwich International Airport is just 4-miles from the city centre, with several convenient transfer links. There is even a ferry port in Harwich connecting Amsterdam & Rotterdam via Stena Line ferries!