Sunset on Heacham Beach by Matthew Woodcock

Norfolk Coastline

Coastal walks, natural beauty, beaches, wildlife, birdwatching and more

Much of it designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the West Norfolk coastline is a mass of sand dunes, reed beds and clear horizons, crying out to be explored on foot or by bicycle. Old Hunstanton, Brancaster and Holkham, in particular, have lovely beaches, rimmed by acres of pale sand and perfect for a variety of activities from kite flying to cricket.

Boat trips are available from several points along the coast, and bicycles can be hired locally to follow the newly formed Norfolk Coast Cycleway, which runs from King's Lynn to Cromer. This route follows the quiet lanes through the heart of the countryside, enabling more visitors to explore the area safely by bicycle.

Coastal nature reserves and bird sanctuaries provide a haven for less common species. The RSPB reserve at Titchwell has both fresh and salt water lagoons and extensive reed beds, with avocets and other waders among the many species, while Snettisham Coastal Park and nearby RSPB reserve provide an ideal environment for many migratory species. Pensthorpe Bird Reserve, home of Springwatch, is a delight for all nature lovers.  For a closer view of the birds and seals on Scolt Head, boat trips are available from the nearby coastal villages.

The Norfolk Coast Footpath stretches the length on the coastline from Hunstanton to Cromer, the Norfolk Coast Cycleway follows tranquil roads just inland on the coast and offer excellent view of the coastline.

There are many popular coastal resorts to visit in Norfolk. Hunstanton is Victorian coastal holiday resort just sixteen miles from King's Lynn and approx twelve miles from Sandringham. Hunstanton has one of the best beaches in Norfolk, a substantial Sealife Centre (great whatever the weather), a beachfront fairground and a selection of shops. This Norfolk town was built specifically as a Victorian seaside resort and boasts a variety of accommodation including guesthouses, holiday cottages, self-catering accommodation, bed & breakfasts and caravan parks.

There are a vast number of Norfolk villages neighbouring Hunstanton and many prominent Norfolk attractions are within a short drive. Internationally renowned, Norfolk Lavender Ltd is at the gateway to Heacham, where 100 acres of lavender are cultivated each year.

More than 150,000 visitors a year are welcomed to the Visitor Centre at Caley Mill which houses the National Collection of Lavenders as well as rose and herb gardens. Enjoying a cream tea and the beautiful grounds is a great way to spend a lovely afternoon. If you wish to venture further afield just cross the A149 into the coastal village of Heacham where you will find a selection of shops, pubs, restaurants and a cafe plus the beautiful Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Another coastal village just next door to Heacham is Snettisham, home to a unique deer safari park and working farm. Park Farm is a great day out for the family and the farm's orchard is a joy for picnics. The spire of St Mary's Church in Snettisham is very distinctive and the stained glass windows are an attractive sight should you stop and take a look to and from Park Farm.

Snettisham's summer programme includes the reknowned "SnetFest" so keep a look out for the dates on the Calendar of Events. Another highlight of Snettisham's summer is the Norton Light Railway which is run privately over several weekends on the school summer holidays (including August Bank Holiday) to raise funds for numerous charities. Well worth a visit, especially if you have children.

The RSPB reserve at Snettisham is also very popular with bird watchers. Ringstead, another Norfolk village and heart of the famous Peddars Way, is also near Hunstanton. A real attraction for the serious walker or rambler.

There are many local village open garden events on in most of the local villages during the summer. However, Ringstead's Open Gardens is a particularly enjoyable event because the layout of the village allows easy travelling from one garden to another. Browsing for antiques and treasures is another way to pass the time in an enjoyable and leisurely way in Ringstead's hidden antique shops.  Gardeners will find also find the local garden centre an enormous pleasure and the staff offer a wealth of information and advice.



Norfolk County Sign Pensthorpe Bird Reserve, Norfolk by Trevor Brown Basking Seals off Hunstanton, Norfolk by Stella Gooch St Edmunds Arch, Hunstanton by Viv Walker Hunstanton Cliffs by Stuart Aylmer

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