I’m a bit of a fan of Norfolk beaches…and prefer the quieter ones.
Someone on Norwich Mumbler Instagram asked what beaches there are in Norfolk that don’t have arcades and shops so they didn’t have the additional distractions for their kids – I understand this! Whilst there’s always fun to be had with arcades, sometimes you just need a quiet, beautiful beach with your family. So, here’s the Norwich Mumbler list, thanks to the very knowledgable Mumblers on Instagram!
We’ll start with the beaches closest to Norwich, move East and then work our way around the county to the West Norfolk beaches.
Winterton is a quiet beach even though it’s near Great Yarmouth. It’s a big sandy beach and is also dog friendly. The Dunes cafe sadly had to be demolished due to coastal erosion in 2020. (You can spot seals here sometimes!)
A quiet and unspoilt beach with large sand dunes. Horsey wind pump is owned by the National Trust so there is a car park (free for NT members) with toilets and a cafe. But the walk is quite far with small people unless they are in buggies/carriers. There is another car park pay and display closer to the beach but it can often get full. Horsey is also the beach where you can see Grey Seals give birth along the beach from November to January (but don’t get too close).
Waxham is off the beaten track and has lots of sand dunes. Just a bit further, Waxham Sands has a small holiday park with plenty of facilities. We have camped here as a family a few times. The facilities are quite basic, but it’s right on the beach and ideal for a low cost camping weekend. There is a small shop and a children’s play park as well.
Happisburgh is a beautiful beach, well known for its fossils and coastal erosion. Yup, the cliffs are caving, but it’s a well known spot for school geography trips. There’s also the lovely lighthouse to see and a great children’s park.
A quiet and pleasant stretch of sand which is divided by sea defences. There are a couple of cafes and an ice cream shop and toilets.
A sandy beach which stretches to Mundesley in one direction and Walcott in the other direction.There is a pathway along the coast at the back of the beach. It’s another good place to spot the seals.
This is one of our favourites. It’s a sandy beach and usually quiet, you can park right opposite the beach in a pay and display. On the way from the car park there is a children’s skate park, a crazy golf area and a cafe and ice cream shop. Apart from that there is a small museum and a large green with seats overlooking the beach.
Trimingham is a secluded beach, and not easy to find, You have to walk to the end of a steep narrow lane to access it. It’s a lot easier to park at Mundesley and walk along the coast to Trimingham.
Overstrand is a quiet, sandy beach near Cromer. Watch out for high tide as the water comes all the way back the sea wall, so check tide tables before visiting. There are no lifeguards here and dogs are banned from May to September. There is a car park with public toilets above the beach and you can get to the beach via a long sloping path. There is a cafe in the village.
This is a good place for little ones to have a paddle!
West Runton is great for rock pools and famous for the West Runton elephant which was discovered in 1900 and is actually the most complete example of a mammoth skeleton ever found, you’ll see lots of info about it on your way to the beach.
There are toilets on your way to the beach and the Seaview Beach Cafe, but no arcades or shops.
(7pm milk on the beach… love it!)
Weybourne is a shingle beach on the deep history coast in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s also a stopping point on the North Norfolk Railway so you can stop here and see some steam trains as well. It has a large car park, toilets and a cafe. It’s also a dog friendly beach.
Holkham beach is a famous one, it’s been used as the backdrop for TV series and movies, including Shakespeare in Love. It has a stretch of golden sand as far as you can see. The car park is quite a walk from the beach, through a National Nature Reserve, and then there are the colourful beach huts. Basically, Holkham beach is beautiful.
Moving further west is Brancaster. This is a great family beach with a lot of space and dog friendly too. The beach is part of Brancaster Estate which is owned by the National Trust.
There is a beach kiosk, plenty of parking and a few facilities. Apparently you can even see a shipwreck at low tide! ( anyone seen this?!)
A hidden gem with flat golden sand and home to ‘sea henge’ a circle of stumps which dated back to 2000BC (its now in Lynn Museum and you can’t see it at the beach) a great spot for sunsets as well. There is a small shop.
More golden sand, backed by dunes and cliffs (whereas the main Hunstanton beach is mainly pebbles). There is a car park, two cafes and public toilets.
Heacham beach is also on the West of Norfolk, in an area known as ‘The Wash’ so sunsets are great. The water quality here is classified as excellent. There is a cafe, a shop and public toilets close to the beach. Also, a promenade and you can walk all the way to Hunstanton.
Snettisham beach is a natural haven for wading birds and there is an RSPB reserve nearby. The beach is a mix of sand and shingle, and is popular for sailing. There are no public toilets here but there is a beach cafe and more facilities in the village.
Further afield (Suffolk)
If you’re heading out further to Suffolk, our Mumblers recommend: