Travel Destination: North Norfolk Coast, England


The North Norfolk Coast is still a hidden gem as most travelers to the United Kingdom and those from within the UK prefer to visit the South West of England, including counties such as Devon or Cornwall. Undoubtedly, they are beautiful but increasingly they have become the victim of their own success with busy roads, expensive accommodations, and jam-packed beaches. North Norfolk, on the other hand-and I write of the Kings Lynn to Hunstanton stretch-is something altogether different.
It's known as the county of big skies and vast, soft, sandy beaches (there are a few shingly/pebble beaches). Because the coast sits on The Wash you can wade for about an hour in the sea before the water level reaches your waist. Best of all, that long and gentle amble wading out means that the sea water in this area warms up very quickly, almost a match for the warmth of the Mediterranean and definitely warmer than Cornwall.
On a recent stay on the North Norfolk Coast I booked a fisherman's cottage at Blakeney. This was a real treat and in late June the weather was perfect. They had some high tides, so it was great to see the harborside carpark gradually submerge under water. In the winter, with an onshore wind and a spring tide, it comes up the street.
Besides going for long walks along the coast path, known as the Peddars Way (an ancient pilgrim route), you can walk the 2 miles to Morston Quay and take a boat trip out to see the grey seals. If you're into bird watching, there's plenty for you to see and I discovered a great bird watching tour that is happy to accommodate complete beginners. It was a long day but the owner knew so much it was fascinating.
There's so much to be said for this part of the country that I could go on and on. There's Walsingham, home to the Roman Catholic and Anglican Shrines to Our Lady, situated in the most beautiful villages full of historic buildings, a pre-Reformation Abbey garden, antique shops and tea rooms. You won't want to miss Wells-next-the-Sea, a port town that is full of independent shops, has an entertainment venue called the Maltings, and is still a working fishing port (mostly for shellfish). Then there is Cromer, best known for its Cromer Crab.
I can't think of anything to avoid. My only warning would be to take note of the tides when going out for walks, whether on the beach or on the signposted paths so you don’t get caught out. I have to say North Norfolk is the safest place I have ever stayed. The locals are friendly and still say “Good morning” or Afternoon” as you go by. They also have the most fabulous accent that is warm and gentle, a pleasure to listen to.