Norfolk attractions

Top Norfolk sights

About forty miles from one end to the other, the north Norfolk coast is a top tourist destination, attracting droves of visitors to its long sandy beaches and seaside resorts. This stretch of coast begins (or ends) at Cromer, perhaps the most appealing of the larger resorts on account of its handsome setting, perched on the edge of blustery cliffs.

  1. Stroll around the dramatic Cromer
  2. See Norfolk by the water
  3. Visit BeWILDerwood and enjoy the outdoors
  4. Discover the Cley Marshes Nature Reserve
  5. Spot some seals on Cley beach
  6. Walk around delightful Blakeney

The shoreline becomes a beguiling patchwork of salt marshes, dunes and shingles trimmed by a string of charming villages, such as Cley, Blakeney and Burnham Market, all prime targets for an overnight stay. You’ll be spoilt for Norfolk attractions for sure!

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Rough Guides

1. Stroll around the dramatic Cromer

Dramatically poised on a high bluff, Cromer should be the most memorable of Norfolk’s coastal resorts, but its fine aspect has long been undermined by a certain shabbiness. To be fair, things are at last on the mend, with new businesses arriving to add a touch of flair, and the town keeps a string of clifftop parks and gardens in immaculate condition - it’s no more than the place deserves. There are two things you must do here: take a walk on the beach, and stroll out onto the pier.

Best for: A lovely wander in Norfolk

While you’re there: Make sure to grab a crab. Cromer crabs are famous right across England.

2. See Norfolk by the water

Three rivers - the Yare, Waveney and Bure - wind their way across the flatlands to the east of Norwich, then link up on Breydon Water before flowing into the sea at Great Yarmouth. In places these rivers swell into wide expanses of water known as broads , which for years were thought to be natural lakes. In fact they’re the result of peat cutting in a region where wood was scarce and peat a valuable source of energy. The pits flooded when sea levels rose in the 13th and 14th centuries to create what is now one of the most important wetlands in Europe - a haven for birds including kingfishers, grebes and warblers - and one of the region’s major tourist attractions. The Norfolk Broads are crisscrossed by roads and rail lines, but the best way to see them is by boat, and you could happily spend a week or so exploring the 125 miles of lock-free navigable waterways, visiting the various pubs and windmills en route. Of the many boat rental companies, Norfolk Broads Direct , is one of the most reputable; they have an outlet at The Bridge in Wroxham.

Best for: Water babies

While you’re there: Note that cyclists and walkers can take advantage of the region’s network of footpaths and trails too.

3. Visit BeWILDerwood and enjoy the outdoors

Kids will love BeWILDerwood, an adventure park in Horning, Norfolk. Found in a woodland area, there are plenty of treehouses, zip wires and rope bridges to explore. Swings can fit up to three people on and there are some thrilling slides in the area, too. It’s a fun day out for children, and adults too! Looking for Norfolk holidays? Take a look at our fantastic selection.

Best for: Family fun

While you’re there: Try your luck at the maze at the park too!

4. Discover the Cley Marshes Nature Reserve

Beside the A149, between Salthouse and Cley, Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, with its conspicuous, roadside visitor centre, attracts birdwatchers like bees to a honey pot. Overseen by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT), the visitor centre issues permits for entering the reserve, whose saltwater and freshwater marshes, reed beds and coastal shingle ridge are accessed on several footpaths and overseen by half a dozen hides. Norfolk sightseeing doesn’t get much better than this for seeing wildlife.

Best for: Bird watchers

While you’re there: Cley is one of the coast’s most agreeable spots with a row of flint cottages and Georgian mansions.

5. Spot some seals on Cley beach

Next to Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, and about 400 yards east of Cley village are the shingle mounds of Cley beach. This is the starting point for the four-mile hike west out along the spit to Blakeney Point, a nature reserve famed for its colonies of seals. The seal colony is made up of several hundred common and grey seals, and the old lifeboat house, at the end of the beach, is now a National Trust information centre.

Best for: Seeing seals!

While you’re there:Note that the shifting shingle can make walking difficult, so keep to the low-water mark.

6. Walk around delightful Blakeney

Delightful Blakeney, a mile or so west of Cley, was once a bustling port, but that was before its harbour silted up; nowadays it’s a lovely little place of pebble-covered cottages with a laidback atmosphere. Crab sandwiches are sold from stalls at the quayside, and the winding high street is full of family-run shops. Footpaths stretch out along the sea wall, allowing long, lingering views over the salt marshes. At low tide, the harbour is no more than a muddy creek (ideal for crabbing and mud sliding) and at high tide the waters rise just enough to allow for boat trips into the North Sea. Blakeney is also close to the charming ruins of sixteenth-century Binham Priory.

Best for: Cute village with plenty of attractions

While you’re there: Don’t forget a trip to Holkham Bay which boasts one of the finest beaches on this stretch of coast.

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