10 of the best places to stay in Norfolk

Days out, Destinations

Posted by Ed Roberts on 6th April 2022

Windmill on the Norfolk Broads

Come to Norfolk. For those of you planning a holiday escape this year, Norfolk is a superb choice of destination. Find your perfect place to stay and enjoy the highlights of the Norfolk Broads, picturesque rambles on the long-distance walking trails and the 84 miles of fantastic Norfolk coast. There are seaside towns, quaint market towns, pretty villages, and a cavalcade of unique beauty spots and places of interest to see, not to mention plenty of tempting eateries for foodies!

From remote, sand dune-crested beaches and vast coastal nature reserves, to the bewitching man-made Norfolk Broads and the 'fine city' of Norwich, there is so much to do in Norfolk that you will want to visit again and again. Our guide is full of Norfolk destinations to choose from including some unusual places to stay, dog-friendly beaches, charming towns and villages, and even more great ideas of where to visit on your family day trips.

Browse our collection of exciting self-catering holiday cottages in Norfolk or read on to discover some of the best places to stay.

Norfolk cottages


Norwich in the evening

Norwich: best for culture

Norwich is historically England’s second city and it is just packed with interesting places to go and things to see. Its history spans 1,000 years. Alongside galleries, theatres and shops to check out, you can also go for a tour around Norwich Cathedral, which commands a lovely central spot in the city called Tombland. An impressive edifice, it has the second tallest spire in England, plus monastic cloisters to stroll around. 

Take a picnic by the River Wensum, which weaves through the city and out to the Norfolk Broads. The Plantation Garden (or Secret Garden) is a great open space to see some fantastic trees and a Victorian greenhouse. Flex the credit card with a turn around the city shops too, or see the city by boat on the river bus.

Highlights

View Norwich cottages


Cromer Pier

Cromer: best for family days out

Cromer is a traditional English seaside resort complete with a pier, a lovely long beach, and some great visitor attractions in the locality. The town has the UK’s last surviving ‘End of the Pier’ revue show, making Cromer quite unique. The reef just offshore is a fishing ground for the local delicacy of Cromer crab, which can be bought at the town’s many places to eat. After a day at the beach, visit the Amazona Zoo just outside of town. There’s a small cinema in town too for an early evening screening or a kids' matinee. 

If you are something of a foodie, Cromer is also the place to head to if you love seafood. Also venture out to Shelley’s Pie and Mash Shop for a modern take on one of the England's best-loved dishes. 

Highlights 

  • Cromer Pier - fabulous live shows and a choice of eateries
  • Amazona Zoo - home to over 200 tropical animals from South America
  • Merlin Cinema - catch the latest releases, great for a rainy day

Cromer cottages


Blakeney Boats

Blakeney: best for wildlife and bird spotting

Blakeney is one of the prettiest places to stay on the North Norfolk coast. Everybody has their favourites, but Blakeney is hard to beat because of the immediacy of the salt marshes, the reedbeds and sea. Catch a boat out to Blakeney Point to see the seal colony; it’s one of the largest mainland haul-outs in the UK thanks to its remote position. There’s a lifeguard station out at Blakeney Point but nothing else man-made, and it’s a great place to wander any time of year. Follow the paths through Blakeney Freshes to Cley-next-the-Sea and its astonishing pebble beach – it is from Cley-next-the-Sea that you can reach Blakeney Point overland.

Blakeney is very quaint and is pretty as a picture - it has a few handy amenities like a friendly pub and a village shop. If you love birdwatching, head to the NWT bird reserve at Cley-next-the-Sea with its visitor centre containing a café and indoor viewing gallery, with vistas across the marshes and out to sea.

Highlights

Blakeney cottages


Wroxham boat trip

Wroxham: best for boat trips

At the heart of the Norfolk Broads is gorgeous Wroxham, the so-called ‘Capital of the Broads’. It’s here in Wroxham that you can hire a boat and explore the region to your heart’s content. The waterways that criss-cross the Broads are home to hordes of wildlife and birds. Book a place on Broads Tours and let someone else pilot the boat through the waterways.

Wroxham is close to BeWILDerwood, one of the most popular family visitor attractions in the Norfolk Broads. The town is something of a foodie spot too with good places to eat where you can sample great local delicacies, Lowestoft-landed fish, and Cromer crab. Norwich is just 8 miles away for good shopping and city day trips.

Discover what else awaits on The Broads with our complete guide to the Norfolk Broads.

Highlights

  • Broads Tours - boat trips and day boat hire on the Norfolk Broads
  • The Bridge Inn - charming restaurant overlooking the water
  • BeWILDerwood - a treetop adventure for families in a stunning forest setting

Wroxham cottages


Sandringham

Sandringham: best for gardens

Stay in pretty Sandringham, packed with traditional carrstone houses. If you like walking around landscaped gardens, then Sandringham Estate should not be missed. One of the Royal family’s residences, Sandringham Palace and Estate is a wonderful place for a day out. The 19,500 acres of country estate has been home to the royals since the 1860s.

The village is close to the coastal seaside resort of Hunstanton for great views across The Wash. Sandringham is also located 7 miles from King’s Lynn and is home to a few useful shops and a restaurant. If you love the great outdoors, head to Dersingham Nature Reserve for excellent bird-watching opportunities. 

Highlights

Sandringham cottages


Old Hunstanton

Old Hunstanton: best for dog-friendly beaches

Old Hunstanton is known for its dazzling duo-toned cliffs down at the village’s craggy beach. It’s also a great choice for dog owners who like to be close to an unrestricted beach. There are no dog bans at Old Hunstanton so you and your hound can enjoy wide-ranging walks and play all day long at the beach. There are rock pools galore to clamber about in to look for shellfish and blennies; it’s also a good place for a spot of sunbathing and relaxation.

The village of Old Hunstanton is a lovely place to stay as it is very pretty and welcoming, with a cosy pub or two to sink into at the end of a long day of touring the area. Spend time down the road in Hunstanton walking along the town’s prom and playing the penny arcades down by the sea. It is also handy to be so close to the town for its helpful amenities like banks, shops, supermarkets and petrol stations.

Highlights

Old Hunstanton cottages


Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth: best for days at the beach

Great Yarmouth is fun writ large. It’s a magical seaside resort in the old-fashioned style and it comes complete with two piers, a wide, long promenade for sunny walks, an endless stretch of sand and a pleasure beach with amusements, donkey rides and inflatable castles. If fish and chips by the sea is your thing then Great Yarmouth should be on your hit-list too! If you are travelling with kids, head to Wellington Pier and Britannia Pier for arcade games and fun.

For something completely unusual, check out Yarmouth Stadium where you can enjoy an evening of Greyhound Racing or take the kids to the UK’s last remaining purpose-built circus, The Hippodrome, to see a show. There is a bowling alley and a cinema in the town too. Great Yarmouth is the gateway to this lovely stretch of the Norfolk Coast and it’s also close to the Norfolk Broads if you fancy a day of boating.

Highlights

Great Yarmouth cottages


Holkham beach huts

Holkham: best for nature

Holkham is a lovely village close to the North Norfolk coat, the sprawling Holkham Hall and Estate, and the National Nature Reserve. On the nature reserve, you will find a spectacular stretch of pine woodland-fringed beach, and wild seclusion to stir the heart and engage the eye. The reserve is nearly 9,160 acres and you can visit rare and uncommon habitats like salt marshes, grazing marsh and unspoiled beach. It has a visitor centre and refreshment facilities to enjoy on your visit too.

The stately home and estate of Holkham Hall is one of the finest surviving examples of the Palladian style of architecture and it is ripe for photo opportunities. The estate is 25,000 acres of gardens, lakes, monuments like the Obelisk, and farmland.

Highlights

Holkham cottages


Kelling Heath

Kelling Heath: best for night skies

Awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status in 2017, Kelling Heath is one of the best places in the East of England to view the sky at night. Bring your telescope or just enjoy the firmament in full splendour. There are few pleasures to make us aware of the sheer scale of our planet than when peering up into the vault of stars. Kelling has the highest accolade of being a designated ‘two-star' site. The seven stars of the Orion constellation, and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye here.

Kelling Heath is close to Sheringham which is a lovely coastal town and a great place to stay if you like pretty seaside towns that have retained a yesteryear charm. Along with Wiveton Downs, Kelling Heath is one of a handful of awesome Dark Skies sites in the East of England for you to visit.

Highlights

Sheringham cottages


Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea: best for foodies

Wells-next-the-Sea is a good choice for those that are enchanted by food. Wells-next-the-Sea has a lovely choice of places to eat to suit all palettes, from fine dining prospects to delicatessens at which you can compile the ultimate picnic. Take the harbour train out to Holkham Bay for a spot of lunch; it’s a fantastic way to see the Wells-next-the-Sea harbour and the coast.

For seafood, head into Wells Crab House; for a good gastropub, The Globe Inn won’t disappoint you, and visit Sands restaurant for something a little different. There is also a choice of informal places to eat or grab a quick takeaway like the Beach Café and Plattens Fish & Chips.

Highlights

Wells-next-the-Sea cottages


Map of the best destinations and places to stay in Norfolk

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Plan your getaway to Norfolk

If you're captivated by this enchanting county, take a look at our collection of holiday cottages in Norfolk. We have holiday cottages large and small to suit everybody. Whether you are looking for luxury accommodation, a romantic hideaway or a party house, these are just a handful of the kinds of accommodation we have in our range. Find your perfect holiday today!

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.