10 of the most stunning beaches in Norfolk

Beaches, Coastal, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Kate W on 7th July 2020

Hunstanton Beach

Uncover the most stunning beaches in Norfolk, perhaps some of the best beaches in East Anglia, and on your next East of England getaway, you’ll be able to truly make the most of this remarkable coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Set foot on one of Norfolk’s beautiful beaches where you can discover a variety of unique and breathtaking landscapes. From the salt marshes of Titchwell to the striped cliffs that overlook Hunstanton, unwind beside the sea with a remarkable natural backdrop.

Seek out holiday inspiration by browsing through our collection of coastal cottages in Norfolk and you’ll soon uncover the perfect bolthole for your next beach getaway.

Norfolk coastal cottages

Visit one of Norfolk’s ever-popular seal beaches for an unforgettable holiday experience, follow the coast path to new heights for far-reaching coastal views, or simply lay down a blanket and unwind with a good book in a tranquil seaside setting. Which of these stunning Norfolk beaches will you escape to first?

Holkham Beach

1. Holkham Beach

For our first stunning Norfolk beach, we have to mention the seemingly endless sands of Holkham – just one part of the exquisite Holkham Estate which includes an unspoilt nature reserve, manicured Holkham Park and magnificent Holkham Hall. If you are seeking a place to visit for exploration, there’s a wealth of beauty to discover at this North Norfolk beach.

Take the family pet along on your adventures at this dog-friendly beach and keep an eye out for wildlife, dine at The Lookout beach café, and let youngsters and big kids clamber about and whoosh along zip lines at the ropes course.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome all year round on Holkham Beach but should be kept on a lead if you decide to explore neighbouring Holkham Nature Reserve.

Café: The Lookout 

Toilets: None

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard service. 

Access: Follow Lady Anne’s Drive through Holkham village to reach Holkham car park. Walk through grassy areas, wooden walkways and dunes in order to get to the beach. 

Stay nearby: Flagstaff Garden House, Burnham Overy Staithe | sleeps 2 and 1 dog

Holkham holiday cottages

Gorleston Beach

2. Gorleston Beach

The golden sands of this Norfolk beach curve gracefully around the bay and behind the shore is the lush green of grassy cliffs where there’s a bowling green, tennis courts and children’s playground providing a charming backdrop to your day by the seaside. Gorleston Beach often draws surfers too for its impressive waves rolling in off the North Sea.

Surprisingly serene for a beach so close to the bustling coastal resort of Great Yarmouth, Gorleston offers a tranquil alternative to its popular neighbour while still being within reach of all the wonderful attractions and eateries in this corner of Norfolk.

Dogs: The north end of Gorleston Beach is out of bounds to canine companions during the summer months, but the sandy south end is dog-friendly all year round.

Café: Yes, there are several locally. Jay Jays Café is popular and on the beach.

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There are lifeguards during the summer months.

Access: Ramp access down to the beach.

Stay nearby: Tidal Sands, Caister-on-Sea | sleeps 6

Great Yarmouth holiday cottages

Mundesley Beach

3. Mundesley Beach

Considered one of the best beaches in Norfolk, Mundesley is a traditional British seaside getaway that will leave you with wonderful holiday memories. With the vibrant colours of beach huts lining the shore and wooden groynes dividing up the sand, it offers an enthralling destination in which to throw down your beach towel to lie back and unwind by the sea.

Besides the lively huts, this beach is backed by sloping, grassy cliffs topped with serene gardens, making it a scenic destination for a beach day out in North Norfolk.

Dogs: Dogs are banned during May to September from most of Mundesley Beach.

Café: The Beach Café

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There is a lifeguard service during the summer months.

Access: Steps and sloped paths lead down to the beachfront from the raised promenade behind.

Stay nearby: Old Coastguard Hut, Mundesley | sleeps 2

Mundesley holiday cottages

Hunstanton Beach

4. Hunstanton Beach

One of the few coastal destinations in Norfolk where you can watch the sun sink below the horizon due to its west-facing shores, Hunstanton Beach is made up of rugged shingle and boulders to the west and wide stretches of golden sand to the eastern end, which is better known as Old Hunstanton.

This breathtaking Norfolk beach – considered one of the best beaches in North Norfolk – is backed by striped cliffs and the sand stretches for miles, giving that remote, wild feeling that can only be found on a trip to the coast.

Dogs: There are restrictions between April to October.

Café: Several with Old Town Beach Café at the western end of the beach a popular choice.

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There is a lifeboat station at Old Hunstanton beach but there is no active team of lifeguards on duty.

Access: Sloping trails lead down to the beach.

Stay nearby: Alexandra House, Hunstanton | sleeps 8 and 2 dogs

Hunstanton holiday cottages

Heacham Beach

5. Heacham Beach

Down the coast from exquisite Hunstanton, you’ll find the golden sands of Heacham. Another North Norfolk beach that is set on the county’s only west-facing coastline, you can take in magnificent sunsets from this stunning seaside destination.

Behind the dunes meanders the tranquil Heacham River, while the Norfolk Coast Path creates a wonderful connection between Heacham and Hunstanton – strike out on the 3-mile walk to take in this scenic stretch of coastline.

Dogs: It’s dog friendly all year round.  

Café: Heacham Holt Café

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard service at Heacham Beach.

Access: Step directly from the pavement onto sandy paths that lead through dunes and onto the beach.

Stay nearby: Lavender Bungalow, Heacham | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Heacham holiday cottages

Great British Coast

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach

6. Wells-next-the-Sea Beach

Possibly one of the best beaches in Norfolk, and certainly one of the most popular, this exquisite shoreline offers up sweeping sands, colourful beach huts and is backed by fragrant pinewoods. The delightful town and port of Wells-next-the-Sea is a mile away and you can walk or take the charming miniature-gauge railway that connects the two – a fun way to travel to the beachfront while on holiday!

Build sandcastles at this family-friendly beach, swim in the sea and, as this stunning Norfolk beach is part of the unspoilt Holkham National Nature Reserve, look out for ground-nesting birds who live in this exceptional coastal setting.

Dogs: Canine companions are welcome all year round with restrictions on part of the beach during the summer.

Café: Wells-next-the-Sea Beach Cafe

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There’s a lifeguard service during the summer months.  

Access: Follow Beach Road until you reach the car park. From here, there are steps and a ramp down to the sandy beach.

Stay nearby: Barn Owl Cottage, Wells-next-the-Sea | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Wells-next-the-Sea holiday cottages

Horsey Beach

7. Horsey Beach

Surrounded by fascinating nature reserves and the famous Norfolk Broads, Horsey Beach is an unforgettable destination for anyone who adores spending time soaking up the natural world. Fluffy white seal pups are born every year at Horsey Gap and are a wonderful sight to see during your holiday.

Other places to visit near this seal beach in Norfolk include Horsey Mere and the Horsey Windpump. Follow this National Trust walking route to get the most out of this remarkable location.

Dogs: Horsey Beach is dog friendly; however, it is recommended your dog remains on a leash during the seals’ pupping season.

Café: Poppylands 

Toilets: None

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard service at Horsey Beach. 

Access: There is a car park leading to the coast path which runs behind Horsey Gap. A steep grassy verge separates the path and the beach with steps and narrow grassy paths that lead over it. 

Stay nearby: Isabel's Cottage, Winterton-on-Sea | sleeps 4

Horsey holiday cottages

Cart Gap Beach

8. Cart Gap Beach

If you’re searching for a tranquil coastal destination for a trip, Eccles-on-Sea may be the ideal place. It is an ancient fishing village that’s gradually being washed away into the sea, and in 1895 the village church was submerged. Local fisherman used to say you could still hear echoes of the church bell ringing under the water.

Peaceful Cart Gap Beach, otherwise known as Eccles Beach, with its golden sands and grassy dunes, could be described as one of Norfolk’s secret beaches and is an intriguing place to sit and reflect, providing a safe haven for anyone seeking a quiet coastal escape while on holiday in Norfolk.

Dogs: Cart Gap Beach is dog-friendly all year round.

Café: Smallsticks Cafe

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard service at Cart Gap Beach.

Access: Cart Gap Road is the main access route to the car park and there’s a ramp for walking down to the beach itself.

Stay nearby: Lighthouse View Lodge, Happisburgh | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Happisburgh holiday cottages

9. Sheringham Beach

This popular, picturesque beach is surrounded by wooded areas providing spaces for exploration before you unwind on the massive expanse of beach. Sand, shingle and cobbles combine to create the shoreline, a promenade runs along behind it, while there’s a delightful boating lake at the west end of this North Norfolk beach.

The characterful resort town of Sheringham itself is full of eclectic places to eat and visit: walk up Beeston Bump for views of this stunning Norfolk beach, pop inside the Sheringham Museum, or step aboard the North Norfolk Heritage Railway to discover more of this phenomenal coastline.

Dogs: There are restrictions in the summer months at Sheringham Beach.

Café: Several by the beach and in town. A popular beach café is Submarine Cafe & Takeaway.

Toilets: Accessible toilets

Lifeguard: There’s a lifeguard service during the summer months which varies between Sheringham East and West Beach.

Access: At the end of Beach Road there’s a ramp that leads down to the beach.

Stay nearby: Kipper Cottage, Sheringham | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Sheringham holiday cottages

Titchwell Beach

10. Titchwell Beach

In an area renowned for the astounding RSPB nature reserve that dominates the local landscape, visitors often forget about the stunning Norfolk beach that sits along this endearing stretch of coastline. Pristine sand that extends for miles provides a wonderful place for a day beside the sea. You can even see the remains of a World War II tank and an ancient forest at this unique beach.

After paddling in the waves and picnicking on the sand, explore the saltwater marsh and freshwater lagoon to see what curious creatures and rare birds you can spot during your adventures.

Dogs: Canine companions are welcome but as it is part of a nature reserve, it’s recommended that dogs are kept on a lead.

Café: There’s an RSPB-managed café.

Toilets: Yes, accessible toilets near Titchwell Marsh car park.

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard service at Titchwell Beach.

Access: There’s parking at Titchwell Marsh and a footpath leads to Titchwell Beach.

Stay nearby: The Roost - Norfolk, Titchwell | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Brancaster holiday cottages

A map of 10 of the most stunning beaches in Norfolk

Take a look at our map of these stunning Norfolk beaches to plan your holiday beside the sea.

Need more inspiration?

When you’re not relaxing in a stunning beach setting on the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of other fantastic attractions, delightful eateries and natural spaces to get to know. Read through our specially curated blogs offering insights into this phenomenal part of the UK.

Make your escape to one of these stunning Norfolk beaches for a seaside holiday to remember. Browse through our collection of holiday cottages by the coast and you’ll come across everything from five-star luxury retreats to sea view properties, so you’ll soon find a holiday let to suit you.

Norfolk coastal cottages

And if you're visiting Norfolk with your canine companion too, get sandy toes and sandy paws with a visit to one of these enchanting dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk.

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.