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Brancaster – a parish with three villages sharing a love of fishing and sailing

UK | East of England | Norfolk | Brancaster

Just over the hill from Burnham Market, on the North Norfolk coast, lies Brancaster. The parish consists of three villages – Brancaster, Brancaster Staithe and Burnham Deepdale. The three villages run along the Brancaster Manor marshland and the Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve.

Village life revolves around the harbour and the fishing and sailing community, and visitors are drawn to the area for the lovely beaches, wildlife and spectacular walks along the Norfolk Coast Footpath.

May and June are popular months for sailing, sea kayaking and kiting. Lord Nelson, who was born in nearby Burnham Thorpe, is alleged to have learnt how to sail here.

Many local families still make their living by fishing from the Staithe and you can buy their excellent shellfish from the stalls nearby.

The Jolly Sailors is a popular watering hole and this 18th century Inn serves ale produced by its own brewery, The Brancaster Brewery, and seafood from the bay across the road, as well as “Jolly Smokehouse Specials.”

Brancaster coast

On the foreshore at low tide a petrified forest can be seen and near the harbour the wreck of SS Vina, a cargo ship built in 1894, is revealed which accidentally sank in 1944. Most of the ship is buried in sand but children can enjoy playing pirates all day long!

The beach and some of the marshes now belong to the National Trust and visitors can enjoy a peaceful wander collecting shells or kite flying at any time of year along the wide expanse of golden sand. Even in high season the beach is not crowded and your dog will also be welcome to enjoy the miles of sandy beach. The Beach Kiosk sells everything you could need for a family beach holiday – buckets, spades, wind breaks and great ice creams and snacks.

"Brancaster is the perfect place to start walking the Norfolk Coast Path..."

The harbour at Brancaster Staithe was once a thriving port for ships carrying their cargo of grain and coal for the Malt House. From here you can enjoy the views of Barrow common which is also a perfect place for a picnic and then visit the Branodunum Roman Fort to the east of the modern village.

Brancaster is the perfect place to start walking the Norfolk Coast Path and the countryside between the villages is very pretty. Situated on the marshland coastline you will find The White Horse which offers comfortable, stylish surroundings in which to enjoy the spectacular views and local seafood and produce. You may see the local fishermen bringing in their catch or the mussel men harvesting the mussels which are grown at the bottom of the garden.

Birdwatchers will need their binoculars although it is easy to spot the hundreds of pink-footed geese who migrate to the RSPB Titchwell Marsh, two miles to the west of Brancaster. The bird reserve supports a huge variety of wildlife attracted by the freshwater and saltwater habitats and the shop sells everything you may need for a day exploring the reserve with its trails, hides and children’s activities. Dogs on leads are welcome too and the trail leads you down through the marshes to the sandy beach at Titchwell, then back to the café for refreshments.

While you’re there

The Jolly Sailors

An 18th century inn overlooking the bay, serving ale brewed in-house.

RSPB Titchwell Marsh

The reserve is an excellent place to see a variety of wildlife.

Brancaster beach

A wide stretch of golden sand perfect for a classic day at the seaside.

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