10 Best Norfolk Beaches



The Norfolk coast stretches for 90 long and sandy miles, so whether you're looking for buzzy seaside resorts like Cromer or empty sands at Brancaster, you're sure to find something you like with our pick of the 10 best beaches in Norfolk. 

The county has six Blue Flag beaches but all are clean and safe – and when you arrive here, it's easy to see why people head for the Norfolk coast all year round. Sand or shingle, cliffs or dunes, beach huts or swathes of emptiness: there's something to please everyone here. Read on and choose your best Norfolk beach.

Hunstanton Cliffs (Mark Timberlake on Unsplash)


A beach with two sides

A beach on the east coast that faces west? That’s Hunstanton, one of only three so placed in the UK. Hunstanton beach has two areas, the South Beach and the North Beach. 

The South is a classic pleasure beach with fairground rides, a promenade, donkeys and ice cream galore. This is a brilliant beach if you’re with kids or you like to have a lot of facilities close by. 

If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, the North Beach is for you, with three-tiered striped cliffs and rockpools to paddle in. Because the beaches here face west, they’re some of the sunniest on the Norfolk coast and make a good place to watch the sunset.

Find campsites near Hunstanton.


A brilliant beach at low tide

Brancaster is a beautiful beach with huge stretches of golden sand, and is one of our favourite Norfolk beaches at low tide. 

The water goes out a long way here, leaving behind shallow pools where children can play and revealing the SS Vina, shipwrecked and half-buried in the sand. Go swimming or kitesurfing here if you want some action, but be aware of the strong tides. It’s also a good beach for dog walking, even in the summer months.

The beach is a short walk from the car park where there’s a shop and a toilet.

Find somewhere to stay near Brancaster.


One of the UK’s most stunning beaches

Want to go to one of the most spectacular beaches in the UK? Holkham is so very handsome that it’s featured in several Hollywood films, the best known being Shakespeare in Love

The sandy beach is vast, especially when the tide goes out (it can be a bit of a trek to the water at these times). There are pine forests behind the sand dunes, and the beach is part of the Norfolk Nature Reserve so the whole place is well maintained. 

The beach isn’t just dog-friendly, it’s horse-friendly too – so you’ll often see people galloping across the hard-packed sand.

Look for campsites in Holkham.

Holkham Beach (Archie Eke on Unsplash)


A traditional seaside resort 

This is a classic Victorian seaside resort complete with pier and beach huts. Despite the development here, Cromer has kept its old-fashioned charm so it’s a lovely place to spend a day as a family. 

Walk out to the pavilion theatre and lifeboat station at the end of the pier, buy a new bucket and spade to build sandcastles when the tide is low or head to the amusement arcades when the tide rises. 

Cromer is a Blue Flag beach so it’s clean and, as it’s patrolled by lifeguards, safe for swimming.

Check out the best campsites in Cromer.


A Blue Flag beach with lots of facilities

Another Blue Flag area, Sheringham has an interesting beach of sand and shingle with rockpools visible at low tide. At high tide, wander along the promenade or go into the cafés and restaurants that line the seafront. 

Watch the fishing boats being hauled right up onto the beach or the tractor launching the lifeboat into the sea. There are toilets, showers and beach huts here – so if you want somewhere with facilities, Sheringham is a great choice.

Go camping near Sheringham.

Old Hunstanton

One of the best kitesurfing beaches in Norfolk

Any kitesurfers out there? Head along to Old Hunstanton beach, one of the best in the UK for kiteboarding. But it's not just for watersports enthusiasts – this is one of the nicest beaches in Norfolk for any visitor.

The beach is sandy and backed by dunes and cliffs and there’s lots of space so you should be able to find a spot even on the busiest days. This is an excellent beach for walking the dog too. 

Walk on the beach or in the dunes and you’ll be on part of the Norfolk Coast Path. Like nearby Hunstanton Beach, it faces west so it's sheltered and has lovely sunsets.

Find out more about walking the Norfolk Coast Path.


A quiet beach with seals in the winter

If you’re staying in Great Yarmouth and want to get away from the crowds there, head to Horsey beach. Outside the summer months, you may well have it all to yourself… aside from the resident wildlife. The sand is soft and the water is calm so it’s a good beach for picnicking and playing when the weather’s warm. 

But what makes Horsey beach so great is the seals that you can often see here. Come between November and January to see grey seals that have come onto the beach to give birth; during the rest of the year, you might see them bobbing in the sea just offshore. 

Got a dog? Horsey is a dog-friendly beach, but please keep enthusiastic canines away from the seals.

Take a look at places to stay near Horsey.

Sheringham Beach (Roman Grac on pixabay)

East and West Runton

Blue Flag beaches perfect for families

Both East and West Runton beaches have Blue Flag status so they’re great places to go for a swim. East Runton beach is just below the caravan parks on the top of the cliffs and it’s easily accessible from there. 

West Runton is famous for the Steppe Mammoth that was discovered here in 1990, and it’s still a great beach for fossil hunting, for both kids and adults. When the tide goes out, a long sandy beach is revealed and there are rockpools to explore.

Check out our guide to Country Parks in Norfolk.


A quiet and traditional British seaside resort

Mundesley has the feel of a true classic British seaside resort with its colourful beach huts and promenade. The beach is long and sandy and the sea is good for swimming and paddling at low tide. 

The beach is backed by cliffs and the clifftop gardens make a nice place to sit if you want to breathe in the sea air without getting sandy. There are sweeping views down the coast from up here too, all the way down to the red and white Happisburgh lighthouse. 

This is a family-friendly beach with fewer crowds than many others in Norfolk and it’s a Blue Flag beach, so it's clean and safe.

Search for campsites near Mundesley.


A wilder beach for walking and birdwatching

Our last pick is a shingle and stone beach that’s better suited to walks and wildlife-watching than playing with the buckets and spades. Cley beach is backed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes, a nesting place for birds in the spring and summer months – and that makes this beach one of the UK’s top birdwatching hotspots. 

There’s a steep dropoff into the sea here, which makes it a better place for shore fishing than swimming. There are no facilities other than a car park here, so it's often a quiet beach, especially in the evening.

Find more things to do in Norfolk.

Want to explore more in the region and looking for a place to stay in East Anglia? Check out our East Anglia Camping Guide.