How many of you considered a holiday on the Norfolk coast? Going to the beach in the UK might raise eyebrows since the country is not particularly known for this type of holiday. Only 10% of all visits include a visit to the beach. The most popular tourist attractions in the UK are sightseeing in London or visiting other major UK cities.
The top three activities in which international tourists participated in during their visit included dining in restaurants, shopping and going to the pub.
UK Tourism Statistics 2020
The UK might not be the preferred destination for a beach holiday, however, let’s not forget that the UK has quite an impressive coastline of over 31,368km. With such a long coastline, the UK is home to some gorgeous coastline locations and beaches. The most popular place for beaches in the UK is Wales. Out of all the trips in Wales, 33% represent trips to the beach, making Wales the most popular destination in the UK for beach visits. However, the most popular beach town is Brighton, located on the southern coast of England, in East Sussex.
While Wales and Brighton might be the most popular beach destinations in the UK, there are other less famous beach locations and coastal areas which are nothing less than stunning. One of these places is the Norfolk coast. Located in the county of Norfolk, on the east side of England, the Norfolk coast is approximately 135 km long. Getting to Norfolk is relatively easy. You can do so by train, bus or car.
A trip to the Norfolk coast is a perfect alternative for a weekend away from London. Norfolk is 151 km away from London and a train trip usually takes 1h45 minutes.
Interesting fact: The county of Norfolk is famous for the Sandringham Estate, one of the Queen's country retreats.
Why visit Cromer and Sheringham on the Norfolk Coast?
With over 135 km of coastline, the Norfolk coast has many seaside towns and villages worth visiting. However, in today’s post, I want to focus on two such places, which in my humble opinion, are the most beautiful ones: Cromer and Sheringham. For your first trip to the Norfolk coast, I recommend starting with these two seaside towns. They are easier to reach than others, offer quite a few attractions and activities for a day visit, and most importantly, you can enjoy some gorgeous views of the Norfolk coastline.
How to reach Sheringham and Cromer?
You can get to Sheringham and Cromer by car, train or bus. My preferred way of transport is by train. A single train ticket from Norwich to Cromer is 7.50 pounds. The train operator in this area is Greater Anglia. The journey is about 40 minutes from Norwich. If you travel from London or any other city in the UK, you might need to get off in Norwich and change trains. Please note that Sheringham and Cromer are two of few coastal towns on the Norfolk coast you can travel to by train. Other locations are accessible only by car or bus.
A suggestion I would like to make here is to take the train to Cromer, walk between Cromer and Sheringham, and then take the train back from Sheringham instead. This way you can have a lovely walk between the 2 towns without having to come back to Cromer.
There are many reasons why Cromer and Sheringham deserve the title of the most beautiful seaside towns on the Norfolk coast. In this post, I want to mention 4 of these reasons in an attempt to persuade you to visit them.
Sheringham and Cromer are perfect for a easy hike
You are not the hardcore hiker, walking 20km+ a day? Don’t worry then because Sheringham and Cromer are perfect for short hikes. The terrain is mostly flat, and this helps if you are not an experienced walker. A hike I would particularly encourage you to do is along the beach between the 2 towns. Have a look at the map below. The walk is easy, but at the same time, it offers some gorgeous views of the Norfolk coast.
My hiking route was closer to the coastline. In fact, if you walk along the beach, the road will guide you towards Sheringham. The route is not hard to follow at all. Below you may find some of the pictures I took on that day of the Norfolk Coast.
As you can see the walking trail is pretty straightforward and I am sure that as long you walk along the beach you cannot get lost. There will be instances when you might have to walk closer to the shore like shown in the pictures below:
If you enjoy easy hiking routes, make sure you have a look at Popular walking routes-discover Norwich on foot! for more suggestions for easy walks in Norwich.
The Norfolk Coast is less crowded than other beach destinations in the UK
We all want to avoid the crowds. Isn’t everyone’s dream these days to have fewer people in their Instagram pictures? Since the Norfolk coast is not as popular as the beaches in Wales or Brighton, you will notice fewer people. Nevertheless, for an even quieter day, I recommend visiting Cromer and Sheringham on a weekday (if possible). Either way, I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
There is a great variety of fresh sea food dishes
You will be amazed by the variety of seafood and fresh fish available in Cromer and Sheringham. You would expect so from 2 coastal towns. I was pleasantly surprised to notice how much variety of seafood and fish dishes local restaurants offered. You can obviously try the famous chippies (fish and chips), but don’t forget to try out some of the local dishes too.
Enjoy the sun and let your worries go away
We all know summers in the UK are not the same as summers in Spain. Nevertheless, the UK gets its fair share of sunny days in the summer months. And what would someone do on a perfectly sunny day with a gorgeous clear sky? Well, they would head to the beach. Both Cromer and Sheringham look beautiful on a sunny day. Add this to the fact that both towns are also safe and you get a perfect holiday destination. Your only worry would be to make sure the seagulls don’t steal your food. I mean it! Watch out for these birds as they are notorious thieves.
Interesting fact: Did you know that the Norfolk coast is believed to be the first known human settlement in northern Europe? Now, if this does not convience you to visit the Norfolk coast, I do not know what will!
Apart from walks by the beach and trying local dishes, there are other things you might consider checking out in Cromer and Sheringham. Both towns have a rich cultural background dating back to Victorian times and beyond. Both towns have dedicated museums to learn about the rich cultural past of both Cromer and Sheringham. The Victorian architectural style is a prominent feature of both Cromer and Sheringham. You will observe beautifully decorated houses and buildings, reflecting the role these two sea towns once had in UK’s history.
What else to visit in Cromer & Sheringham?
The pier is 151m long. After a major repair in 2013, the Cromer Pier is voted in 2015 the Pier of the year. Nowadays, the pier is one of the main attractions in Cromer.
The Cromer Church
The Cromer Church is an Anglican church with an impressive architectural style. The church serves the local community, but it is also open to visits outside pray times.
The Henry Museum is a museum dedicated to lifeboat crews and lifeguards. Like most British museums, it is free of charge. The museum is run mostly by volunteers and runs community projects to raise awareness and educate people regarding their safety.
Cromer Museum is a museum dedicated to the city of Cromer. From ancient times, through Victorian and then more modern times, the museum will offer a full introspection into the history of Cromer. The entrance is not free, however, the ticket price is relatively small.
Like Cromer, Sheringham also has a dedicated museum. Learn everything you need to know about the town of Sheringham. The entrance is not free and there is also an option for online booking. Full information is available on the website.
Sheringham Town Clock
The Town Clock was built in 1862 as a water reservoir. Nowadays the town clock is a popular attraction in Sheringham. Located on the high street, you cannot miss it if you are in town.
Sheringham War Memorial
The War Memorial is a monument remembering the lost lives of those who fought in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
I hope this blog post convinced you to start planning your trip to the Norfolk Coast. Make sure to include Cromer and Sheringham in your itinerary for a perfect seaside town experience.
I’m curious how many of you know or have visited the Norfolk coast? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments below.
If you have a particular interest in the UK, make sure you check out all the other trips I did in the UK.