As for many, the last 12 months have been the year of the staycation. I’ve really missed the excitement of going abroad and discovering completely new places, but I’ve also realised how much of my own country I’d written off as ‘boring’ which is actually beautiful. One such area is the north Norfolk coast, in my opinion one of the loveliest coastal areas of the country.
If you’re planning a visit to Norfolk, you could also combine it with other areas of the county to make a long weekend of it, and add on another day for a visit to Blickling Hall, Anne Boleyn’s birthplace (post HERE).
Day 1 – Seals and Stately Homes
A. Morston Quay
Start the day at the National Trust’s Morston Quay. Enjoy a little stroll watching the boats set up for the day, grab a coffee from the cafe by the beach and enjoy the wild heather growing all around. Overall I recommend spending around 30 minutes enjoying the area before boarding a boat from the Quay and embarking on a trip to see the seals.
B. Blakeney Point
Blakeney Point is a nature reserve, famous for being home to a huge number of seals. Boat trips leave from Mortson Quay daily and there are lots of providers, with all trips lasting about an hour. It’s amazing seeing the seals up close, and then seeing them swimming in the water all around you – the photos don’t do it justice. It’s such a fun way to start your trip to Norfolk.
After your boat trip, head to Cley; one of the nicest little villages in the area. The main highlight of Cley is its beautiful windmill. You can take a stroll in the marshes, enjoying the views back to the windmill – and if you particularly like it, you could even choose to stay in the windmill, as I did. You can read my review HERE.
Also in Cley is a lovely pub called the George & Dragon which does delicious food and has a great little beer garden – the perfect spot for refuelling over lunch before heading on to the next stop.
D. Holkham Hall
You can’t have an English staycation and not visit a stately home of some sort! So on the north Norfolk coast there’s no better than Holkham Hall – dating back to the 18th century it’s a beautiful place to stroll around, with huge grounds, a walled garden and nice big lake.
E. Holkham Beach
Just down the road from the Hall is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Norfolk coast, Holkham. Finish your day with a walk along the beach, or just sit and take it all in. Interestingly, the beach is actually man made and the sea used to come all the way up to Holkham Hall!
F. Burnham Market
After finishing at the beach, head to the lovely market town of Burnham Market for dinner. Home to pretty cottages, nice shops to browse and an amazing selection of restaurants to finish off your 2 days in style – I particularly love Number 29 restaurant and bar which does amazing food.
Day 2 – Beaches and Royals
First stop on today’s itinerary is another beach – Wells. Wells is famous for its picture perfect beach huts so spend time exploring there, taking in some morning sunshine, before heading in to the town. You could grab some breakfast, or go crabbing, or play some traditional seaside amusements in the arcades.
B. Wells-Walsingham light railway
After exploring the beach and town, walk the 30 minutes or so to the Wells light railway station to enjoy the miniature railway with a steam engine which takes you to the lovely little village of Walsingham. It’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours and you can grab lunch in the town afterwards.
C. Brancaster Beach
After the railway, there’s a choice of what to do next. You could either go to another beach, or if you’re all beached out you could pick up items D and E below instead. If you choose the beach option then another of the most beautiful beaches in the area is Brancaster – you could just explore that beach, read your book or watch the world go by, but if you have a couple of hours for a walk you could park at the much quieter Brancaster Staithe and walk the 2 hour round route to the beach and back.
You could probably squeeze this in after the beach, but I think Sandringham is easily worth a couple of hours so you may want to drop the beach and head straight here after lunch. Known as the Queen’s Christmas Home it’s a truly wonderful place to explore. You can visit her sitting room, explore the gardens and learn more about the Royal family. You can read my full guide HERE (post coming soon).
E. Oxburgh Hall
If you have time, also add on a quick trip to Oxburgh Hall – one of the most stunning historic homes in the country. With it’s picture perfect moat and interesting history, it’s a perfect final stop before heading home. You can also read my full write up HERE (post coming soon).
What do you think of the Norfolk coast? Would you like to visit one day? It really is the perfect English long weekend destination to slow down and have plenty of walks and cosy meals. It’s also a great option for a longer staycation when combined with other areas of Norfolk. Thanks so much for reading; stay safe and happy travelling!