This guide gives you details on generally quieter, lesser known beaches, some more well known beaches in Norfolk, where to spot seals, recommended family places to eat and stay, plus lots of family friendly things to do in Norfolk with kids.
Recommended Norfolk Beaches, including quiet Norfolk beaches.
One of the places you will visit with kids in Norfolk is likely the beach! If you are planning to visit the beaches on a hot day and are driving, then you must leave home early; the queue’s to the coast can stretch for miles back! Alternatively, stay locally and have a look at some accommodation ideas further below. Top Tip: Use your phone to pay for car-parking and save queuing at machines.
Discover below over 30 Norfolk beaches to visit with kids, including details on their facilities; including toilets, activities and places to grab a snack.
- Bacton is very quiet with no facilities. There’s a little shop you can walk to from the beach if you need anything, and a fish and chip shop.
- Blakeney: Buy a bucket and crabbing set and sit on the quay side for some crabbing. Blakeney Point is a breeding site for grey seals and their pups, born during November to early January and great for seal spotting at other times. You can visit the seals on Blakeney Point by hopping on a seal boat trip from Morston Quay. The Point can be accessed on foot from Cley-next-the-Sea, but visitors, particularly those with dogs, should check restrictions protecting nesting birds and fragile habitats. Main public toilets are located opposite the Carsner Quay car park.
- Brancaster Beach is a huge, sandy beach. A carpark is located right by the beach. The toilets at Brancaster Beach are currently open 6am to 6pm and are found next to the car park. There is an accessible toilet that can be accessed by a Radar key. Buy refreshments at the kiosk, just opposite.
- Brancaster Staithe is the next village on from Brancaster and is great for crabbing at high tide. The beach is long and flat, with salt flats, lagoons, and creeks and a harbour. The White Horse Brancaster is a lovely kid and dog friendly hotel.
- Caister-on-Sea has some amenities including a pub, shops, cafe and public toilets. Parking is nearby. The beach has soft sands at the back , and pebbles near the shore. There is a large public car park with public toilets and a cafe just round the corner. Visit the Lifeboat station nearby where they have a small cafe.
- California Beach near Great Yarmouth is a lovely, wide, sand and shingle beach at the bottom of low sandy cliffs, merging with Scratby Beach. Peaceful and picturesque part of the coastline accessed via steep steps down the side of the sandy cliff or can be pleasantly walked to from Caister along the beach. Light refreshments are available at beach entrance point along with public & disabled toilets. Public parking is very limited.
- Cley Beach: If you don’t mind pebble beaches then visit Cley . From Salt House Marshes you can access the beaches and it’s very quiet here. There is also a large café which serves tasty local produce and offers panoramic views over the marshes and coastline.
- Cromer Beach: Crabbing is brilliant off Cromer pier. From about 3pm when the tide is out there is plenty of shade under the pier. (Check tides) There are toilets located on the pier and also in various carparks nearby. Visit the Reef Stop Cafe.
- Eccles is a quiet beach with no facilities. The nearest town is Stalham which has a Tesco to pick up supplies.
- Gorleston beach has a couple of arcades and cafes. It can be busy but it is huge so social distancing shouldn’t be an issue.
- Happisburgh has a traditional red and white lighthouse, a little playground, and a secluded beach with a view. Toilets are at Cart Gap car park.
- Heacham Sands is closest to Hunstanton and has a nice sandy beach where you may spot surfers. There are toilets at South Beach road in small car park adjacent to beach. (Heacham South is sometimes known as Stubborn Sands and has great sunsets.) Facilities include outside tap for washing sand off feet. There is also a cafe and seasonal kiosk shops. Over at North Beach / Jubilee Road close to beach and large car park there are some more public toilets.
- Hemsby Beach is a beautiful stretch of sandy beach with plenty of places to eat and drink and the usual amusement arcades. Hemsby Beach public toilets are located at the far end of Beach Road in Hemsby-on-Sea. These facilities include baby changing in the ladies toilets and disabled facilities. Open daily from 10am until 6pm throughout the summer season.
- Holkham beach is huge and quite a walk out to the sea but never usually feels busy. Enjoy beautiful sand dunes. Access to Holkham Beach is via Lady Anne’s Drive on the A149 (opposite The Victoria Inn). It is approximately a mile down Lady Anne’s Drive to Holkham Bay, which, with its endless expanse of beach, offers visitors an opportunity to walk for as many miles as they choose. You need to walk through the wood, across the estuary but once are there it is completely worth it! Holkham Beach parking is on Lady Anne’s Drive is open 6am to 9pm. Toilets are at both Beach Road in Wells and The Lookout visitors centre at Holkham. A cafe is based at the Lookout too.
- Holme-next-the-Sea is just along from the well known Hunstanton. Head away from Hunstanton and you’ll find plenty of quieter spots with shallow water and few waves, making it perfect for toddlers. There is a car park adjacent to beach at Holme next the Sea which has a small kiosk for ice-creams and drinks and a WC. Walk over the golf course, and over the sand dunes to finally arrive at the beach. To get to the beach you need to look out for the sign on the main A149 which takes you down a narrow lane (Beach Road) all the way to the golf course at the end. It’s not a long walk but might be a bit tricky for pushchairs. At Holme Dune Beach you park for free but it’s quite a walk through a nature reserve area, it’s flat and the water is really calm, great for little ones. You’d have to take a picnic as there are no facilities there at all but there is a fab deli at Thornham. At Holme-next-the-Sea, toilets are situated at the north end of Beach road opposite beach car park. Visit the White Horse Pub for lunch.
- Horsey beach – there is nothing here except a beautiful sandy beach and a good chance of seeing seals swimming in the sea!
- Hunstanton is a traditional sea side town with arcades. Hunstanton is often known as Sunny Hunny and has two halves, with two totally different experiences. If you park on the cliff top car park and go left it’s the new town. Arcades, shops, seaside centre, funfare and touristy shops But if you go right it’s the old town, sand dunes, wide sandy beach, lifeboat hut and lovely little cafe.
- Old Hunstanton has a gorgeous beach café and a shipwreck. Lots of shallow pools from the tide so its great for paddling! Park next to pitch and put golf course and visit the cafe next to RNLI office. Find the toilets close to Old Hunstanton beach alongside Lifeboat Station in the privately run car park.
- Mundesley has a lovely beach cafe. Toilets are on Mundesley promenade (below Coastwatch museum), Beach Road/Marina Road (main coast road)
- Overstrand is usually quiet and just along the coast from Cromer. it also has a fantastic cafe, a car park, play area and loo’s. The toilets are situated in the Paul’s Lane clifftop car park.
- Pakefield Beach, yes it’s in Suffolk but worth a mention! It’s quiet spaced out and has facilities including a chip shop, The Jolly Sailors pub and you can walk along to Lowestoft.
- Salthouse beach is a pebbly beach (park on the road) but has great waves so is great to watch.
- Scratby is located between the busier beaches of Hemsby and Caister, Scratby is a quieter alternative and dog friendly too.
- Sea Palling has a white sandy beach and clear sea. When the tide had gone back out it usually leaves pools of water to play in. Facilities include a pub off the beach and a cafe. Toilets are on Beach Road (alongside ramp to beach)
- Sheringham is a traditional seaside town but can get busy. Head to East Beach coffee at Sheringham and try the waffles and crepes – it’s also located at the quieter end of the beach. For beach visitors, both East Promenade and West Promenade have public toilets.
- Snettisham Beach is mostly sand and shingle. From the car park, located just behind the dunes, you access the beach at a dividing line: to your left the beach is backed by a holiday park full of static caravans and chalets, while to the right there is a wide area of heathland. Car parking is located at Beach Road, Snettisham PE31 7PS. There are some shops and refreshments available at the closest caravan park, and more further back down Beach Road.
- Southwold is another Suffolk Beach I’ve snuck in. You can enjoy a walk along the pier and beach or go to the harbour for fish and chips and take a small passenger ferry across to Walberswick.
- Thornham: Accessing Thornham Beach is a bit of a walk from Staith Lane (albeit a pleasant stroll in its own right) along a raised bank boardwalk which has a hard surface making it easier for pushchair, separating the saline marshes from the freshwater grazing land. Turn west towards Holme Dunes, or continue onwards for Thornhams own sandy beach. There are no facilities making it a less popular option on busy days. The closest parking to Thornham Beach is at the end of Staithe Lane, at Thornham Old Harbour. There’s a small car park which can accommodate a very few cars. Alternatively try halfway down Staithe Lane, at the point where the Norfolk Coast Path intersects the road. Postcode: PE36 6NL
- Titchwell: Titchwell Beach is accessed via a public right of way that’s also the main west bank path through the RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve. You can push the pushchair out to the beach and bird watch along the way – although it is a bit of a walk. The car park, trails, toilets, Fen hide and cafe are open. You may spy the shipwreck SS Vina from afar, but do not attempt to walk out to this wreck as you can easily be cut off by the tide.
- Walcott Beach is sandy and gently sloping so ideal for paddlers or those who want to properly swim. Surfing is popular here as is the nearby amusement arcade. The nearest town to the beach is North Walsham. Toilets are available along with a couple of cafes and ice-cream shops along the seafront.
- Waxham has a sandy beach and rock pools and a café in a converted 16th century barn Waxham Beach. There is no official parking, you just park on the side of the road and walk to the beach.
- Wells Next The Sea has a small train running from the town to the beach and the beach is beautiful. Kids will also enjoy the playground in Wells. If you visit the coastguard tower ask if they can show you seals through binoculars. Wells beach car park gets full by 10am but you can take the little train from near the play area and then walk the shortish distance to the beach. It’s a big beach so even though popular there is always somewhere to sit apart from others. Warning: Be aware of the tides. It moves very fast and very often the lifeboat will have to rescue an unwitting family that becomes stranded. When the tide is out the sea is a very long way out creating a massive beach that has stream of water running through a it which is great to paddle in. When the tide come in it forms an island that eventually gets submerged.
- West Runton beach is amazing for rock pooling, sand castles and body boarding. Just don’t go at high tide as there’s no beach but there is a good cafe called the Seaview Beach Cafe with Ronaldo’s local Norfolk ice-cream (and loos too). Currently it is £3 to park all day with and there are toilet facilities situated in Water Lane on the slipway to beach. At the bottom go left for a quieter rocky beach or right for a busier sandy beach. Left hand is best for fossil hunting. The beach is great for kids with long shallow sandy areas for paddling and then a huge rock pooling area near the carpark to catch crabs! Best to arrive by 11 though to get a space at the carpark and bring a picnic as only 1 small cafe there! There are more toilets at East Runton Beach situated in Beach Road car park (NR27 9PA) Head to The Corner House tearoom for scones which is a short walk from the parking at West Runton beach or to Will’s Plaice in East Runton for fish and chips with homemade tartare sauce.
- Winterton-On-Sea is another place where you may spot seals. Visit The Fisherman’s Return pub. Toilets are seasonal and located opposite the beach car park.
34 ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO DO IN NORFOLK WITH KIDS
These Norfolk attractions for families provide plenty of opportunities to be outdoors and social distance. The Norfolk area is absolutely perfect for all ages, so whether you are looking for things to do with toddlers in Norfolk or with older kids, there is plenty to keep them entertained.
- Roarr Dinosaur Park
- Pensthorpe Park: Has a big soft play area, wildlife and interactive trails.
- Holkham Hall: and lots of cycle routes as well as an adventure play ground, mazes and more.
- Thrigby hall Wildlife Gardens
- Happisburgh Lighthouse
- Bacton Wood: Located just north of North Walsham, Bacton Wood is perfect for a day out with nature whether you are on foot, cycle or horseback. Dogs welcome
- Pretty Corner Woods
- Pygmy Woods
- Amazona Zoo
- Bewilderwood: Visit an amazing woodland fairy and elf treetop walkway and playground
- Petitts Animal Adventure Park
- Wroxham Barns
- Banham Zoo, Thrigby.
- Cromer Church you can climb the spire
- Felbrigg Hall- National Trust
- Sheringham Park- National Trust you can go up a viewing tower and see all of the coast. Free and amazing. The steam railway at Sheringham is also a popular hang out.
- Blickling Hall – National Trust
- Blakeney Quay is great for seal trips and crabbing
- Snettisham Park Farm
- Norfolk Lavender ( also has a petting farm)
- Hillside Animal sanctuary, Sheringham
- Norfolk Railway
- Hemsby amusements & beach
- Africa Alive
- Glandford and Letheringsett both have fjords which are great for shallow paddling and are not tourist spots. Letheringsett also has space on the bank for picnics.
- Caister Roman Fort is by Caister motor museum which is a great little place to wander around.
- Wizard Maze & Play (CLOSED FOR 2020)
- Wiveton Hall for strawberry picking, but there loads of strawberry picking road side places all along the north Norfolk coast.
- For a wet and rainy day or if you are looking for indoor activities in Norfolk, try Thursford. It has traditional fair ground rides and a steam museum. (Closed for summer 2020)
- Hire a boat from Norfolk broads boat hire or similar.
- Catch the steam train from Sherringham to Holt.
- Head to Morston for a seal trip. Stop at pubs along the way.
- Visit Thornham deli for cake and interior shops,
- Burnham Market is a very pretty town to visit.
- Church Farm in Bardolph for animal petting and pig racing yes, it is a thing!)
- Sandringham Estate
Places to Eat in Norfolk
The places below come recommended for good food, including places for the quintessential British seaside break; fish and chips!
- Garden Street Grill (Cromer)
- Le Strange in old Hunstanton (for a cheaper meal)
- Breakers cafe (Cromer)
- Guerneys Fish Hut (Thornham) Try their mackerel pâté!
- The Ffolkes Arms (Hillington) is good for kids but a drive inland
- Eric’s Fish and Chips (Thornham)
- Dave’s Fish and Chip shop (Sheringham)
- Wiveton Farm Cafe, Shop and Fruit Farm at Wiveton Hall
- Rocky Bottoms (Cromer)
- Roughton Fish Shop
- The White Horse in Brancaster
- Thornham Deli,
- The Lifeboat (Thornham)
- The Orange Tree (Thornham)
- Ship Inn (Mundesley)
Lovely walks in Norfolk:
Here are some suggestions to get out and about with kids for some fresh air and walks. The Norfolk local government site also has a list of recommended walks.
- Take a walk through the Pinewoods at Wells through onto the beach, or from Holkham beach along to Wells is stunning and a great option if you are looking for free days out in Norfolk
- Bacton Wood: Located just north of North Walsham, Bacton Wood is perfect for a day out with nature whether you are on foot, cycle or horseback. Dogs welcome.
- Pretty Corner Woods: Eat at the pretty Corner Cafe and Tea Gardens.
- Wolferton Woods are a local secret, there’s boardwalks and heather growing the right time of year
- Thrigby Hall Wildlife park
- Holkham Hall : Costs £4 to park all day and there’s an adventure playground for the kids and amazing pizzas.
- Sheringham country park is lovely and well covered by trees for rainy days.
Places to Stay In Norfolk
Search family friendly accommodation in Norfolk on Booking.com
SELF CATERING ACCOMMODATION & COTTAGES IN NORFOLK
- Search for Airbnb self catering properties in Norfolk
- See Sykes Holiday Cottages for places to stay in Norfolk
- Hotel Luxury accommodation: Congham Hall & Spa
Have you visited any of Norfolk’s best beaches?