On the wild side

Norfolk is known for its spectacular coastline and beautiful beaches – but where can you go to get off the beaten track?

Overstrand by David Molyneux


This stunning beach certainly feels a million miles away from anywhere else but be prepared for a long walk. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Gun Hill from the car park and quay at Burnham Overy Staithe.

To get to the beach head north on the track that goes towards the dunes. Follow it out through the fields and then between the reed beds and marshes, which are home to all sorts of birds, including flyover spoonbills and egrets in the summer. Once over the dunes, you will find stretching golden sands and unrivalled views out along the coast towards Holkham.

Holkham Beach by  Ian Watts
Holkham Beach – Courtesy of Ian Watts and the Holkham Estate


Here you will find a very different beach, which is largely shingly but with sand at low water.

Wander eastwards to leave the bucket and spaders behind you and you will see the exact point at which the cliffs of the Cromer ridge begin, rising in miniature from the shingle.

Gaze out to sea and you can spot, at low tide, the beginnings of an incredible chalk reef, where there are 20 miles of dramatic underwater gullies, ridges and arches, populated by a myriad of fish, plants and crustaceans.


More accessible and with a tendency to be busier in the summer, Brancaster is a classic North Norfolk beach. Because of the sheer space and acres of sand, however, you can escape the crowds and if you want Norfolk at its wildest you will find it here.

With a backdrop of sand dunes, and salt and freshwater marshes, this beach offers a chance to watch the terns whizzing by overhead from nearby Scolt Head Island.

Take care not to disturb birds nesting in the sand beyond the tide line.

Brancaster Beach by James Kybird
Brancaster Beach – Courtesy of James Kybird


The joys of Cromer are many but if you want a quieter beach experience then head out east along the beach to Overstrand at low water.

Here you will find an incredible record of the Ice Ages in the contorted cliff faces, and slumped soft cliffs too.

These cliffs are wildernesses in themselves, with rare plants and invertebrates flourishing in their untouched expanses and springs flowing down to the sea. From the cliff top, you can sometimes spot pods of whales and porpoises basking.

Main photograph at Overstrand by David Molyneux

Visitors are urged to take great care not to disturb ground nesting birds, and to look out for signs advising where they might be. All these beaches are accessible after walking from public transport stops. For more information visit www.norfolkcoastaonb.org

All these beaches are within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, managed by the Norfolk Coast Partnership. Uniquely Away would like to thank the Norfolk Coast Partnership for its help with this feature.