Saturday Walkers Club www.walkingclub.org.uk

Update The suggested route follows the coastline much more than the official Coast Path which often detours inland. Since this walk was researched, there have been at least 2 changes. The coast has been deliberately breached by the RSPB site at Tichwell, and there has been a cliff fall between Sherringham and Cromer - see the notes below. A map and GPS route of the official route is here
Length About 45 miles
OS Map OS Explorers : Norfolk Coast West (250), Central (251), and East (252)
Toughness

3 out of 10 - mostly level paths, or beach walking, but occasional stretches of hard going shingle

Features

The North Norfolk Coast path is a national long distance trail that, as its names suggests, follows the north Norfolk Coast.

The path follows a mixture of low cliffs, sand dunes, beaches, sea and fresh water marshes. It is great for birds and, in 1 place, seals. The beaches are very shallow and the sea goes out a long way, making the beaches very wide at low tide. There are barrier islands that can be explorered at low tide. There are a few inland sections that can be bypassed by bus, or at low tide, by following the coast. There are many small harbours, which are rivers at high tide, and mudflats at low tide.

There is a regular bus serice (1/2 hourly in summer) that follows the entire route, making day trips, or returning to your car very easy

Given the distance, this would be a good weekend trip from London

Nature and History
Links
Transport

The great advantage of this walk is the 'Coasthopper' bus service, 1/2 hourly in summer, which follows the entire route. It links with the rail network at Kings Lynn at the west end of the walk, and goes via Hunstanton (where the walk starts), and follows the coast to Sherringham and Cromer (both have stations) at the east end.

Kings Lynn : There are direct trains from London Kings Cross (1hr 35 mins). Inside the Network Railcard area. Connects with the Costhopper bus - about 40 mins to Hunstanton.

Sherringham and Cromer: London Liverpool Street to Norwich, then change on to the 'Bitten Line' (about 3 hours), outside the Network Railcard area.

Prices (summer 2009)

Coasthopper bus : Kings Lynn - Hunstanton - Wells - Sherringham - Cromer. A bus day pass from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton and all the way to Cromer is only £6. A combined bus and train day pass, including the Bitten Line train from Cromer to Norwich is only £7 , which is great value

Train: London to Kings Lynn : £29 single/day return, £38 period return (1/3 off with a Network card). No 'Advance' fares

Train: London to Cromer (3 hours, change at Norwich). From £8 single if booked in advance (at least the day before), otherwise £43 single or return. The Bitten Line (Sherrigham - Cromer - Norwich trains) has a good website

By car

About 2 to 3 hours from London. Nice places to stop are: Bury St Edmunds (historic town), Cockley Cley (NT, moated house), Blickling Hall (NT, large house and parkland, south of Crommer), and Kings Lynn (large cathedral)

Pubs and Places to Stay

All the below have B&B's, with the larger towns having the bigger choice. Without a car, Crommer, Sherringham or Hunstanton would be a good base. With one, Wells, Stiffkey or Blakeney.

From east to west

Hunstanton

Large seaside resort town. Sainsburys. Lots of everything

Holme next the sea

Small village. Pub (White Horse)

Thornham

Small village. Pubs (The Lifeboat Inn, Kings Head)

Brancaster, Brancaster Staithe, and Burnham Deepdale

Small villages strong out along a road. Pubs: The Jolly Sailors and The White Horse are recommended. The Ship Hotel has changed hands since we visited, and is now a much improved hotel / gastrobub.

Burnham Deepdale has The White Horse (also a hotel), while pricey, has a nice deck overlooking the marshes to the sea, and the Deepdale Backpackers

Burnham Overy Staithe

Small village, pub (The Hero), pretty quay, can walk out to Scolt Head island at low tide.

Holkham

Massive sand dune backed beach with naturist area, hamlet and large country house and deer park. The Pub (The Victoria, not recommended) is about 1k, inland from the coast, the Country House is about another km inland (via waymarked path through its deer park). Entry to Deer park is free.

Wells next the sea

Small seaside resort town. Chippies, YHA, many B&B. If staying, avoid the 2 seafront pubs, head inland to either of the pubs by the village green (Crown Hotel and Globe Inn). At the time of writing, the Crown Hotel had a good value 2 course for £10 deal on Sunday-Thursday.

Stiffkey

Hamlet, highly recommended pub (The Red Lion)

Morston

Hamlet, pub, picturesque NT Quay

Blakeney

Small village, pretty, recommended pub (Kings Arms), small shops

Cley next the sea

Small village, pretty, accomodation

Salthouse

Small village, pub

Weybourne

Small village, pub (Ship Inn)

Sherringham

Medium seaside resort town. Train Station. Steam Railways. Lots of everything

Cromer

Large seaside resort town. Train Station. Lots of everything

A large faded grandeur, but reasonably priced, seafront hotel is the Hotel de Paris

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Profile
Train Times

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: Hunstanton, Norfolk

Finish: NR27 9EB

Map Walk This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.
Amazon
OS Explorer 250 - Norfolk Coast West Buy from Amazon UK: [normal] [waterproof]
OS Explorer 251 - Norfolk Coast Central Buy from Amazon UK: [normal] [waterproof]
OS Explorer 252 - Norfolk Coast East Buy from Amazon UK: [normal] [waterproof]
OS Landranger 133 - North East Norfolk Buy from Amazon UK: [normal] [waterproof]
OS Landranger 132 - North West Norfolk Buy from Amazon UK: [normal] [waterproof]
Help Start walkingPrinting (large print)Train Times Bus TimesBBC Weather • Tide Times • GPS data  
Last Update

Introduction: Feb-14. Directions: Feb-14.

Tags Norfolk, Coast, Norfolk Coast Path, Naturist Beach
Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. [more]

Walk Directions  

These are suggested stages, you may walk further each day, or skip sections by bus. Using OS Explorer maps is recommended. You may have to get up very early or late to do certain sections at low tide. If doing day walks, you can also do then in reverse, or out of order.

  1. Day 1 : Hunstanton - Old Hunstanton - Holme next the sea - Brancaster

  2. 9.6 miles ( 15.5 km). About 4 hours
  3. Hunstanton (pubs, shops, coasthopper bus) is a large old fashioned sea side resort.
  4. The coastal path follows the cliff top. At low tide, using the beach is recommended as the cliffs themselves are very photogenic, with 2 distinct layers - brown and white (chalk). The cliff top path passes a lighthouse and several cafes.
  5. After Old Hunstanton, the official path detours inland, but walking along the beach past the sand dunes (a national nature reserve) is nicer.
  6. Then its briefly inland past mudflats to Thornham (small harbour, pub, coasthhopper bus).
  7. Here there is a choice
  8. The coast has been breached in front of the RSPB Titchwell to create salt water lagoons in the bird reserve. It is not clear at what state of the tide the beach is passable. At low tide: Head back out to the coast, past more mudflats to another wide beach, to the RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve. Follow the beach to Brancaster (turn inland by the golf club house, the only building on this section of beach). At high tide, or if the beach ahead is closed to protect ground nesting birds, reverse your route back inland through the RSPB reserve (free, path marked on the OS map) and follow the 'official' inland route to Brancaster
  9. The official route detours inland at this point, and rejoins the beach route at Brancaster.
  10. Brancaster and Brancaster Staithe are small villages (pub, coasthopper bus).
  11. Day 2 : Brancaster - Brancaster Statithe - Burnham Deepdale - Holkham - Wells next the Sea

  12. 12.1 miles ( 19.4 km). About 5 hours depending upon route - shorten with the coasthopper bus.
  13. The path follows the coastal path past mudflats to Burnham Deepdale (costhopper bus, pub, backpackers).
  14. Here there is a choice.
  15. Off the coast at this point is Scolt Head Island - a barrier island which is another national nature reserve. A more interesting (low tide only) route would be to follow the path shown on the OS map from Burhnam Deepdale out to Scolt Head Island, then follow its coastline, crossing 'Burnham Harbour' to Gun Hill and Holkham beach. This is possible at low tide, but you might have to paddle through shallow water. At the far end of Scolt Head (near Gun Hill as marked on OS maps), it is possible to cross to the mainland at low tide, though you might have to wade. Check first locally if it is still possible and safe if you take this route. Note that parts of Scolt Head are closed during breeding season.
  16. The official route goes inland, following the coastal mudflats to Burnham Overy Staithe (small harbour, pub), then follows the sea wall past mudflats out to Gun Hill and Holkham beach.
  17. Holkham beach is a wide beach backed by sand dunes, and regularly features in 'best UK beach' lists. The Queen sometimes walks her corgis here. It is also popular with naturists.
  18. There is a path inland to Holkham village (pub, coasthopper bus). South of the coast road is the Holkham Estate which has a large deer park with a waymarked nature trail around its lake (free). There is also an impressive country house to visit.
  19. Continue along Holkham beach, then turn inland along the sea wall to Wells-next-the-sea (bank, pub, shops, harbour, YHA, coasthopper bus).
  20. Day 3 : Wells next the Sea - Stiffkey - Blakeney - Cley next the sea

  21. 9.8 miles ( 15.8 km). About 4 hours
  22. After Wells, the path follows mudflats to Stiffkey (exceptional pub about 750m inland).
  23. By the campsite (marked on the OS map), there is a (low tide) path out on to the mudflats, where people have come very close to the seals that live over on Blakeney Point (NT).
  24. Continue along the mudflats to Morston Quay (National Trust, kiosk)
  25. Trips out to see seals leaves from Morsten Quay (high tide only, £8, with an hour on Blakeney Point). Note you will only see seals at certain times of the year - ask before buying your ticket!
  26. The NT advise you do not walk out to Blakeney Point Nature Reserve at low tide. However you get there, Blakeney Point is highly recommended, a mixture of sand dunes, and lots of birds. Once there, you can follow the coast, and rejoin the suggested route at Cley. The western tip of Blakeney Point is home to a large Seal coloney, and is closed April-August (land nesting birds breeding)
  27. Continue past salt and fresh water marshes to Blakeney and then Cley (quay, pub, coasthopper bus)
  28. Day 4 : Cley next the sea - Weybourne - Sherringham - Cromer - Overstrand - Cromer

  29. 13.9 miles ( 22.4 km). About 5 hours 15 mins (shorten by excluding the Overstrand loop)
  30. Continue out to the coast ('Cley Eye').
  31. At this point you could walk along the spit to Blakeney point, but its about 4km of shingle at high tide (easier along the beach at low tide)
  32. Otherwise follows the shingle sea wall. If you were to skip 1 section, it should be this one. After Weybourne, the shingle gives way to a cliff path, and the going is easier.
  33. After Sherringham (large seaside town, shops, banks, pubs), you have a choice
  34. The official path turns inland over Beacon Hill (100m, view)
  35. There has been a cliff fall here - if you follow the cliff top route, you may have to detour inland to West Runton. At low tide, you can follow the coast at low tide past the missing 2.5km section of cliff path. At high tide you can follow the ciff path to Beeston Bump, then inland to West Runton (there are campsites by the cliff edge, and no cliff paths due to cliff falls), then back to the coast. This 'high tide' route now needs a walk check!
  36. The official path ends at Cromer, a large Victorian sea side resort with pier and train station.
  37. Extending the Walk from Cromer to Mundesley

  38. You could continue on to Overstrand (pub, not on the coasthopper route) on the cliff path, and return along the beach path.
  39. Warning : If following the beach further, past Overstrand towards Mundesley, take care, as at high tide you can get cut off, and there are some groynes you have to climb over.
© Saturday Walkers Club All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. [more]
© Saturday Walkers Club www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only.