Cley next to the Sea
Hiking the Norfolk Coast Path
The 135-kilometre (84 miles) Norfolk Coast Path runs from Hunstanton north of the county to Hopton-on-Sea towards Suffolk. A distance that a seasoned hiker covers in three days. For the lesser gods, like me, completing the route is more of a two-week affair. Or, to be more precise, it is more of a walk at two-week intervals. But that’s because I live nearby, in Cambridgeshire, to be exact.
The Norfolk Wilderness
Much of this long-distance walking route passes through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along the way, you will see picturesque seaside towns such as Hunstanton, Wells-next-the-Sea, Blakeney, Sheringham, Cromer and Mundesley, interspersed with extraordinary landscapes: tidal marshes, cliffs, wide sandy beaches, dunes, pine forests and endless skies.
Wildlife on the coast track
Bird watchers can indulge in mute swans, spoonbills, black-tailed godwits, marsh harrier, lapwing, black-headed gull and the teal. People more into furry types have a choice of seals, foxes and deers. Even during high season, you have the coast to yourself for most of the track.
While at the same time, there is a village, hotel, shops and a bus stop close by, roughly every ten to fifteen kilometres. Just in time to restock, have a drink, or take a ride to your hotel or back to your car.
Take your time along the way
- Blakeley has the largest seal colony in England. Take a boat trip to see the seals up close. It is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Check out the seahenges in Holme and King’s Lynn.
- Eat mussels at the Red Lion in Stiffkey (reservations recommended).
- Swim whilst terns dive for fish next to you.
- Find more places of interest along the route on this page.
Practical tips Norfolk coastal walk
Walking from hotel to hotel
If you’re going to walk from hotel to hotel, book your accommodation in advance. Just so you don’t find out that the selected hotel has no room at the end of a tiring day. In addition, walk-in prices are often higher than those you can book online.
If you take your car, park it at that day’s destination and take the bus back to your starting point. Then, there is no need to worry about missing the last bus.
Safety on the road
The path is safe. If you venture off the beaten track, you should pay attention to the tide. The difference between ebb and flow is significant. The water rises quickly in some areas. So check when it’s high tide. The tides are indicated along the route.
Cycle along the Norfolk coast
An alternative to the walk is the cycle route. Follow National Cycle Network route 1, Regional Route 30 and quiet lanes. Click on the interactive map to view the bike route.
Public transport on and to the Norfolk Coast
Public transport on the coast is well organised. Most coastal towns can be reached by bus. But there are fewer buses on weekends, evenings and in winter. After six o’clock in the evening, many places have no bus. Keep this in mind when planning your walk.
Bus services in Norfolk
- First Norfolk & Suffolk, services between Norwich, Fakenham and King’s LynnWeb:
- Lynx Buses, for buses between King’s Lynn, Hunstanton, Wells-next-the-Sea, Fakenham.
- Sanders Coaches shuttles between Wells, Cromer, Mundesley, North Walsham, and Great Yarmouth.
- For all bus services in Norfolk, see this website.
Interactive Map Norfolk Coast Path
Eating, drinking and sleeping on the Norfolk Coastal Path
In the high season, on bank holidays and most weekends, hotels on the coast are fully booked well ahead. In addition, prices in the hospitality industry in England are generally high. So if you want a choice, it is essential to book in time.
On the other hand, if you don’t know exactly how long you will walk per day, it might be helpful to book one or more hotels in the middle of the route and use them as a base. The hotels are slightly cheaper a little further away from the coast.
- Fakenham is a relatively central town for the first part of the route. Here you will find Sculthorpe Mill, a beautiful place. The hotel is housed in an old watermill from 1757 over the River Wensum. The interior is modern, with attention to the historic qualities of the building. In addition, the hotel has a unique country garden where you can dine together with the odd visiting deer. The à la carte breakfast is included in the room rate. Hungry guests can order the entire menu. Fresh croissants, salmon, scrambled eggs, full English and vegetarian English are on the menu.
- The Checkers inn is located in the seaside town of Thornham. Friendly staff, a beautiful property, nice clean rooms and good food.
- Next to one of Norfolk’s stunning beaches in the town of Holkham is the charming Hotel Victoria Inn, offering traditional English hospitality at its finest.
- Norwich is more central for the southern part of the route. The city has hundreds of accommodations.
What to bring on the walk?
I always keep my luggage as minimal as possible, as I hate walking with weight. That’s why I usually only take a small backpack.
- Small binoculars to view birds and other animals up close on the way.
- Camera or
- Phone for photos & google maps.
- Swimsuit in the summer to dip in the sea on the way.
- Bottle of water, in winter, a thermos with coffee or tea,
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, cap or cap.
- Good, sturdy walking shoes and flip-flops in your bag.
- Blisters can make the difference between a pleasant walk and hours of agony.
- Money to be able to drink, eat or take the bus on the way.
Let me know
Did you do the walk? Have you got tips? I love to hear from you. Send me a message via social media or drop me a mail.
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