Norfolk Coast Path: Hunstanton to Cromer

From one of England’s largest seal colonies to rare migratory birds, resident waders and spectacular flights of pink-footed geese, the North Norfolk Coast is a haven for wildlife. This four-day trek explores the coastal creeks, salt marshes and huge sandy beaches that make up this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

On this walk you’ll experience a diverse range of landscapes ranging from swathes of golden sand and salt marshes, to reedbeds, water meadows and the nature reserves which are home to a vast array of wildlife. You’ll walk through pretty flint villages and Victorian seaside towns and have the chance to spot dozens of rare birds and walk along part of the “Deep History Coast”.

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, North Norfolk is a naturalists’ paradise; an unspoiled stretch of coastline hosting a series of nature reserves amid wonderfully wild coastal landscapes. Best visited during the lengthening days of spring or early summer, when passage migrants return to these shores, a dawn walk over the lonely saltings or an evening stroll among the reedbeds will bring you stunning views of all manner of rarities.  However, this is a fantastic path to walk at any time of year.

Tour Overview

Distance

74

Days

4

Grade

Gentle

Theme

Coastal / Food & Drink

Landscape Type

By Water

Norfolk Coast Path: Hunstanton to Cromer

Tour Details

This itinerary has been created with Explore Norfolk UK, who specialise in self-guided walking holidays in Norfolk. Based locally in Swaffham, Explore Norfolk UK will tailor their itineraries to individual needs, book accommodation and arrange the luggage transfers. They also provide the relevant map and guidebook and a very detailed itinerary. If bus transfer is required, a bus timetable will also be included plus any other relevant information.

Itinerary

Starting in Hunstanton, this four-day itinerary follows the coast through nature reserves at Holme, Brancaster, Holkham, Blakeney and Cley, where a huge variety of rare birds and wildlife can be spotted. The low-lying cliffs at the eastern end of the trail offer expansive sea views out over the wash and along the coast in both directions.

Day 1 - From Hunstanton to Burnham Deepdale

The path takes you onto Holme Dunes Nature Reserve managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust which is a very important reserve for migrating birds. Continue on through pine woods to the pretty village of Thornham – whose pubs offer a tempting lunch stop before continuing east to Brancaster and along a boardwalk through the reedbeds to emerge at the small working harbour at Brancaster Staithe where you may see the fishermen grading mussels in the purification pools.  18.5 km/11.5 miles  16.8 km / 10.5 miles

Day 2 - Brancaster Staithe to Wells-Next-the-Sea

Walk out of the door and onto the path to continue your walk today. You’ll be walking between saltmarshes and water meadows along the sea wall surrounded by creeks and meadows (usually with diverse wildlife to enjoy). After Burnham Overy Staithe, a gap in the sand dunes reveals a huge swathe of golden sand which you follow all the way to Holkham beach – one of the best-loved beaches in Norfolk. Walk along the beach or among the dappled shade of the pine forest until you reach the mouth of the estuary leading to the working fishing port of Wells-next-the-Sea.   17.7 km/11 miles

Day 3 - Wells-Next-the-Sea to Blakeney or Cley

After a pleasant night in one of Wells’ many fine inns, head out of town and onto the quiet paths beyond – sometimes walking at the same level as the marshes, other times up above. In the far distance you’ll spot the iconic old Lifeboat House on Blakeney Point which is managed by the National Trust.  Continue past Morston Quay to arrive at the pretty harbour town of Blakeney – or press on to the village of Cley to explore the town before catching the bus back to your accommodation in Blakeney. 11.2 km/7 miles or 16 km/10 miles

Day 4 - Blakeney or Cley to Cromer

On your final day’s walk, the landscapes change from salt marshes and beaches to shingle and cliffs. Cley beach is right on the edge of one of the best birdwatching sites in the UK: the wonderful Cley Marshes with its striking visitor centre. Beyond the shingle, the path climbs up on to the low-lying cliffs towards Sheringham with one or two steep inclines. After Sheringham you climb to the highest point in Norfolk: Beeston Bump. From here, you can see the church and pier at Cromer in the distance. Cromer Pier is the finishing point.  24.1 km/15 miles

 

Accommodation

All the pubs on this itinerary provide locally sourced food and drink and offer weary walkers a warm welcome. The Lodge Inn, Old Hunstanton is a Cask Marque pub in the quiet village of Old Hunstanton.  It started its life as a farm house in 1542 and some very prominent Norfolk families have owned it over the years. Converted into a pub with rooms in 1912, it’s a short 5-10 minute walk to the Norfolk Coast Path

The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe is right on the Norfolk Coast Path and has incredible views over the salt marshes and on a sunny evening, the sunsets are truly spectacular.

The Globe at Wells-next-the-Sea is in the middle of the working fishing town of Wells-next-the-Sea overlooking a pretty Georgian square. The recently refurbished White Horse, Blakeney is perfectly situated above the picturesque quayside.

With many original Victorian features, the Red Lion, Cromer has wonderful views overlooking the sea and the iconic Pier.

Travel

By Road

Hunstanton is situated on the west coast of Norfolk about 30 minutes north of King’s Lynn on the A149. Cromer is situated on the North Norfolk Coast about 45 minutes north of Norwich on the A140/A149.

If you are driving to the start of your accommodation, please speak to us and we will check with the owners as to whether they have room or not for you to park. If not, we will check for alternative places.

 

By Rail

To/from Hunstanton: The nearest train station to Hunstanton is King’s Lynn and served by the Great Northern network and has direct lines into and out of London Kings Cross.

To/from Cromer: Cromer has a railway station served by the Abellio Greater Anglia network. Trains run to and from Norwich. To reach London you would need to change at Norwich for onward travel.

You can book your tickets in advance at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

By Air

The airports closest to Hunstanton and Cromer are Norwich International Airport and London Stansted Airport.

By Ferry

Possible ferry ports are Calais to Dover and then drive to King’s Lynn in Norfolk (approx. 3.5hrs)

https://www.directferries.co.uk/dover_calais_ferry.htm or from the Port of Rotterdam to Harwich and drive to King’s Lynn (approx. 2 hrs)  https://www.directferries.co.uk/ferries_from_england_to_holland.htm

By Bus

The local bus service runs from King’s Lynn to Wells serviced by Lynx No 36 http://www.lynxbus.co.uk/bus-times-fares/ and then from Wells to Cromer on CH4 https://www.sanderscoaches.com/copy-of-5-north-walsham—holt .
Norfolk Green bus service No 10. And 11 also run from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton. http://www.norfolkgreen.co.uk/services.  These buses stop at all the villages along the Norfolk Coast Path and are very easy to use

Advice

The Norfolk Coast Path is graded as easy to moderate and can be walked any time of year. If rest days are required, this can be arranged. The detailed itinerary has information on places to eat in the day and in the evening as well as shops where food can be brought.  Taxi numbers are also included.

Food & Drink

Cromer crab, Brancaster mussels (depending on season) and local seafood is a speciality on the Norfolk coast as well as the local ales brewed using the barley grown around the county. Most of the pubs along this stretch of coastline offer excellent food – with some truly outstanding eateries in Brancaster Staithe and Wells.

Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

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