Stiffkey, Blakeney, Wells & Cley are the perfect location to explore and enjoy the North Norfolk Coast, everything you need to make for a really enjoyable holiday is here in close proximity. Boat trips, seal sanctury, mackerel fishing, lovely beaches with golden sand, high standard but relaxed local pubs offering excellent food, charming market towns for shopping, coastal paths, cycling, fine country houses with beautiful deer parks, and the BBC Nature Watch Reserve, the list goes on.
Click On The Map Below To Pinpoint The Nearby Attractions Offered By The North Norfolk Coast.
STIFFKEY– There are various little beaches nearby. A suggestion is to walk (or drive – quite a long walk for children) out of Stiffkey towards Morston (east). Before leaving Stiffkey (just after the church on your right) there is a rough track on the left down to the marshes. Drive or walk down the track and then follow the path straight out towards Blakeney Harbour. You will reach a lovely area of shallow creeks and sandy beach which is great for young children.
However, this track can get very rutted and too rough for some cars after a lot of rain. An alternative route to the same beach area is via the Greenway (left along the coast road until you are nearly out of Stiffkey and after a row of pretty cottages set back from the road, Greenway is on the right). This lane leads past Stiffkey campsite. When you reach the edge of the lane take the track to the right along the edge of the march (this is almost always drivable during the summer) and follow it until you reach the track mentioned above to your right. Park here and walk straight out towards the harbour, over some bridges until you reach a lovely sandy area with creeks and wonderful views over the harbour.
To reach Stiffkey Freshes it is best to drive east along the coast road towards Morston and park near a farm building on your left on a bend at the top of a rise. Walk down to a white bridge with a footpath on the left which follows the edge of a stream. This footpath takes you on top of the sea wall. From here follow it to the right until you reach an area where you either follow a grass path all the way to Morston or cross the creek (at low tide) onto a wonderful little sandy beach. Be warned – you can only cross this creek at low tide so please read your tide table before you go (if you need any assistance with tides, etc, please don’t hesitate to phone the Wards). From the bridge to the beach is about a 10/15 minute walk.
Dogs can be walked off the lead except near nesting birds (areas are well marked and roped off).
WELLS ON SEA BEACH – Similar to Holkham with pine woods and a flat sand beach. Also prettily painted beach huts (privately owned) lining the border of beach and woods, which photograph well in low light.
This beach is busier in the summer than Holkham but a relatively short walk to the west will get you clear of the crowds. Parking is at the end of the road signed to the beach. It is then a short walk up and over wooden steps and walkway to the sandy beach or across the road to a shingle beach close to the lifeboat house.
Be aware of the marked channel when swimming – the current is extremely strong with the incoming and outgoing tides and the channel is used extensively by fishing and large charter vessels as well as private yachts.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach area (near the car park) but can be walked along a track to the west at the back of the woods and then onto the beach away from the beach hut and busy area.
HOLKHAM BEACH– Our favourite beach in the area – a vast sandy bay with dunes and pine woods. Perfect for children and generally uncrowded. On windy days you always find a sheltered spot in the dunes and when the weather is cold and blustery there are long walks through the woods and plenty of trees to climb, etc. Parking is on Lady Anne’s Drive, a privately owned driveway almost to the beach and a slatted walkway through to the beach. It is therefore possible to get pushchairs and wheelchairs to the beach without much difficulty.
There is endless scope for walking (hard sand at low tide) to Scolt Head Island to the west and Wells beach to the east – wonderful for dogs and horse riding! Swimming at high tide is perfect for children but very shallow due to the huge expanse of flat sand which is probably no more than knee deep. However, for deeper swimming you need to wait until low tide and then walk out to the edge of the sea where there is gently sloping sand into deeper water (WARNING – at low tide this is a long walk from the car park for young children, but it’s perfectly possible to push 3-wheel buggies over the sand to the sea).
Dogs can be walked off the lead once on the beach, or in the woods.
CLEY/SALTHOUSE / WEYBOURNE – Shingle beach, steeply sloping in places. Wonderful walking on a wild, windy day! Popular for beach fishing and if you strike lucky you might see traditional Norfolk Crab Boats being pulled up the shingle banks by tractors on Weybourne beach. Swimmers should be very wary of steep sloping edge, strong undercurrents and breaking waves. Sand is at low tide only so walking is often hard for young children on deep shingle. Parking in each case is right at the beach.
A good hard walk is from Cley west towards Blakeney Harbour, stopping for a breather at the Watch House (a little house on the top of the shingle bank seen easily if you climb the bank every so often) and walking all the way to Blakeney Point and the seals. One way will take at least 2 hours. Return the same route. The walk can be done at any stage of the tide but is much easier at low tide when some sand is exposed.
Dogs can be walked off the lead until you near the Watch House (summer only) due to nesting birds.
SCOLT HEAD ISLAND – This is a wonderfully unspoilt area similar to Blakeney Point. It can be reached at low tide by walking from Burnham Overy Staithe quay across the creek, over the marsh, across the sand area that is the harbour area at high tide and to the island. Please be aware that you must walk back before the tide flows.
BLAKENEY POINT – A 3 mile ‘finger’ of land sticking out towards the west starting at Cley beach. It is a famous National Trust bird sanctuary with an all year round seal colony. There is a vast area to explore with many large sand dunes. Walking on the Point is very restricted during summer months if you have a dog due to nesting birds (on the lead only).
Blakeney Point can be reached by walking from Cley Beach as described above.
Blakeney Point is most easily reached by one of the many ferries that leave several times each tide from Morston Quay during the summer and once a tide in Spring and Autumn. Leaflets are in the information box in the cottage but they run largely identical trips at the same cost. Although some operators take bookings from Blakeney all the boats now leave from Morston Quay. You will need to take waterproof jackets if you have them (the harbour can get quite rough) and plenty of warm clothing because it is always much cooler on the water than inland. The marsh walk to the boats (only a matter of a couple of minutes) can get quite muddy after rain or high tides so it might be an idea to take wellies with you in case. If you book with Temple ferries from the Anchor Inn at Morston and collect your tickets in good time you may be able to borrow waterproof jackets from the booking office in the pub. Most ferry operators do not provide life jackets unless in emergencies, so if you have young children or would feel happier in a life jacket please let us know and we will drop them in to you (no charge).
If you want to spend the day on Blakeney Point it’s best to go out on a seal trip on a morning tide (make sure the seal trip is landing on the Point as well as viewing the seals) – tell the ferry skipper that you are not planning to return by ferry and then you can spend the day exploring the sand dunes and bird sanctuary before walking back to Morston Quay at low tide before the evening tide flows. However, it is very important that you get local advice about tide times and routes to follow back across the marshes – so please feel free to phone the Wards and we will give you all the advice we can. You will be amazed how the visitors disappear at low tide and even in high summer you may have the place almost to yourself!