The Best Beaches In Norfolk For Families: Our Top 5 Favourites

We absolutely love the beaches on the north Norfolk coast. The huge stretches of sand are just perfect for families and great to visit at any time of the year. They are among some of the best beaches in the UK.

I grew up in Suffolk and spent a lot of time in Norfolk so have visited many of the beaches and since having kids, we have been seeking out the best beaches in Norfolk for families.

There are lots of great beaches but these our our favourite family-friendly beaches in Norfolk.

Although they’re not all on our list, we should point out that three beaches in Norfolk have won a Blue Flag status: Cromer, Sheringham and West Runton. This means that they are among the cleanest and safest beaches in the country.

We visited these family-friendly Norfolk beaches most recently in December during a short break so don’t let the grey skies in the photos put you off! We absolutely loved our racing beach walks each morning.

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Family on family-friendly beach in Norfolk looking at colourful beach huts at Well-next-the-Sea.

Where is Norfolk?

Norfolk is located in the East of England just above the county of Suffolk which is the most easterly point in the UK.

The best beaches in Norfolk are not that easily accessible by public transport, with the exception of Cromer, West Runton and Sheringham which you can reach by train.

We recommend having a car if you want to explore our recommendations for the best Norfolk beaches for families.

Better still, why not find a lovely base for yourself on the coast for a long weekend or a week to really make the most of this beautiful area?

Need more ideas for things to do and places to see in Norfolk? Read our guide on the best family days out in Norfolk.

The best beaches in Norfolk

We know that everyone’s tastes are different and what one person may look for in a beach may not be what someone else looks for.

Some like long stretches of sand. Others like wild and windswept beaches. Families with small kids may like beaches with rockpools and lots of entertainment. I think we like all beaches!

If you have a dog, there are some great dog friendly beaches in Norfolk.

Whatever you look for in a beach, you’ll find some fantastic options here to suit your taste.

The beaches we have picked as the best are all very close to each other right up on the north Norfolk coast. If you base yourself up there, you can meander along the coast and see a few or all of them.

1. Holkham Beach

Our absolute favourite beach on the north Norfolk coast is Holkham Beach. It is by far one of the most beautiful beaches in Norfolk. There is sand as far as the eye can see, particularly when the tide is out.

Because of the gently sloping beach with miles of sand, the water is very calm and great for kids.

Holkham is a wild beach with no facilities so come prepared. The nearest facilities would be The Lookout cafe and the closest shops would be at Holkham Village which is part of the Holkham Hall & Estate.

One of our favourite Norfolk pubs is The Victoria at the entrance to Holkham Hall. This is also a fantastic place to base yourself if you are staying on the north Norfolk coast for a few days.

During the year there are lots of lovely events held at Holkham Hall and is one of the best places to visit in Norfolk at Christmas.

Holkham beach is located within the Holkham National Nature Reserve where you will find a huge variety of flora and fauna. The beach is lined with tall pines.

Holkham is perhaps one of the most dog-friendly beaches. They are welcome year round although during nesting season they must be kept on a lead.

Parking: access to the car park is down a long track opposite the Victoria Inn on the Holkham Hall Estate.

Kids drawing in the sand on a large sandy beach at Holkham - one of the best beaches in Norfolk for families.

2. Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea is the next beach along from Holkham . There is a little more going on here as the beach is next to the small fishing town.

There are huge stretches of sand and lots and lots of colourful beach huts.

If you love beach walks, you can walk all the way along to Holkham beach where you can stop off for a drink or a bite to eat at The Lookout and then head back along the footpath through the pines.

Not far from here is Blakeney Point which is one of the best places in the UK to see grey seals.

Dogs are welcome on the west end of the beach.

There is a large pay and display car park next to the beach where you can find toilets and there are lots of places to eat in town.

Colourful beach huts on Wells-next-the-Sea beach on the north Norfolk coast.

3. Hunstanton Beach

Hunstanton is famous for its striking red and white stripey cliffs and is a geological site of specific scientific interest.

If you look carefully, you may see fossils such as ammonites and sharks teeth in the chalky layers of the cliffs.

It’s a great place for dinosaur lovers to visit.

There are warning signs but we need to advise that you stay away from the base of the cliffs while looking because the cliffs are unstable and there could be a rockfall.

There’s also a shipwreck. You’ll need to time your visit to avoid high tide as the water comes very close to the cliff, covering much of the beach.

The other striking thing about Hunstanton Beach are the large, seaweed covered boulders strewn along the beach. In between some of them you will find rockpools.

Dogs are allowed but there are some restrictions during the summer months.

There are a couple of large car parks near the pier and another towards Old Hunstanton.

Child walking beside a shipwreck with red and white cliffs in the background at Hunstanton Beach on the North Norfolk coast.

4. Brancaster Beach

Brancaster beach is a National Trust run beach and part of the Brancaster Estate.

The large stretches of sand at Brancaster are backed with sand dunes that give way to marsh land. Kids will love exploring the dunes. There’s even an old war bunker there

Beyond that is RSPB Titchwell Marsh, an area of wild saltmarsh teeming with birdlife.

In the winter months the beach is wild and windswept and great for long winter walks. You may even have the beach to yourself.

During the summer months it’s a little more busy but there is still plenty of room for everyone.

Dogs are welcome and it’s one of the best beaches on the north Norfolk coast for dog walking. Just note that there are fenced off areas in the summer months. See here for more info.

There’s a large pay and display car park and a refreshment kiosk opposite the car park.

Sand dunes at Brancaster Beach in North Norfolk

Sand dunes at Brancaster Beach in North Norfolk

5. Cromer Beach

If you’re looking for more of a traditional British seaside resort beach then Cromer is one of the best beaches in Norfolk for you.

As well as the sandy beaches (which have wona Blue Flag award), there is lots going on at The Pier.

Cromer is a great place to base yourself for exploring the beaches further south – Sea Palling and Mundesley are a couple of our favourites.

Dogs are welcome on Cromer Beach until the summer months (1st May to 30th September) when they are banned either side of the pier.

Our kids also love Great Yarmouth (and Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach).

Cromer beach and pier in North Norfolk

Cromer beach and pier in North Norfolk

Places to visit on the north Norfolk coast with kids

There are so many things to see and do in North Norfolk besides the beautiful beaches. Here are just a few ideas for you.

  • If you are staying on the Norfolk coast, you need to take a day to explore Norwich, the county capital of Norfolk. There are lots of lovely shops and restaurants on The Lanes and Norwich Castle and Museum of Norwich are well worth a visit.
  • Burnham Market – a beautifully quaint village with antique shops and galleries and The lovely Hoste Hotel.
  • Sandringham Estate – much-loved country estate of Her Majesty, The Queen. You can buy tickets to explore the royal house and gardens. There is a cafe and gift shop.
  • SeaLife in Hunstanton – learn about the local marine life.
  • Holkham Hall Estate – Holkham Hall is a member of a group of 10 of the most magnificent palaces or castles in England. It is quite simply stunning. Spend some time visiting the house and grounds and get a bite to eat or stay at the Victoria Inn.
  • Blickling Estate – there’s always so much going on at this beautiful National Trust property.  Blickling Estate is particularly worth visiting close to Christmas to see the Christmas lights. It’s also home to Classic Ibiza. This is an absolutely brilliant night, bringing classic Ibiza tunes to life with an orchestra and light show.
  • Take a boat tour to see the seals at Blakeney Point.
  • Castle Rising – one of the largest and best-preserved keeps in England.
  • The Norfolk Broads – not technically the north Norfolk coast but so good, it’s worth a mention! If you have time, why not look into hiring a boat and exploring the Norfolk Broads? One of our favourite things to do is to hire a boat for a day or two and meander slowly along the waterways in search of the perfect Norfolk Broads pub lunch. Such a relaxing way to spend a day or two.

We hope you enjoy these beach in Norfolk for kids. Let us know if you have any questions!