Why Hunstanton Beach is One of the Best Beaches in Norfolk
Hunstanton Beach on the North Norfolk coast is one of our favourite beaches in Norfolk. It’s truly unique with its interesting red and white striped cliff formations and strange green boulders. It’s also one of only 3 beaches in the UK on the east coast that actually faces west, which means you can catch a great sunset.
Hunstanton beach is also a beach of two halves. The north beach is very much a natural beach with a wealth of fossils waiting to be discovered by fossil hunters as the Hunstanton cliffs erode. There are rock pools in amongst the large moss-covered boulders and a shipwreck that looks quite at home after years of settling in. The south beach, on the other hand, is a modern seaside town beach complete with a pier (of sorts) and amusements.
The diversity that Hunstanton beach provides is one of the reasons it is a great beach for families. It’s also a Blue Flag Beach. For anyone who hasn’t come across the Blue Flag term before, it means that it has met certain safety, educational, environmental, safety, and accessibility criteria and achieved blue flag status.
Where is Hunstanton Beach?
Hunstanton is on the North Norfolk coast, about 45 miles northeast of the county capital, Norwich. The beach itself stretches along the seafront of Hunstanton town north towards Old Hunstanton, and is part of the UK coastal path.
Parking in Hunstanton
If you’re visiting for the day and arriving by car, there are a number of car parks in and around Hunstanton. We found a free parking spot right next to the green on Lighthouse Lane by the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse (now a self-catering holiday rental) but we were visiting in the winter when it wasn’t busy. It is very different in the summer months.
The largest car park is South Prom near the Hunstanton Pier on Beath Terrace Road. It costs £2 for 1 hour or £6 all day (£7 in peak season which runs from July 1st to August 31st).
Things to do in Hunstanton
The main draw for many visitors to Hunstanton is Hunstanton beach. As mentioned, it is very diverse with its distinct red and white cliffs and the huge green boulders. It’s a geological site of specific scientific interest where many fossils such as ammonites and sharks teeth are regularly found in the chalky layers of the cliffs. If your kids are into fossils and dinosaurs, make sure to check our nearby Roarr Dinosaur Adventure, one of the best dinosaur parks in the UK.
Kids will also have a great time looking in the rock pools in amongst the green boulders and running along the large stretches of sand at low tide and checking out the wreck of the steam trawler Sheraton. Make sure to check the Hunstanton tide times though because at high tide Hunstanton beach is almost completely underwater.
Hunstanton beach is a beach for all seasons and in fact, when everyone rushes to the beach during the summer at the first sign of sun, it gets so busy that it’s actually more pleasant in the winter but that’s a personal choice entirely. One of our favourite sayings is that ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’.
Good news for dog lovers. Hunstanton beach is one of the dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk (although check for dog restrictions between April 10th and October 31st).
Sea Life Centre Hunstanton
Sea Life Hunstanton is home to sea life from around the world such as sharks and sea turtles as well as Hunstanton sea life. It’s actually a sanctuary for seals from the local area.
If you’re local to the area, you can join in a monthly beach clean organised by the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and in return, you get free entry to the Sea Life centre.
They’re currently running a 40% discount on their flexi-tickets (valid until the end of 2020) at £10.77 (£9.57 for children). The Sea Life Centre is a Merlin attraction so in case you have a Merlin pass, you’ll get free entry. It’s a great option for an indoor activity in case the weather in Hunstanton is not the best.
There once used to be a most impressive Victorian pier in Hunstanton but it was blighted by fires and storms and now is just a modern building housing family entertainment. There’s a bowling alley and cafés and it another option for bad weather days.
Walk the Norfolk Coast path
Feeling like a walk? You might not want to do the entire 84 miles of the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Sea Palling, much of it running through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but you can do shorter circular walks.
If you’re visiting Hunstanton during the lavender season (usually end of June to end of July), make sure to pop into Norfolk Lavender, one of the best places to see lavender in the UK, as it’s only 2 miles out of Hunstanton.
Princess Theatre Hunstanton
The Princess Theatre Hunstanton is a small theatre but it has a varied programme of events throughout the year with some big names. Check their site for opening times and what’s on.
Looking for something to eat in Hunstanton? There are a few choices to suit all budgets.
Fishers of Hunstanton – There are lots of Hunstanton fish and chips restaurants, but this is by far the best. Our kids aren’t massively into Fish & Chips so they settled for a ridiculous foot-long sausage instead. This was a lovely and very budget-friendly meal after a long day of beach walks.
Berni Beans – a great place for a vintage afternoon tea.
The Lodge Hunstanton – gastropub-style food with a great children’s menu
The Neptune Inn – some of the best food in North Norfolk (but it isn’t very child-friendly). Save this one if you happen to manage a cheeky weekend away without the kids.
In terms of Hunstanton hotels, we can highly recommend Caley Hall Hotel Hunstanton as this is where we stayed. We had a family room for the 4 of us which, although small, was cosy. It was great having the restaurant on-site and the buffet breakfast (including full-English) was good. It was a little out of Hunstanton but only a few minutes by car from the centre.
Hotels in Hunstanton
Self-Catering in Hunstanton
B&Bs in Hunstanton
Searles – a family leisure resort with indoor and outdoor pools and lots of other facilities. Pitch your own tent or grab a cabin if you don’t fancy camping.
Wild Luxury – for something closer to nature but on the luxury end of the scale. There are 3 campsites to choose from for a spot of luxury glamping.
Nothing taking your fancy? Take a look at the Hunstanton Map on Booking.com below for more options.
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