Where to find it
Cromer is fairly large in size compared to many Norfolk beach resorts and is easy to get to either on the A148 from King’s Lynn or the A140 from Norwich. West beach has blue badge parking on the promenade with wonderful sea views. There are also beach huts nearby (waiting list to buy but the brick built ones, owned by the Council, are usually available for hire), toilets, a public shower and a first aid point. There is a train that travels between the cliff top car park and the pier.

What to expect
Like other Norfolk beach resorts (Gorleston-on-Sea, Sheringham) Cromer has kept its Victorian roots well. There’s a feeling of stepping back in time to a slower pace of life and simpler living here. Although this town has expanded rapidly over the last 50 years, it’s not sacrificed its charm in doing so. There’s a wonderful traditional pier with amusements, restaurant and Pavilion theatre that runs an end of pier summer and Christmas show. The promenade has gardens, a putting green and small boating lake. The town itself is a charming place divided into little streets and alleyways with interesting shops and quality restaurants; a most pleasant stroll. A strong community, they have a busy carnival week with various beach activities including a sandcastle competition and treasure hunt. On the beach or in the water is where you’ll find me though.

West Beach
West beach to the left of the pier is a mix of sand and stone and usually the quieter of the two. Head further along towards East Runton and it’ll be fairly deserted. At low tide rock pools form which delight children of all ages. Swimming is best at low tide too as when the tide goes out past the stones an expanse of hand sand is exposed so less painful under foot. Cromer is a good place for swimming and surfing because of the consistency and shelter the pier provides. Swimming directly under and around the first breaker of the pier (particularly to the east) though is not advised as the differing beach level either side create a strong rip tide – there is information on this displayed on large notice boards.

East Beach
My favourite of the two, East beach has a magical old school vibe. It nestles under the historic town and looking back you can see an array of B&BS that date back to the 1800s as well as the imposing Hotel de Paris. The beach stretches eastwards below the cliffs that rise to an impressive 62 metres; excellent views from the cliff top car park over the beach and pier can be seen from here.

Cromer is of course famous for its crabs, renowned for their quality and taste, and a decline in the fishing industry in general has not stopped traditional fishing boats launching from the beach each day during the summer season to tend to hundreds of crab pots. The crab boats are kept on the beach and pulled in and out of the water by rusty old tractors which, for me just adds to the authentic feel. Local fishermen will sometimes offer to take sea trips for tourists but failing this do have a go at crabbing off the side of the pier – great fun for young and old alike.

Things to do
Cromer church is worth a visit; it has the tallest tower in Norfolk not to mention 172 steps! It’s worth the climb though for the stunning views of the surrounding area. You can also take a walk along the cliff top to the lighthouse, or closer to home are two museums: the Henry Blogg Lifeboat museum and the Cromer town museum which gives an excellent account of life in a Victorian fishermen’s village in the 1800s. The Geology gallery has the oldest and most complete elephant fossil from the ice age found in West Runton.

I fail to see how anyone could not be delighted with a day out or holiday in Cromer. Tourists return again and again and locals frequently visit. This place is just so quintessentially traditional English that it delights all who stop by. Whether you come to surf and swim, watch a sunset (with a North facing coast it’s the only pier to be able to watch a sunset and sunrise over the sea) or park up on the cliff and observe the fishermen out at work, you’ll find something addictive about Cromer that will put a smile on your face and retain a warm spot in your heart.

The details
Dogs are banned from the main part of the beach from 1 May to 30 September.
The end of the pier summer show runs until mid September.
Lifeguards patrol the beach from spring bank holiday to the end of the school summer break.
Cromer Carnival always takes place in August in the week which includes the third Wednesday: www.cromercarnival.co.uk 

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