An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Ever wondered why you sleep so well after a day at the beach?
Why a seaside holiday leaves you feeling relaxed, alert and
energised? A study by the European Centre for Environment
and Human Health has finally identified the psychological benefits
of being by the sea. With the sound of the waves altering wave
patterns in our brains and the sea air’s healthy negative ions
accelerating our ability to absorb oxygen, it really does make us
feel better. North Norfolk, with its breathtakingly beautiful
coastline, could therefore be just the pick me up you need.
Looking for some soft sand with little ones in tow? Then head for Wells-next-the-sea. Beach huts on stilts can be hired for the day and the beachside cafe offers meal deals where children choose five ‘beach bites’ and get a free bucket to carry them in. If getting away from civilisation appeals, treat yourself to a day on Scolt Head; the tranquillity of island life is only a ferry ride away. Or maybe a sunset over the ocean is your idea of paradise? Old Hunstanton beach will not disappoint – spend an evening at The Ancient Mariner pub watching the sun go down over shimmering waters from the comfort of their decked veranda.
Perhaps you prefer more active seaside pursuits. If so get on the water and partake in Brancaster Staithe’s bustling sailing community. Its resident sailing club have open days, events and race weeks throughout the summer. Need lessons? Sail Craft Sea School have been established for 30 years and provide a whole range of courses to suit all needs. Or walk the 2.4 miles up to Barrow Common to a vantage point that looks out over an ever evolving area of sand, salt marshes and lagoons shaped daily by the tide. It’s a gruelling climb but starts and ends at The Jolly Sailors; a fine Norfolk pub that has its own five barrel brewery. I recommend a pint of Sharpie to put some colour back in your cheeks.
Old school seaside entertainment can still be found at Cromer’s end of the pier summer show, and on East beach you can watch authentic crabbing boats in operation. If you fancy taking a catch home with you, visit The Fish Shed in Brancaster for a wide variety of fish and shellfish caught just hours before. If you want a lasting memento of your day by the sea though, be sure to stop off at Bringing the Outside In in Holkham. A quirky, unique gift shop selling an inspiring collection of coastal artefacts for the home; you’ll be sure to find something that captures the true spirit of the North Norfolk coast.
The Jolly Sailors 01485 210314
The Ancient Mariner 01485 534411
Bringing the Outside In 01328 713093
The Fish Shed 01485 210532
Brancaster Sailing School 07584 374455
Sail Craft Sea School 01485 210236
Cromer Pier Theatre 01263 512495
Scolt Head Island Ferry 07776 302413
Wells Beach Cafe 01328 713055
Wells Hire a Beach Hut 01328 710439
This article was written for Norfolk on my Mind magazine's April 2013 issue. For more information visit www.norfolkonmymind.co.uk