Top 9 Coastal and Circular Walks In Norfolk
Coastal walks in Norfolk are never a disappointment. Whether you walk on many of the designated trails such as the Norfolk Coast Path, The Wherryman's Way, The Paston Way, or through some of the county’s extensive Nature Reserves, you’re guaranteed to experience natural beauty in abundance.
From stunning beaches with board walks to vast reclaimed salt marshes, curious fossilised cliff tops and with some of the best birdwatching in the UK, there’s always something to feast your eyes on. Exploring Norfolk by foot is by far the best way to get a feel for what the Norfolk coast is really all about so read on to discover our Haven-approved nominations of the best Norfolk coastal walks.
1. Gorleston Circular Walk
Walk length: 2 miles
This walk along the South Norfolk coastline keeps it short and sweet at just two miles on firm ground and as such, it is one of the best coastal walks in Norfolk for those with little legs or those in wheelchairs. The Gorleston circular beach walk starts out at the Pier Hotel, from where you will walk out to the Spur breakwater before turning around to follow the traditional promenade.
Make sure to look out to sea here in order to get an arresting view of Scroby Wind Farm, one of the first major offshore windfarms to be developed in the UK. When you get to the end of the promenade, simply turn back around and head back where you came from! If you wish to extend this walk to get a little more exercise then instead of turning back, head back along the clifftop path for some wonderful vistas.
2. Happisburgh Circular Walk
Walk length: 7 miles
The red and white striped lighthouse at Happisburgh is one of the most iconic sights along the Norfolk coast and makes a great beginning and end point for this 7-mile circular walk in Norfolk. Starting out from the car park close to the beach, the route follows the clifftop towards Walcott.
The town of Walcott itself has a fascinating history dating back hundreds of thousands of years thanks to a prehistoric hand axe that was found here and deemed to be of great significance in the archaeological world. From Walcott, the walk then meanders through rustic farmland before arriving back in Happisburgh, next to the unmissable lighthouse from which you started. If you want to experience an even better view, then why not book a tour and climb to the very top of the unique building?
3. Cromer and Felbrigg Circular Walk
Walk length: 6.5 miles
A little hillier than many bits of Norfolk, this six-and-a-half-mile walk takes in the National Trust property and grounds of Felbrigg Hall as well as woodland and coastal views. This walk starts in Cromer and takes you along the first stretch of the Weaver's Way. You then pass in front of the 17th-century Jacobean Felbrigg Hall found near the village of the same name, a Grade I National Trust property. The building is unaltered since the 17th-century and is noted for its Jacobean architecture and beautiful Georgian interior. Outside, in the estate’s grounds lies the famous walled garden, an orangery and several orchards.
Most of the grounds are part of Felbrigg Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This circular walk in Norfolk then heads out into the woodlands above the Hall. If you take a little detour at the Roman Camp you can sit on a bench and enjoy some of the wonderful coastal views before you head off back down towards Cromer.
4. Cromer Lighthouse Walk
Walk length: 5 miles
This circular walk in Norfolk is a fairly flat and pleasant stroll at just under five miles in length and it’s not too challenging in terms of length. However, there is an ascent from the beach to the cliff top which includes 236 steps, so please bear this in mind before setting out. Having said that, the views from the clifftop are stunning and are well worth the effort.
The walk will take you through beaches, woodland, heathland, and of course, to the famous Cromer Lighthouse. The majestic building that overlooks Cromer Golf Course and the lovely heathland only highlight the fabulous scenery found on this ramble.
5. Great Yarmouth to Caister-on-Sea Circular Walk
Walk length: 6 miles
This pleasant route integrates all the best things about walking in Norfolk: charming riverbanks, quaint countryside, and stunning coast. The walk begins at the White Swan pub on Great Yarmouth’s North Quay, but it’s best to leave the pints for after because there are six miles ahead.
The first leg begins with a stretch of gentle riverside walking to Bure Park. You will then plunge through the lovely Caister village to the only independent lifeboat station in the UK. Finally, you’ll head back via Great Yarmouth’s famous North Beach and lively seafront, after which you can finally pop into the pub for a well-deserved drink. This route is easily accessed from our Caister-on-Sea and Seashore Holiday Parks so there’s no excuse to leave it off your Norfolk itinerary.
6. Holkham Beach Walk
Walk length: 5 miles
If you mention the word Holkham to people familiar with Norfolk, you’ll get words like 'unspoilt' and 'idyllic' in response. There’s good reason for this – the North Norfolk coast has become loved for its wild nature and the idea of getting away from it all. You can experience this untamed beauty on one of the most iconic coastal walks in Norfolk at Holkham Beach.
This near five-mile route begins at the car park on Beach Road, heads through the Corsican Woods and passes through a wonderful range of terrains such as ancient pine woods and golden sand dunes, and farmed marshland before arriving at a striking freshwater lagoon called Salts Hole. After you’ve taken in the sights and perhaps dipped your feet in the water, head through the final stretch of rich pine forest to arrive at Holkham Beach. The sound of the waves will greet you at the conclusion of the trail which is signalled by the row of brightly coloured beach huts. Why not stop off at one of Holkham’s delightful cafes to refuel before your drive home?
7. Winterton-on-Sea Circular Walk
Walk length: 6 miles
This circular walk is the perfect introduction to the Norfolk Coast Path and is doable by young families, allowing you to do as much or as little as you like and still have a great experience. The gentle loop takes you inland from Winterton, supplying sublime coastal views, an ancient ruin to explore and some excellent wildlife. Make sure to keep an ear out as you go for the loud mating call of Norfolk’s protected species - the natterjack toad.
You’ll pass two churches en-route: the ruins of St Mary’s with an oak tree growing through the middle and the 14th-century Holy Trinity and All Saints at Winterton Village, used as a sea mark by sailors due to its tall tower. The walk finishes back in Winterton where we reckon you’ll love the local fish & chips on the beach with a lovely view out to sea.
8. Sheringham Circular Walk
Walk length: 6 miles
This Norfolk walk has a little bit of everything, from undulating clifftops to sweeping parkland with ancient oak woodland, tranquil marsh, fen, and grassland. Starting from the esplanade in Sheringham, this route takes full advantage of the many landscapes that surround the town.
The route heads between the clifftop path and Sheringham Park and crosses the Poppy Line Railway where you might even be lucky enough to glimpse a steam train chugging past. The area is particularly rich in wildlife and you can try to spot one of the 19 species of dragonfly in Beeston Common or three species of deer in Sheringham Park. Make sure to leave some time at the end of your walk for exploring the independent shops, cafes, and museums in the cracking seaside town of Sheringham.
9. Stiffkey to Wells-next-the-Sea
Walk length: 6 miles
Many species of birds, mudflats, salt marshes and hidden creeks await you on this delightful Norfolk walk. The salt marshes you will pass through are vast and you'll occasionally spot an owl flying low of the marshes, or egrets and other species in the creeks. The walk will take you to Wells-next-the-Sea with its working fishing harbour, beautiful town centre and fleet of fishing boats floating off-shore.
This six-mile walk is relatively easy going thanks to the flat Norfolk terrane. While it’s not difficult, it will still take around three hours so it’s important that you take provisions with you. Otherwise, you can grab something to eat at one of the many eateries in Wells-next-the-Sea at the halfway point, leaving you revitalised for the return journey. This is a very doable walk and for all abilities and if you’ve got children, this is the perfect opportunity to tire them out and give yourself a quiet night!