Norfolk beaches regularly win Blue Flag awards for some of the beaches up and down the coast. Regardless of whether it has a blue flag, the beaches are beautifully sandy, some are washed with the tides, but all offer you a day out to remember. Bacton beach is right on your doorstep and comes and goes with the tides. Here’s some suggestions of nearby ones to explore.
The 2016 winners of a Blue Flag award are Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Sea Palling; all within an easy drive from us. This means they meet the highest international standard of water quality as well as having great facilities and being kept beautifully clean. They all have parking, cafes, amusements and toilet facilities within easy reach of the beach. Sea Palling is the only beach out of these that remain sandy when the tide is fully in. To look ahead at tide times and plan your holiday, then this fishing site enables you to check the tide times for dates in the future.
East Runton beach won a Seaside award in 2015 for their sandy and well maintained beaches. For beaches with lifeguards during the summer season, then click on the image to check out the great app from the RNLI, available on ipad, iphones and android phones, that not only tells you the nearest lifeguarded beach, but also gives real-time weather and tide information. Mundesley, Sea Palling, Cromer and Sheringham are all lifeguarded and an easy drive away.
Walcott beach is a lovely 15 to 20 minute walk along the seafront. Treat yourself to a Norfolk ice cream from Kingfisher cafe or perhaps some fish and chips from Kingfisher fish bar. The local shop has beach supplies if you need a bucket and spade!
Happisburgh, a little further down the coast has the famous lighthouse overlooking it. It suffers from coastal erosion but this means that the beach is beautiful and unspoilt. There’s a great car park and a modern WC. Walk inland a little way to find your refreshments at the occasional nearby house that serve the tourists during the main summer season.
Other nearby beaches include West and East Runton, Overstrand and Horsey beach is unique for seal watching. There are many more travelling north towards Wells and beyond or south to Great Yarmouth, including the fabulous beach of Gorleston.
For a great article with information on all these beaches and more, have a read of the Explore Norfolk site
Stay safe on the beach:
- Lifeguarded beaches – know your flags; red and yellow indicate the lifeguarded area but look all the different ones up here
- If you’re swimming on a beach with no lifeguard, then only swim when the tide is coming in. Check the tide times for up to a week ahead.
- Beach heights can vary enormously along parts of the east coast. Use the steps when provided and don’t get cut off by the tide on a beach that you cannot easily retreat from.
- Never under estimate how fit you need to be to swim in the sea. It’s far more challenging than swimming in a pool
- Be aware of rip currents. If you get caught in one:
- stay calm – don’t panic
- if you can stand, wade don’t swim
- keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float
- raise your hand and shout for help
- never try to swim directly against the rip or you’ll get exhausted
- swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore
- If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
- Blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out. Sometimes, the tide creates pools on the beach; use these instead for a fun but safe time!
- Bodyboards – always stay with your board as it will keep you above the water, even if you feel you are drifting out to sea. Your board will keep you afloat and make you much easier to spot if you need rescuing. Always wear the leash provided.
- If you plan to stay in the water for a while, body boarding for example, then invest in a wetsuit
- Be sun smart and always use SPF 30+ sun cream, reapplying every few hours and after being in the water.
- Wear a sunhat, sunglasses, cover up with a T shirt, particularly children, and create some shade with a beach tent, beach umbrella or windbreak.
- Lots more advice, beach games, true stories and more on this pdf called On The Beach produced by the RNLI.