This summer we decided to go on a road trip along the North Norfolk Coast. We camped near Cromer, and used every day to explore more of our surroundings. We did this so we didn’t need to set up camp every day, but this Norfolk road trip itinerary could totally be done with a night in each place instead. Up to you.
We booked and planned our North Norfolk Coast road trip pretty last minute, and neither of us had ever been before. Turns out, we did pretty well in the planning!
If you’re planning on doing a road trip along the North Norfolk Coast any time soon, let me show you the best spots to include in your itinerary.
I’ll start from west to east…
North Norfolk Coast Road Trip
Here’s the map of the North Norfolk Coast itinerary – I’d recommend at least three days to do it in. As you can see, it’s not much driving, but you’ll want to take it slow, and maybe stop off at a few other spots along the way. Always good to keep things open when you’re hitting the road!
1. King’s Lynn
First stop, King’s Lynn.
When I was a teenager I watched a programme about some kids from King’s Lynn, and I don’t know why the place stuck in my head, but it did. I’ve always wanted to go for some reason, and see that iconic view of the boats in the harbour.
We actually ended up being a bit rushed as our ticket for Sandringham was timed, and it was the last slot of the day. Still though, we got the important things done, and had some food. It was a tough decision between the Soul Cafe, and Liquor & Loaded, but there was just something about the vibe there that seemed more exciting.
After that we had a mooch down to the river, and a little look at the shops, but had to rush back through the main town to make our time.
I feel there was a lot more to King’s Lynn than we had time for, but I liked what I saw and would definitely recommend you carve out a few hours for it on your Norfolk road trip. There were some fantastic buildings there.
I really wanted to go and visit the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. I just have this thing for Kate and Wills, and I thought it was where they lived. I had visions of just seeing them wander down the streets.
Turns out it’s just their country residence, but still fun to visit all the same.
So, instead we dutifully played our part as tourists. We paid our £7 to enter a building our tax money has been funding for years, and had a wander. So glamorous there. Funny to think of the royal family playing out on the lawn, and we tried to guess which rooms were theirs.
If you book early enough, you can look round inside Sandringham, but we didn’t, so our tickets were just for the gardens. We spent an hour admiring the building from the outside, and wandering the extensive grounds and gardens.
A little look in the shops, and we left.
Sandringham is such a lovely place to be around, especially on a nice, sunny day like we had. You can enter the larger park for free, but you need to pay admission to go in the gates.
If you’re visiting the north coast of Norfolk on a road trip, then I’d totally recommend fitting in a little visit here.
3. Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton Beaches
We were told that Hunstanton Beach is the best beach in Norfolk. I need further investigation of Norfolk beaches to confirm, but the sunset here was magical.
I’d recommend you book a night’s hotel in Hunstanton for your North Norfolk road trip. It’s definitely a great place for the evening, and this way you can enjoy your dinner and a drink at one of the seafront bars. You won’t get a sunset like this anywhere else in Norfolk, because of its unique westerly direction.
We saw people paddleboarding, sunbathing, boozing and just hanging out here, it was fab. Only thing though, the rubbish everywhere kinda ruined the vibe.
Hunstanton is for people who like their beaches a little more built up, while Old Hunstanton is for those who like them a bit wilder. They’re not far apart, so take your pick!
My top tip though, start at Old Hunstanton Beach and walk up to Hunstanton – that way you’ll get the best of both worlds, and end up at the bars and restaurants to carry on your evening.
4. Holkham Hall and Estate
Holkham Hall is one of the top things to see in Norfolk. It’s not far from Hunstanton, and on the way to your next stop Wells Next the Sea – so, makes for the perfect next stop on your Norfolk road trip itinerary.
Here you can enjoy a wildlife safari, special events year round, and a food and drink market too. There’s a cafe, a woodland experience, a park, cycle hire, and boat hire too. Enough for a whole day of fun at Holkham Hall!
The stunning coastal landscape, magnificent stately home, rolling parkland and a host of attractions and events, make Holkham a wonderful place to visit.– HOLKHAM HALL AND ESTATE
More road trips in England
If you like the sound of this Norfolk road trip, you should check out some of my other road trips around England.
5. Wells Next the Sea
Wells Next the Sea is a lovely little town, and everybody who visits Norfolk knows it. It’s a very popular spot. We parked up at the very expensive car park on the water front and wandered up the shopping streets.
You’ll find souvenir shops, hipster coffee shops and a few clothing and beauty shops too. Visit on a quiet day and it’s very picturesque. We picked up a sausage roll from Ground, after seeing their signs claiming to be the best – sadly, they definitely over hyped themselves there, and they were priiicey.
One of the most popular things to do in Wells Next the Sea is to get some fish and chips from French’s Fish and Chips shop, and then sit and eat them on the harbour wall. So many people doing this around lunch time.
We decided to walk along the coast instead, from the town out to see the sea at the other side. Took longer than we thought but I’m glad we didn’t drive as when we got there, the car park was totally full and people had to turn back.
The beach and sea were a British seaside haven – extensive and shallow, you could see for miles. The beach huts are very popular here, and apparently cost a fortune. We didn’t actually have any beach attire with us, and so after a look around and a drone flight, we decided to walk back again.
If you want to visit Wells Next the Sea on your Norfolk Coast road trip, I can recommend Stearman’s Yard car park – it’s much cheaper and has toilets too.
Wells Next the Sea would be another great place to find some accommodation for the night, especially if you’ve spent the day at Holkham Hall. I’d imagine it’d be really pretty here as the sun goes down.
6. Blakeney Reserve
Blakeney Reserve is known for its amazing seal population. Head out on a boat trip and they’re everywhere!
Make sure you book your seal trip beforehand though, as we tried the day before, and there was no chance. Despite being a Wednesday in September, they were fully booked up until the week after. We had to miss out on that excursion.
Just FYI, I was told that Beans was the best one to join.
We still decided to visit Blakeney, to see what all the fuss was about. We found another expensive car park on the water front (£4.50!), although I refused and we parked up at the Blakeney Hotel.
There was some great looking seafood food trucks here, but we headed to the White Horse pub. Lovely place and they let me plug in my phone to charge (#camplife).
TBH, there wasn’t really that much to do in Blakeney if you’re not doing a seal trip. Get that booked in as soon as you know you’re going. Prices start from around £13.
We hired bikes from Huff and Puff and cycled into Sheringham along the coast. The views were incredible.
Cycle or walk the coast road to see beaches like these…
If possible, I’d definitely recommend you hire these bikes before and book them in, so they can be delivered to your campsite. It was a bit of a faff getting there, although there was free parking all day so that was good.
Another top tip for you: when you do pick up your bikes, pay attention to the sheet he gives you with the routes on. We ended up lost in what was apparently some ladies back garden, and she wasn’t happy about it.
Eventually we made it to Sheringham though. Lovely little place.
There are so many great looking restaurants in Sheringham that I’d estimate we wandered round the whole place about 7 times as we were so indecisive about where to eat.
I went for a crab sandwich from Joyful West’s Shellfish Bar.
While Ben had what I’m pretty sure were THE best fish and chips I have EVER tasted. I’ve just spent 10 minutes trying to find it on Google Maps – it’s hiding. There was a massive queue outside, it was navy blue, sure it was called O!, and it was on the High Street near Fat Ted’s. Good luck.
Honestly, I feel I could go back just for them.
As for the rest of Sheringham there’s a lovely big beach, cute beach huts and a full high street to enjoy.
Cromer is usually a highlight on anyone’s list of things to do in North Norfolk. Cromer Pier and Pavilion are renowned in pier and pavilion circles, and we were lucky enough to time our trip just right to be sat at No1 Restaurant with a great view over it, just at sunset .
We didn’t actually realise how legendary the No1 Restaurant in Cromer was, until I put it on Instagram that is. The fish and chips in there were YUM, and we had crab starters too. Well, it was Eat Out to Help Out time, so we thought we’d make the most of it.
Other things to do in Cromer include shopping, eating ice cream, picking up some sweets on the pier, and just wandering along the coast. The waves were pretty ferocious here during our September visit, so there was no chance we were going in the sea.
9. Norfolk Broads
Ok, so the North Norfolk part of your road trip is done, now’s the time to hit the Norfolk Broads – the place to be!
Fun fact for you, there are more miles of canals in the Norfolk Broads than in Venice. Crazy hey?!
Here you can either hire a boat for the day and drive yourself, or, you can join one of the tours, like we did. I’d fully intended to hire a boat, but the weather wasn’t very good and neither of us knew what we were doing or where we were going.
As you’ll have been able to pick up in this Norfolk road trip itinerary – we weren’t very well prepared!
Still had a great time on board the Vintage Broadsman Belle of the Broads though. Even if they did make us sit outside in the rain. These multi-hour trips are a great way to see more of the broad, with some commentary and someone else taking on the responsibility of navigating and steering.
We paid £20 for three hours of chilling on the broads, looking into people’s windows, and learning more about life around here.
We finished off our North Norfolk road trip with a day looking around Norfolk’s capital, Norwich.
Norwich Cathedral is the big thing to see here, along with pretty Elm Hill, and Norwich Castle too. Unfortunately neither Norwich Castle nor the Cathedral were open when we were there, thanks to the virus. But both looked magnificent and you can still admire them from the outside.
We did, however, find an amazing Japanese restaurant open – Shiki.
I love sushi. I’ve eaten a lot of sushi, both in Asia, and England, and I can honestly say this was some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. Possibly, the, in England.
I went for spicy tuna for a starter and then yakisoba for a main, and it was just sensational. Such good fish, so tasty, and so well put together. I just loved it.
We sat outside as they were so busy and we hadn’t booked, but it meant we could watch Norwich on an evening so suited me just fine!
We stayed a night in Norwich (Premier Inn was only £30!) and so for breakfast we wandered over to the famous Norwich Market. I had a massive bacon bap for mine, and they had coffee for 70p!
Although, being the coffee snob I am I went to the roasters a few stalls up for £2.60. We sat on a bench in the centre and people watched as we ate.
There are plenty of great shops in Norwich to keep you busy and entertained, and you have to check out the super cool Castle Quarter too – you’ll love it!
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