It’s the most wonderful time of year, and there has never been a truer saying for when it comes to visiting the North Norfolk coast. The countryside feels magical as it glints with frost, the sea swirls under stunning sunsets and wildlife comes to life. With the crowds of holidaymakers long gone, you can often find yourself alone on big beaches, feeling as though you have the entire county to yourself.
Cosy Christmassy Villages in Norfolk
Head inland and you’ll find Norfolk’s finest town’s putting on a show for Christmas. Holt is known for its dazzling fairy lights hung along the gables, gutters and roofs, accompanied by impressive festive windows. The Georgian village of Burnham Market has a magical atmosphere in the lead up to Christmas with lights twinkling in the trees, shopping opportunities and pubs with cosy corners and roaring fires to escape the cold. There’s lots of Christmas markets in Norfolk too. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch a glimpse of the pink foot geese that fly over the village at this time of year.
Where to see spot wildlife in Norfolk
Norfolk’s wildlife really does shows off during the winter months, and emerges from the depths of forest and the sea to unveil natural spectaculars. Wrap up warm, pull on your wellies and take a walk through the countryside where you’ll find herds of deer, pheasants and more. Hundreds of deer roam the estate and woodlands of Holkham Hall, and it’s worth booking a wild deer safari.
Brave the cold and take to the coastline for an enjoyable winter walk with the dog or family. The shoreline, sea and sky are memorising. However, it’s the colony of seals and their pups with their cuteness that draw in visitors throughout the winter months. Thousands of them gather along the coast, and can most likely be spotted on walks at Horsey, Blakeney Point and Morston Quay. If you’d like a closer look, book a boat trip with Beans Boat Trips or Temple Seal Trips. For a weekend break, book a stay at the dog-friendly Gardener’s Cottage.
It’s easy to have your very own winter wildlife safari in Norfolk, but afterwards, thaw out at a traditional cosy pub complete with a warming fire, top grub and local booze. The Gunton Arms, King’s Head in Letheringsett and Red Lion in Stiffkey are popular choices. Despite being winter theses pubs do get busy so book ahead if you’re planning to eat.
A winter break in Wells-next-the-Sea
Unlike other traditional seaside towns which shut down during the winter, Wells-next-the-Sea continues to boom with its excellent selection of shops, pubs and restaurants.
Plan your visit to coincide with Wells Christmas Tide, which officially kicks off the town’s Christmas celebrations. Don’t worry if you missed it, there’s still plenty of festive fun to be had. Starting with food. Yes, if there’s one thing that Wells does well it’s delicious food.
Start your day with a walk along the sandy beach with its colourful huts and pine forest back drop. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, there’s a footpath that runs alongside the beach through the forest. Once you’ve worked up an appetite get cosy at one of the town’s pubs. The Golden Fleece on the Quayside and The Globe Inn at The Buttlands are well worth a visit – even on a cold rainy day it’s best to book a table in advance.
For something a little different hop aboard the Albatros, a former Dutch cargo ship moored on The Quay; their pancakes are high recommend!
There’s of course plenty of opportunities for fish & chips but it it’s a taste of the sea you fancy, then stop buy one of the many fish stalls to pick up fresh catch. Local produce changes with the season, and in winter the sea comes into its own. Hake, clams, oysters, lobster and mussels are at their best in December and January. Just imagine warming up with a bowl of steaming garlic mussels and dunking fresh crusty bread into the creamy broth, yum! For dinner views over looking the Quay, book a table at Sands Restaurant.
Whether you’re visiting for a day, weekend or longer, North Norfolk is the perfect place to explore this winter.