Local Guide

An Introduction to Hemsby

Whichever of our chalets you choose, you are only a few moments stroll from award winning beaches. Whether you are just after a quiet break or a family holiday, you can be guaranteed a fabulous time.

The beaches are one of the major draws of Hemsby, with miles of sandy coastline. Large sand dunes form a natural barrier between the beach and the village behind it. Hemsby is split into two parts: Hemsby Village and Hemsby Beach. Hemsby Village is mainly the residential area located about a mile inland. Kingway is an area of the village which includes a SPAR shop, hairdressers and Chinese restaurant. This is also the main location for buses into Great Yarmouth and Martham. The tourist-based part of the village lies along Beach Road and is commonly known as Hemsby Beach. This area comprises a number of tourism industries and reaches from the centre of the village to the beach and dunes. At the beach end of the road are a number of cafes, shops and amusement arcades. A wide variety of games and services is on offer including ten-pin bowling, bingo, a play area and many different machines. A variety of seaside-style cafes and restaurants are available, offering sit-down meals, take-away fish and chips and Chinese food. Fun fairs, crazy golf courses and children's rides also feature on a number of sites along the street.

A Guided Tour of Hemsby

We start our tour of Hemsby on the beach! Large sand dunes form a natural barrier between the beach and the village behind it. One of the more unusual features of the beach is a scattering of anti-tank blocks across the beach, left over from the World War II coastline defences. Erosion is a major problem in the surrounding villages of Winterton on Sea and Caister where sandy cliffs are being destroyed by the forces of the sea. Hemsby's dunes are also being eroded but the wide beach means the effects are less noticed.

We now arrive in Beach Road (commonly known as Hemsby Beach) and this runs right from the beach into Hemsby Village (about half a mile). At the beach end of the road are a number of cafes, shops and amusement arcades. A wide variety of games and services is on offer including ten-pin bowling, bingo, a play area and many different machines. A variety of seaside-style cafes and restaurants are available, offering sit-down meals, take-away fish and chips and Chinese food. Fun fairs, crazy golf courses and children's rides also feature on a number of sites along the street.

Sundowner Holiday Park at Hemsby

Independently owned Sundowner Holiday Park is the place for you if you're looking for a fun packed family holiday or even a quiet break away from it all. The setting is perfect for a seaside holiday; 600 yards from Hemsby's famous golden beach, with rolling sand dunes and safe bathing. There's plenty of space for your children to run around at the park and by the sea. You'll never be crowded on these beaches. There are amusements and entertainment to suit everyone. A range of facilities are nearby including shops, cafes, amusements of all types, fun fair and souvenir shops there is lots to keep you busy. A wide variety of snacks are available, with takeaway food bars catering for all tastes from fish and chips to ice cream.

Winterton on Sea

Nearby Winterton on Sea is a lovely unspoilt East Norfolk Coast seaside resort, with its roots in fishing. You will find no amusement arcades or brash shops here, just a wonderful beach, sand dunes and a small village with a shop, post office, chip-shop, and village pub. The sand dunes are a nature reserve classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty and is ideal for bird watchers and walkers. Just north of Winterton a colony of grey seals live and can be regularly seen basking on the beach or popping their heads above the waves. The village has a large, cathedral like, church, a holiday park with unusual holiday homes and one of the first UK wind farms on the ridge to the west of the village.

The beach between Winterton and Horsey is home to a colony of grey seals. You can usually see their heads popping up above the waves. In December and January they have pups and come out of the water for several weeks. Around 100 pups are born each winter. The pups are white, the females light grey and males dark grey.

Just behind the beach is a ridge of sand dunes. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and you can walk along the dunes, with views out over the sea to one side and the low lying land on the other. The dunes are home to wildlife including Tern and Adders. A coast watch tower and cafe (seasonal) can be found near the car park.

Moving in to the village itself, you will find a mix of old and new properties. Facilities in the village include a shop, post office, chip shop and a 300 year old pub.

The village sign can be found near the church and is dual sided, with seaside and rural agriculture scenes, indicating the two most important things in village life.

The village church of All Saints is as long as it is tall and seems to hide behind its tower, almost as if it's a beacon out to sea. A number of the graves around the church show people drowned in the sea or lost in ships, apparently in one night in 1692, over 200 hundred ships and 1,000 lives were lost in a single storm. A special memorial in the church is dedicated to those who were lost to the sea.

Nearby, is one of the first wind farms in the UK at Blood Hill, mid-way between West Somerton and Winterton on Sea. The site currently has 10 wind turbines, generating approximately 2.25 megawatts of electricity, enough for around 1,400 homes. Debate rages regarding their appearance, we ask you to judge for yourself!

An Introduction to the Beaches of Norfolk

The long coastline of Norfolk falls into two very different categories. From the Wash around to Sheringham and Cromer, the sea is gradually retreating giving rise to sandbanks, spits of land and silted harbours. From Cromer onwards, the sea is gradually gaining ground, and in many places the soft clay cliffs are being deeply eroded. However, around the entire Norfolk coastline, there are a number of fine sandy Norfolk beaches, some remote and quiet but becoming more developed around the major towns, villages and resorts. This part of the UK coast has something for everyone and makes a great seaside holiday or weekend break.

Note: Restrictions are in place for walking dogs on popular Norfolk beaches in summer (May to end of September). However, you only have to walk a little to either side of popular beaches and the restrictions are lifted

10 Top Beaches in Norfolk

Old Hunstanton

The village of Old Hunstanton was the site of the original settlement before 1860 when New Hunstanton was built. Old Hunstanton is much quieter and picturesque; you can walk and see nobody else, it is also popular with kite surfers. Behind the sand dunes is Hunstanton lifeboat station, which has seen several different types of rescue craft during its history and a golf course.

Holkham Bay

Holkham Bay is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve in North Norfolk, with windswept sand dunes, a maze of creeks, shady pinewoods, green pastures and marshes. This has to be one of the most beautiful in the country and at low tide, you can walk out over the golden sand to the sea beyond. The bay is surrounded by pine trees, planted to protect the land behind. A path goes around the entire bay, one direction taking you all the way into Wells next the Sea, making a lovely walk and gives great views over sand and marshes.

Wells next the Sea

About a mile from the main town of Wells (a steam railway carries visitors in season), a sandy beach with a row of colourful beach huts. Wells itself contains many narrow lanes nicely sheltered from the offshore winds and makes a very good base for exploring the surrounding coastline.


For all those that like pebble beaches, Weybourne beach consists of a bank of deeply shelved pebbles, and marks the start of the cliff section of the Norfolk coast (which extends east to Happisburgh and was once popular with smugglers) The pretty village of Weybourne nestles below Kelling Heath and is a stopping point on the North Norfolk Railway. The ruins of an Augustinian priory stand in the grounds of the 15th century church.


A traditional seaside town, which grew up around its old fishing village, and a few little boats still bring in the daily catch. A promenade extends right through Sheringham and consists of a concrete walkway overlooking the sea. The beach is a little rocky when the tide is in, but when the tide is out, a lovely sandy beach opens up and you can enjoy all the traditional beach activities. Behind the beach on the promenade, is a row of colourful beach huts, just waiting for a sunny day!


A classic North Norfolk seaside town, situated on a cliff-top overlooking fine sandy beaches. Cromer Pier has survived despite bad damage over the years and is a traditional seaside pier with a Lifeboat Station and Pavilion Theatre, which still stages end of pier shows. Steps and a ramp take you down to the lovely beach ... which is well manned during the summer months and for the youngsters, there is a small fun fair with rides and slides. You could go looking for Cromer Crabs in the pools left by the retreating tide; Cromer Crabs are world famous for their quality and taste.


An attractive East Norfolk coastal village, situated on a cliff-top overlooking an empty sandy beach. Visitors come to Overstrand to take in the fine coastal views of the sea and beach below, including a lovely cliff-top path taking you right into Cromer, about one and a half miles away. A path snakes its way down the cliffs to the beach below. The beach itself is one of the best in Norfolk, as it has golden sand and plenty of space to play a game, paddle in the pools left by the retreating tide or simply relax in the sun.


A family holiday resort with a wonderful sandy beach, considered one of the best in Norfolk, with safe swimming for youngsters when the tide is out. Mundesley village contains a number of facilities including a small number of shops, eating places, pubs, tea rooms and possibly the smallest museum in the country - the Maritime Museum. Behind the beach is a row of colourful beach huts.

Sea Palling

A small, quiet family seaside resort on the East Norfolk Coast. This wonderful, blue flag, sandy beach is deserted for most of the year and is a great place for a walk. A number of reefs have been built as part of the coast defences and it calms the waves making Sea Palling an ideal place to swim or for children to play. There are plenty of facilities for such a small resort, including a pub, cafe, tea rooms, shop and small amusement arcade. Sea Palling also is home to a jet-ski centre.

Great Yarmouth

A popular "bucket and spade" seaside resort with miles of sandy beach, attractive gardens and a huge variety of traditional seaside entertainment and amusement. There is a mile long promenade strip with numerous tourist attractions, gambling amusements, restaurants and bars. Great Yarmouth's top attractions are the miles of sandy beach, the Britannia Pier and the fair rides of the Pleasure Beach. During the summer months, various events are staged including weekly firework displays

Visit Norwich

In medieval times, Norwich was one of the greatest cities in England, and today as East Anglia's capital city, it still is - offering a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication.

Norwich is dominated by its magnificent 900 year old Norman cathedral, which boasts the largest monastic cloisters in England, the second largest spire and over 1,000 beautiful medieval roof bosses.

The present structure of Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery has stood since the 12th century and is one of the finest Norman secular buildings anywhere in Europe. Today Norwich Castle is the county's principal museum, packed with treasures and collections of national importance. Recently extensively refurbished, the museum has extended its galleries and opened up new areas previously unseen.

For those interested in the history of the region, the Castle houses the world's largest teapot collection and magnificent landscapes of the nineteenth century Norwich School of painters. The Cathedral library contains 7000 rare books including some of the earliest printed in England. The unique Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum traces the near 200 year history of this favourite delicacy, with 15 different mustards available to sample and buy.

Known as the City of Churches, Norwich has over 30 flint-built medieval churches; more than London, Bristol and York combined! In magnificent contrast is Norwich's newest public building, The Forum, which houses 'Origins' a multi-million pound heritage visitor attraction, the finest regional public library in the country, the tourist information centre, and a variety of places to eat.

The wide range of pubs, tea-rooms, cafes and restaurants in Norwich, ensure that every taste and budget is catered for. English, French, Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Russian and Belgian flavours can all be found in the city.

A shoppers' paradise, Norwich is open 7 days a week. In contrast to its modern precincts and Castle Mall with many of the big store names, it has the added attraction of the country's largest 6-day open-air market, as well as hundreds of speciality shops in a maze of cobble-stoned lanes and alleys. Norwich is the perfect Christmas shopping experience too, with impressive displays of Christmas lights illuminating the city from mid-November.

Norwich is a city of festivals with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a superb multi-venue musical event, held in May, the Lord Mayor's celebrations including carnival and firework display in July, the CAMRA beer festival in October, the largest beer festival outside London, plus the Norfolk Comedy Festival running throughout October and November.

Norwich has an excellent choice of venues for a great night out. A multitude of new cafe bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and cinemas has recently burst onto the scene and with such a diversity of entertainment on offer Norwich has something for everyone, whatever their age.

East Anglia's Capital City

For those with an interest in the arts, there is the 1300-seater Theatre Royal, which provides musicals, opera, ballet, drama and cabaret from top national and international production companies.

The Maddermarket Theatre offers local repertory in atmospheric 'Shakespearean' surroundings whilst the Playhouse Theatre attracts contemporary theatre and music from all over the UK. Housed in a converted medieval church, Norwich Puppet Theatre is one of only two dedicated puppet theatres in England. The Norwich Gallery offers year round exhibitions of contemporary art with free admission. You can see world-class art from the Tate and other international galleries at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and the architecturally stunning Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Norwich also provides an ideal base to explore the Norfolk Broads, as well as the region's market towns and villages, coast and attractions. Blue Badge Guides are available for walking tours of Norwich. For the more adventurous, boat trips on the Norfolk Broads as well as city centre river trips make an exciting way of exploring the attractions of Norfolk.

Great Yarmouth

Truly one of the UK's greatest and most popular seaside destinations. Full of holiday surprises and contrasts, the area includes not just Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea but also twenty one villages set in beautiful coastal and rural surroundings alongside the famous Norfolk Broads.

You can be assured that you will always be greeted with the warmest of Norfolk welcomes, whether you choose a seaside or countryside holiday. When you're thinking holidays for a day or to stay think Greater Yarmouth.


There are over 15 miles of sandy beaches within the Great Yarmouth area, from Winterton-on-Sea in the north to Hopton-on-Sea in the south. It's all part of a great coastline offering an attractive blend of wide sandy beaches, sand dunes and cliffs ' all in all, the toast of the Norfolk Coast.


Once considered as one of the wealthiest towns in Britain due to its prosperous herring industry, Great Yarmouth has a rich and proud history with museums and monuments spread throughout the town.

Norfolk Broads and Countryside

As well as being famous as a seaside holiday resort, the Great Yarmouth area is also widely renowned for the beautiful Norfolk countryside which surrounds it ' mile after mile of open land, with traditional old windmills, wind pumps and the tranquil sight of ships' sails gliding across the horizon. The waterways, our famous Norfolk Broads, are an important part of East Anglia's cultural heritage, and how better to see them than from a Great Yarmouth base.


Great Yarmouth puts the fun back into shopping, whether in the high street chain stores, some of the quirky local shops or the more traditional seaside shops. Market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays all year and on Fridays as well during the summer months.

Introduction to Norfolk Fair Ground Rides

Norfolk has two main fun fairs, both located at seaside resorts. The Pleasure Beach at Great Yarmouth, is one of the UK's top tourist attractions and has many rides to suit all ages. The fun fair at the end of the promenade at Hunstanton, also has a wide selection of rides and stalls to suit all ages. Payment in both parks is by tokens. You will also find a number of children's funfair rides, including Wroxham Barns and on Cromer seafront.

The king of Norfolk fun fairs is the Pleasure Beach at Great Yarmouth. It is one of the top tourist attractions in the whole of the UK, and has a mixture of rides for all ages.

The fun fair at Hunstanton is smaller than the Pleasure Beach at Great Yarmouth, but still has plenty of rides and stalls to enjoy.

Other small fun fairs in Norfolk, include the children's funfair at Wroxham Barns. Here you will find a number of rides for small children.