The beach at Holkham is a beautiful long stretch of sandy beach backed by beach huts, sand dunes and pine woodland. The award winning picturesque beach is perfect for a day trip or a UK getaway. There is so much to see and do in the area as well as the area of North Norfolk. The small harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea is walking distance from the beach and the nature reserve. The harbour is protected by salt marshes from the open sea and used to be one of the great ports of eastern England in Tudor times. The harbour is still active today and mainly used by sailing and crabbing boats.
We visited Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea on a day trip, we set off early from our hometown of Milton Keynes and made the most of a warm sunny day (a rarity in the UK). If you don’t live far you could easily spend a whole day there, however if you’re also seeking out a potential UK beach break then Holkham would be a great place to stay for a few nights or a week as there is so much to explore along Norfolks North Coast. So here are my must do things while visiting Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea.
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve is a huge area and spans across 9158 acres which start from Wells-next-The-Sea and goes all the way to Burnham Overy. The area is made up of a unique variety of habitats including salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, beach and grazing marsh. The majority of the landscape is man-made and was reclaimed from salt marshes back in the 17th and 19th centuries. Holkham is also home to lots of wildlife in particular birds, the area attracts a large number of flocks but also single rare migrant birds also.
Holkham National Nature Reserve is a must visit, we parked at Holkham Hall and the parking was only £4 for the day, and only a short walk to the beach, there is parking slightly closer which is about £9 for the day. Once you walk over to The Lookout Centre there are two options; a route which takes you straight down to the far end of Holkham beach, or a slightly longer nature trail walk which also takes you to the beach but closer to the pretty harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea.
We opted to take the more scenic route and walked along the nature trail towards the beach and Wells-Next-The-Sea. The nature trail is really peaceful and took about 40 minutes to walk along the gravelled path, which is surrounded by lots of trees, flowers and foliage and you can hear lots of birdlife. There are lots of different nature trails in the Holkham National Nature Reserve, however if your only visiting for the day, I would recommend doing this short nature walk at the start of your day, so you can have the rest of the day free to relax on the beach.
The Beach, Beach Huts & Sand Dunes
The Beach stretches between Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holkham and is honestly one of my favourite beaches in the UK! The beach itself is huge and spotlessly clean and easy to spread out from others and find your own little spot to relax on. With its soft powdery sand backed by pine woodland and sand dunes, it has something for everyone to enjoy. After lunch in Wells Town we sat down at that end of the beach for a while relaxing, then decided to walk past the many beach huts before reaching the grassy sand dunes towards the Holkham end of the beach. We walked through the sand dunes and dipped our toes in the cold sea.
Walking from one end of the beach to the other is a must do as there’s so much to see and you can take in the whole landscape by doing so. We walked the full length of the beach before heading back to the car, towards the Holkham end it was slightly quieter and had more dunes, woodland and wildflowers backing the beach. The beach that end is still sandy but with more shells and pebbles. Spending some time on the beach there is an absolute must and was our favourite part of our day spent there.
Once we reached the beach from the Holkham National Nature Reserve we decided to walk into the town of Wells-Next-The-Sea to get some lunch before getting settled on the beach. As you walk from the beach you can see the salt marshes straight away which act a barrier to shelter the town from the open sea. Once in the town visit the Wells Quay which is home to an array of little independent shops selling a whole range of things from gifts, sweets, beachwear and accessories and much more. Two shops which I loved and if your a girly girl like myself or your partner is then check out Natural East and Glitter and Mud which are next door to one another and overlook the harbour.
As well as lots of cute little shops there are some great places to grab some food from including several fish and chip shops, we saw lots of families sat along the wall at the harbour front delving into bags of fish and chips. My husband and I are both vegetarian so decided to eat in the Wells Deli as they had lots of vegan options, although some of the fish and chip shops we could see had some vegetarian and vegan options available too.
When you have had some lunch then take a little time to explore the narrow lanes and streets of the town before heading to the beach for the rest of the day. We loved Wells-Next-The-Sea it is a gorgeous little town. If you’re not feeling like the 20 minute walk back to the beach then you can hop on the Wells Harbour Railway, which is a miniature railway which carries passengers from Wells Town to the beach for only £1.50 per person. The short train journey is great for families with children, but also great if you have had a big lunch and just went to get to the beach quickly as we did.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx