The Norfolk Coast is one of the most idyllic coastlines in all of the world, but much more exists than meets the eye...
England's Norfolk Coast is one of the most scenic coastal landscapes in the world, due in no small part to the fact that it is protected under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. This Act classifies the region as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Spanning nearly 280 miles of coastline, this is one of the most captivating driving tours in all of England, especially for those who revere nature.
Along your Norfolk Coast road trip, you'll have every opportunity to take in several of the country's best nature reserves, where you can see indigenous animals and birds such as the black-headed gull, the grey seal, the wheatear, and the whinchat, among others. And you'll see it all in the comfort and class of your own luxury car rental from Auto Europe.
Your Norfolk Coast road trip begins in the inland town of King's Lynn, where despite being a relatively small village, it still offers a wealth of sites and attractions. Throughout this journey, you'll see there are plenty of things to do in Norfolk. Oxburgh Hall, complete with a moat, is a popular place to visit, while the Kings Lynn Minister (St. Margaret's Church) offers a glimpse at some of the region's regal Gothic architecture. Meanwhile, for the nature lover, Snettisham Park and Gooderstone Water Gardens & Nature Trails make for the ideal way to spend the afternoon. Or visit Castle Rising, and then check out a genuine English glassmaking experience at the Caithness Crystal Visitor Centre.
When you find yourself getting hungry, you'll be thankful that the village has a generous selection of pubs, bistros, and restaurants. From Victory Inn to Market Bistro, it can be hard not to find a great meal and a tasty pint in Kings Lynn. You can also choose to try The Winch, Barnfields Café, or the Lynn Café-Bar Restaurant, from among the offerings.
As generous as Kings Lynn is with attractions and restaurants, it is slightly lacking when it comes to accommodations. The Best Western Plus Knights Hill is one of the few hotels in the town, so if you're planning on staying the night, be sure you reserve your room well in advance.
Additional Travel Tips: Kings Lynn
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Upon departing King's Lynn, you'll point your UK rental car north on the A148 until you see the exit for the A149. Take the A149 towards your next stop, Hunstanton. During the drive, you'll pass the Dershingham Bog National Nature Reserve on the left, and then your course will have you skirting Dersingham not long after.
Beyond Dersingham, you'll pass by Ingoldisthorpe and then Snettisham. Snettisham may be well worth a visit, because there you can see St. Mary's Church and RSPB Snettisham, which will be a certain delight for any bird-watching enthusiast. Back on the A149, you'll eventually come across Heacham. Here, you can stop to view Heacham Beach along with the city's wonderfully scented lavender gardens.
Not much farther up A149, you'll arrive at Hunstanton. In Hunstanton, you'll immediately be drawn to the beauty of Hunstanton Beach. If you want to get the truest glimpse of the coastline's pristine beauty, be sure to book a Searles Sea Tour, and then visit the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.
You might be surprised to discover that there's more to Hunstanton than just its illustrious beach. Peddars Way, for example, presents a wonderful collection of trails and walkways that take you into some of the most beautiful and untouched parts of the countryside. Or for a sampling of the local talent, buy a ticket for a performance at the Princess Theatre. There are also plenty of great places to dine in Hunstanton, including Chives Brasserie, Coasters Restaurant, and the local favorite, the Steak & Stilton.
Although the drive along the Norfolk Coast can be accomplished in about two and a half hours, you may want to plan for a few days so you can enjoy each location to the absolute fullest. If you choose to stay the night in Hunstanton, then you'll have a number of places to choose from. The Best Western Le Strange Arms Hotel is highly regarded, as is the Richmond House Hotel. For a traditional English bed and breakfast experience, you might want to reserve a room at the Peacock House or the Rose-Fitt House, instead.
Useful Travel Resources: Hunstanton
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On day three of your road trip across the Norfolk Coast, you'll get back on the A149 as it follows the coastline east. Shortly thereafter, you'll pass the Hunstanton Golf Links and Holme-Next-The-Sea (home of the Holme Dunes National Nature Reserve). Prior to driving into Brancaster, you'll pass through the small coastal town of Thornham and by the RSPB Titchwell Marsh, which is yet another must-stop for bird lovers.
Upon entering Brancaster, you'll want to make Brancaster Bay one of your first stops. The Bay offers an endless stretch of pristine beach and natural landscape that's ideal for picnicking, building sand castles, and other seaside activities. Take a walk to the Bay's inlet and if you're fortunate, you'll see plenty of seals carousing in the surf and laying on the rocks. Just bear in mind the tide times before you visit, as the beach may seem huge when the surf is out, but it can quickly shorten once the tide rolls back in.
If you want to stop for a bite in Brancaster before driving on, then stop over at The Ship Hotel for an outstanding lunch. Or, if you are simply having too much fun at the beach and you don't want to leave just yet, then there's the Brancaster Beach Kiosk where you can find an assortment of to-go delights, including ice cream.
On your way to Burnham Market, you'll pass through Burnham Deepdale and then past Burnham Norton. It is here where A149 turns into B1355. You'll take the B1355 into the heart of Burnham Market, and spend the remainder of your day here.
Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and then take a leisurely stroll around the streets of this quaint, old-world village. For both accommodations and dinner, try The Nelson or the Hoste Restaurant. Or if you're not terribly hungry, then enjoy some cakes and tea at Tilly's, or the Burnhams Tea Room & Café.
Norfolk Coast Road Trip Tips: Brancaster & Burnham Market
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On the morning of your fourth day touring the Norfolk Coast, you'll take B1155 east out of Burnham Market until it merges with A149. You'll follow A149 east past "The Lake," and then turn left on to Lady Ann's Road. Follow Lady Ann's Road all the way out to the coast, and you'll end up at Holkham Bay. Once you get your fill of the scenery and give your camera a thorough workout, jump back in your UK car rental and retrace your route back to A149. Turn left and continue heading east until you reach Wells-next-the-Sea.
Wells-next-the-Sea is a nice place to stop because it offers a number of fun attractions, including the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, alpaca trekking, and of course, the Wells-next-the-Sea Beach. If by this point you're starting to get hungry, then be sure to check out the Wells Crab House Café or the Bowling Green Inn. Or if you're enjoying the beach too much to leave, then the Beach Café will be your port of call.
Once you're back on the A149, it won't be all that long before you reach Blakeney. Like most of the stops along this trip, Blakeney's attractions are geared largely around its beautiful beach. You can choose to lounge around on the beach, or you can take a boat ride out for a closer look at the seals. When you return to shore, check out the Galley Hill Farm or the Artemis Homes & Antiques for a little taste of the local culture.
Upon leaving Blakeney, you'll want to take Wiveton Road, which eventually turns into Cley Road. This road will bring you right into the village of Holt. In Holt, you're going to want to make sure you have time set aside to visit "Natural Surroundings," a beautiful wooded retreat that features its own nature trails, gardens, ponds, and more. Holt's other popular attractions include the Muckleburgh Military Collection, The Holt Antiques & Interiors Centre, Holt Castle, and Stody Lodge Gardens.
For dinner, try The Barn, Number 28, or if you really want to treat yourself, the Morston Hall Restaurant. As for your evening's accommodations in Holt, the city has far more B&Bs and inns than it does hotels, but it does offer something for everybody. The Lawns Hotel is conveniently located, but the Pheasant Hotel offers a unique stay in an old-fashioned English country house. Meanwhile, for smaller and cozier accommodations, try Mount Farm or Kadina Bed & Breakfast.
For Your Travels: Holkham Bay, Wells-next-the-sea, Blakeney, & Holt
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To start the fifth day of your Norfolk Coast road trip, you'll want to take Cromer Road out of Holt. Cromer Road will eventually merge with A148, which you'll take until you see a turnoff for Holway Road, or A1082. Make the left onto Holway Road and follow that all the way to the coastal community of Sheringham. Once in Sheringham, you have your choice of local attractions and landmarks to choose from for your itinerary.
Popular attractions include Sheringham Beach, Sheringham Park, and the Sheringham Museum (The MO). You can also pull your golf clubs out of the boot of your UK car rental if you thought to bring them along, and hit the links at the Sheringham Golf Club. Or you can make a visit to the exhilarating Sheringham Life Boat Station.
When you're ready to leave Sheringham, just get back on Cromer Road (now called A149), and head east once more. You'll follow the beach until you reach Cromer. Here, you'll have a lot to add to your itinerary, so plan carefully. Cromer is home to the Cromer Beach and Pier, the Henry Blogg Museum, St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedrals, and the Amazona Zoo. Cromer also has its own golf club, so if you're still in the playing mood, then you'll love the scenic greens at the Royal Cromer Golf Club.
Cromer features plenty of great places to eat, so no matter what you're in the mood for after a day spent sightseeing, you'll be able to find it here. Local favorites include the Bann Thai Restaurant, the Old Rock Shop Bistro, and Brownes on Bond Street.
Next, you'll take A149 out of Cromer toward the final destination on this Norfolk Coast road trip, which is Mundesley. You'll continue on A149 until you come to Thorpe Road. Turn left on Thorpe Road and take it through the small village of Southrepps. Thorpe Road eventually turns into Gimingham Road, which then turns into Southrepps Road, which then turns into Mundesley Road. Take Mundesley Road until you arrive in the beautiful coastal community of the same name.
Once you have had your fill of the beauty of Mundesley, simply take the B1145 south to the B1150, and that will take you directly to Norwich, where the nearest airport is located. This leg of the trip will take about 40 minutes.
Additional Travel Resources: Sheringham, Cromer & Mundesly
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The Norfolk Coast, despite its beauty, is not what most people think of when they think of England. But this is exactly why this road trip is so unique. Now that you have an idea of the route you're going to be taking on your drive across the Norfolk Coast, all you need now is to start to craft a plan for your trip. Be sure to prepare early, and reserve your accommodations well in advance.
You'll also want to reserve your UK rental car from Auto Europe as early as possible to ensure that you have the luxury automobile you want to be driving on this route. With the resources provided here by Auto Europe, and our comprehensive travel guide, you'll be completely prepared to enjoy one of England's best kept secrets and London day tours - the Norfolk Coast.
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