Enjoy laid-back walking under huge skies, across pristine beaches and nature-rich salt marshes across the coastal strip of East Anglia. Visit medieval churches, stately homes and a famous shrine whilst enjoying sea-fresh shellfish and lavish hospitality at a string of gastro-pubs along this undeveloped stretch of coastline.
North Norfolk’s big skies and wide-open beaches make it the perfect destination for clearing the mind and invigorating the body. This relaxed 5-day itinerary explores the sand dunes, mudflats and coastal creeks along one of England’s least developed stretches of coastline. This shore-line landscape is low-lying and inlaid with a complex tracework of tidal creeks and channels, making it an oasis for wildlife – especially birds. The paths are well-surfaced and signposted, making navigation straightforward as you traverse freshwater reedbeds, sand dunes and salt marshes. This tranquil wildness nestles up close to picture-perfect seaside villages, small fishing ports and a chain of ancient yet ornate parish churches, some with Saxon origins. Other attractions include the site of a prehistoric henge, a Palladian mansion and the birthplace of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The trail’s finale follows in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims in search of the spirit of the Madonna to a holy shrine in a ruined priory in the village of Walsingham.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
History / Coastal / Food & Drink
By Water / Rolling Countryside
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Base yourself at any of the great places to stay for four or five nights, then use the much-loved Coasthopper bus service to follow a different walk every day. Our relaxed itinerary allows ample time to explore the attractions along the way as it heads east along the coast to the quaint little port of Wells-next-the-Sea via the captivating coastal villages of Thornham, Titchwell, Brancaster and the Burnhams – birthplace of Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Accommodation on this stretch of the Norfolk coast is abundant and varied, ranging from comfortable campsites to cosy B&Bs and upmarket hotels at both ends of our route. The Coasthopper bus service makes walking each section from a single base perfectly feasible.
The walking on this coast is undemanding but rewarding and these itineraries are designed to combine walking with sight-seeing on foot or by using the Coasthopper bus service. The path can be walked all year round and in the summer months, sunscreen is likely to be more important than stout walking boots.
This stretch of coastline has become something of a foodie paradise, where a plate of fresh shellfish is never far away! In the winter and spring months, mussels are a staple – look out for them on the menu in the string of fine dining pubs along the trail. Samphire – the asparagus of the saltmarsh is another delicacy and smoked prawns are not to be missed. Locally reared game also features extensively on local menus in autumn and winter. Pubs like the Victoria at Holkham and the White Horse at Brancaster Staithe offer superior snacks and a la carte menus – with alfresco dining popular in summer.
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
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