Wells beach was named Sunday Times “Beach of the Year” in 2016 and it’s easy to see why. The wide-open skies, the sense of freedom even on a busy summer’s day, the sweep of colourful huts against the pine forest. Located a mile from the harbour, you can walk, take the little narrow-gauge train part-way there, hire bikes or e-bikes, or drive to the beach car park (payment by card or cash).
The Fleece has a fantastic takeaway menu, or you could also order one of the following to be delivered to Sea Pink or one of the huts:
- Oyster hamper from the Thornham Oyster Company: 07432 011819, or from Norfolk Oyster Company
- Seafood hampers, BBQ packs, tarts, picnic packs and salads from from Randy’s Seafood
- Cakes/savoury tarts & sausage rolls from the Welly Boot Bakery
- Hamper from Lou at A Little Bit of Luxury
- Brunch, graze box or doughnuts from Beautiful Brunches
- Afternoon tea from Katering4U
- Afternoon tea, brownies and blondies from I’ll Cook You Eat Bakes
- Local spirits and other treats from Fen Spirits Larder
We also have good supermarkets, delis, a bakery, butcher and fishmonger in Wells, as well as the seafood kiosk on the quay. Many choices for ice cream, plus frozen cocktails from Swirl Norfolk. Excellent farmer’s market at Creake Abbey on the first Saturday of each month.
GETTING ON THE WATER
I’d highly recommend a boat trip of some kind, to see the town, salt marsh and the beach from the water. All contact details in the guest folder when you book, but they include:
- Wells Harbour Tours – trips from only £10. NB you can take a picnic and bottle of wine.
- Coastal Exploration Company – magical sailing adventures into the marsh and beyond with food included. I’m one of their skippers!
- Seal trip – four different companies operating from Morston. I can also skipper individual sailing trips to see them – book via Neil Thompson’s Boats.
- Fishing trips with Ben Riches
- Kayak or stand-up paddle board hire from Neil Thompson’s Boats, who will drop them plus life jackets to the East Quay.
- Stand-up paddle board tours with Barefoot Wells, tours or hire with Northshore, Brancaster Boards or North Norfolk Paddle Boards.
- Wild Yoga with Emilie.
- Kite surfing lessons or paddle board hire with Annalisa, Hunstanton.
The Coastal Exploration Company trips are a great way to see the best of our coastal birds. Highlights include terns diving from April, skeins of pink-footed geese from September, spoonbills feeding and marsh harriers gliding.
You can also book a wildlife safari with my wildlife cameraman friend Martin Hayward-Smith. He has a network of hides on private land and secret spots for observing our birds, mammals, and butterflies. Picnic and cake included.
Local OS map and walks books available for use by guests. To find solitude and wildlife independently, you don’t have to walk far.
As well as the landscape, it’s the lively community feel that makes Wells special – the historic fishing fleet landing the day’s catch on the harbour wall, the sailing club ‘sharpies’ racing past the lifeboat shed, and children ‘gillying’ for crabs.
Wells has a rich calendar for art and culture. Live theatre screenings with Screen-next-the-Sea, music and theatre at Wells Maltings and Holkham Hall, and and the popular annual calendar of events, including Wells Carnival, Sea Fever poetry festival, and the magical Wells Christmas Tide.
For more ideas see the Wells Guide website.
Or The independent retailers along Staithe Street are a joy to browse. Including the Alder Tree, which stocks my first wallpaper design! The design features boats sailed on the North Norfolk coast.
Wells beach was named Sunday Times “Beach of the Year” in 2016 and it’s easy to see why.