The award-winning beach at Wells has wide-open skies, a sense of space and freedom even on a busy summer’s day, and a sweep of colourful beach huts set against the pine forest. Located a mile from the quay, you can walk, hire bikes or e-bikes, or drive to the beach car park (payment by card or cash).
Our current top tips for Sunday lunch are Blakeney House (e.g. £19 for lamb) the Carpenters’ Arms in Wighton and the Lord Nelson, Burnham Thorpe. We used to recommend the Morston Anchor, which is currently being refurbished. During the summer, we love watching the setting sun from the Marshside bar at the White Horse, Brancaster while eating salt & pepper squid with chips!
The Fleece and the Crab House have a fantastic takeaway menu, or you could also order one of the following to be delivered (some even deliver to the beach car park):
- Afternoon tea from Katering4U
- Oyster hamper from Brancaster Oysters.
- Cakes/savoury tarts & sausage rolls from the Welly Boot Bakery
- Grazing boxes from the Norfolk Grazing Company
- Platters (including vegetarian), pies, tarts, sandwiches, mini-pizzas, party boxes and more from High Tide Picnics
- Delicious vegan and vegetarian menu. Minimum order for six people for delivery. Or for fewer people add cost of fuel: Purple Plum Catering
- Pick up a picnic from the Picnic Hut in Staithe Street: 01328 710436 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- On Sundays from April-September you can buy seafood hampers, BBQ packs, tarts, picnic packs and salads from from the Randy’s Seafood horse box at Pinewoods
- 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.
New Gururati Indian plastic-waste free, heat-at-home takeaway Jolly Indian Sailor. They also deliver on Friday evenings. Tel: 07855 958741, email email@example.com
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:
- Sail North Norfolk – magical sailing adventures with me from Blakeney or Cley for wildlife-watching, sailing instruction, wild swimming, a picnic at a remote spot, or a one-way to another harbour.
- Wells Harbour Tours – trips from only £15. NB you can take a picnic and bottle of wine.
- Coastal Exploration Company – sailing adventures for bigger groups than I can manage into the marsh and beyond with food included.
- Curlew Coastal Charters – trips from Wells towards Holkham bay on ex-lifeboat and ex-Dunkirk Little Ship the Lucy Lavers.
- Seal trip – four different companies operating from Morston.
- 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.
Sailing/boat 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.
Swimming pool at the school, sailing (as above), tennis courts, parkrun at Holkham Hall, lots of great running and cycling routes on your doorstep including at Holkham. Or just watch the cricket with a picnic overlooking the lake at Holkham Hall!
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 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 sailing boats wallpaper design. The design features boats sailed on the North Norfolk coast, including my own Stiffkey Cockle.