Normal For Norfolk

Rose van Cutsem picks Norfolk for her summer staycation. Here's why.

Brancaster beach © BeachHouse Brancaster

Every summer we rent a cottage on the Norfolk coast. It's the perfect breezy holiday with kids: crab sarnie picnics on a choice of epic beaches, laid back pubs, masses of outdoorsy stuff and amazing seaside arcades. 

1. Norfolk beaches 

You can walk forever and ever and ever. Remember Gwyneth in Shakespeare in Love? That was here at Holkham estate. Now I make like Gwyneth (+ chips + crisps).
Brancaster beach © BeachHouse Brancaster

2. Parking and roads 

Images © BeachHouse Brancaster

Unlike Cornwall (I know I know rah rah we die for Cornwall - the Mariners pub in Rock, snakebite and blacks, snogging on the 9th tee, it's all great!) but you can park AND drive along roads here rather than being shoved in a hedge on a toothpick lane and then find car park and beach fit to burst then smash someones fender off (urgh c.2007). My fave beach here in Norfolk complete with VERY #normalfornorfolk ticket inspector is Brancaster beach. Yes it's Boden Sur Mer but walk about three steps and its empty for MILES.

Brancaster beach © BeachHouse Brancaster

3. Arcades

Wells-next-the-Sea beach huts © The Hero Pub
As good as Vegas. Wells-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton which also has a massive joke shop. Retro seaside fun. Hot tip: you can then use all the 2p pennies for family poker later.
4. Feed me
© Gurneys Fish Shop
Eric's Fish and Chips. Oysters from Gurney's fish shop. The Hero pub in Burnham Overy. Mabel's sweet shop. Flat white at the Thornham deli. The Jolly Sailors for coma inducing pizza. The actual sand dunes for samphire (illegal to pick but I didn't actually see a sign saying that...). 
© Eric's Fish and Chips 

5. Boaty McBoatfaceImages © BeachHouse Brancaster

If you are a boaty person you can do that loads + paddle boarding in Burnham Overy - take a picnic to Scolt Head Island which if you squint is quite like Mustique. There's also a very pleasing looking chap who swims across the estuary with his dog on his back to walk it every morning - worth getting up for...

6. Where to stay 

© BeachHouse Brancaster

I used Norfolk Hideaways to rent this year's bungalow, we can walk along the marsh path through the dunes to the endless beach. My fave house to rent is BeachHouse Brancaster. The Victoria Pub at Holkham also has nice rooms if you're nipping up for a child free mini break. 

7. Don't forget!

Norfolk tips - Don't get too precious about the house as you'll hardly spend any time there - if in doubt BYO sheets.

Do a big Waitrose or Sainos order in advance for fresh veg and fruit as other than fresh fish the local Spar only caters in beige food.

Drive a bit - the further along the coast the wilder and emptier the beaches are. 

Rose van Cutsem is a freelance travel writer. When she's not writing about travel she teaches Vinyasa Flow yoga and runs The Cotswold Shala yoga retreats. For travel find her @where_isrose - For yoga @thecotswoldshala