Things to Do, See, Eat and Drink near Blakeney Norfolk
Blakeney is a quaint coastal town on the beautiful North Norfolk coast, which has magnificent views across the estuary and salt marshes to Blakeney Point. Owned by the National Trust, it has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is part of the Heritage Coastline. Blakeney and the surrounding area offers many diverse and interesting things to occupy people of all ages, which makes it a very attractive holiday destination for everyone:
Walking – Blakeney is situated on a National Nature Reserve situated near to the villages of Morston and Cley next the Sea on the north coast of Norfolk, England. Its main feature is a 6.4 km (4 mi) spit of shingle and sand dunes. The reserve also includes salt marshes, tidal mudflats and reclaimed farmland, which is home to a huge variety of birdlife. It has been managed by the National Trust since 1912, and lies within the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest. The reserve is part of both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a World Biosphere Reserve. There are many walking paths, which range from easy to moderate to difficult. Some are short and some are lengthy! A favourite walk (one of many) is from Cley next the Sea to Blakeney Point and the old lifeboat station. The walk is classed as moderate and includes sections of sandy beach and shingle. It passes through the Blakeney Point National Nature Reserve and is 14.6km. When returning to Blakeney, a drink in The Kings Arms does not go amiss. Another favourite is from Blakeney to Stiffkey as featured in the press.
Fishing - Wells next the Sea is one of the few commercial ports on the North Norfolk coastline with many crab boats still putting to sea on a daily basis. The North Norfolk coast is a well-kept secret and target species for fishing enthusiasts are bass, tope and cod. Short mackerel trips for novices, or parents to bring the children and introduce them to the joys of sea fishing, are also available.
Bird watching, wildlife and photography opportunities - The Norfolk coast is one of the best places in the country for bird watching as there are many nature reserves with lots of salt marshes and reed beds. It sits on the migration path of many species of birds and is a haven for bird watchers. The landscape is full of big open skies and you can see up and down the coast for several miles in both directions, while looking straight out to the North Sea. At certain times of year you can spot marsh harrier, bittern, red shank, avocet, bluethroats, wrynecks, trumpeter finch, short-toed lark, red-backed shrike, nightingale, nightjar, little owl, nightingales, black guillemot and breeder wading birds. Rarer birds include alder or willow flycatcher and several varieties of warbler including the radde’s, yellow-browed, sub-Alpine, marsh, icterine, barred and booted. Two Chilean flamingos have even been spotted on the reserve! The occasional muntjac and Chinese water deer can also be seen.
Golf - The Royal Cromer Golf Club, close to Blakeney, was originally designed by Tom Morris, and with improvements over the years, is now widely regarded as one of Norfolk’s finest courses. It is essentially cliff top in character with spectacular views and boasts all the features of a coastal course with a wealth of sandy hills, grassy valleys and abundant gorse and bracken.
Watersports and sailing - The Blakeney and Morston regattas are held in late July and early August. The popular fun week sees an extensive programme of sailing and social activities. RYA sailing courses for adults and children are also available. Wind Surfing, Kite Boarding, Paddle Boarding and Kayaking are popular sports at Hunstanton and courses are available for all ages and abilities.
Crabbing - Blakeney is famous for gillie crabbing competitions on The Quay. Bait and nets can be bought at the local Spar shop in Blakeney and children (of all ages!) just love catching bucket fulls and then releasing them back into the sea.
Cycling – There are many popular cycle routes based around Blakeney from a 13 km ride around the village, to a 111.86 km ride to Chattens for the fitter people amongst us - this has a total ascent of 210.0 m and has a maximum elevation of 87.0 m.
Tennis – Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament is the biggest tennis tournament in England and is typically held in August every year. People come from miles around to play and spectate.
Seal Watching - Seals are common on Blakeney Point and a short boat trip can take you out to see them – a great morning or afternoon out. Details of regular boat trips and timings can be seen advertised on the quay at Blakeney. The colony at Blakeney point is made up of common & grey seals, has featured on the BBC News website and numbers around 1,800. Common seals have their young between June and August, the greys between November and January. Both suckle their pups for about three weeks during which time they grow very quickly, putting on between 1kg and 1.6kgs a day due to the very rich and fatty milk they feed on. The seals are generally quite inquisitive and often pop up and swim around the boats! Boats usually sail very close to the basking seals on the beach, which gives a great opportunity for photographs.
Halls, Churches Villages - Places to visit include the halls at Blickling, Felbrigg, Holkham, Houghton and Sandringham. In addition, there are many historic Norfolk churches and quaint villages to explore. The city of Norwich is only one hour away and the towns of King’s Lynn, Holt and Aylsham are full of history and interest.
Beaches – At Cromer there is plenty of sandy beach and it's a great place for small children. When you tire of the beach there are plenty of places to get cups of tea and ice creams, and Mary Jane's for fish and chips. A walk on the pier is a must. At Holkham, the beach is vast. Famous for the filming of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and other films, at low tide you have to walk a mile to get to the sea. There are often horses being exercised on the sands and sometimes the household cavalry. Holkham Hall also offers excellent food and refreshments after a long walk. Wells is at the eastern end of Holkham beach. Wells is an interesting little port and offers lots of shops, and great cafes for afternoon teas following a day on the sands.
Fireworks and Festivals – A spectacular annual fireworks display is always held on Blakeney Quay, towards the end of October. Organised by Blakeney Parish Council, it is In aid of a chosen charity, and food, refreshments, rides, music and free parking are provided. It is an excellent night out for the whole family and a date for the diary. Locals come from miles around to see the display. On New Years Day, there is also an amazing fireworks display at Cromer pier. The fireworks are lit over the sea and are truly incredible. Every July, the Holt Festival also takes place. During festival week, Holt is taken over by street performers, musicians, poets, actors, dancers, artists and comedians. Not to be missed and again, a date in the diary for all the locals!
Eating and Drinking - North Norfolk is famous for its seafood including lobster, crab, mussels (Morston Mussels), sea bass and mackerel. All are readily available in season, either to cook at home or to eat out in one of the fabulous eateries in Blakeney and the surrounding villages. From the traditional Blakeney coastal pub, The Kings Arms, to the more gastronomic fayre at The White Horse Hotel, or the Blakeney Hotel, which overlooks the estuary, visitors are spoilt for choice. The Moorings (Blakeney) is a charming cafe by day and a renowned bistro restaurant by night. A short walk away is the Wiveton Hall Café, which is well worth a visit especially to sample its famous tapas and BBQ evenings in the summer. Also worth a try is the Wiveton Bell situated on the Wiveton Village Green ten minutes walk from Blakeney. Although renowned for its cuisine, The Bell is faithful to its roots as a traditional village pub where people can wander in with walking boots and dogs to enjoy good company as well as fine ales, wine and food. If you want to eat at home, there is a local Spar to buy essentials and a fresh fish shop in the village. The Blakeney Harbour Room offers refreshments and live music (tribute bands, rock bands, folk music, etc.) on a regular basis and anyone can come to join in the fun!