Wish you were here - West Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 08:12 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:20 27 June 2017
If you’re heading to West Norfolk, chances are you’re stopping off at King’s Lynn. The town is brimming with shops, eateries and history, and it has great transport links too. The Wash is famed for harbouring King John’s lost jewels but look further afield and you’ll find there are so many more hidden gems elsewhere.
On a hot, summers day, crowds of people flock to Sunny Hunny to bathe on the beach, but the journey brings queues of traffic and hours of frustration.
Only a short distance from Hunstanton is Heacham, Norfolk’s largest village with miles of unspoilt sandy and shingle beaches.
There are public toilets and two car parks located at both South and North beach, although with limited spaces.
The best - and environmentally-friendly - way to get here is by jumping on the Coasthopper bus, which runs from King’s Lynn, through Heacham and to all the neighbouring villages to Cromer. It’s definitely worth getting a dayrider ticket if you want to explore as many of the coastal villages.
For those looking for a quieter beach retreat, Heacham is the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hunstanton.
Although there are limited facilities, there is still a cafe, ice cream and donut stand just as you enter the beach at South Beach Road, a good place to stop off for that all-important beach snack - whippy ice cream with a flake.
It is one of the few beaches in the east coast where the sun sets over the sea rather than over the land, which makes for some breathtaking views.
If you like taking long walks on the beach, then from Heacham head south to Snettisham beach, it’s actually the first beach you arrive at if you’re coming from King’s Lynn.
Dubbed the “sunset coastline” for its west-facing uninterrupted views of the sea, giving the beach a warm, romantic feel in the evening.
It’s a well-known spot for bird-watchers due to the vast number of wading birds that flock to the area, but despite that it rarely ever gets busy and you’re almost always guaranteed to find a private spot.
Snettisham village is actually three miles inland so if you’re wanting something to eat or drink the best thing to do is to take a picnic, and there’s no better place for it than Snettisham beach, where all that surrounds you is the gentle breeze and the calming sounds of the waves.
The Norfolk Coast Path
The 62-mile path runs from Hunstanton to Sea Palling, and although it would be impossible to walk the entire thing in a day you will still see plenty of the regions most beautiful landscapes along the way.
The beginning of the path will take you through the familiar sights of Hunstanton, which is filled with pubs and shops aplenty, but then you’re taken through the nature reserves and acres of dunes before reaching Holme-next-the-Sea.
There are wonderful views along the way, the clean firm sand makes it easy to walk and the spotless clean grasslands and glittering lakes makes it difficult not to stop now and then to take a picture.
Throughout the journey, there are acorn signs guiding you along the path but it also conveniently tells you how the far the nearest pub is! Pub crawl anyone?
The Coasthopper bus runs along the coast road and comes in handy when you want to complete a section of the path without needing to retrace your steps.
It’s a well-known fact that Sandringham is home to the Queen’s rural retreat, and there are plenty of things for visitors to do there, not withstanding the museum, Sandringham House and gardens.
But what a lot of people may miss is the sculpture trail located close to the visitors centre.
It features 15 impressive sculptures created by chainsaw carvers from natural tree trunks. From howling wolves to curious-looking figures, it gives the feeling of walking through a mystical forest.
These incredible works of art works well to liven up the forest and it’s great fun for the kids.
There’s even a quiz to complete along the trail to get their creative juices flowing. The quiz can be downloaded online on the Sandringham Estate website.