With the backdrop of an area of outstanding natural beauty, Cley next the Sea is a must-visit summer destination for anyone wanting to explore a quintessential north Norfolk village.


Best known for the nature reserve that surrounds the village, the Cley Marshes span more than 300 hectares, including both wetland and coastal habitats.

The combination makes it nationally recognised as a haven for birdwatching, with six hides overlooking lagoons, beaches and grazing marshes.

The salt marshes, reedbeds and fathomless skies all blend into the village streets lined with flint buildings.

Poking above the village's skyline is the renowned 18th-century windmill which has been converted into a guesthouse.

The Cley and Salthouse Marshes are one of the best places in the UK to see wildlifeThe Cley and Salthouse Marshes are some of the best places in the UK to see wildlife (Image: Mark Bullimore)

Restaurants and shops

Many flourishing businesses call Cley home with Crabpot Books, Made in Cley pottery workshop and Picnic Fayre deli providing some great visits for shoppers.

Picnic Fayre provides a one-stop shop for the best local produce whether it's Norfolk Dapple cheese bread from the local bakery or a bottle of wine from the region.

When it comes to dining, the village is home to one of the best spots north Norfolk has to offer.

The Cley Smokehouse uses its oak-fired kiln to infuse local seafood with hot-smoked salmon, cold-smoked bloaters and kippers all on the menu alongside local crab pates and deli items.

Crab pots and fishing boats on the beach at CleyCrab pots and fishing boats on the beach at Cley (Image: Mark Bullimore)


A short walk through the picturesque salt marshes will take you to the pebble-lined beach, with crashing waves, stunning sunsets and panoramic vistas.

The long stretch of smooth pebbles makes it a popular spot for local fishermen and a great place to sea fish.


The village is no stranger to national attention, scooping several awards and flying the flag for Norfolk.

In April, Cley was recognised by the Telegraph for being in the top 20 most beautiful seaside villages - being commended for its birdwatching.

The village was also noted for being a great place for hikers. The 12-mile Blakeney to Cley loop was named one of Britain's "very best" walks by Tom Hall of the Daily Mail.