Winterton-on-sea is a great place to come on holiday. The lovely village offers something for everyone. Miles of dog friendly sandy beaches to keep the kids amused. Walkers and Wildlife enthusiasts can walk up the coast to Horsey and take in the seal colony. Children will love the award wining BeWilderwood just a short car journey away, as well as exploring the Broads National Park on a boat or kayak.
The east coast of Norfolk is a place of uninterrupted sandy beaches, picturesque farmland, open skies, rolling sand dunes, where you can spot seals and explore quiet waterways and good independent pubs. These are my top tips for making the most of your time here.
Winterton-on-sea beach is dog friendly all year around) and is never that busy even in the peak summer months. The Dunes cafe right at the car park does good lunches and ice creams. North of the beach is a Nature Reserve which extends all the way to Horsey. It’s here that you see the baby seals in the winter. There are seals about pretty much all year, so look out for them in the water or on the beach. This is my walk to the beach which I do from Mill Farm on most days.
Longer Walks Around Winterton-on-Sea
If you fancy a longer walk, drop a car at the Nelson Head in Horsey and armed with our Winterton–on-sea walking guide, walk from the village along the back of the beach and dunes to the Nelson for lunch. This route takes you through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and national nature reserve filled with heather, gorse and often deserted beaches. You are quite likely to spot the local colony of grey seals on the way.
The Winterton-on-sea walking guide has 5 lovely walks you can do direct from the village, so once you arrive you really don’t need to get back in your car.
Visiting the Seals at Horsey Gap is a must
This is an amazing site, particularly if you are here for the seal pupping season between November and February. In these months the grey seals come to the beach to have their babies and is one of the few breeding sites in the UK which is accessible by foot. You can park at Horsey Gap or walk the 6km from Winterton. Alternatively, you can park at the National Trusts Horsey Wind Pump. My kids can easily do this walk now (they are 7 and 5) and there is also a geocache en route to add a little extra fun for the little ones. If you pick the right season, you’ll also find some of the best blackberries around along the way.
Get on a boat and check out the Broads National Park.
The Broads National Park is made up of a large number of shallow lakes, connected by smaller dykes and backwaters and is Britain’s largest protected wetland. It’s less than 5 miles from Winterton-on-sea. Getting out on the water is an absolute must when you visit this part of Norfolk. These delightful waterways are brilliant for canoeing and fishing whilst the wildlife spotting opportunities are incredible – I went on an electric boat last summer and saw a swimming water snake.
From April to October you can take a very reasonably priced boat trip aboard Ross’ Wildlife tour from Horsey. Our guests rave about this trip and the memorable tour leader, Ross. You can hire electric (always go electric) day boats at our neighbouring village at Martham Ferry Boat Yard, or go on a canoe or Stand Up Paddle tour with Norfolk Outdoor Adventures. If some of your party are in a wheelchair or have any other additional needs the Nancy Oldfield Trust specialise in accessible boating on the Broads but be sure to book in advance of your arrival.
If wildlife and bird watching are your thing there are various nature reserves dotted around the Broads including Hickling Broad and Strumphaw Fen which are the nearest. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust run children and adult wildlife watching experiences at Hickling and at Strumpshaw you can even ‘rent a warden’ for the day and go behind the scenes to discover the wilder side of the RSPB’s reserve. Watching the marsh harriers and cranes roost at dusk from Stub Mill is a must if visiting Hickling Broad.
What to do with kids
A trip to BeWilderwood is a must if you have some energetic children with you! This award winning treehouse adventure park is brilliant for kids of all ages – mine went at 18 months and loved it almost as much as their Dad! It closes in December and January but opens weekends and then all the time over the summer.
Other ideas of things to do around Winterton-on-sea with kids include Wroxham Barn’s Junior Farm is a great option for young kids – they can cuddle rabbits, bottle feed lambs and meet goats. If the weather really isn’t pleasant then Yarmouth’s Sealife Centre, or Jump warehouse are good options. Yarmouth’s Joyland and Pleasurewood hills are also great options. For a picnic spot I’d really recommend How Hill, in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. Here is a little film of a day out we had here recently.
Go for a drink in the Fisherman’s Return.
This dog and child friendly pub is in the middle of Winterton-on-sea just 10 minutes’ walk from the barn and offers quality food, huge portions and a good selection of beer. If you’re taking a stroll to the pub in the evening bring some torches though for the walk back to the barn. The night skies can be dark but the lack of light pollution means they can be brilliant for star gazing on a clear night. We often walk to the beach, stop for a drink and bowl of chips at the Fisherman’s Return and then take the children to the new play area in the village. We recently spearheaded a campaign to improve this play area and in two years we raised over £30,000. It makes an excellent stop over on the way back from the beach.
Where to eat
There are some great local food options. For fine dining I’d recommend the exquisite Ingham Swan. This is a formal but amazing dining expereince, I have had a couple of guests visit it two or three times during thier stay. Or get a take away from the highly rated Indian, Planet Spice. Alternatively, select the catch of the day from Dabs and Crabs our local fishmongers, or grab some fish and chips or the Fisherman’s won’t disappoint.
I am rather a fan of afternoon tea. The post office tea room in Winterton on sea village does a great afternoon tea. It’s such a lovely cosy place to hang out and it is really reasonable. Book in advance. If you want a real experience head to Popplylands in Horsey. This 1940’s themed tea rooms and cafe is a real treat for history enthusiasts.
Book a holiday at Winterton-on-sea
Mill Farm Eco Barn offers 2 beautiful Eco Barns in the village of Winterton on sea. We sleep 8 and 2 and can be booked together or separately. Check our availability.