Hunstanton Beach, which holds a Blue Flag award is right on your doorstep, stretches for miles, all the way to the striking candy-striped cliffs beyond the town. The sandy beach is shallow, there are no nasty currents or undertows, and it’s lifeguarded, so it’s brilliant for children. It also happens to be Norfolk’s only west-facing beach, perfect for a beautiful sunset.
Best way to explore the beach? It’s a Searles Sea Tour of course! Hop aboard one of Captain Willie’s amphibious Wash Monsters and sail out to a sandbank or drive and wade along the beach. And it's a top-rated attraction, as voted for by Tripadvisor. Ask at reception for details or walk along the promenade towards town and you’ll find Captain Willie’s shore-based headquarters.
Round the corner of the coast, just minutes by car from Searles Leisure Resort, you’ll find the vast sandy beaches of the North Norfolk coast. Starting with the idyllic Holme-next-the-Sea, backed by pinewoods like a Greek Island, then onto Brancaster, surely the biggest stretch of flat sand you’ll ever find… hang on, that might be Holkham or Wells-next-the-Sea… seriously, you won’t find so much sandy beach anywhere else in the UK! And they’re all shallow and safe. But do be careful, as the tide comes in quick, so beware not to get stranded on a sandbank.
Norfolk is home to several areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nature reserves, including the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, with whom we are proud to be Silver Sponsors. Holme and Cley have some fabulously fun things to do for the children, and so does RSPB Titchwell and Snettisham. Then there’s the National Trust at Brancaster, who also have some great days out for kids.
You serious bird-watchers will know where to go, but if you’ve always wanted to have a go at ‘twitching’ – and we do recommend it – all the reserves have tips and advice and even guided walks and talks. And don’t forget Pensthorpe Natural Park, which has lots of activities and walks for all the family.
A stone’s throw inland is Snettisham Deer Park, where the children get to feed Bambi, and just along the promenade from Searles Leisure Resort is the world famous Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, where they can adopt an otter!
Hunstanton is a thriving and rightly famous seaside resort town. But did you know it’s also home to the UK’s biggest (and best) joke shop? You’ll also find funfairs, fish and chips, fishing and camping gear and that vital ingredient for any summer holiday: lashings of ice cream!
Of course there are lots of shops too, with some great local crafts available from the Le Strange Barns, just across the Putting Green, and everything smelling of well, lavender, at Norfolk Lavender. Paint me Ceramics is a great place to take the children on a wet afternoon, or leave them there while you enjoy some serious shopping.
If you’ve run out of fun things to do at Searles Leisure Resort – which we doubt very much – all sorts of activities can be enjoyed nearby. Hunstanton Watersports will teach you and the family to kitesurf, windsurf and paddle board.
Bircham Windmill, 20 minutes by car, is a charming old windmill and it’s still working! Children can look around the museum, watch the windmill in action, and to cap it all, bake their own bread. Stand back Paul Hollywood!
You can read more about serious golf here, but for family fun with a putter visit Hunstanton’s Putting Green, or get everyone in the family into the swing on Searles’s driving range.
History, Big Houses and the Queen
You know you’ve come to the right place for a summer holiday when the Queen is having her own holidays just down the road. Sandringham House is open to the public most of the year, and the beautiful park is open year round.
Along the coast, Holkham Hall, still privately owned and managed by the Leicester family, has a deer park, a farming museum and a brilliant adventure playground. Just beyond that are the National Trust properties of Blickling and Felbrigg, where Anne Boleyn grew up. Horrible History lesson anyone?