‘The British seaside at its best’ - Cromer in top spot among region’s beaches

PUBLISHED: 12:41 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:45 09 July 2018

Deck chairs on Cromer Beach.  Picture: Mark Bullimore

Deck chairs on Cromer Beach. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Archant Norfolk 2015

Three spots on the north Norfolk coastline have claimed places in a list of Britain’s best beaches.

Cromer Beach, ten minutes after sunset. Picture: Marcus HicklingCromer Beach, ten minutes after sunset. Picture: Marcus Hickling

Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea, and Scolt Head Island have been ranked among the best places for a paddle in the east of England, according to a list published in The Times.

And the coast at Cromer beat competitors from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to take the region’s top spot in the round up of the 50 best beaches in Britain.

Gary Dickenson, president of the Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business, said: “I’m very pleased to hear the outcome.

“We do have a fantastic beach - a Blue Flag beach - and there’s lots to do here in Cromer as well, both in the town and on the seafront.

Beautiful sunrise at Cromer beach. Picture: Jerry Linden-BallBeautiful sunrise at Cromer beach. Picture: Jerry Linden-Ball

“There’s a gentle character to the town, and people can come here and relax and really have a proper holiday.”

Mr Dickenson added: “I love walking through the town round the promenade on a circular route - you get to see everything.”

And the town’s top score may be down to its status as: “the British seaside at its traditional best.”

The Cromer pier show was described as “glitzy” and “better and better”; Davies Fish Shop Crab was called “dressed to impress”; and the chocolate-coated 99s from the Windows Ice Cream shop, were name-checked for “gaining cult status”.

Reflections of Cromer beach. Picture: Richard SagonReflections of Cromer beach. Picture: Richard Sagon

Mike Gates, mayor of Wells, said: “As a town we’re very proud of our beach.

“Its very good for the town and the economy and hopefully will bring in more tourists.

“We’re an area of outstanding natural beauty and that is why we all appreciate the beach.”

He added: “I love the whole coastal area in Wells - the walk along the coastal path, and through the pine woods, and we even get visited by seals.”

Wells Beach. Picture: Fay CollinsWells Beach. Picture: Fay Collins

Simon Daykin, Wells Maltings director, said: “It’s not surprising that Wells-next-the-Sea has been put forward as one of the east of England’s best beaches.

“Whenever the sun comes out, Wells is full of visitors who flock to this part of north Norfolk for its fabulous coastal attractions and its culture.

“These include the wonderful beach at Wells with its white sand and colourful beach huts, the peaceful pinewoods and the attractive quay with its many boats and, at present, the fabulous ‘Lifeboat Horse’ sculpture by Rachael Long which is part of our Wells Heritage Arts Trail.”

A North Norfolk District Council spokesperson said: “It shouldn’t be a surprise that the beach in Cromer is one of the best in the country. Locals and visitors alike will already be aware of what a fantastic place it is.

Sailors enjoying the breeze of Wells beach. Picture: Brian HicksSailors enjoying the breeze of Wells beach. Picture: Brian Hicks

“The wide open beach means visitors can enjoy the huge Norfolk skies, while the Blue Flag award assures visitors that the water quality is excellent, the beach is clean and there are lifeguards to keep people safe.

“The Grade II-listed pier, which has recently enjoyed significant investment, is home to the world-famous end-of-the-pier show, and is a great place for crabbing. The recent contract signed with Openwide to run the pier for the next 10 years shows North Norfolk District Council’s commitment to this iconic seaside structure. Meanwhile, we recently invested £1m improving the facilities on the West Prom.

“And visitors to the beach can also pop along and say hello to our Bagot goats, which have proven to be a popular tourist draw on the cliff as well as carrying out an important habitat-management role.

“But it’s not just Cromer that has a fantastic beach. No other district in England has more Blue Flag beaches than North Norfolk, with East Runton, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Sheringham and West Runton our other proud Blue Flag destinations.

Scolt Head Island. Picture: National TrustScolt Head Island. Picture: National Trust

“Wells is also the holder of a Seaside Award, so all in all it’s easy to see why so many people consider our beaches to be the best.”

The east of England’s best beaches

The other names on the list from across our region were West Mersea, in Essex, and Covehithe and Walberswick, in Suffolk.

The list noted the facilities available at each beach, including parking, toilets, lifeguards and beach huts, and water quality was given a rating of either excellent, adequate or not rated.

Cromer’s water quality was rated excellent, and facilities include parking, toilets’ lifeguards, refreshments, shopping and beach huts.

Along the coast in nearby Wells, the water quality was deemed good, and beach facilities on par with Cromer.

But Cromer had the edge, with Wells described as “the Southwold of the north Norfolk coast” and the beach car park “extortionate”.

Finally, the National Nature Reserve at Scolt Head Island, near Brancaster, was the third Norfolk spot to make it on to the list and the wildest of the lot.

The island’s breeding tern colonies and mile and a half wade through waist high marshland mean it’s less a family friendly beach, and more an unspoilt area for adventurous nature lovers.

What’s your favourite spot along Cromer beach? Email jessica.frank-keyes@archant.co.uk

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