Top tips for a great beach holiday in Norfolk

Tide marks on a deserted beach

Norfolk is the perfect place to come on holiday if you’re after beautiful, relaxing beaches here in the UK. With the glorious summer we are experiencing looking to stick around for a little while longer, and with so many to choose from, you can visit a different beach every day!

Plan your beach trip

First thing’s first, be prepared for your day trip. Make sure you don’t forget anything by writing a list.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check the tides
  2. Pack the sun cream
  3. Bring a parasol and/or windbreak for shade
  4. Bucket and spade
  5. Towels
  6. Swimsuits
  7. Picnic
  8. Digital radio – listen to local station for tide times
  9. Cash – for ice creams!
  10. Plenty of water
  11. Sunhats and sunglasses
  12. Bodyboards
  13. Blankets
  14. Pop up tent – for shade at midday, portable changing room and a nap zone for small children
  15. Spare clothes – your first ones are probably going to get wet!
  16. Book
  17. Beach activities such as a football or a frisbee
  18. Beach shoes in case of stones, or perfect for rock pooling.

If you do happen to forget anything, don’t panic! You’re at the British seaside after all. There are plenty of shops selling anything you could possibly need. And if the picnic gets forgotten about, fish and chips it is!

Stay safe on the beach

It’s important to remember to take care when visiting the beach. Especially if you and your family are swimming in the sea. Try to always swim at a beach patrolled by lifeguards.

Beaches with lifeguards that are close to some of our luxury holiday cottages are: Wells-next-the-sea, Sheringham, East Runton, West Runton and Cromer.

Lifeguards are on patrol at all these locations between 10am and 6pm every day during the summer.
A full list of beaches with lifeguards on shift and more information can be found here:

Keep an eye out for safety flags and the information signs usually found at the entrance of the beach. These will identify any potential hazards present at the beach and the safest areas to be in the water.

Know the time of the tides. Being cut off from the main beach is not the holiday adventure that you and your family want. Being aware of the tides and keeping an eye on them if you go exploring throughout the day will mean you stay safe and sound.

Know where your children are. Beaches get very busy in the summer time so make sure you set up a camp that is easy to spot. Decide a meeting point with older children in case they get lost. Make sure younger children are supervised at all times.

Stay safe in the sun

Beach Hut Number 10, Wells Beach

Day after day of sunshine and scorching temperatures are what summer holiday dreams are made of.

Be sure to stay safe in the hot weather by drinking plenty of water. The sun and wind can dehydrate you, even if it’s not that hot.

Don’t forget your sun cream. A holiday is no fun if you spend half of it burnt and sore.  Slather up before you leave your cottage in the morning and reapply every 2 hours. Make sure you are using one with a good SPF and at least 4 UVA stars for the best protection. Always reapply after swimming, even if your cream is waterproof.

Sun hats and sunglasses are a must. A hat will protect you from heat stroke and the glasses will shield your eyes from the bright sun. Get glasses that have UV protection built in.

Most importantly, have fun 

You’re on holiday after all! And what better way to have a good time than a day or five at the seaside! Get the sand in your toes (and ears and tummy button and nose) and the sea breeze in your hair.

Holidaying in Wells-Next-The-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea is a popular harbour town in North Norfolk, boasting picturesque scenery and a lively quayside. There is plenty to see and do in this small and very well-liked holiday destination.

It would take us all day to list absolutely everything there is to do. So instead, we’ve picked some of our Wells-next-the-Sea highlights.

Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk


Things to do

The beach is the obvious draw to Wells-next-the-Sea. Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), it’s expansive white sand and colourful beach huts entice visitors from all over the country and provide perfect photo opportunities.

Lined with a pinewood forest and a trail down to Holkham there are so many opportunities to explore and create your very own family adventure. Try walking the two miles through the forest one way and back again along the sandy, dune lined, beach.Beach Hut Number 10, Wells-next-the Sea, Norfolk

Hire Beach Hut Number 10 to make the most of your day on the beach. An ideal base, equipped with crockery, deckchairs, a windbreak and beach toys, it has everything you need for a perfect day.

Back down the beach walk and along the harbour you will always find people fishing for crabs – grab a bucket and line and have a go! You can also hop on a boat tour to go and see the local seal colonies.

Of course, there is also the traditional draw from the lights and sounds of the arcades on the quay front. If you’re feeling lucky try and win some prizes! Above the Pop Inn Arcade you will find Playland, indoor adventure play for 2-11-year olds.

The Wells Maltings

In spring of this year, the Wells Maltings completed a renovation project turning an old community centre into a brand new, state -of-the-art Arts and Heritage Centre.

With a variety of activities on the bill over the summer there’s something for everyone, from craft sessions for the children to film screenings and talks on the local geomorphology and oceanography of the area.

Take part in the Wells Maltings Heritage Art Trail, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Follow the trail of sculptures created by Norfolk artists up until March 2019 – an outdoor activity which is sure to have you making the most of these lovely summer days. Free trail maps can be picked up from the Wells Maltings complex.

Every Monday evening you can catch a film in the newly refurbished Maltings building, the films vary from latest releases to modern day classics.

Where to shop

The local shops are full of souvenirs and treats to remind you of your holiday. Along with the typical souvenir shops there are plenty of art galleries and shops selling framed photographs of the beach by local photographers and beautiful homeware pieces. Predominantly independently owned, you’re sure to find some unique goodies.

You may be worn out after a long day on the beach, just craving a cosy night in. In which case, there are local delis, greengrocers and butchers to grab some top-quality ingredients to take back with you to your holiday cottage.

Eating and Drinking

Being at the seaside the first choice is obviously going to be fish and chips. Two popular choices are right on Staithe Street, the main street running down to the quay.

If it’s dinner with a view you are after than The Sands restaurant is a must! Situated on the first floor and with a wall fitted out with windows from end to end. Your elevated position is perfect for watching the tide come and go or the sun setting, at one of the best spots on the Norfolk coast.

For something a little different, The Albatros offers dinner on a boat! One of the oldest sailing boats still afloat, you can pop in for a drink, pancakes, or a 3-course meal.

Coffee lover? Make sure you don’t miss out on Grey Seal Coffee House. A multi-award winning North Norfolk artisan coffee roaster. Open every day between 9am and 4pm. You can even buy some of their coffee to take home with you.

Maybe you are after something a little sweeter? The town is dotted with ice cream parlours serving local and delicious ice-cream as well as traditional seaside rock. There are also plenty of cafes to grab a cup of tea and slice of cake.

Where to stay in Wells-next-the-Sea

Our luxury cottages Hideaway Barn and Hideaway House are situated in the heart of Wells-next-the-Sea. Just a stone’s throw away from the Quay, everything you need is right on your doorstep.Hideaway House, Wells

Hideaway House sleeps 8 people. Hideaway Barn is just 2 doors down. It sleeps 6 people and allows one well behaved dog to stay. These cottages can also be booked together for the ultimate family holiday.

Just a short drive away we have properties in Binham and Brancaster, ideal if you are wanting to explore a little further around the coast.

Glaven Cottages, last minute Norfolk availability 25th June

With temperatures rising what could be nicer than a quick getaway to the coast?  We have some great Norfolk cottages with last minute availability over the next week

Perfect for couples are pet friendly Bottle Cottage in the pretty village of Binham and Daubeney Cottage, in Sharrington.  Both sleep 2.

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach

If you are looking for something a little larger then Netherfield     Swan Cottage and Blue Stone Cottage in Holt are available too.


Dogs at Wells

Bring your Pet to Norfolk

Our why not book a day in our beautiful Beach Hut No 10 on Wells Beach.  Well equipped and great location on the dog free area.



The Ultimate Packing List for your Cottage Holiday

So, you’ve booked your luxury self-catering holiday cottage and can’t wait to arrive. Now all you need to do is get your packing list together to make sure you’re fully prepared for your relaxing getaway.

We consider ourselves to be pretty experienced in self-catered holidays, so here is our ultimate packing list for your Glaven Cottage holiday.

Your four-legged friend

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, North Norfolk is an ideal place to bring your dog. Glaven Cottages have plenty of options for pet-friendly holiday cottages so your four-legged friend doesn’t have to miss out on the family holiday. Remember their packing list too!


It goes without saying that you are going to need a good supply of clothes, especially if you’re planning on making the most of the outdoors on your holiday. Bring plenty of layers in case of cooler coastal air. The bonus of a holiday cottage is that you’re not restricted to just one suitcase or wardrobe to share, you can really make yourself at home.

Baby essentials

Check with us first to see if your holiday cottage can provide a high chair and travel cot to save the extra luggage. With the space you save you’ll be able to bring along a few of their favourite toys to guarantee a fun and happy holiday.


If you’re a bit of a twitcher then these are a must! We have cottages just down the road from the award-winning bird reserve at the Cley marshes, a mecca for birdwatchers, and our Thornham cottages are close to both the Holme-next-the-sea and Titchwell RSPB Reserves too. With your binoculars in tow you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Walking boots and bikes

If spending long afternoons walking is your kind of thing there are options for you. North Norfolk has some lovely long-distance paths including the Peddars Way, Weavers Way and the beautiful North Norfolk Coast Path providing plenty of opportunity to while away the hours and take in the outstanding natural beauty.

If cycling is more your style then take a ride through the quiet lanes, stopping along the way at the many pubs, cafes and restaurants for a spot of lunch. Either way you won’t be disappointed


Tide marks on a deserted beach

Although towels are provided in most of our fabulous cottages it’s worth checking with us if you need to bring your own. Bringing your own beach towel is a must. With the picturesque beaches only a stone’s throw away it’s hard to resist a paddle!

Food and drink

Self-catered holidays are the best way to have the freedom to explore the beautiful North Norfolk as you please. Whether you decide to splash out and go for dinner every night or stick to a BBQ in the garden (check in advance if your selected cottage has one) there will still be some essentials you don’t want to forget so you can get your tea and coffee fix in the mornings at least!

Each of our stunning cottages has plenty of options for local pubs for a drink in the evening. Or maybe you would prefer to spend the evening watching the sun set in the garden whilst enjoying your favourite drink.

Household supplies

Don’t forget some essentials such as cling film or foil if you’re planning on creating culinary magic in the kitchen. But no need to worry about anything else, at Glaven Cottages we have our own in-house cleaning team keeping our holiday cottages spotlessly clean.

Board games and DVDs

Even with the abundance of things to see and do in Norfolk, you may just fancy a cosy evening in, snuggled in front of the wood burner or out in the garden soaking up the last of the summer sunshine. Many of our cottages have games and films to use whilst you’re staying, but it’s a good idea to bring any family favourites with you.

Arrival instructions

Finally, ensure a hassle-free arrival by making sure you’ve downloaded and/or printed out the directions and arrival instructions, such as the key code.

So, there you have it: our ultimate packing list for your perfect stay at one of our amazing self-catering cottages. Happy holidays!

Dog-friendly Beaches in North Norfolk

Dogs at Wells

We may well be biased, but we think North Norfolk is one of the very best places to bring your dog on holiday. And one of the reasons is that many of our stunning beaches are dog-friendly.

With summer on its way, we’ve created a list of our top picks for summer fun with your four-legged friend. And if you need somewhere to stay, make sure you check out our dog friendly holiday cottages.

Old Hunstanton Beach

You can walk for miles on golden sands at this dog friendly beach. There are no restrictions, although the beach can get a bit busy in the summer months. It’s a safe beach for paddles and swims and the beach café has doggy treats and water. As the beach faces west, this is also a great place to take in the sunset.

Thornham Beach

Another lovely dog-friendly beach with no restrictions. However, the beach is part of a Norfolk Wildlife Trust Reserve with birds using the beach and dunes for nesting between April and July, so make sure you keep your dog on a lead.

Brancaster Beach

This beauty can get busy in the summer months, but if you take yourself along the sandy beach a little way, there’s plenty of room for running, digging and ball games. There is a small restricted area (1stMay to 30thSeptember), but beyond that, dogs can run free! Just remember to check the tides before you travel – the beach car park can get cut off.

Burnham Overy Staithe Beach

There’s a bit of a walk to this sandy beach, which generally means it’s not too crowded. Your dogs will love it! There are no restrictions, but it’s within Holkham Nature Reserve, so please be careful during nesting times.

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach

With no restrictions and miles of sand, this has to be one of the best dog walking beaches in the country. You can walk along the beach, between the dunes, or take the footpath behind the line of pines which fringe the beach. Just be mindful and keep your dogs on a lead if you take the inland path. It’s a National Nature Reserve with breeding birds between April and July.

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach

Yet another beautiful sandy beach with miles of space to run around. Dogs aren’t allowed to the east of the steps which lead down to the beach from the pines (where the beach huts are), but head west and you won’t be disappointed. There’s also the bonus of a super dog-friendly café in the beach carpark with plenty of water and treats for your pooch (and a mean slice of cake for you!). Walking from Holkham to Wells is a true delight.

Weybourne Beach

This shingle beach is easy to get to with a good-sized car park behind the beach. There are no restrictions. The beach shelves away steeply in places, so it’s not always ideal for swimming.

West Runton Beach

There is a small restricted area on this beach, but beyond that, you have the run of the place. It’s a famous fossil collecting beach, so keep your eyes peeled for interesting finds. Make sure you check the tide before you head out. There are cliffs backing the beach so be careful not to get cut off.

The best of North Norfolk’s Summer Festivals 2018

north norfolk festivalsThere’s plenty to do in North Norfolk, no matter when you visit. But we are blessed to have some fantastic seasonal festivals too. Here are some of our favourite summer events and festivals, all easily accessible from any of our holiday cottages. Coincide your holiday with one of these dates and you’re in for a real treat!

Folk on the Pier: 11th– 13thMay

Cromer’s popular folk rock music festival celebrates its 20t anniversary in 2018. This year’s line-up includes some of the top names in the folk rock and acoustic world including Fairport Convention, Edward II, Little Johnny England and Home Service. Tickets are selling fast, so book then online now!

Norfolk and Norwich Festival: 11 May – 27thMay

With a unique mix of performance, music, literature, art and free outdoor events, this festival has something for everyone. Many of the events take place in Norwich, making it the perfect choice for a day trip. But you can also enjoy a free art installation on Wells beach as part of the festival.

Crab and Lobster Festival: 19th– 20thMay

This fun festival brings together the coastal towns of Cromer and Sheringham in a lively weekend dedicated to promoting the active fishing community. With an opening night concert, cookery demonstrations, local crafts and entertainment, there’s a real sense of the community coming together.

Royal Norfolk Show: 27-18thJune

Although we’re focusing on North Norfolk, we couldn’t miss out the biggest event in the county’s calendar. With 700 trade stands, 3,000 animals and hundreds of attractions, there’s something for everyone.

Holt Festival: 21stJuly – 29thJuly

Holt is a destination for tourists to the area all year around. But the week of the festival is dazzling, as the town is taken over my musicians, poets, actors, dancers, artists and comedians.

Wells Carnival: 27thJuly – 5thAugust

The Wells Carnival has been taking place for well over 90 years. It’s grown over the years such that there are now more than 100 events over the 10 days of the carnival. There’s live music, food and crafts, a sandcastle competition and much more.

Sheringham Carnival: 28thJuly – 5thAugust

Fun for all the family, a week of traditional carnival fun and festivities.

Cromer Carnival: 11thAugust – 17thAugust

This family festival culminates with the fantastic Parade and Red Arrows display on the 15th. The illuminated procession on the 16th will be another fantastic spectacle.

North Norfolk Music Festival: 13th–24th August

A very civilised series of classical music, often accompanied with delicious dining experiences. Featuring a mix of internationally renowned performers and upcoming talent, the festival is now in its 14thyear.

Hunstanton Kite and Classic Car Festival: 19thAugust

The perfect location for an impressive display of kite flying, along with a classic car rally, air display and lots of activities for the kids.

North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival: 1st– 2ndSeptember

Heaven for all foodies, this festival in the beautiful walled gardens at Holkham Hall features a host of local producers with plenty to tempt the taste buds. You won’t go away empty handed!

North Norfolk Railway 1940s weekend: 15th– 16thSeptember

Crowds in their thousands descend on Sheringham and Holt for this amazing event. With lots of history fans getting dressed up for the occasion, it’s like stepping back in time! A trip on the Poppyline completes the nostalgic experience.


Please note: our cottages can get very booked up when these special events are on, so book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.