What to do when you are on holiday in Winterton-on-sea
So you have landed in Winterton-on-sea for a relaxing break away from everything. You’re surrounded by miles and miles of natural beauty, but what should you do?
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, in between chilling out in our stylish holiday barns and making some lovely memories.
Take a stroll to the beach. If you’re here with the kids, grab our kiddy walking rucksack and your dog (the beach is dog friendly all year around) and walk the 10 minutes or so to this marvellous, endless sandy beach. My favourite route takes you along a field and down a road to some steps into Winterton valley and then over the dunes to the beach. You can do a lovely circular walk to the beach, or grab the buckets, spades and wind breaks, which you will find in the games barn and go for the day. Let your kids and dogs do some dune jumping and then stop for a spot of lunch or ice-cream at the Dunes café - their cakes are great and the breakfast baps definitely hit the spot.
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 barn 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.
Visiting the Seals at Horsey Gap is a must - 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 the barn. 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. 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 at the barn.
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 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.
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. 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, Marina Centre Swimming pool or Jump warehouse are good options.
Go for a drink in the Fisherman’s Return. This dog and child friendly pub is 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.
Spend the evening fine dining at the exquisite Ingham Swan or get in 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 from the super friendly family run Winterton Fish Bar.
If you’d rather relax at home and admire the vaulted ceiling and brick and flint interiors then choose some quality local meat from Martham Butchers and fire up the barbeque or range cooker and wood-burner, depending on the season. Check out our guest allotment for accompanying fresh veggies and herbs. Why not challenge your family and friends to a game of table tennis or pool in our games barn or grab your bikes and fill your lungs with clean fresh air and explore this unspoilt stretch of the Norfolk coast?
Whatever the weather or your group’s interests, there’s plenty of activities to suit everyone around Winterton-on- Sea and we look forward to helping you create some long lasting memories during your stay.