Stretching for 48.5 miles through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England is the Norfolk Coast Path. It runs from Hunstanton to Cromer and is often combined with Peddars Way, an inland path which it at Hunstanton. Together they make a 96 mile inland and coastal walk.
Walking the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Brancaster Staithe
How to get to Hunstanton
If you’re planning on just doing a day or two-day walk from Hunstanton and have access to a car you can easily drive to Hunstanton. You can park up (many carparks allow overnight parking) and get the Coasthopper bus back when you finished walking. Alternatively, park further along the coast where your days walk ends and Coasthopper it back to your starting point.
|Note: From 30th April 2018 the North Norfolk coastal bus service known as Coasthopper changed with the departure of its Stagecoach. The service is now run as a joint venture between Lynx buses who run the service between King’s Lynn and Wells under the ‘Coastliner’ name and Sanders Coaches who run the service between Wells and Cromer under the ‘Coasthopper’ name.|
Without a car or if you’re planning to walk for several days it’s better to get to and from Hunstanton via public transport. The closest train station to Hunstanton is Kings Lynn, which is accessible by train from Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough, and from London with a change at Peterborough. Train tickets are often much cheaper if you book them online in advance via Trainline.
Once in Kings Lynn, the number 34, 35 and 36 (Coastliner) buses run from the bus station to Hunstanton every 15 minutes and costs £3.60 one way. The bus station is easy to find just down the road directly opposite the train station.
The Victorian seaside town resort of Hunstanton is well known for its red and white striped cliffs topped behind which the town sits. A popular holiday destination, especially for domestic tourists, Hunstanton has plenty to do for all ages. There’s the pitch-and-putt, crazy golf, Oasis Leisure Centre and peaceful Esplanade Gardens. There’s also a Horticultural Trail you can follow around the towns many pretty gardens in the spring and summer.
Hunstanton to Holme-Next-the-Sea
Moving on, we passed the Old Lighthouse between Hunstanton and Old Hunston. It’s now a guesthouse and looks like a unique place to spend the night. Despite the grey day, there were several other people out and about; couples and families – some with dogs. A kite or two were soaring high in the sky above the beach.
The mist lifted and the weather started to brighten up as we reached Holme Nature Reserve, managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. There are a variety of coastal habitats there including sand dunes, salt marsh, grazing marsh and freshwater pools.
Holme-Next-the-Sea to Thornham
Thornham to Brancaster Staithe
Finally, we reached the working fishing village of Brancaster Staithe. We had a quick look round the bustling harbour which is also home to Brancaster Staithe sailing club, it was full of lobster pots, fishing nets and fishing boats.
Brancaster Staithe is famous for its shellfish, especially oysters and many local families still make their living from fishing. They sell their catch from shops and stalls at the harbour or on the main road.
There was lots going on and lots to see, the perfect end to the first stage of our Norfolk Coast Path walk.
Where to Stay in Brancaster Staithe
We were hosted for one night in Brancaster Staithe at The White Horse Inn. Read more in our full Product Review Disclosure.
The White Horse Inn
Not far from Brancaster Staithe harbour is The White Horse Inn, a family run hotel, restaurant and pub. It’s ideally situated overlooking the beautiful saltmarshes and coastline of the North Norfolk coast.
Bought as a rundown pub in 1994 by current owners the Nye family, by 1999 The White Horse had been extended and renovated. It now sports 15 bedrooms, a conservatory restaurant with a gorgeous terrace and dining area.
The spacious en-suite rooms are all tastefully decorated in a contemporary style with colours that evoke images of coastal scenes. In high season from April to October prices for mid-week bed and breakfast range from £160 per night for a small double or twin up to £250 per night for the ‘Room at the Top’ (more about that later)! For weekends add on an extra £10 per night. There are also some dinner, bed and breakfast packages and in low season prices drop – you can check all this in more detail on the website.
The reception is in the front of the hotel and is reached via a sunken garden and sheltered, heated seating area. In our worn out and dishevelled state we were very happy to be warmly welcomed by the reception staff and checked into our room so quickly. The icing on the cake was to discover we’d been allocated the ‘Room at the Top’ – what a treat!
The ‘Room at the Top’ was one of a kind and we consider ourselves extremely lucky to get the chance to stay in it. It’s a split level room with a gable end and viewing balcony offering spectacular panoramic views out over the marshes and coastline.
The big, bright, airy room decorated in blues, whites and natural wood had a comfy kingsize bed with a cosy duvet, pillows and cushions. Near the windows opening onto the balcony was a sofa, making the perfect stop for gazing out the window if it’s a bit chilly to stand outside.
On the lower level of the room was a bathroom with a big bath, separate shower, toilet, wash basin and lovely complimentary toiletries. The room also had everything else we needed for a fantastic, relaxing stay. There was a wide screen TV, WiFi, dressing table, chest of drawers, tea and coffee making facilities (even a Nespresso machine and biscuits) and fluffy bathrobes.
The award-winning restaurant over-looks the expansive marshes. On a clear day is the ideal place to enjoy an early evening drink as you watch the sunset on the horizon. Showcasing the catch of local fisherman and other locally sourced ingredients the menu at the White Horse Inn is mouthwatering. In fact, we were spoilt for choice.
We actually chose to eat in the bar to the left of reception just as you enter the inn, you can select from the same menu as in the restaurant which is great. I was sorely tempted to try the oysters but in the end, we both decided to skip starters. We both went straight in with a main of juicy, perfectly cooked rump steak, chunky chips, salad and a side of onion rings. It was so good, just what we needed after our long day of walking. We loved the buzzing friendly atmosphere in the bar, it was really inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
Breakfast in the restaurant the was also excellent. There was a continental buffet of cereals, fruits and yoghurt and also the option to select a hot item off the menu. We both went for the smoked haddock benedict which was delicious, which along with a couple of coffees set us up for the rest of the day.
We absolutely loved our stay at White Horse Inn in Brancaster Staithe. It’s a real gem and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to spoil themselves a bit on the North Norfolk Coast. They also put on lots of different events in the summer months such as a Seafood Fest and a Lobster BBQ, yum, I’m definitely tempted.
Other Norfolk Coast Path Accommodation
There’s a wide range of Norfolk Coast Path accommodations including bed and breakfasts, guest houses, inns, hostels, self-catering and camping. Ramblefest has a great article covering accommodation on the Norfolk Coast Path as well as lots more invaluable information on the long distance path.
Booking.com also has a good selection of hotels to choose from in Norfolk.
We did our walk independently (and will for the other stages) but you can do it as part of a guided group tour. Tour agencies such as Explore Norfolk UK offer a variety of itineraries of different lengths, routes and prices. If you want to do the whole route independently but don’t fancy carrying heavy bags you can arrange baggage transfer with HikeHelp and Move My Bags.
Both Mum and I really enjoyed walking the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Brancaster Staithe. We’re very keen to return soon to complete more of it. That’s the beauty of the Norfolk Coast path, you can do as little or as much as you want. Although we’d love to tackle it all at once, for now dipping in and out as we have the time will be just fine for us.
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Have you done any long distance walks in England that you can recommend to us for once we finish the Norfolk Coast Path? Tell us about it in the comments below.
P.S. Read about two of my other treks via the following links:
- Trekking in Luang Namtha, Laos
- Wildlife and Trekking Tour in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
Product Review Disclosure: The White Horse Inn provided us with a complimentary one night stay with breakfast. This did not influence my post in any way and as always I’ve provided a balanced and honest review.