At A Glance:

  • 6 mile circular walk
  • Pay & Display car parking at start/end of walk
  • Blue Flag beach
  • Circular walk
  • Largely flat though some sections make it unsuitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs
  • Lots of flora and fauna to observe
  • Church on route with some very special details inside
  • Dogs are not allowed on a small area of beach in front of the main car park (Clink Road) between May 1st and September 30th
  • Toilets and refreshments at start and finish of walk
Sea Palling Circular Beach Walk.

June didn’t start with encouraging summer weather, but it didn’t stop us getting out and enjoying our Norfolk coast.

Our plans this year include exploring more of our wonderful East Coast. So we ventured out to Sea Palling to follow a 6-mile circular walk that takes you along the beach, up into what remains of Eccles on Sea, and back via some lovely Norfolk coastal countryside.

The day we went, at the start of June, it was overcast and blowy, but not cold. To be honest, 80% of the days we visit the coast, it seems to be blowing a hoolie. I’m beginning to wonder how good we are at planning days out…

Anyway, the most uncooperative weather did not stop us having a wonderful walk.

This walk takes you along the shore, which is a lovely sandy beach, peppered with pebbles. Huge sea defences (rocks imported from Norway) line the coast, attempting to protect Sea Palling from the ravages of the North Sea. In the course of our beach walk we saw seals swimming wild and loving the choppy waves, Little Terns (there is a large nesting site, which was roped off when we did this walk, so we gave the area as wide a berth as possible), and kite-surfers. Inland we took in stunning views of the Norfolk countryside, which was green and blooming, as well as St Andrew’s Church at Hempstead.

Walking along Sea Palling beach.

1. START
Our walk started at Sea Palling long stay car park, which is Pay & Display, being £7.50 all day. There are facilities nearby including shops and food outlets, as well as public toilets.

Access to the beach is via the slipway, and once on the sand, you turn left and walk for around 2 miles. The tide was in when we walked, meaning some of it was restricted to the wide, stone, stepped promenade at the top of the beach. Towards the end, the waves were breaking quite close and splashing up on to this.

As mentioned above, we saw several seals bobbing about in the surf, as well as kite surfers enjoying the blustery conditions. We also spotted Little Terns leaving their nearby nesting site to feed.

Sea Palling slipway and the start of this walk.

2. Eccles on Sea

After around 2 miles, turn left and ascend via the gap numbered ’29’ to Sandy Lane, which traces the edge of the Bush Estate, pretty much all that’s left of the medieval village of Eccles-Juxta-Mare, which was washed into the sea in the late 16th century.

This part of the walk enjoys some lovely views across the (largely flat) Norfolk countryside. The circular walk is marked, but some of the route was definitely not well trodden, and found us trekking through high grass, and sometimes, nettles.

Wildflowers in the Norfolk Countryside.

3. St Andrew’s Church

At Hempstead, we had a quick look around St Andrew’s Church. A peaceful little church with a 13th century chancel and a thatched roof, it was open on the day we walked.

The interior appears quite simple on first inspection, but there are some surprises to be found nestled in this unassuming coastal church. There is a chancel screen with some surviving late 14th-century paintings of saints – said to be one of East Anglia’s, if not England’s, most important and remarkable art objects. Other features of note include three large baroque bench ends that came from Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, a 17th century pulpit and reading desk, and a large octagonal medieval font with lions at its base.

St Andrew's Church Hempstead.

4. Back To The Start (End)

After the church, 2 miles of quiet lanes takes you back to the start.

The section known as ‘The Marrams’ is particularly nice and you’ll pass several holiday homes that we certainly think are worth a further exploration (in fact, we’ve already checked a couple of them out – you can book them via Airbnb).

We passed ‘Eco Burrito’, a summer-open Mexican food business serving locally sourced food. Despite being massively tempted, we’d actually had a picnic lunch en route so couldn’t justify a second meal. It looked good though and we’ll definitely try them next time we visit Sea Palling.

As you approach the start of the walk – back at the toilets and car park, you pass through a sandy path lined with Dog Roses, which smelled absolutely wonderful.

Back at the start, almost 3 hours later, we were ready for something sweet (plus we promised the boys they could have something, it being half term and all). The Beach Rock Cafe (also a Fish & Chip shop) didn’t disappoint. Warm, just-out-of-the-oven, scones, Rocky Road, a ludicrously indulgent Lotus Biscoff Millionaire Slice and an equally extravagant Cookie Ice Cream (Mr Whippy, with a whole broken cookie in the top, sprinkled with sprinkles, and topped with toffee sauce), plus some cold drinks, were just the ticket.

Obviously, being British folk, out on a most un-beach-like day, we enjoyed them in the car before heading home.

Print out the circular route that we followed from the National Trails website.

Dog Rose Walk.