Cromer – a guide for visiting this seaside Norfolk town in 2023


Norfolk is packed with excellent towns to visit, and we've published guides about a few of them recently including Hunstanton and Holt. But we think that Cromer has a slightly different feel to those other towns - it's a classic British seaside town which is ideal for a proper old-fashioned family holiday. We wanted to highlight the best things to see and do in Cromer for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Cromer?

We should start by specifying where Cromer actually is - the town is about 23 miles north of Norwich and is within the North Norfolk council area. It's about a mile from Holt, and about an hour away from King's Lynn, a town we've also written about previously. Cromer is also just over 100 miles to the North East of London, so can often attract visitors from the city during the summer months.

What is there to see and do in Cromer?

You've got quite a bit to see and do in Cromer and in the surrounding area. Here are some of the highlights:

Cromer Beach

You can't visit Cromer without visiting the beach - it's the focal point of the town. This is a classic pebble-&-sand beach which is nice and long, making it perfect for long strolls (or a paddle on your stand up paddle board) During the summer months, the beach is cleaned every day, and it's kept really pristine and beautiful looking. Lifeguards are usually on duty (especially during the busier times) and there are a few large car parks and facilities such as toilets and cafes nearby. This is an excellent beach and unlike so many of the beautiful beaches across the UK, we feel that Cromer Beach never gets too busy, even during the summer months. There's not much else to say about the beach apart from to please enjoy and respect the area.

Cromer Pier

There are some great seaside piers across the UK, and Cromer Pier is certainly up there as one of the best. This pier includes a fully working theatre (more on that in a minute) and a restaurant, with plenty of outdoor seating so you can enjoy the amazing views. A real highlight is being able to go crabbing off the pier, which is fun to watch or get involved in (sardines are the go-to bait). During the summer months, this pier is a hub of fun and activity, and you can expect to find live music and more. It's free to get on and it's small so easy enough to wander around the whole thing, plus dogs are allowed on too (although some dogs can be a bit hesitant to walk along it!).

Amazona Zoo

Don't be fooled into thinking that Cromer is just a seaside town - there is plenty more than just sand and sea to enjoy here. If you're looking to get up close and personal with some amazing animals, then a trip to Amazona Zoo is highly recommended. This zoo is smaller than many that you might have visited elsewhere, but we think that helps to make the experience more intimate. You could easily spend a few hours here and it's time well spent. Highlights include the parrots, the Feline Forest (featuring some impressive big cats), and the birds of prey. Once you've seen the animals, there is a soft indoor play area where kids could easily spend another few hours. Learn more here -

RNLI Henry Blogg Museum

If you're a boat geek then a trip to RNLI Henry Blogg Museum is definitely worth your time - it's the perfect chance to check out some vintage boats. This museum is totally free but is very well-kept and interesting. Henry Blogg was a local from Cromer who went on to become the most decorated lifeboatman in the history of the RNLI, so he is well worthy of having a museum named after him. Many of his medals are on display here, and to see how many he was awarded is seriously impressive. Learn more about the museum and plan your visit here -

Pavillion Theatre

We've already mentioned that there is a theatre on the pier, but the theatre is definitely worthy of its own section in our guide - built originally as a bandstand, it was converted into a pavilion in the early 20th century. Many well-known entertainment acts have performed at the theatre over the years, including big names like Ken Dodd and Paul Daniels, but there is always a good choice of acts on with everything from comedy to dancing. The Pink Floyd Experience is performing there later this year, and we feel like it'll be an excellent place to see them live. Learn more and book tickets here -

Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary

Rarely in life do you get to do something which is simultaneously enjoyable and charitable, but a trip to the Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary in West Runton manages to tick both of those boxes. At this amazing sanctuary where a variety of horses and other animals are rescued from awful lives of neglect and often abuse, you can get up close and personal with animals who have been given a new life. For animal lovers, this is a must-visit location, and the cafe here - which is entirely vegetarian - is also very good. Learn more here -

Cromer Parish Church

Visiting a church might seem like a real step down from the fun of the beach, but we think Cromer Parish Church is a bit special and well worth a look, even if you're not religious. The building was originally built in the 15th century, but much of it was restored in the 19th century. It's just a stone's throw from the beach area, and the church dominates the skyline of the town, so you won't miss it. You can admire the building from a distance, but we'd recommend exploring the interior - the architecture is stunning and the large glass window at the front of the building is magnificent. If the weather is nice, exploring the area surrounding the church is recommended too. Learn more here -

East Runton Beach

We've raved plenty about Cromer Beach so far in this guide, but there is no denying that during the summer months, it can sometimes get a little too busy.
If you're looking for a slightly quieter beach nearby which is also great for long walks, then East Runton Beach is definitely where to go. There is a car park here and when the tide is out you can walk all the way along to Cromer. Also in East Runton, there is a fantastic fish and chip shop called Will's Plaice, which is probably the best place to get fish and chips in the area. Overall, it's a great beach for long dog walks and a well-earned chippy at the end.

Things to be aware of before you visit Cromer

If you're visiting Cromer and you're wanting to see the Banksy mural, then you'll find the artwork about 15 minutes to the East of Cromer Pier. It's still visible but unfortunately, some vandalism and the harsh weather have faded it quite a bit. The town can definitely get busier during the summer months and on bank holidays, but we think Cromer is also an excellent place to visit during the colder months if you want something a little different. Yes, the beaches will be colder and some of the popular venues and attractions we've listed above will be closed, but the feel is still very magical and the views across the sea on a colder day are just as stunning.
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant town. If you're interested in visiting other locations in Norfolk, check out our guide to the Marriott's Way and also the towns of Holt and King's Lynn. If you're looking for a place with even more of an old-school British seaside feel, Skegness is just a few hours up the coast!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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