Discover the very best of Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells has many charms and remains a popular holiday destination, especially with families who return year after year, with children, then grandchildren. Whether you go crabbing on the quay or sunbathing on the beach, ride on the open-top bus or explore the colourful sights and sounds of the arcades, memories made in Wells last a lifetime.

Wells-next-the-Sea beach at low tide overlooking grassy dunes and beach huts below, with a raised dune in the middle distance and some parents and children walking on the sand.

The Beach

The award-winning beach at Wells is vast, unspoilt and beautiful, famous for its pine trees, sand dunes and colourful beach huts. Walk for a couple of miles or so along the golden sands and you’ll end up in Holkham. Whether you decide to sunbathe, swim, fly a kite or build a sandcastle, Wells beach has something for everyone.

Wading birds can be seen on the foreshore, including terns, oystercatchers and avocets, and if you’re lucky you can spot common and grey seals basking in the sun.

Wells beach is without a doubt the best beach in Norfolk!

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Wells-next-the-Sea Harbour & Quay with fishing boats, sailing barge & warehouse gantry.

The Quay and The Granary

Wells Quay is always buzzing with life. Children fishing for crabs, shoppers buying fresh shellfish from Frary’s stall, day-trippers sitting on the harbour wall eating fish ‘n’ chips, watching the fishing boats come and go.

Malting was big business in the 19th century, and one of the surviving granaries is the main feature of the harbour. Built in 1903, the large granary building with its distinctive overhanging gantry has been turned into luxury flats with magnificent views.

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A row of colourful beach huts on a bright, sunny day at Wells-next-the-Sea, with frosty sand in the foreground and pine trees behind.

Beach Huts and Pinewoods

The colourful, cheerful beach huts at Wells are instantly recognisable, perched on stilts above the sand with panoramic views of the beach and beyond. Many have quirky names like Dolly Mixtures and Linger Longer.

A humble haven for a lucky few, they are the perfect place to store deckchairs and windbreaks, or escape the midday sun, put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Some of the huts are available to hire through Pinewoods Holiday Park.

The beach huts are set against a backdrop of mature Corsican pines, planted over a hundred years ago. Wander through the woods and you might spot grey squirrels and rare birds. You can access the pinewoods directly from the beach via wooden steps.

A line of people crabbing on the quay at Wells-next-the-Sea.

Crabbing at Wells

If you’re visiting Wells-next-the-Sea in summer, there’s one activity you absolutely must do – crabbing on the quay! Catching crabs by a line is a traditional pursuit on the Norfolk coast, and Wells Harbour is one of the top crabbing spots.

Families line the harbour wall on sunny days, lowering their lines, buckets of crabs beside them. Crabbing (or gillying as it’s known locally) is good old-fashioned family fun, and keeps children – and their adult helpers – entertained for hours.

You can buy crabbing kits from nearby stores, but the best way to protect the harbour environment is to rent an eco-friendly crabbing kit for just £1 from the Gilly Hut on the quay.

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Wells Beach Bus

Hop aboard and enjoy easy access to the beach and town!

The Wells Harbour Railway has been replaced by the Wells Beach Bus. The new bus service has not one, but two buses.

A pioneering electric bus, the first of its kind in the UK, operates a route from the football club car park to the roundabout at the beach end of Beach Road.

During the busiest days of summer, the electric bus is joined by a 1951 Leyland Tiger open-top bus. The vintage bus adds additional capacity and a fun, memorable experience.

The service runs from April to October and only accepts payment by card. Dogs are allowed on board both buses.

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Wells Carnival

Wells-next-the-Sea enjoys a traditional summer Carnival for residents and visitors every year. A week of family fun and events including a Carnival Day procession around the town featuring floats, fancy-dress, pull-and push-along vehicles and much more. Traditional seaside activities include a sand-castle competition, town crier competition, gillying on the quay and the crowning of the Carnival Royals.

The event has been taking place annually at the beginning of August for well over 90 years. Originally known as the Wells Regatta, it began as just a one day event but has now grown to more than 100 events over the 10 days of Carnival.

Wells Carnival has been awarded the Norfolk & Suffolk Tourism Award 2019 for Family Event of the Year.

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Alpaca Trekking

For a truly enjoyable and unforgettable experience become an alpaca trekker for the day by taking an alpaca for a walk along the bridleways and coastal paths at Wells-next-the-Sea.

With stunning views across the saltmarshes to the sea, your guide for the day will tell you of the history of this part of the beautiful coastline as you walk along the tracks and ways.

Treks can be from 1 to 3.5 hours in duration and you can bring a picnic on the longer treks. You can also bring chopped apples for the alpacas as a treat at the end of the trek!

The highly trained alpacas are very friendly and this activity is suitable for children and persons of all ages.

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The Lifeboat Horse metal sculpture in the harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea.

The Lifeboat Horse

The Lifeboat Horse, made from steel bars and whisky barrels, was created by artist Rachael Long as a tribute to the horses that once pulled the town’s lifeboat more than two miles from the quay to Holkham Gap.

Located on the harbour sand in full view of the quay, the 3-metre high sculpture is fully visible at low tide, and partly submerged at high tide, appearing to swim through the waves.

Originally commissioned as part of the Wells Heritage Art Trail, an event spanning June-September 2018, the sculpture has been purchased by the people of Wells and now stands as a permanent fixture in the harbour.

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Two narrow gauge steam trains carrying passengers through the Norfolk countryside blowing their whistles.

Wells and Walsingham Light Railway

A big day out on the world’s smallest public railway! This unique railway is the longest 10¼” narrow gauge steam railway in the world. The powerful Garratt steam locomotives “Norfolk Hero” and “Norfolk Heroine” were built especially for this line.

The journey takes you from Wells to the village of Walsingham, a famous place of pilgrimage. Sit back and enjoy the nostalgic and atmospheric sights, sounds and smells of steam travel.

The scenic four mile journey through the beautiful Norfolk countryside takes around 30 minutes. Refreshments are available from The Signal Box Cafe.

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Looking across the The Buttlands in Wells, an attractive area of grass lined with trees and elegant buildings.

The Buttlands

In the heart of Wells lies the Buttlands, an attractive, leafy green square lined with lime trees. Elegant Georgian houses overlook The Buttlands, as do The Crown Hotel, a former coaching inn, and The Globe Inn.

The name originates from the days it was used for archery practice. Many events during Carnival Week take place on The Buttlands including a food & craft fair, a fete, live music and Screen on the Green.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy good food, good fun and good weather during the summer!