Wells Beach

Expand your horizons in Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells is famous for its vast, sweeping beach and colourful beach huts. There are few better places to relax, unwind and enjoy the sea air. Walk the dogs, fly a kite, build sandcastles, play ball games, birdwatch, or just kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and have fun paddling in the shallows.

Who Owns Wells Beach?

The beach at Wells-next-the-Sea is part of the Holkham Estate.

Please contact the Estate Office directly for any enquiries or comments regarding the beach and its environs.

For further details visit Holkham Estate Wells Beach Information.

Beach Access

Wells beach is located approximately one mile from the town. You can walk there along a a raised path with fabulous views over the marshes. The beach walk is wheelchair friendly and has ramps at both ends.

For those who prefer public transport, the new Wells Beach Bus service runs from the town to the beach via Beach Road.

Or you can drive yourself along Beach Road and park at the Wells Beach car park where you’ll find the Beach Café, a Joules clothing store, toilets & shower facilities and the entrance to the beach.

  • There are steps to the beach over the dunes from the west end of the car park.
  • Ramps are provided at the east end of the car park and the end of Beach Road.
  • Further access points can be found along the path which runs parallel to the beach  through the pinewoods, incorporating steps rising over the bank and down to the beach.
  • There is no formal disabled access along the beach itself, however a solid footway runs for about 50m westward from the beach access point in front of the Coastwatch lookout.
  • Beach wheelchairs are not provided.
  • Several flights of steps supplement the ramps. All steps have handrails.

Parking at Wells Beach

There is a large car park at the entrance to Wells Beach, run by Holkham Estate. It is located approximately 1 mile due north from the town centre.

For Sat Nav directions use postcode NR23 1DR.

Open in Google Maps.

Opening hours are 6am – 9pm.

Parking costs:

Up to 2 hours: £3.50
Up to 4 hours: £6.50
Over 4 hours and all day: £10.00

The all day ticket allows free parking on the same day in Holkham Park during the visitor season.

Coaches, caravans and trailers are prohibited and the car park is locked at night with no overnight parking permitted.

For more information visit the Holkham website.

During bank holiday weekends and the peak summer season Wells Beach Car Park often fills to capacity before midday.

In order to prevent cars from driving through town to the car park entrance and being turned away, electric signs have been stationed beside the road in various places indicating if the Wells Beach Car Park is full, or if it still has spaces available.

If you’re heading to the beach and the beach car park is full, you can park at the Wells Town Car Park on Freeman Street and take the Wells Beach Bus to the beach, or walk along the Beach Mile bank.

A short footpath runs from the eastern end of the car park to Harbour Station, the quay, and the start of Beach Mile.

For details on alternative parking in Wells, see the Visiting By Car page.

Dogs on Wells Beach

Dogs are allowed on the beach at Wells all year round subject to certain restrictions.

A dog-free zone operates for the first 200 yards of beach from the main entrance so that people can dig in the sand without fear of finding something unpleasant, but there are no restrictions from the pinewoods entrances.

The section of the beach where dogs not allowed is signposted.

At nesting time areas of the beach are roped off to protect nesting birds and people are asked to keep dogs on leads for the same reason.

Dog should be kept on leads until they get on to the beach. It is your responsibility to keep your dog under close supervision and control and you MUST clean up after your dog and use the dog waste bins provided.

Do's and Don'ts on Wells Beach

  • The use of barbeques, fires, stoves and sky lanterns are prohibited.
  • The use of drones, kite buggies, surf boards, sand yachts and remote control cars/appliances/gadgets are not permitted.
  • Reduce erosion by keeping to paths and established paths.
  • Avoid disturbing birds and other animals. Birds that live on the beach are particularly at risk.
  • Leave wild flowers for others to enjoy.
  • Play and sit on the beach not the dunes.
  • Do not dig in the dunes.
  • Please take your litter home.

Safety on Wells Beach

  • Swimmers should stay within the area marked by yellow buoys to avoid boat traffic.
  • RNLI Lifeguards and Coastwatch volunteers watch the beach from July to September 10am to 6pm daily.
  • First aid is available from the Lifeguards when operating.
  • The beach continues eastward from the main entrance but can be cut off by the tide which comes in very quickly.
  • Check tide times and be sure to return to the beach-side of the main channel when the warning siren sounds or around four hours before high water.
  • Read the signs and other notices posted at the beach entrance for safety information.
  • If you are – or you see someone – in trouble on or near the sea, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI Water Safety

Two out of three people rescued by Wells lifeboat crew in 2020 were walkers cut off by the tide. To stay safe, make sure you return to dry beach sand or the dry land by the marshes 4 hours before high tide. Always carry a means of calling for help, ideally a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.

Look out for local information boards showing the latest daily tide times, or ask a beach warden, car park attendant, or at the Harbour Office or Coastwatch Lookout. You can also download a tide app like Tides Near Me or My Tide Times (App Store / Google Play).

View the RNLI Guide to Water Safety for more information on staying safe by the water in the Wells and Holkham National Nature Reserve areas.

Wells Lifeboat

The new RNLI Lifeboat Station on the end of the beach bank is now open. The new Shannon-class RNLB 13-46 Duke of Edinburgh is now on service as the town’s all-weather lifeboat, alongside the inshore lifeboat D-797 Peter Wilcox, assisting with emergencies around Wells and off the North Norfolk coast.

Manned by volunteer crews, the boats are ready to launch within minutes, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The new shop, visitor information centre and public viewing gallery are open weekends from Friday to Monday and some extra weekdays from 10-4. Over the summer in good weather, the main boathouse doors may also be open.

For more information visit Wells Lifeboat.

Visit the New Boathouse Build for all the details on how the project progressed.

Weather and Tide Times

The best time to appreciate and enjoy the vast open spaces of Wells beach is when the tide is out. To check the weather forecast and tide times for the next few days, visit our Weather page.

Beach Hut Hire

A number of beach huts are available to hire by the day or week.