The red and white striped cliffs at Hunstanton North Beach are possibly the most photographed and instantly recognisable geographic feature in Norfolk. The cliffs are comprised of three layers: white chalk, red iron-stained chalk, and brown carrstone.
Carrstone is a variety of sandstone with a high iron content used as a construction material throughout North-West Norfolk, notably at Sandringham, and responsible for the “gingerbread house” appearance of many of the region’s buildings.
The upper chalky layers of the cliffs contain a variety of fossils and hunting for fossils in the piles of fallen stones at the base is a popular activity.
Away from the cliff face, the beach is littered with large moss-covered boulders of differing sizes, many arranged in long straight lines. How they came to be this way is a mystery.
Between the rocks there are plenty of rock pools to explore, so make sure you bring a bucket and a net.
Half way along the beach lies the wreck of the Steam Trawler Sheraton, a vessel with a varied career as a fishing trawler, minesweeper, patrol ship and eventually Royal Air Force target ship.
The beach is mostly sand, with some shingle, and dog-friendly throughout the year. During summer be careful to avoid walking dogs further south than the start of Hunstanton’s promenade, as dogs are not permitted on the main beach.
Hunstanton North Beach provides an alternative experience from both Hunstanton Main Beach to the south, and Old Hunstanton, to the North-East – a slice of education between hedonism and relaxation.
Large grassy surface car park with 1500 spaces. Open 24 hours.
Note: the steps down to the beach are steep and sandy and unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues.
Monday to Sunday and Bank Holidays (9:00am until 5:00pm)
Off-peak 1 September to 30 June:
1 hour – £2.00
3 hours – £4.00
All day – £6.00
Peak 1 July to 31 August:
1 hour – £2.00
3 hours – £4.00
All day – £7.00
Monday to Sunday and Bank Holidays (5.00pm to 9:00am)
Address: Lighthouse Close, Hunstanton, PE36 6EL
More info: www.west-norfolk.gov.uk
Alternatively park at Old Hunstanton Beach and walk left from the beach entrance. Hunstanton North Beach is approximately 0.3km (0.2mi) to the west.
There are public toilets in the Hunstanton Cliff Top car park, near to the cliff path.
There’s a café at the entrance to the cliff top car park, next to the old lighthouse, called appropriately the Lighthouse Café.
Further away, at around 1.6km (1mi) from the cliff top, Hunstanton town centre has a selection of pubs, restaurants, fish and chips shops and supermarkets.
Closer to Hunstanton North Beach is Old Hunstanton Beach, where there are two cafés, The Old Boathouse and the Beach Cafe.
There are public toilets at the beach entrance car park.
Hunstanton North Beach is dog friendly, with no restrictions.
Hunstanton Main Beach has restrictions between April and October, but these only extend to the start of the cliffs at the northern end of the promenade. From this point onward there are no restrictions at any time of year.
No lifeguard service at any time of year.