Aylsham is only 10-15 minutes drive from the Norfolk Coast. The North Norfolk coastline is well-known for its safe, sandy and unspoilt beaches like those at Wells and Holkham. It is designated an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’. The charming coastal villages of Blakney, Cley and Stiffkey offer great pubs, sailboats, crab sandwiches and a gentler pace. Cromer and Sheringham have the attractions of typical English seaside resorts, fish and chips and safe, sandy beaches. However, the less well-known coast between Cromer and Great Yarmouth also has several stunning sandy beaches, for those wanting to get well away from it all. Even during the height of the season beaches like Winterton remain relatively underpopulated and unspoiled.
Wells and Holkham
Superb sandy beaches like Wells and Holkham are about 35 minutes drive from Aylsham. They do get busy during the height of the summer, however both are large enough that they never feel crowded and unpleasant. Wells has good beach-side facilities like a café with easy access car parking and toilets. Holkham is wilder, with a long walk out to the sand. Great for beach-side walking and horse-riding.
Holt, Blakney, Stiffkey, Cley, Morston, Salthouse and Weybourne
From Aylsham you are within 30 minutes drive and easy access of the charming Georgian town of Holt from where you gain access to tiny fishing villages of Cley, Morston, Salthouse and Weybourne, as well as larger coastal villages like Blakeney and Stiffkey. There are windswept coastal walks along the marshes here, excellent for bird-watching, and cozy pubs serving wonderful seasonal food to eat and refreshing drinks, although the beaches are much wilder, stony and without shelter. During the summer the villages can get a bit busy, but out on salt marshes the crowds melt away and you can walk for miles without bumping into anyone. Holt is full of independent shops, cafes and galleries. A jewel in the North Norfolk landscape.
Cromer and Sheringham
The nearest coastal resort to Aylsham is Cromer about 10-15 minutes drive with it’s historic pier, Georgian centre and streets winding around the cliff-top. Sheringham is to the west and is a sweet, traditional seaside resort. A bit old-fashioned, but with a safe sandy beach and the usual English seaside attractions. Both towns have a crab and lobster festival in May which is worth checking out.
Burnham and Brancaster
A bit further, 45 minutes drive west you may access Burnham Market and Brancaster – with their own magical charm, there is plenty of interest for families, whether it’s sightseeing or shopping. These villages tend to be popular with well-heeled west Londoners, so there are the expected watering holes serving good grub, but it comes at a price. Jack Wills have a store in Burnham and there are a string of high street chains like Fatface and White Stuff at Burnham Deepdale, great for purchasing much needed beach gear and accessories. While delightfully frenetic in the summer months these coastal villages are worth avoiding if you are looking for the peace and quiet of the natural world.