Aspects of North Norfolk: Walking & Exploring Short Break

A paradise for walkers and birdlife alike, the North Norfolk coast is a place of big skies and broad golden beaches, of salt marshes, sand dunes and twisty tidal creeks, and of historic harbour villages that are home to accommodation of both quality and character.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the region’s show-stopping coastline on this short walking holiday, which also explores the county’s rural interior: its peaceful woodland, gorgeous flint-and-brick cottages and vast landed estates – among them sprawling Holkham Hall and the royal favourite, Sandringham. The routes are leisurely and flexible, in places following the Norfolk Coast Path and aided by an efficient local bus network that allows you to adapt the walks and decide where to linger longest – will it be on the sands at Holkham, beside the magical creeks of Burnham Overy Staithe or amid the charming Georgian architecture of Burnham Market, Norfolk’s prettiest town?

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Days

3

Distance

Walks from 8.5km to 12.5km

Difficulty

Easy

Landscape

Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns / By Water

Theme

History / Food & Drink / Wildlife / Coastal

Activities & Experiences

Walking / Heritage

Aspects of North Norfolk: Walking & Exploring Short Break

Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in North Norfolk. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.

Tour details

This itinerary is being operated by Inntravel, who specialise in self-guided walking breaks that explore the lesser-known paths and find the hidden corners. Their itineraries focus on travelling slowly, immersing yourself in the destination, and using small hotels and characterful accommodation.

Inntravel will arrange your whole tour: you just need to arrange transport to your first location.

To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later.

Included

  • Four nights accommodation (two in Snettisham, two in Holkham).
  • Breakfast every day plus two dinners.
  • Luggage transfers.
  • Route notes and maps.

NOT INCLUDED: Transport to the start of the holiday; meals not specified in the itinerary; local buses/transport; optional visits or excursions.

Itinerary

Experience the best of Norfolk’s celebrated coastline and rural interior on this four-day self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday. Follow easy routes across sweeping sands to top-class nature reserves; visit stately Holkham Hall and the Sandringham Estate; and stay in pretty villages in upmarket accommodation.

Day 1 Set out from Snettisham

Having arrived in the village of Snettisham the previous night, wake up to a good breakfast and a walk right from the doorstep: an ideal introduction to the diversity of the North Norfolk coast.

From Snettisham – where’s there’s been a settlement since Neolithic times – follow a route through woodland, marshes and meadows, with views across the vast Wash estuary. Visit Snettisham’s expansive sands – the only west-facing beach in Norfolk – and the RSPB Nature Reserve, which attracts an extraordinary concentration of wading birds, particularly between August and January.

You could also pay a visit to the Sandringham Estate, the Queen’s much-loved Christmas home (accessible by bus or car). Have a look around the house itself, as well as walking around the landscaped gardens and surrounding parkland.

Walk: 10km. Overnight in Snettisham.

Day 2 Snettisham to Holkham

Begin with a short bus journey to Old Hunstanton, a coastal village known for its striking cliffs of red limestone and creamy chalk. From here, follow the Norfolk Coast Path as it traverses sand dunes and nature reserves – including wildlife-rich Holme Dunes – and passes the site of Seahenge, a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age timber circle discovered in 1998 (now on display in nearby King’s Lynn).

Your target is the attractive village of Thornham – stop for lunch in one of the well-regarded pubs before completing the remainder of the journey to Holkham by bus.

Or it’s possible to continue a little further on foot. From Thornham, follow a meandering boardwalk through high reed beds, passing the Roman fort at Branodunum, to arrive in Brancaster Staithe – a once busy harbour which still has an excellent reputation for seafood. Then walk on to Burnham Deepdale, from where you can catch a bus to Holkham.

Walk: 8.5km or 12.5km. Overnight in Holkham.

Day 3 Holkham

You have two superb walking choices from Holkham, either of which can be combined with a visit to Holkham Hall, a fine 18th-century Palladian-style estate, filled with treasures and sitting within extensive gardens and parkland.

The walk to Burnham Market starts at Holkham Beach – one of the most beautiful in the country; it’s also a National Nature Reserve, its sand dunes, pine woods and grazing marshes providing the perfect habitat for a variety of birds. From here, continue west along the coast to Burnham Overy Staithe – a small harbour of bobbing boats – before heading inland to Burnham Market via windmills and wildflowers, historic churches and a ruined abbey. There’s plenty to interest in Norfolk’s prettiest town, from Georgian architecture to independent eateries; enjoy a leisurely exploration before returning to Holkham by bus.

Alternatively, follow Holkham’s sands east to Wells-next-the-Sea, passing high dunes and brightly painted beach huts en route. Wells is a historic harbour town with a traditional seaside feel. It is also where you’ll find the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, a heritage steam railway that is the smallest in public operation. Hop aboard for the short journey to the pilgrimage town of Walsingham to visit its celebrated shrine and ruined abbey. Return by train to Wells, or disembark instead at Wareham to walk back to Holkham via Holkham Park.

Walk: 9.5km or 11.5km. Overnight in Holkham.

Accommodation

This holiday features two particularly enticing places to stay – a quintessential country pub and an impressive Victorian hotel. Your first night is spent at The Rose & Crown (the first of two nights here). As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.

The Rose & Crown, Snettisham (four-star country inn) – Open fires, twisty passages and roses climbing around the door – the picture-perfect Rose & Crown is everyone’s romantic vision of an English country inn. Built in the 14th century to house those working on the village church, the inn has a long tradition of hospitality and is popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. While the public rooms are packed with character, the comfortable bedrooms are decorated in a simple, modern style, featuring bright seaside shades. Meal arrangements: breakfast only.

The Victoria Inn, Holkham (country hotel) – Located at the gates of Holkham Hall, this is an imposing Victorian building with presence, style and tradition. The hotel is often praised for its food, much of which is sourced from the Holkham Estate itself, and for the friendliness of its staff, who make ‘The Vic’ a particularly happy place to stay. Bedrooms are individually styled and are situated in either the main hotel or the ‘Ancient House’, a two-minute walk away. Also within easy reach are the golden sands of Holkham, one of the country’s most unspoiled beaches. Meal arrangements: dinner & breakfast.

Food & Drink

The North Norfolk coast is renowned for excellent seafood. Brancaster mussels and Cromer crabs are particular specialities, while you’ll also find very tasty fish and chips. The Victoria Inn in Holkham is well-regarded for its food – this itinerary includes two dinners at the hotel.

Activities

The grade of this tour is easy – walks are largely gentle, and buses can be used to shorten distances if required.

Walks
  • Snettisham circular, 10km
  • Snettisham to Thornham, 8.5km (Snettisham to Burnham Deepdale, 12.5km)
  • Holkham circular, 9.5km or 11.5km

Experiences

Mix walks with other experiences on this North Norfolk holiday.

  • RSPB Snettisham – Observation hides look over the saline lagoons, salt marsh and mudflats of the Wash; flocks of tens of thousands of wading birds can sometimes be seen.
  • Sandringham Hall & Estate – Much-loved country estate of The Queen; house and gardens are open to visitors, plus there’s an on-site cafe and gift shop.
  • Holkham Estate – Expansive working estate, with parkland, a fine old house, museum, tea rooms and craft and garden centres.

Coastal England

Passing through seaside towns, picturesque villages and landscapes rich in wildlife, heritage and geological interest, the Norfolk Coast Path offers gentle walking along a varied and beautiful coastline. It forms part of the English Coast Path – the world’s longest continuous coastal trail.

Travel

The nearest train station to Snettisham is King’s Lynn, a 25-minute drive away. The nearest stations to Holkham are Sheringham (around 45 minutes) and King’s Lynn (55 minutes).

The Coasthopper bus runs along the North Norfolk Coast year-round serving many villages en route, including Hunstanton, Holkham and Wells.

Advice

This trip is graded easy – generally gentle walking with few ascents and descents, but perhaps the occasional long day. The trip is available between 1 April and 31 October.

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. Many of the walks we suggest can be tailored using the excellent local bus service; pay locally for this, and for any other journeys, visits or excursions you undertake.

We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.

Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside

Countryside Code

COVID-19 Guidance

Interactive Map

Click here to access the interactive map

Maps, Guidebooks & Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.