21 Of The Best Things To Do in Cromer Norfolk

Cromer is my favourite Norfolk town! With lots to do and a traditional seaside feel, there’s a laid-back feel to Cromer which draws me in every time I visit.

There is plenty to keep families busy in Cromer. With a growing foodie scene, a fabulous pier to be explored, a blue flag kid friendly beach, surf school and lots of other great things to see and do, Cromer is one of North Norfolk’s top holiday destinations.

Cromer should definately be on your list of places to see on the North Norfolk coast. There are more famous beach towns in England, but I think Cromer beats them all!

This round-up of the absolute must-do things in Cromer will help you plan your trip, so here are my top Cromer highlights…

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Things to Do in Cromer

Enjoy Cromer Beach

One of the stars of the show, the blue flag beach at Cromer is long, sandy and safe for kids. The beach is popular for swimming and surfing and there’s always lots going on along the sands.

If you want to try your hand at surfing, take some lessons or hire equipment, you can find all of this at the Glide Surf School, right on the Esplanade in front of the beach.

Kids will love sand-castle building and rock pooling at low tide. You’ll always be able to find space to fly a kite and play beach cricket or volleyball.

At the far end of the line of colourful beach huts at the eastern end of the prom, you’ll find the Banksy “Cromer Crabs” art work on the far side of the sea wall. Look carefully though, it’s actually quite small!

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A seaside resort beach with sandcastle and dog walkers and pier in background

Hire a Cromer Beach Hut!

Cromer beach has a collection of colourful wooden beach huts along the promenade on the east side of the beach which can be rented on a weekly basis from North Norfolk District Council. They make a great base from which to the enjoy the beach and seaside town, and make your holiday planning a whole lot easier!

Spending a week in Cromer with a beach hut is magical, especially with kids. There’s no need to cart all your stuff to the beach every day, or spend ages trying to get organised on the beach. Relax by your hut, retreat inside for card games or to read a good book if it rains, and enjoy lunch without the sand in your sandwich!

There are some rules, for example you cannot stay or sleep overnight in the beach huts, and you can’t park your car at the beach hut.

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Take to the Water!

Learning to balance in the waves as you surf and stand up paddle (SUP) from Cromer’s beach is great fun. You can take lessons and hire equipment from the highly rated Glide Surf School, a family run business.

Explore Cromer Pier

One of the top Cromer attractions, Cromer Pier is a much treasured and loved heritage landmark along the Norfolk coast.

Built in Victorian times, the pier is a relaxed affair with a theatre, RNLI lifeboat station and cafe perched along its 151m length. You can also fish for crabs, enjoy and ice-cream and kids will love peering through the cracks in the wood planks that cover the peer, for views of the sea below!

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Catch a Show at The Pavilion Theatre

The Pavilion Theatre holds the only end of pier show in the ENTIRE world. It’s absolutely worth a visit to see one of the “Seaside Special” shows held in summer and at Christmas every year. Some people come time and time again to see these unique variety shows, and some travel from all over the world – that’s how special they are!

The Pavilion also hosts lots of other shows throughout the year including plays, musicals, comedy and concerts. Make an evening or matinee performance a highlight of your holiday or weekend break.

Learn About the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

The RNLI pier-head lifeboat station at the end of Cromer Pier, is home to the Tamar class lifeboat, which was the first of its kind on the East Coast. The lifeboat station is free to visit and you can learn about the station, crew and lifeboat, as well as some of the rescues launched from the Cromer lifeboat station.

The staff are super helpful and will show you round, and ask questions. It’s so good to know that the RNLI are looking out for Norfolk’s residents and visitors when they’re in the sea.

If you want to find out more about the RNLI in Cromer (and they’ve been here for over 200 years), you can also visit the old lifeboat house at the foot of the Gangway and the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.

The museum is named after and celebrates the most decorated lifeboatman in RNLI history, who served on Cromer’s lifeboats for a whopping 53 years and was awarded the British Empire medal. It is well worth a visit.

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Go Crabbing

Norfolk is a great crabbing destination because of its estuarial and creek waters that the crabs like living in. The best crabbing spots in Norfolk are Blakeney and Wells-next-the-Sea, because they have this habitat in abundance. But, you can also crab off Cromer Pier where the World Crabbing competition is held every year in August, so you’ll be in good company!

Crabbing is one of the most fun things to do in Cromer, adults and kids alike! Crabbing is basically dropping a baited line into the water and waiting for the crab to take the bait, so you can pull him/her gently up. All you need are a line, bucket, and bait, which you can buy all over town.

Our crabbing tips?

  • When I was a kid, the best bait was raw bacon with rind (who knew?), but anything like chicken, small fish or even dog food works. I even used a bit from inside a pie once!
  • The best crabbing takes place as the tide is coming in – crabs are clever and know when the tide is heading out and bury themselves in the mud around the pier.
  • If you need to hold the crab, do so at either side behind the pincers.
  • Be prepared and have your bucket full of salt water to hand.
  • No more than two crabs to a bucket, and try and keep the bucket shady. Crab’s don’t have much sun protection!
  • Wait – crabbing is a game of patience and you will be rewarded, I promise!
  • Don’t keep the crabs too long, and definitely don’t take them home as pets (the crabs you catch here are also not edible). Pop them back into the sea gently with thanks for being your captive!

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Treat Yourself to a Norfolk Afternoon Tea

Set in an old Victorian building which has been restored, Hatters Tea Shop offers cosy corners and relaxed seating, and they also have a gift shop where you can buy beautiful handicrafts and gifts from Norfolk to take home with you.

Their afternoon tea is beautifully served with mis-matched vintage china, and includes a selection of traditional afternoon tea sandwiches like egg and cress and smoked salmon and cream cheese, home-made scones and mini cakes. You can also enjoy your afternoon tea with a bottle or glass of Prosecco for an extra special treat.

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Visit Cromer Parish Church

The Church of St Peter and Paul dates from the 12th century and was restored in the late 1800s. The inside decor ranges from Gothic imagery to modern Post-War designs commemorating Cromer’s lifeboat crews.

You can also take the steps up the 58m high tower, the tallest of any parish church in Norfolk, for a far-reaching of the rooftops of Cromer, the North Norfolk countryside and coast.

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Cromer with the parish church dominating the skyline, Background of orange and grey sky.

Visit a Micro-Brewery & Gin Distillery

The Poppyland Brewery brings a whole new meaning to Norfolk artisan beer and gin – it doesn’t get much more home-made than this!

Based in Cromer, the brewery was set up in 2012 with the aim of producing small batches of top-quality beer using unusual processes and ingredients. In 2019 the brewery expanded into gin production, to create gins as unique as their beers.

The gin distillery is at the rear of the micro-brewery in Cromer, and visitors are welcome to pop-in on an ad hoc basis. More formal tours and tastings can also be arranged.

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Take a Walk to Cromer Lighthouse

Did you know that Cromer has a lighthouse? Perched on the cliffs of the Cromer Ridge, the current lighthouse was constructed in 1833, a few decades before its predecessor from 1719 was lost to cliff erosion.

That erosion continues today and means the the lighthouse you see now was actually built half a mile (800m) from the sea. As the crow flies, the lighthouse now sites less than 300m from the coastline.

Since the light became automated, the lighthouse is closed to visitors, but you can get up close and look around.

There is also a great walk to the lighthouse along a part of the Norfolk Coast Path. From the corner of The Esplanade and Brunswick Terrace follow the path east that borders North Lodge Park, where you’ll also find the popular Cromer boating lake. You can’t really miss the white lighthouse on the cliffs and there are lots of tracks up from the path.

If you’re looking for Cromer Lighthouse on on Google Maps, you might struggle to find it – for some reason it is not labelled. Instead look for the Royal Cromer Golf Club and follow Overstrand Road north until the end of the road, that’s where you’ll find the lighthouse!

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A squat white lighthouse against a blue sky with green bushes in the foreground.

Eat Cromer Crab

A top Norfolk food you should sample, the brown crab is found all around the coast of the United Kingdom, but off our stretch of Cromer, in the shallow nutrient rich waters on the chalk reef, brown crabs are sweeter and more tender than anywhere else, and they’ve been a staple of the fishing industry here for hundreds of years.

There are lots of restaurants in Cromer where you can enjoy the famous Cromer crab, and fishmongers where you can buy crab dressed to take home in season, which runs from March to October.

The Crab and Lobster Festival brings the seaside towns of Cromer and Sheringham together in May every year, to celebrate the world-famous seafood caught in the seas off both coastal resorts. This seafood spectacular includes concerts, a street market, cookery theatre, live music, art and seafood trails, and over 35 local eateries taking part.

Our fave place for crab is Rocky Bottoms in West Runton, where a local family catch crabs using their own fishing boat, and then feed you in their restaurant! You can also buy dressed and prepared crab at the Crab Hut to take home – yummy!

If fish and chips are more your thing, the best chippie in Cromer is No.1 Cromer, where you can eat in or out, overlooking the pier and sea.

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dressed and open Cromer crab on a plate with lettuce tomatoes and new potatoes

Join the Carnival Fun

Cromer Carnival Week usually starts on the second Saturday in August, with the parade taking place on the following Wednesday.

Cromer Carnival is a week of festival family fun with children’s entertainment, live music, rides and local food – it’s great fun for the whole family and one of the busiest times in the town.

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Explore Cromer Museum

Cromer museum is housed in what was a row of fisherman’s cottages, and you can see inside a restored cosy Victorian fisherman’s cottage and imagine what it was like to live in Cromer at the end of the 19th century.

In the ‘Old Cromer’ Gallery there are displays of historic photographs and illustrations of the town, helping you to learn about Cromer’s history as a Victorian seaside resort, with its fine hotels and scandal of mixed bathing, when men and women entered the sea at the same time!

Visit the Geology Gallery to see an amazing collection of fossils, all found in North Norfolk. There are fascinating displays revealing why Cromer is renowned as a geological area of international importance, and you can learn about the famous West Runton Mammoth. The mammoth is Britain’s oldest and most complete elephant fossil and in the museum, you’re able to see some of its actual bones.

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Take a Boxing Day Dip

The official Cromer Boxing Day Dip is managed by North Norfolk Beach Runners and takes place on – you’ve guessed it – Boxing Day! Dippers often wear costumes or Santa hats, and are required to throw themselves into the freezing North Sea and fully submerge, before they can say they have participated!

The dip helps to raise funds for charity and is supported by the Coastguard, RNLI and St John’s Ambulance. The dip usually starts at 9 or 10am depending on tide times, so keep an eye on local news for updated information.

Things to Do Near Cromer

Visit Felbrigg Hall, Gardens & Estate

The sublime Felbrigg Hall is a 17th century English country house just outside Cromer. Run by the National Trust, the unaltered house is known for its fine Jacobean architecture and gorgeous Georgian interior, and is one of the most popular places to visit near Cromer.

Outside is a colourful walled garden, considered one of the best gardens in Norfolk, an 18th century orangery, orchards over 500 acres or parkland, perfect for a summer afternoon stroll.

With nature trails, conservation projects and seasonal exhibitions, Felbrigg makes a great year-round attraction if you’re visiting Cromer.

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Explore Sheringham

Sheringham is a traditional Norfolk resort town on the stunning beautiful North Norfolk Coast, five miles to the west of Cromer. Known for its fantastic beach, family friendly vibe and beautiful surroundings, Sheringham is one of the most popular of Norfolk’s seaside towns.

There’s lots in Sheringham to keep you busy including a bustling town centre, a lovely sandy beach, several really good muesums, and the wonderful North Norfolk Railway.

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things to do in Sheringham

Explore the Deep History Coast

The Deep History Coast is made up of 22 miles of coastline from Weybourne to Cart Gap along the clifftops of the North Norfolk coast. It is where million year old footprints, the earliest evidence of humans in Britain, have been found, alongside the UK’s biggest mammoth skeleton remains and a 500,000 year old flint hand axe.

Exploring the Deep History Coast is a fascinating and fun day out for families, with lots of activities to help you understand the millenia of history in the area.

You can fossil hunt along the beautiful beaches between Weybourne and Cart Gap and follow the Discovery Trail to read fact revealing discovery points along the way.

Try rock-pooling and fossil hunting at West Runton beach, where the Steppe mammonth skeleton was found. It’s common to find a fossil along this stretch, ranging from belemnites to hyaena coprolites (fossilised poo!). The best time to hunt is after a high tide or heavy rainfall.

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Have Fun at Wizard Maze & Play

Just three miles from Cromer, Wizard Maze and Play is a twelve acre maize maze and field of fun, which opens late in July every year.

Alongside the maze, the are jumping pillows, tractor train rides around the maze, crazy golf, a zip wire, an interactive shed and craft shack and lots more for kids of all ages to enjoy. Little ones will love to make friends with Michael the Pony and the very cute Pygmy goats!

It’s a great family day out for the kids to let off steam. You can take a picnic or enjoy the freshly cooked food from the Wizard Farm Café.

Discover Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall is a 17th stately home, blessed with a beautiful historic garden. The estate map of 1729 shows three radiating avenues meeting at the edge of the enclosed garden, near the house, with a woodland wilderness thought to date back to 1629.

Today, the formal gardens at Blickling Hall cover over 55 acres and include a lake, an 18th century temple, a parterre with yew hedge topiary, four large herbaceous plots in hot and cool colours, and an Orangery, which is home to hardy citrus trees.

For four centuries, Blickling’s walled garden supplied enough produce to feed the many families who lived and worked on the 5,000 acre estate. The garden was restored to it’s full glory between 2014 and 2021 after falling into disrepair, and now supplies produce to the cafes, for visitors to enjoy.

Don’t miss the two secret tunnels, perfect for families to explore – the larger tunnel has tree stump seats where you can enjoy a picnic, or take a rest from playing hide and seek!

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Visit the Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary

Hillside Animal Sanctuary is a charity in West Runton, just a few miles outside Cromer. Founded in 1995 to help and campaign for animals in need, and most importantly, to bring public awareness to the millions of animals suffering every day in the intensive factory farming industry.

Hillside has given sanctuary to 2500 horses, ponies and donkeys, and many of their residents have been rescued from the farming industry. Today, Hillside is home to over 4,000 animals and is well worth a visit – but be warned, it’s a moving and uplifting place, so you may need a few tissues.

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