Not your usual seaside town but part of the largest coastal nature reserve in England and Wales, Wells-next-the-Sea is located in Norfolk and sits just one mile from the coast with both a pine woodland and reclaimed saltmarsh as bed-fellows. It’s also tucked near to beautiful Blakeney and its sensational seals while just down the road from the golden sands of Holkham!
Whether you take to the water on a Wells Harbour Tour and watch the birds flock to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or go sailing from Blakeney Point to spot seals, Wells and its surrounds is a sanctuary for nature and you.
Land-lubbers needn’t worry about getting around either. The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway will steam you through scenic countryside on a half hour ride to nearby Walsingham village with its Abbey and Shirehall Museum. While the Wells Harbour Railway, where you can board such beauties as Densil and Weasel, will take you the one mile from pretty town to stunning shore.
There’s nowhere like Wells for a romantic stroll. When walking from sandy expanse to dune, do stop and look at the colourful beach huts. Each has its own name and character with a “garden” of pines behind that wildlife love to visit. Keep wandering to Holkham beach and you can retrace the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love. Visiting with the kids instead? This is also prime sand castle territory!
The harbour is a bustle of fishing vessels and traditional amusements with fresh fish stalls and ice cream parlours to keep everyone happy. There are a number of traditional pubs and fine restaurants on the quayside, many with local seafood and samphire on their varied menus. While here be sure to sit back and take in the uncommon, but not unpleasant, sight of the large granary building which marks Wells’ malting heritage. Today, this is the home of Poetry-next-the Sea, which brings a fresh wave of literary culture to this once industrial hotbed.
Make sure you take the time to stop by The Buttlands for a tranquil turn. At the head of Staithe Street there’s a green – once used for archery practice and now frequented by Morris Dancers in May – bordered by lovely examples of both Georgian and Victorian architecture. If you’re feeling parched or peckish, the Globe Inn’s nearby.
Holkham Hall is ideal for a saunter around the Bygones Museum come rain or a wander in the splendid deer park come shine. It’s also a popular location for open-air concerts with world-famous performers so the programme’s well worth a look. For guaranteed summer-fun, Wells Carnival is a hit with locals and holiday-makers alike. This week-long festival offers everything from BBQs and live music to a procession starring the carnival Queen.
For a taste of Wells-next-the-sea, book your accommodation through Love Cottages today.