New Norfolk films inspire a coastal jaunt

Visit Norfolk has launched a new series of YouTube videos showcasing the best of the East Anglian county.

At Goodtrippers, our favourite films are ‘Coast’, ‘Natural World’ and ‘Adventure’ – but you can also find out more about this beautiful, wild and grand county in further films including ‘Family Fun’, ‘Food and Drink’, ‘Festivals and Culture’ and ‘Heritage and History’.

Take a walk along the Norfolk coast

The Norfolk coast is perfect walking country. Norfolk has more than 90 miles of superb coast and beaches, with huge expanses of pristine sand, tidal creeks and saltmarshes. Much of the North Norfolk coastline is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, dotted with nature reserves protecting bird life and saltmarsh habitat. (Check out our review of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s visitor centre cafe at Cley Marshes)

Quaint harbour towns such as Wells-next-the-Sea and Blakeney are great places to stop for pub lunches or fresh seafood snacks. You could also try the cafe Cookies Crab Shop in the village of Saltmarsh for good value seafood (it’s a favourite eaterie of Norfolk native Stephen Fry!).

A new Coastal Path extension from West Runton to Sea Palling opens this December. This is part of the ‘Deep History Coast’, named for the amazing pre-pre-pre-historic finds, including a 600,000 year old mammoth and 900,000 year old human footprints, the oldest known evidence of man outside the Rift Valley in Africa.

This new path extension takes in the seaside town of Cromer so grab a bite to eat in Galton’s No 1 Cromer fish and chip restaurant (recently named the 6th best place to eat by the sea, by The Times). A new roof terrace dining area is planned for 2015 making even more of the great view of Cromer Pier.

To view more of the Visit Norfolk videos, visit their YouTube channel (video courtesy of

Cromer pier, Norfolk


Cley Marshes Visitor Centre Cafe, Norfolk

Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) Cley Marshes, Coast Road, Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk NR25 7SA

T: 01263 740008 /

Cley Marshes Visitor Centre

This gleaming piece of modernist sustainable design sits on one of the UK’s oldest nature reserves. Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes Visitor Centre reopened in 2007 as this eco-friendly powerhouse – and I’m putting it here in ‘Good Eats’ as the cafe is a great way to experience it!

Cley Marshes is a mecca for birdwatchers because it’s one of the best places in the country to view huge numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, plus the rare bittern and marsh harrier. But you don’t have to be an ornothologist to enjoy a visit here – the North Norfolk coast is rugged and expansive so you can experience exhilerating walks along a truly wild and natural beaches. And when you’ve come back from the beach (or a stroll through the official Cley Marshes Nature Reserve – entry fee applies if you’re not a Wildlife Trust member), head to the visitor centre’s cafe.

The menu is basic (don’t expect large lunches, this is meant as a bird-watcher’s pit-stop) but there’s plenty of fresh and wholesome choices in the sandwiches, jacket potatoes and cakes. There are often daily specials involving soups, quiches, ‘Norfolk ploughmans’, locally made pork pies and sausage rolls (grab the onion marmalade ones if you can), and local crab sandwiches or salads (which is what we chose on our visit – nothing like eating seafood minutes from where it was caught). Coffee is good, as is the hot chocolate if you’re visiting on a cold day.Cley Marshes Nature Reserve

The great thing about the cafe is the building which was awarded Best Sustainable Development by Emirates Glass LEAF Awards for its innovative use of sustainable technology. The centre has a stunning sedum-covered green roof to attract butterflies, ease water drainage and blend into the landscape. Power by a wind turbine, solar panels and ground source heat pump, the centre has also been built to minimise energy wastage.

Enjoying a coffee and a fresh crab sandwich indoors you can sit along the cafe-wide window and gaze out across the windswept marshes and endless skies of Norfolk. Visitors can also take turns to use the binoculars provided (most visitors have their own high-tech pairs!) and watch the comings and goings of various birdlife. If you need help, the extensive bookshop (and gift shop) behind you will have a wildlife book for you.

Recommended for… Bird-watchers and nature-lovers (but also anyone who appreciates the wild, natural surroundings of the Norfolk coast)

Be aware that… The menu is small and only meant for quick snacks and light lunches (it closes at 4.30pm, or 3.30pm in winter).

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Award-winning sustainable building
  • Energy use and waste is minimise
  • Recycling, reusing wherever possible
  • Small wildlife garden to the rear, and green roof attract wildlife
  • Locally-sourced and produced food
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • ‘Wildlife Detective’ bumbags available for kids for free
  • Proceeds from the cafe (and gift shop) go to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust conservation charity



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