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23 of the best things to do in Hunstanton, Norfolk

Best things to do in Hunstanton and nearby

Hunstanton, like the rest of the Norfolk coast, is jam-packed with activities for all ages. There is something for everyone, from active amusements in nearby activity centres to more relaxing walks through beaches, marshes, and around points of interest. Of course, choosing which attractions to visit when planning a trip to Hunstanton can be challenging given the abundance of things to do there. That's why we compiled this list of the 23 best things to do and places to visit along the Norfolk coast. Whether you want to relax on the beach or have some active fun along the coast, you'll no doubt find something fun to do nearby!

old hunstanton cliffs in the evening with the sunset shining on them

Old Hunstanton Cliffs in the evening

Hunstanton has plenty of beautiful and peaceful places to visit

Does any listing catch your eye? Click on their name here to go straight to them!

1. Relax on Hunstanton beach

Relaxing on the beach in a coastal town is a no-brainer, but when the seaside is as good as Hunstanton's, you'd be insane not to! Hunstanton, as one of the only west-facing beaches on the East Coast of the United Kingdom, is one of the few places in England where you can watch the sunset over the sea.

Hunstanton Beach's golden sands stretch for miles, from the bustling promenade to the quieter areas beneath the red and white cliffs of Old Hunstanton. It's up to you whether you want to join the party in the main hub or find some peace and quiet along the coast, but whatever you fancy, the Hunstanton beachfront has got you covered.

You'll be able to travel in and get close to the coast without much hassle thanks to the abundance of car parks and the ease of access to bus routes in the area. There are a few selections of pay and display car parks close to the beach in Hunstanton and a large one right next to Old Hunstanton that also has a cafe and shop next to it!

Each and every person has a great time at the beach. Whether you bring buckets and spades for the kids to build sandcastles, play games in the sand, or simply lay out a blanket and sunbathe on the Norfolk coast, the beach is a clear winner for any age group!

close up shot along hunstanton beach with fairground rides of rainbow park on the left

Hunstanton Beach next to Rainbow Park

There's a lot of beach here to enjoy

2. Marvel at the fish in the Sea Life Centre

For anyone who enjoys fish, seals, and other aquatic animals, the Hunstanton SEA LIFE Centre is one of the best things to do in the area! This aquarium on the seafront is home to a wide range of animals, from underwater swimmers like turtles and sharks to more land-based creatures like otters and penguins. SEA LIFE allows you to get up close and personal with a wide range of wildlife.

Hunstanton's branch is notable for its seal hospital. Given the natural common and grey seal populations along the Norfolk coast, Sea Life's seal rescue centre and hospital was established in 1989 to rescue and rehabilitate any injured or endangered seals in the Wash. Most of the time, these are baby seals who have been separated from their mothers and are cared for by the rescue center until they are ready to be re-released back into the wild with the rest of the local seal population. More information about the process can be found on the Sea Life Centre's website.

You might be thinking at this point, "Fish are great and everything, but what if I also wanted to see a tonne of insects?" SEA LIFE has you covered there as well! The rainforest exhibit contains a variety of creepy crawlies, lizards, plants, and other jungle-related critters.

a manta ray with schools of various fish in a fish tank with people pointing and watching them

An aquarium at the SEA LIFE Centre

How many different fish can you see in this picture?

3. Ride the wash monster and see the seal safari

If you'd rather see some seals in the wild, then the seal safari aboard the Wash Monster is the ideal trip for you! Since the Wash has the largest colony of common seals in the UK, you can take a ride around the waters to see the colony in its natural habitat. The Monster departs from the Central Promenade, and the safari takes about an hour.

There are also coastal tours available that go along Hunstanton and the surrounding shores. From here, you can get a great panoramic view of the cliffs that you wouldn't be able to get up close, or take a trip over to one of the sandbanks.

wiley the wash monster, an amphibious transport vehicle painted to have shark-like features, parked on the beach

Wiley the Wash Monster

Wiley, after serving as a landing craft for the US military in the 1960s, retired to Hunstanton to entertain tourists

4. Kayak or paddleboard in the Wash

Alternatively, you can go out to sea on a kayak or a paddleboard instead of on a boat! If you have your own equipment, you can bring it along and float out in the Wash, enjoying the lovely views of the coast or the sea, depending on which way you're facing. 

If you don't have the equipment yourself, you can hire it from places along the seafront. Hunstanton Kayaks offers kayak hire, as well as a 2-hour guide around the sandbanks. Wetsuits can be provided if needed, however the site recommends you wear appropriate gear for kayaking (i.e. a shirt, shorts, and shoes that you don't mind getting wet)

Alternatively, Hunstanton Watersport offers paddleboard hire and lessons for stand-up paddleboarding that are ideal for people who have never tried it before. They also run Sunday sessions from May until late September for paddleboarders of all skill levels, so book ahead and have some great fun in the water!

paddleboarding in the wash during sunset

Paddleboarder in the sunset

Don't worry about falling off, it happens to all of us!

5. Hike the Norfolk Coast Path

There are numerous good hikes in the area for any hiker. The Norfolk Coast Path, however, is the longest, most scenic, and best-known path of them all. This trail will take you all the way across the north Norfolk coast, from Hunstanton to Sea Palling on the east coast of Norfolk, or further into Great Yarmouth if you want an even longer trek!

To begin the hike, walk along Cliff Parade from the bowling green in Hunstanton, then follow the black and white National Trail acorns along the path. The first section of the walk is a beautiful seaside path that takes you along the coast to Thornham. The path is just under 6 miles long, and once completed, you can have lunch in Thornham before catching a Coasthopper bus back to Hunstanton!

If you want to hike the entire trail, here's a quick rundown of some routes you can take each day to metre out the distance:

  • Hunstanton - Old Hunstanton - Holme Next The Sea - Brancaster: 9.6 Miles ( 15.5 Km). About 4 Hours
  • Brancaster - Brancaster Overy Staithe - Burnham Deepdale - Holkham - Wells Next The Sea: 12.1 Miles ( 19.4 Km). About 5 Hours Depending Upon Route - Shorten With The Coasthopper Bus.
  • Wells Next The Sea - Stiffkey - Blakeney - Cley Next The Sea: 9.8 Miles ( 15.8 Km). About 4 Hours
  • Cley Next The Sea - Weybourne - Sherringham - Cromer - Overstrand - Cromer: 13.9 Miles ( 22.4 Km). About 5 Hours 15 Mins (Shorten By Excluding The Overstrand Loop)
  • Extending The Walk From Cromer To Overstrand, Mundesley, And On To Sea Palling

There are many opportunities for birdwatching along your route, including RSPB sites such as Titchwell Marsh and Snettisham, so bring your binoculars!

The Norfolk Coast Path

The coastal path goes through Snettisham, Cromer, Wells-next-the-sea, and more!

6. Have fun at the attractions at Rainbow Park

Of course, a seaside resort wouldn't be complete without a funfair. Rainbow Park, located right next to the beach, is an exciting Hunstanton attraction with a variety of rides, games, and refreshments that will make for a fun day out! From a helter-skelter and Ferris wheel to more intense attractions like the waltzer and octopus ride, you'll experience it all.

There are also games along the fairground's edges, such as shooting galleries to practise your aim, hook-a-ducks to do some light fishing (or should that be ducking?), and claw machines to try your luck. Rainbow Park is a fantastic place to go if you want a set of family friendly activities to fill a day out, or some rides to have fun on with friends!

During the summer, the park is open daily; however, during the off-season, it is still open on weekends, so you can enjoy the rides during the quieter months!

Rainbow Park at Night

A neon lighthouse on the edge of the coast

7. Stroll around Norfolk Lavender

The world-famous Norfolk Lavender was set up in 1932 and has been making lavender-based products ever since. From bath bombs to shower gels, the oil from the company's lavender fields has been used in a variety of fragrant soaps, balms, and creams, and you can go and visit where it's all made!

Open all year round and with nearly 100 acres of lavender, there's plenty to do around the site. Visitors can simply park up and have a look around at all the beautiful flowers, though the site recommends this in the summer when the lavenders are blooming and filling the air with their scent!

Visitors can also pay for a guided tour of the grounds and distillery, visit the animal gardens, or have a bite to eat at the Lavender Lounge, before ending your trip at the shop and plant centre, where you can buy Norfolk Lavender products or some plants to grow in your own garden!

rows of lavender growing in a field at Norfolk Lavender

Rows of lavender at Norfolk Lavender

I can almost smell this picture

8. Visit Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate is only a short drive inland and features acres of woodland and fields for you to explore. The Estate surrounds Sandringham House, which was where the late Queen Elizabeth II would spend Christmas and broadcast her first televised Christmas message. The grounds opened up to public visitors back in 1977, and have made for an excellent spot to walk through ever since!

While here, you can walk through 600 acres of Royal Parkland, dine in the Sandringham Restaurant, or visit the shop for some souvenirs. The Parkland is also dog friendly, so you can bring your pooch along for a run through the woods! Or, if you'd like to try your hand at orienteering, there's a permanent orienteering course that goes around the park.

If walking the woods isn't your speed, the house itself opens to the public from April to October, and you can book tickets for your visit online. You can also book separately to just enter the inner gardens, which open on select weekends in February and March before they open fully in April.

woodland surrounding sandringham estate

Sandringham woods

Miles of woodland are really fun to explore, especially when you find a big stick to carry around

9. Walk along the Old Hunstanton cliffs

The red and white cliffs of Old Hunstanton are an immediately striking view at any time of day, and any stay in Hunstanton should include a walk along them. Either walk up from the main promenade or drive to the clifftop car park and walk from the other direction.

On the beach below, you can take in the unique colour of the cliff face as you look for small creatures in the rock pools beneath you. Alternatively, you can walk on top of the cliffs and look across the sea while also viewing the old buildings you'll pass along the way. 

red and white cliff face of old hunstanton

Old Hunstanton Cliffs

Unique cliffs millions of years in the making

10. Watch a show at the Princess Theatre

After a long day of activities in and around Hunstanton, you can go to the Princess Theatre to enjoy its shows running every weekend. You can either book ahead, or buy a ticket from the box office on the day of the show if you see one that strikes your fancy! Check out all the upcoming shows right here.

outside of the princess theatre and sunset wine bar

Princess Theatre in the evening

Wine and a pantomime, is there a finer way to spend an evening? Oh, no there isn't!

11. Play games at the arcades

There are plenty of arcades lining the promenade, with a good variety of games, machines, and activities in them! Grabbing cranes, 2p machines, and skill-cut winners will pique the interest of anyone looking to win prizes and tickets, while fruit machines will intrigue anyone looking to make some heavier bets.

Alternatively, there is a bevy of arcade machines and games that you can easily spend hours on, from racers to shooters and even Virtual Reality games that all provide tons of fun. There are even blends, for example, Ultra Moto VR, which has you racing on a bike while in VR to really get that thrilling racing feel.

And that's not all, you can also go ten-pin bowling at the Pier Family Entertainment Centre, with its full-length bowling alleys. With so many things to do, the arcades are a must when you visit Hunstanton.

hunstanton pier family entertainment arcade at night

Hunstanton Pier Family Arcade

Go in with £5, come out with a plushie and a few hundred tickets

12. Golf at the Hunstanton Golf Club or the Crazy Golf course

Hunstanton is worth a visit for golfers young and old with its options for playing golf. The crazy golf course on the promenade, Blackbeard's Adventure Golf, is a great time for families and friend groups alike. At 18 holes, the course is split into 2 areas, one with a pirate theme, and the other with an Aztec theme. Starting gently and ramping up in difficulty as you go along, this course makes for a wonderfully entertaining time for all ages and groups!

However, if you want to move beyond putting, you can visit the Hunstanton Golf Club for a proper championship links course. Play through the lush course situated right next to the coast, or get some training in how to play golf from PGA professionals, either in a group or one-to-one.

Blackbeard's Adventure Crazy Golf

You don't know true defeat until you take 16 putts to pot the ball on a par 4 course

13. Tour the Wild Ken Hill rewilding project

Not far along the coast from Hunstanton is Wild Ken Hill, a beautiful area and the host to Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch over the past year. The site is the home of a special rewilding project, where wild nature is given the space and resources to develop naturally. Through regenerative farming techniques, letting nature take over a quarter of the area, and spending time managing habitats to allow optimal conditions for creatures, the Wild Ken Hill project hopes to pave the way for new sustainable farming that can be used country-, and perhaps worldwide.

If you want to see what they're doing at the project, you can book a guided tour of Wild Ken Hill. There are multiple options, like getting an overview of everything (either in a vehicle or on on-foot), seeing how the rewilding effort has already taken effect or specific guides on the creatures native to the area. There are a lot of different animals at Wild Ken Hill, including beavers, cattle, pigs, and ponies!

Ponies at Wild Ken Hill

After suffering a devastating fire last July, Wild Ken Hill has recovered well and is redoubling efforts on their rewilding project

14. Take your dog for tons of walks!

If you're planning a visit to Hunstanton but don't know if you can bring your dog along, don't worry! The area is very dog-friendly, so your four-legged friend is more than welcome. While dogs are banned on the main Hunstanton beach during the summer months (April 10th to October 31st) there are plenty of other places to take them!

Old Hunstanton allows dogs all year round, and is a fantastic place to let them run, swim, and play! When the tide is out, they'll have miles of soft, wet sand to sprint across, and when it's in, they'll be able to swim around in the sea as well as jump across streams between sandbanks further up the beach. Sandringham is also another great walk for them, with its hundreds of acres of woodlands for them to sniff through, as well as open grassy areas that give plenty of space for running!

Plenty of pubs and restaurants nearby are dog-friendly as well, so after a long day of darting about, making friends, and sniffing everything along the way, they'll be able to collapse by your feet when you sit down for a nice meal (or pint!)

dachshund dog sitting on a blanket next to a windbreaker

Dog friendly places in Hunstanton

Hunstanton is a very dog friendly place, so your pooch will almost always be welcome in any of the shops and business around here!

15. Jump back in time at Castle Rising

Castle Rising is based just north of Kings Lynn and is one of the most famous 12th century castles in England. Introduced as "amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind" on the castle's official website, the castle is a fantastic historical landmark that's only a short drive from the coast and is worth visiting by people interested in its history or those wanting to see some great views of a relatively unscathed medieval castle.

The attraction is open Wednesday to Sunday all year round and all week from April to October. It also hosts events throughout the year, so be sure to check and see if there's anything on that'll catch your fancy!

Castle Rising

For a place that was built in the 12th century, it looks pretty healthy

16. Trek the sands at Holme Dunes Nature Reserve

Growing up in the area, I remember visiting all kinds of beaches on the Norfolk coast. However, none were more fun for me than the Holme Dunes. Tucked away between Hunstanton and Brancaster, the dunes on the beach at Holme-next-the-sea make for an incredibly fun day out! The beach is a great day out for kids, as they run around, play on, and explore the seaside dunes. Meanwhile, the beach isn't as well known as the surrounding coastal spots, so you can enjoy a relatively quiet day on this hidden gem of a coastal location.

sand dunes at holme dunes national reserve

Dunes at Holme-next-the-sea

I can safely say - after spending hours doing it in my youth - jumping off sand dunes repeatedly is really fun

17. Unwind at the unique Burnham Market

Burnham Market is only a short drive or bus ride from Hunstanton and stands as a traditional village with plenty of quaint shops and eateries around to peruse and enjoy. With everything from clothing shops and jewellers to homewares and interior design, Burnham Market makes for a unique shopping experience in a rural countryside village!

There are also plenty of other places to enjoy in the village, with cafes and restaurants around where you can enjoy a lovely lunch or dinner, and pubs to have a drink at. Or, if you're looking for a makeover, or just to relax, there are beauty salons, spas, and even a personal training centre for you to visit.

Burnham Market is also just a stone's throw away from Holkham Hall, a huge 25,000 acre estate built in the 18th century. The estate has many spectacular views, both inside the main hall and outside in the fields, and it makes for a fantastic visit if you're in the area!

houses and shops in burnham market with cars parked out front

Burnham Market

A unique kind of shopping spree

18. Learn the area's history at the Hunstanton Heritage Centre

The Hunstanton Heritage Centre is full of information about the geology of Hunstanton cliffs and the history and heritage of the town. This ranges from the creation of the resort of Hunstanton to details about the le Strange family, who built the resort. You can find out about opening times and some of the things they have on display on their website.

Hunstanton Heritage Centre

Hunstanton Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre moved into an old NatWest building back in 2019

19. Sit and watch the sunset over the sea

Because Hunstanton faces west across the sea, it is one of the few places on the east coast of England where you can watch the sunset over the sea! And what a beautiful sight it is, as you can have a lovely, romantic moment as you sit on the beach with a blanket, a loved one, and a bottle of wine and enjoy the gorgeous views across the wash.

This spectacle is great throughout the year, too (weather permitting, of course!) as the summer warmth means you can stay out late and watch the sunset while relaxing by the sea, while the colder winter air gives more vibrant colours that make the sunset a true beauty to behold.

There are numerous points along the coast around Hunstanton where you can watch the sunset over the Wash; the main pier, the village of Old Hunstanton, Heacham Beach to the south, you have a wide range of options to watch this unique spectacle in either bustling surroundings or a more quiet location.

Sunset over the Wash

Best enjoyed with a cold drink after a long, eventful day

20. Explore Snettisham working farm near Hunstanton

This day out lets you take a fun and interesting tour around Snettisham Park Farm, an active farm with all manner of crops and livestock around! Visitors can ride the deer safari, which goes around the farm and takes you to see and feed the large herd of deer that the farm cares for. The best time of year to go is May through July, as this is when the spotted calves are about and the deer are regrowing their antlers!

There are also plenty of other activities for kids and adults alike. Special farm activities like bottle-feeding lambs, collecting chicken eggs, and grooming ponies all make for a fun day out, alongside meeting the various smaller animals that are at the farm. There are also various walks around the farm, so pack your wellies or hiking boots and get going!

deer surrounding a river with some wading and swimming through it

Swimming deer at Snettisham

Deery Me

21. Wander the wolf trail through St Edmund's Chapel

The Wolf Trail follows the story of St Edmund, the last in the lineage of the Wuffing family that ruled East Anglia for over 200 years.  The saint has had a long association with Hunstanton, which the Wolf Trails celebrates, also going through the ruins of St Edmund's Chapel which was erected in 1272 in honor of his memory.

The walk starts from the heritage gardens where you can find an information board about St Edmund and follow way markers along the wolf trail (and maybe also sit by the sea every so often along the way!)

ruins of st edmund's chapel with the hunstanton lighthouse in the doorway

Ruins of St Edmund's Chapel

Awfully nice of St Edmund to build his chapel with a clear view of the lighthouse through it

22. Swim, work out and play at Alive Oasis

An activity center in the heart of Hunstanton pier, Alive Oasis is a great place to go for a variety of fun sports and activities! If it's too cold out to go swimming in the sea, then why not take a dip in the indoor swimming pool? Or maybe get some exercise in at a fitness class? However you want to exercise or get active, Alive Oasis is a fantastic place to visit.

The place also has an indoor soft play area for kids to explore and play to their hearts' content, as well as other fun things to do like roller skating, squash, and table tennis! You can exercise and tire yourself out knowing that the beach is just outside to relax on afterward.

little girl running through a soft play area

Alive Oasis' Soft Play Area

Ahh, the simple joy of running through, over, across, and into cushioned surfaces

23. Smell the flowers at the Hunstanton Heritage Gardens

After a long day of doing things in Hunstanton and around the Norfolk coast, taking a stroll around the Esplanade Gardens is a really wonderful way to relax and round out the day with something peaceful. Also called the Heritage Gardens, this stretch between the promenade and the road is split into three sections: the green, the gardens, and the Cliff Parade, each of which makes for a wonderful walk amongst the flowers, overlooking the sea.

hunstanton heritage esplanade gardens with the sea in the background

Esplanade Gardens

A lush bit of greenery and flowers sandwiched between the surf and the turf