A Guide to the Best Beach Spots in East Anglia

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Image © cornishdave

With the great British summer upon us, this is the perfect time to seek out the most stunning corners of the East Anglian coastline. Only an hour or two on the train out of London, East Anglia is the perfect place to take a break or a day-trip this summer. Get packed and picnic-ready to go exploring, armed with our guide to the best beach spots in East Anglia.

One of the most quintessentially British seaside towns, Southwold is a beautiful spot in North Suffolk on the mouth of the River Blyth. An area of outstanding beauty, Southwold boasts beautiful white-sand beaches as well as a wide selection of excellent pubs, bistros and boutiques along the seafront. This beach has also been awarded a European blue flag, so you can be confident of clean water and sand. Home to the famous Adnams brewery, an award-winning pier and a working lighthouse, Southwold offers a plethora of exciting places to explore. The pier has been transformed in recent years and features some fantastic games and attractions, as well as a great local menu in the Boardwalk Restaurant.

Image Credit: Andi Campbell-Jones, Southwold Beach

This brings us to the beautiful seaside village of Walberswick, which is just across the River Blyth on the foot ferry from Southwold. Ideal for those looking to embrace the nature and landscape of North Suffolk, Walberswick is popular with nature enthusiasts and visitors alike. Walberswick is legendary for its seafood, and in the summer the banks of the Blyth estuary are flocked with children crabbing by the harbour. Famously, Walberswick hosts the annual British Open Crabbing Championship, which is a great day out for visitors and locals. Its long stretch of beach and sand dunes are perfect for those looking to make sandcastles! If you want to venture out of the village, walk down the beach to the historic town of Dunwich and discover the secrets of the city that fell into the sea at the Dunwich Museum.

Image Credit: saw2th, Walberswick crab

If you’re looking for a real summer adventure, look no further than Mersea Island. Mersea is a tiny estuary island off the coast of Essex that is approached by an ancient Roman causeway called the Strood (so check the tide-times to avoid being stranded!). Famous for its seafood and pebbled beaches, Mersea is perfect for those looking for variety on a day out to the coast. We’d recommend heading to West Mersea to sample the best in seafood and beaches. The Company Shed is an unassuming seafood shack but serves some of the region’s most spectacular seafood. They offer a range of succulent seafood platters, coveted local oysters and locally made beverages. While you are enjoying the flavours of the local catch, set the children loose to explore the local creeks, board walks and beautiful pebbled beaches. If you have some time before the tide comes in, make a stop at the Mersea Island Vineyard to sample some local creations - their sparkling wine comes highly recommended!

Image Credit: ultraBobban, Mersea Island beach huts

A good old-fashioned day out at the seaside it epitomized by Cromer beach. Developed into a beautiful coastal resort by the Victorians, Cromer not only has a stunning blue flag beach but also boasts a wealth of character. The beach is popular for swimming and surfing and is manned by a lifeguard throughout the summer. If you wander into town you can sample the famous Cromer Crab from local fish stalls and stroll through the winding streets full of boutique cafes, pubs and ice-cream shops. Cromer is ideally situated for exploring North Norfolk, and its awarding-winning coastal trails are perfect for great scenic walks.

Image Credit: Arran Bee, Cromer Beach

In terms of natural beauty you won’t find much better than Holkham Bay. Famously featured in the Oscar-winning movie Shakespeare in Love, Holkam Bay is a stunning, unspoilt beach running for miles along the Norfolk coastline. There is a large car park near the beach from which you can take a walk along the boardwalks and through the pinewoods to the beach. Ideal for those looking to swim and explore, the bay has a stunning lagoon formed from a basin just beyond the shoreline. Holkham Beach is also part of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country.

Image Credit: Chris White, Holkham Bay