Blakeney in North Norfolk is the recognised name for its seal colony, and sometimes our seal population close to The Old Hall slips under the radar. But not any more.
The sand bank visible from the beach in Caister and Great Yarmouth is packed with seals, but Scroby Sands, unlike its North Norfolk neighbour is relatively inaccessible. But we have seals closer still – along the coastal stretch between Winterton on Sea and Horsey.
Let’s focus on Horsey.
The village itself is inland slightly and marked by its beautiful windmill, called Horsey Wind Pump, run by the National Trust and open seasonally. It affords great views of the Broadland landscape and vast Norfolk skies. It’s also a great starting point for a pleasant walk to the beach across flat, traffic free footpaths and bridleways with a pub, The Nelson, handily en route (you may want to slake your thirst and hunger on the return leg of the walk though as it is near the beginning of the walk and has parking if you intend to drink or eat there).
You can’t really get lost on this route – head east and the dunes soon rear into view and it’s here in a gap in the dunes, or from the vantage point above, that you will see seals, hundreds of them, basking on the beach.
Bear in mind though that this is not a permanent all year round phenomenon – the best month to see the colony of seals and pups is February, so we would advise you to wrap up well on the walk as February on the Norfolk coast can be distinctly chilly.
Access is restricted to the beach so as not to disturb the seals, but it’s still an impressive sight, and when you’ve walked back to your car, you can warm up with a meal at Branford’s or a dip in the jacuzzis and steam rooms.