Located on the Norfolk coast, Cromer offers a quintessential British seaside experience. This small town has everything you could need from a trip to the beach, from its old pier to a classic arcade.
There are lots of places to base yourself for a break away in Norfolk, but with the range of activities available in and around Cromer, this coastal town should be on the top of your list.
The picturesque town is also one of the most romantic locations in this part of the country, so a visit here makes for one of the best days out in Norfolk for couples.
If you’re in need of inspiration, read on the find out the best things to do in Cromer.
1. Visit the pier
The central attraction of Cromer is its pier. It may not be as big as big Brighton’s, or as full of rides as Great Yarmouth’s, but this Grade II listed pier should nevertheless be on your bucket list.
As a historic Victorian pier, walking along the length of it not only provides a great view of the North Norfolk coastline, but it also captures the classic English seaside feel.
Not only that, Cromer Pier is one of five piers in the UK with a working theatre, so you can also stop by for a show in one of the most unique venues.
2. See the Cromer Lifeboat Station
If you’re having a look around the pier, don’t miss the chance to look into the lifeboat station located at the end.
Since as far back 1803, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been operating from Cromer, and in 1923 the main lifeboat station was based at the tip of the pier, providing easy access for boats to be launched into the North Sea.
Inside, the station houses a Tamar-class lifeboat. It launches around 12 times a year, so usually it’ll be available for you to take a look at.
Each year, as part of Cromer Lifeboat Day, you can even watch a demonstration of the lifeboat being launched from the pier.
3. Look around the RNLI Henry Blogg museum
The Henry Blogg museum is the best museum in Cromer. It celebrates the most decorated lifeboatman in the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, who helped to save 873 lives in the North Sea.
You can also learn more about the history of the RNLI, as well as seeing one of the most famous lifeboats that served Cromer, the HF Bailey.
4. Walk along the promenade
To fully feel the sea breeze in your lungs, take a walk down the esplanade. It’s not overly long, so you can take it at a leisurely pace.
A walk along the promenade is also one of the best things to do with a dog in Cromer, although you should be aware of seasonal restrictions if you want to let it off the lead.
Because a visit to Cromer makes for one of the best coastal breaks in the UK for couples, a romantic stroll down the promenade is a simple and lovely way to spend time together.
5. Eat fish and chips by the sea
If you’re looking for a filling lunch or dinner, look no further than one of the many places in Cromer that sell fish and chips that get that authentic seaside experience.
No.1 Cromer and Mary Jane’s Fish Bar are two of the best fish and chip places in Cromer, so do stop by for a tasty treat.
Make sure to watch out for the seagulls – they’re bold and will be looking to pinch your chips if you aren’t too careful!
6. Have fun at the arcade
Everyone knows that a trip to the seaside in the UK won’t always guarantee good weather. Fortunately, like many coastal towns in the country, Cromer has a fantastic arcade that you can take shelter in come rain or shine.
Located right on the esplanade, just a short walk from the pier, it’s easy to lose an hour in the best amusements – Dunes.
7. Swim in the sea
If you’re into getting physical exercise and are prepared to face the often chilly waters, having a swim in the sea is a great way to get your blood pumping.
A wetsuit is recommended if you’re serious about a longer swim, especially in the colder months, although it’s not necessary. Just remember to have a towel at the ready!
8. Relax on the beach
On a sunny day in summer, Cromer beach is the perfect place to chill out for hours on end. What you choose to do is up to you! Read a book, play games, have a paddle in the sea, or just catch some rays at one of the best beaches in Norfolk.
You don’t need to stray too far from the pier and the town either, so you can always make camp and walk into Cromer to grab lunch. Or, of course, you can treat yourself to an ice cream!
9. Explore the independent shops
Cromer is full of small independent shops. Exploring its small streets can lead you to many hidden surprises, so make sure to look around.
From books, art, and clothing, there are plenty of shops to discover and take a look inside, whether you’re just browsing, looking for a souvenir, or after a gift for a special someone.
10. See Cromer Lighthouse
A short way east of Cromer is the town’s lighthouse. Built in 1833, it’s still used today to help ships navigate around this part of the English coastline.
The walk up to Cromer Ridge, on which the lighthouse is located, is a great way to stretch your legs and get glorious views from the top.
If you’re looking for accommodation in the area, you can even book to stay at one of the cottages attached to the lighthouse for an extra special stay.
11. Walk along the coast to Sheringham
If you’re into walking, there’s a decent hike along the coast from Cromer to Sheringham. Following the Norfolk coast path, the route is easy to follow and should take around 1.5 hours.
Cromer is a great way to base yourself for a holiday on the north Norfolk coast, but Sheringham is also worth a visit if you’re in the area and this walk is a great way to make a day of it.
Plus, Sheringham is also just a train stop away from Cromer, so if you’re not up for the walk back it’s easy to find a quicker way home.
12. Climb Beeston Bump
It might be an overstatement to call this activity a climb, but at 63 metres above sea level Beeston Bump is certainly one of the tallest hills around if you’re looking for a walk that will get you huffing and puffing.
If you’re walking from Cromer to Sheringham, Beeston Bump is just a short distance from the latter, so it’s a great place to stop off at.
Due to its height, it offers some of the best views around. Part of the Bump is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the interesting geology responsible for its formation.
13. Hang out at Overstrand Beach
If you’re after a change of scenery or prefer a sandy beach instead of the pebbles of Cromer beach, take a quick drive or a walk along the coast southeast and visit Overstrand beach.
There’s a small village nearby with cafes and a pub if you need a refreshment, and because it’s out of the way of the busier beach at Cromer it can be the perfect place to get away from crowds in summer.
14. Visit Felbrigg Hall
Just a short drive out from Cromer, Felbrigg Hall is a hidden gem within Norfolk. This 17th-century estate has plenty to offer to occupy a few hours of your time.
There’s also a large landscape park with woods and trails to explore. It’s a great place for a family too, and there are even buggy-friendly surfaces to help you get around if you have little ones.
Because it’s run by the National Trust, you can be sure there’s a lovely cafe too!
15. Take part in Cromer Carnival
Held each year in August, Cromer Carnival is worth checking out if you’re in the area when it’s on. As a 700-year-old event, the town really comes to life so it’s an amazing experience to be part of.
The carnival has different activities each year, but the extensive schedule of events often includes a car boot sale, a dog show, family entertainment, and even a display from the Red Arrows.
Thousands of people gather for the occasion, and you’ll never see Cromer busier than when the parade floats make their way through the town. On the evening of the final day, there’s an impressive firework display to bring everything to a grand conclusion.
16. Meet the animals at Amazona Zoo
With over 200 animals to see, Amazon Zoo is one of the most unique attractions in Norfolk and is found just on the outskirts of Cromer.
The zoo mostly houses animals native to the Amazon as part of an endeavour to provide education on conservation issues. Its inhabitants include tapirs, pumas, flamingos, and even a jaguar!
Amazona Zoo provides an excellent day out for the whole family, and with an adventure play area there’s plenty to keep even the smallest kids entertained.
17. Look around Cromer Museum
For history lovers, Cromer Museum is well worth a stop by. It’s mostly occupied by exhibitions displaying local history, but there are also displays showing off some of the other significant findings from the area, such as dinosaur fossils.
Two galleries are dedicated to a pioneering female photographer from the early 20th century – Olive Edis. Her photos of Norfolk fishermen capture the heart and soul of seaside towns like Cromer.
18. Play a round of golf
For those eager to squeeze in a round of golf while they’re around Cromer, there’s one of the best coastal golf courses in the UK just nearby.
The 18 holes of the Royal Cromer Golf Club are part of a cliff-top course that will give you breathtaking views of the coastline and the North Sea as you play.
Make sure to book ahead as it can get busy, especially during the summer. If you have accommodation nearby, make sure to take advantage of the 10% discount offered to playing staying in local hotels.
19. Try the Cromer Crab
One thing Cromer is famous for is the crab that’s caught around this area of the Norfolk coast.
Crabs have been caught in this part of the country for centuries, and it’s so embedded with the local history and culture that Cromer and Sheringham cost an annual Crab and Lobster Festival.
If you like you’re seafood and want to try crab while you’re in Cromer itself, stop by one of the local eateries such as J Lee Crabstall.
20. Enjoy an ice cream
If you’re visiting a coast town like Cromer, you’re bound to want an ice cream. Even if it’s not sunny and the rain is lashing down, grabbing a ice cream is a traditional for trips to the seaside.
Fortunately, Cromer has plenty of options when it comes to great ice cream, including Windows Ice Cream on Jetty Lane and the ice cream shop at the entrance of the pier.
Wherever you are in the town you’re never too far from a good ice cream!