Are you looking for the best things to do in Cromer, Norfolk? From the new Banksy to the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum, this is what to do in Cromer.
If you’re looking for a proper British seaside destination with an old school pier and gorgeous golden sandy beaches for as far as the eye can see, then say hello to Cromer.
We’ve just spent an amazing week exploring all the best things to do in Cromer and we completely fell in love with the place. It has an old-fashioned seaside charm, but with loads of fun activities to do.
Also, it’s surprisingly cheap! Coming from London, everything seems cheap, but £1.20 ice creams are hard to beat. Maybe that’s why we had daily ice creams!
Cromer is really famous for its beach, and even though we were really lucky with the weather, we didn’t want to be beach bums.
That’s why every day we did a different activity. From finding the best coffee shops to playing three different types of golf, we packed so much into our week.
So, if you’re planning a trip to North Norfolk, this is what to do in Cromer. Hopefully this blog post will give you a good overview of all the best things to do here. Even if you do half of these below, you’re in for an amazing holiday!
Where is Cromer?
Cromer is on the coast of North Norfolk in East Anglia.
Getting to Cromer can be quite tricky, partly because the roads are so slow. On paper, the drive from London to Cromer should take around 3 hours.
However, because the A11 is single carriageway, you very rarely drive at the national speed limit. If you get stuck behind a lorry, it can add a good 30 minutes onto your journey.
For both our journeys to Cromer, it took around 4 hours from London, so I would estimate around the same.
Getting the train from London is fairly easy. You can get the train from London Liverpool Street to Norwich. If you get the fast train it only takes 90 minutes. Then, at Norwich, change to the train for Cromer which takes another 45 minutes.
It’s probably a little easier getting the train than driving, but I really wanted my car so I could explore places further afield like Holkham Hall and Sheringham.
Fun Things to do in Cromer
Go for a long walk along the cliffs overlooking the beach
To give you a good idea of how beautiful the North Norfolk coast is, go for a walk from Cromer to Overstrand. This walk takes you to the clifftops overlooking the beach, and the views are stunning.
If you face the pier, take the Norfolk Coast Path on the right uphill towards the lighthouse. In total, the walk to Overstrand takes about an hour. Obviously, that includes stopping a fair few times along the way for photos!
Coming back, I’d suggest walking along the beach for a different view (best at low tide). The walk back will only take you 40 minutes as there are no hills, and it’s a nice contrast walking by the water.
Walk along Cromer Pier (and maybe watch a show)
You can’t visit Cromer without walking along Cromer Pier. There are records of a pier in Cromer as far back as 1391, though it was little more than a jetty then.
The pier you see today was officially opened in 1901, and its most recent accolade was winning ‘Pier of the Year’ in 2015.
Unlike other British seaside piers, there are no arcades, chippys or rides on Cromer Pier. However, it is home to the Pavilion Theatre. This fun theatre has rolling summer shows. While we were there, the Cromer Pier Show was on, which was a Greatest Showman spectacle.
The very end of the pier is also home to the RNLI Lifeboat Station. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one of their boats being launched into the water when they’re doing exercises.
See the new Banksy artwork
Yes, there is a Banksy in Cromer.
While most of us were exploring the Lake District or Cornwall, Banksy went on a ‘Great British Spraycation’ to Norfolk and Suffolk.
A number of pieces popped up in Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Lowestoft causing a bit of a media frenzy.
A part of Banky’s ‘Great British Spraycation’ was to bring tourism back to areas that are suffering more than others.
This one in Cromer highlights social mobility issues with a number of expensive homes being built when homelessness is on the rise.
As with all of Banksy’s work, it’s very tongue-in-cheek while also being thought-provoking.
This Banksy is about 800 metres to the right of Cromer Pier just past the beach huts.
Walk by the colourful beach huts
Everyone loves a colourful beach hut, and we’re no different.
On the way to the Banksy you’ll pass these cute beach huts. Some of them you can rent out for the day, but most are owned by locals.
When it’s quiet, whip out your phone and get a holiday snap walking by the beach huts. The bright colours always make for such a good photo!
Have a relaxing afternoon on the beach
While we were in Norfolk, we were so lucky with the weather. It even reached 27 degrees on one of the days we were there!
When it’s bright and sunny, you really can’t beat a day on the beach, especially if you’ve got little ones.
The beach at Cromer is tidal, so in the morning when the tide is in, it’s a pebble beach. Wait a few hours for the tide to go out, and this sandy beach is revealed.
Because the beach is tidal, the sand tends to be very wet. Even sitting there for 30 minutes will leave you with a wet bum. So, my advice for a beach day is bring deck chairs, extra thick towels or mats. That means you can stay on the beach without getting soaked through.
Go paddle boarding or surfing at Glide Surf School
Both Chloe and I absolutely love paddle boarding. It’s so peaceful and relaxing being on the water, especially when the sea is calm.
Glide Surf School (you’ll find them right on the seafront) have got you covered in all conditions. When there’s surf, they offer board hire and surf lessons for beginners. And when the seas are glassy and calm, you can go paddle boarding or kayaking.
We went early one morning and it was so quiet. We paddled up to the pier, and then along the coast for an hour or so. It was just the perfect way to start the day.
For me, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Cromer.
Eat fish and chips from Mary Janes
Obviously you can’t come to the seaside without having fish & chips!
Now, there are two main fish & chip shops in Cromer – Mary Janes and No. 1. All in the name of good quality research, we ate at both (it’s a tough job sometimes).
Unanimously, the winner of the two was Mary Janes, so this is the one we’re recommending in our Cromer guide.
A standard cod and chips will set you back £10.40 and it comes with a mountain of chips. To be honest with you, this could easily be a meal for two people! You can eat inside or take it away and find a spot overlooking the beach (as we did!)
Discover the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum
If you’re looking for indoor things to do in Cromer (perhaps when the weather isn’t playing ball) we’d recommend visiting the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.
Henry Blogg served on the lifeboats for 53 years and is the most decorated RNLI crew member ever. With the assistance of his crew, he saved 873 lives from the North Sea. Isn’t that staggering!?
He was coxswain of the lifeboat H.F Bailey during World War II which is on display in the museum. There are also model lifeboats, Henry Blogg’s impressive collection of medals, old movies, photographs and paintings, as well as lots of hands-on activities.
The museum is dedicated to his life, as well all the other great work the RNLI does.
Walking around the exhibition takes 30 minutes to an hour, and there are a number of fun activities for the kids to do too. Entry is completely free but please take a bit of a change for the donation box.
Or grab lunch at the RNLI Lifeboat Café overlooking the pier
Once you’ve finished at the RNLI museum, pop upstairs to the Rocket House Cafe. This is in such a lovely spot with views of the beach and the pier.
The café serves up soups, sandwiches, salads and well as a number of cakes too. If you can, make sure you get a spot on the balcony during summer. It really is all about the views at this spot.
Play Crabstix Adventure Golf
Whenever Chloe and I are on holiday, we always play adventure golf. Hey, we’re big kids at heart.
Crabstix Adventure Golf is an 18-hole adventure golf course which is great fun for the whole family.
The course is surprisingly tricky with a couple of card-wrecker holes thrown in there. The giant crab hole was my fave (watch out for that one).
A game costs £7.50 for adults and £6 for children under 12.
Eat all the seafood
You’re by the seaside, so obviously that means you’ve got to eat all the seafood. Most restaurant menus in the area have a focus on fresh fish and seafood and usually feature Cromer’s legendary crab. Think crab sandwiches, crab salads, those sorts of things.
We had a lovely seafood platter at The Red Lion close to the pier. If you manage to get a table at the front, you’ll be overlooking the water which is lovely.
The main dining room is a great spot too, and they do a cracking (and huge) Sunday roast.
Play the penny slots at the arcades
Playing the penny slots reminds me of going on seaside holidays when I was a kid. There are a few amusement arcades in Cromer – one down by the beach, and two just back from the pier.
If you’re looking to entertain the kids for a good 30 minutes, change up those pounds and play the penny slot machines.
There are a few other arcade games to play like Time Crisis 4 and Mario Kart. Most of the arcades spew out tickets which you can swap for a bag of sweets or a toy at the end.
I think we spent about £10 to get a £1 bag of sweets, but it was totally worth it. This is what British seaside holidays are all about after all!
Pick up a vintage book from Bookworms
Bookworms is this tiny book shop just behind the pier. Inside it is all rickety bookshelves and dog-eared books.
If you’re a bookworm looking to pick up something for your holiday in Cromer, then this is the bookshop for you.
Even if you don’t buy anything, the smell of old books is great.
Grab a scone or a cake from Hatters Tea Shop
Cromer has a number of tea rooms, and one of the top-rated is Hatters Tea Shop.
The inside is really bright and there’s always a lovely atmosphere there. The thing that really draws people in is their extensive cake selection. There was really nice coconut and lime cake there when I popped in.
They also offer afternoon tea, both savoury and sweet. The savoury afternoon tea comes with a sausage roll and a cheesy scone, so sounds right up my street.
Wander around the cute streets of Cromer
I was really surprised by how cute Cromer was. It’s tiny, just a cluster of streets, but there is plenty to do while on holiday here.
Most people spend their time on the pier and on the beach, but I’d really recommend going for an explore. There are some lovely streets weaving down to the beach that are easily overlooked.
Get lost – you won’t regret it!
Discover the Cromer Artspace around town
In a bid to make Cromer brighter and more colourful, Cromer Artspace introduced their ‘Bigger Picture’ installation.
This brings great works of art to the streets of Cromer, displaying full-size reproductions of famous paintings in various locations around town.
The impossibility of travelling to art galleries during the dark days of the pandemic spurred on the idea, and there has been a great response from locals, visitors and businesses around town.
I really enjoyed walking around town and seeing these pieces of art by the likes of Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh dotted on different walls.
Pop into Cromer Church for a coffee
Cromer Church is right in the middle of Cromer, so you really can’t miss it.
Even though I’m not religious, I always love the architecture of churches. I’m always drawn to the symmetry of the eaves and columns, so I couldn’t resist popping in.
At the back of the church there is a little café serving coffee and cake. It’s a very relaxing spot to have a drink.
Test your putting skills on the Putting Green
The Putting Green is very different from Crabstix. Okay, so they both involve putters and putting, but that’s where the similarities end.
The Putting Green doesn’t have all the frills and distractions of crazy golf. It’s just putting, on grass. It’s all in the name really.
The best thing about the Putting Green is the price. It’s just £3 per game, and that’s for an 18-hole course. Depending on how many of you there are, that’s incredible value for money.
Currently, the course record is 38 shots which is just two putts per hole. I went around in 51 and thought that was quite good!
Eat all the ice cream from Crazy Cow
Now we’re talking. If you’re looking for the best ice cream in Cromer, you’ll find it at The Crazy Cow.
From mint choc chip to rum and raison, they have over 40 flavours on offer. They also have a few fruity sorbets too.
The majority of ice cream here is with dairy, but they also sell vegan ice cream, soft serve ice cream, doughnuts, chocolatey pancakes, loaded waffles, and decadent sundaes.
A scoop of ice cream will set you back £2, or £3 for two scoops, so it’s pretty cheap too.
Grab a coffee from the North Sea Coffee Co.
As we were in town for a week, we were determined to find the best coffee in Cromer. What can I say, we’re coffee fiends.
There are quite a few coffee shops in town offering different atmospheres, but for the coffee and the coffee alone, we would recommend North Sea Coffee Co. down by the water. They do a mean espresso – strong and delicious.
Our second favourite coffee was from Grey Seal Coffee. They have an outside booth near the church on the way to the pier as well as an indoor space. Also, The Art House Café is another favourite if you’re looking for a place to sit in.
Challenge yourself at the pub quiz at the King’s Head
We had a couple of fun filled nights at the King’s Head. On Saturday is was karaoke, and on the Monday was pub quiz night. They have a different activity on each night, so it’s worth checking out what’s on for when you’re in Cromer.
The pub quiz was brilliant though. Over 30 people played, which I thought was brilliant for a Monday night out of season. It wasn’t a super difficult pub quiz either – all the teams scored over 50% which I think everyone liked.
The best bit for us was that we won! It’s always a surprise when we win a pub quiz, but it definitely made our holiday better! Maybe you can be the next put quiz champion?
Visit Cromer Museum
If you’d like to learn more about Cromer, then pay a visit to Cromer Museum.
Set in a cosy Victorian fisherman’s cottage, this museum gives a good overview of what life used to be like in Cromer at the end of the 19th century.
Look through the Old Cromer Gallery with its huge archive of historic photographs and illustrations of the town. There’s also a nice section on Cromer as a Victorian seaside resort with its fine hotels and scandalous mixed bathing (yes, this used to be a big problem here!)
You can also find out about the famous West Runton Mammoth, Britain’s oldest and most complete elephant fossil and see some of its actual bones. Kids will love this display.
Tickets were £4.20 for adults and £4.10 for children which I thought was a little expensive. However, they do a twilight ticket for £1.50 an hour before closing, so I’d recommend going then.
Buy some pick and mix from the local sweet shop
I am a self-confessed sweet addict. Always have been, always will be.
Even though they are always cripplingly expensive, I love the nostalgia of old sweet shops.
In Cromer there are two, Amy’s Sweet Shop and Harald’s Fine Chocolates. We went into Amy’s and hit the pick and mix.
They were supposed to be for the drive home but they didn’t even make it to the car…
Treat yourself to a cocktail at the Gangway
If you’re looking for the best cocktails in Cromer, head on over to The Gangway.
Most of their cocktails are £8, so a good price, and they have some really unique cocktails on their menu. Their Chilli Frost Bite (coconut rum, apple, lime, chilli) is one of the best sellers, but Chloe loved her passion fruit mojito and said it was one of the best she’d ever had!
They also have an extensive craft beer selection for those of you who’d prefer a pint.
This was our favourite drinks spot, so make sure you add this one to your Cromer itinerary.
Have an ice cream by Cromer Pier
Ice cream? Again? Yes! You can never have enough ice cream!
This one is different to Crazy Cow as it’s soft serve, so an old-school Mr Whippy.
There are a couple of hole-in-the-wall ice cream shops as you’re heading down to the pier. The one opposite The Wellington pub is £1.20 for a small ice cream. This was the cheapest we found in town, hence why we had so many ice creams.
Good luck getting it to last before you hit the beach though…
Play Pitch ‘n’ Putt on the weekend
Okay, so you’ve played Crabstix and the Putting Green and you want to move up a level. Then it’s time to take on Cromer Pitch ‘n’ Putt.
Annoyingly, outside of the summer holidays, this is only open on Saturday and Sunday. It’s such a shame as I think a lot of people would play during the week too.
Anyway, this is a fun pitch and putt course that’s great for all ages and abilities. It is quite bumpy and hilly in places, so expect a few tricky bounces with the ball.
A game is only £4 for adults and £3 for under 12s, so it’s another cheap thing to do in Cromer.
Have tea and cake at the North Lodge Park Tea Rooms
I really liked the North Lodge Park Tea Rooms as they’re set in these beautifully kept gardens. Outside the tea rooms is a little pond (or boating lake for the kids), and tables are dotted all around the pond.
This is a community café, and it’s a place adored by locals. One of the best things about this place is how cheap the cake is. Most cakes are only £2 and they are all homemade too.
It’s another tasty pitstop to add to your guide to Cromer!
Eat at Nash. Falafel Bar
This isn’t just for the veggies and vegans reading this, but all food lovers.
You’ll find Nash. Falafel Bar opposite The Gangway, and their falafel wraps are just delicious. A wrap is £5.50 but they also offer salad boxes and veggie dirty fries too.
This place really shows Cromer is slowly changing and embracing new businesses. It helps that their falafel is damn delicious too.
Go antique shopping
There are a surprising number of antique shops in Cromer.
The most popular is Brisbane Antiques, but Fairdeal Antiques & Collectables is massive and a treasure trove of odds and ends too.
Whenever I go into an antique shop, I feel like I’m on Bargain Hunt. If you’re into your antique shopping though, I bet you’d be able to find something special in Cromer.
Catch a film at the Movieplex
Looking for things to do in Cromer when it’s raining?
The Movieplex in Cromer looks like it’s from a 1950s film set, but inside it’s very modern showing the latest releases. There are 4 different screens all of a good size.
The cinema originally opened in 1914 as the Cromer Theatre of Varieties, presenting films, live shows and boxing. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like watching boxing here!
Play a round at the Royal Cromer Golf Club
Okay, so this is the last golf activity on my list of Cromer attractions.
If you’re a proper golfer then you’ll be interested in the Royal Cromer Golf Club.
Having seen a lot of the golf course on the clifftop walk to Overstrand, it looks like a vicious course with bunkers dotted all over the place. It’s also very windy and hilly, so don’t expect the best score.
Saying that, it’s a very beautiful course with sea views. Green fees during high season are £75 per round, though it’s cheaper if you play after 2pm.
Take on the Sheringham Parkrun
Okay, okay, I know not many of you are going to do this one, but I wanted to add it in anyway.
Just 10-minutes from Cromer is Sheringham Park, home to the local Parkrun. If you’ve never come across Parkrun before, this is a worldwide initiative to get people running.
It is a 5km running race for all ages and all abilities. You’ll have people running it in 15 minutes, and others taking an hour or more. The best bit about Parkrun is it’s completely free; it doesn’t cost a penny.
It is an organisation made up of volunteers, and the aim is to get more people exercising and enjoying the great outdoors.
I am a regular Parkrunner and I love it. There are over 2,000 Parkrun locations in 22 countries around the world, so I’m starting to collect a few different ones.
If you fancy something different while on holiday, pack your running shoes and take on the Sheringham Parkrun.
It’s on every Saturday at 9am at Sheringham Park. Hopefully see you there!
Top tips for visiting Cromer
- Lots of places in Cromer only accept cash, so make sure you’ve got lots of change on you.
- There is a big one-way system through the centre of Cromer which can get very busy from 12-6pm. If you’re driving to Cromer, try and avoid these times (though the traffic does move).
- Just a note: On other ‘top things to do in Norfolk’ blog posts, you’ll see crabbing as one of the top activities to do. We haven’t included this in ours because we feel it’s not sustainable and is harmful to crabs. Often, when people release the crabs they’ve caught, they do it from the top of the pier, so crabs are falling 20 metres back into the sea. Also, the crab buckets are tiny too, so we would never promote it.
- If you’ve got time, I’d really recommend visiting Holkham Hall in North Norfolk. This is about 50-minutes from Cromer but it is an amazing country estate with loads of things to do there for the whole family. You can hire bikes and cycle around the grounds, or have a tour of Holkham Hall and see how grand it is.
Let us know if you’re planning a trip to Cromer or North Norfolk!
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