About Cley-Next-the-Sea beaches, Norfolk
Set in the mesmerising prettiness of the North Norfolk coast, Cley-Next-the-Sea is a picturesque village – all flint-faced cottages and foxglove-filled lanes – situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This area is sometimes nicknamed ‘Chelsea on Sea’, such is its popularity with well-heeled, 4X4-driving Londoners, and it’s true that around 50% of Cley’s (pronounced ‘Cly’) houses are now second homes. Its popularity with wealthy holidaymakers means that visitors won’t be bereft of upmarket delis, fine dining and antique shops.
The beach at Cley is shingle, and it’s not a bucket-and-spade type of place, but suitable for piling up pebbles, coastal walks and sea fishing. It’s reachable via Beach Road by car, or on foot along one of the footpaths that wind their way through the marshes.
Beyond the beach:
Around 17km (11 miles) southeast of Cley is the magnificent 17th-century Felbrigg Hall (www.nationaltrust.org.uk), a fine example of Stuart architecture, with a walled garden, orangery, orchards and parkland to explore.
There’s a windmill at Cley and spectacular church, as well as the NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, which is birdwatching heaven. You can walk the Norfolk Coastal Path from here to Holme-Next-the-Sea, where it joins the Peddar Way National Trail.
Head down the coast to Brancaster Staithe and take a boat trip to catch a sight of the seals and birds at Blakeney Point with Beans Boat Trips (www.beansboattrips.co.uk). From April to October visitors can head out with the knowledgeable crew to sea the cute creatures basking pn the sandbanks and swimming inquisitively around the boat – perfect for photo opportunities.
The most special place to eat in the village is its chief landmark, Cley Windmill (www.cleymill.co.uk). The Windmill offers three-course candlelit dinners cooked by the chef owners, and is open to non residents. You could splash out even further and stay in the windmill, which has charming rooms in this historic building.