A Day in Brancaster….

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Little by little we are getting our freedom back. COVID-19 has savaged nations across the world with many going into lockdown. Here in the UK at the time of writing, things are slowly relaxing and getting back to somewhere near normal.

With overseas travel heavily restricted and in our opinion not worth contemplating at this stage, it’s the good old British seaside holiday to the rescue. The main issue for us was where to head for. Which places would be popular? Who would turn us away? It was a complete lottery. 

Years ago, someone told me about a secluded beach at Brancaster in Norfolk. Situated between Hunstanton and Cromer, Brancaster is sometimes overlooked in favour of the aforementioned hotspots. So with that we packed up and headed for Norfolk. 

Where Can I Park?

Brancaster has a relatively large car park charging £6 for the full day (cash only, no cards). When we arrived the road leading up to the car park was flooded and wouldn’t be cleared until 11am. Duly, we found a spot further down the road.

If you are going to ‘chance it’ and park somewhere in the village, please be considerate. Many people had parked legally and fairly but some really were pushing it.

Alternatively to reach Brancaster you can park in nearby Kings Lynn and catch the hourly bus 36 along the route alighting at The Ship.

What to Eat?

Our first port of call was food, what is it about the sea air that makes you so hungry? Research had drawn up a little gem in the area – a small shack known as “The Crab Hut”. 

Norfolk is justifiably famous for its crab. You simply can’t leave without trying it. At The Crab Hut they do freshly filled baguettes and pots of seafood. The baguette is most peoples go-to and for us it was no different. 

The options are plentiful such as prawns, crayfish and of course crab. For £5.50 you can treat yourself to a Crab Hut Special – a medley of seafood all shoved into a baguette with salad and either mayonnaise or cocktail sauce. 

Biting into my special, I got an instant mouthful of the sea. Mussels, prawns, crab, crayfish, cockles, simply everything ocean-based was in this roll. Everything was so incredibly fresh coming right in off the harbour. A tasty introduction to Norfolk. 

Please note that The Crab Hut is CASH ONLY and operates daily within the season of April – October between 1000-1700. 

What’s the Beach Like?

Brancaster beach sits down the coast from Hunstanton. A vast covering of soft sand and the odd razor clam shell. It’s a popular beach with families, friends and couples although far less crowded than Hunstanton beach. 

During the time we were there social distancing was being adhered to. The weather was around 30C with a soothing sea breeze coming in off the waves. One thing to watch out for is how quickly the tide can turn, they say it is faster than you can run!

We found the toilets open and free to use. There is also a kiosk selling inflatables such as balls and beach games at equally inflated prices. Food is also sold here. 

Where can I get Fish and Chips?

Options for the famous British seaside fish and chips are plentiful in this part of the world, but are they all good? The answer is not always. 

Again, researching the various options along our stretch of coast brought up some decent names. With some chippies like Eric’s you can order online in the current situation. However, the collection period began around two hours after we would have ordered. We gave it a miss. 

Instead we headed around 5 miles down the road to a sweet little town called Wells-next-the-Sea. A popular fishing port with equally popular seafood outlets in the town. 

We ended up joining an enormous line at French’s chip shop. A very sought-after spot for dinner. Don’t be put off by the huge line snaking up the alleyway, it moves quickly. These guys really don’t hang about and for £8 each we received a standard cod and chips in seconds.

The aroma escaping from the tray was oh so familiar – top quality fish and chips. Given that this is standard cod with medium chips, the portion size was incredibly generous. The fish was as fresh as it gets. Encased in a crunchy batter. The chips also were crispy and well worth the drive over. A perfect option in northern Norfolk.

French’s open from 1200-1700 on Mondays and every other day 1200-2000. Card payments only are currently being accepted.

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