Voted one of the best in Britain, Holkham Beach is also a favourite film set location. It’s one of many huge North Norfolk beaches brilliant for walking, kite flying or just soaking up the sun.

Think of the best beaches in Britain and your mind tends to take you west to Cornwall or Devon. That’s fine with us, because the magnificent sands on our doorstep are all the quieter for it. The stretch of coastline between Wells-next-the-Sea (a fifteen-minute drive from The Harper) and Brancaster further west is a secret we should really be better at keeping. Pristine sand, stretching to the horizon, backed by rolling dunes and distant pine forests; it’s quintessential North Norfolk – and the sheer size of these beaches often surprises first-timers.

Holkham Beach, just west of Wells, is one of the best – indeed, voted the best beach in Britain. Anywhere else, such an accolade would likely mean hordes of windbreak- wielding tourists, but here in North Norfolk, these award-winning shores remain resolutely low-key. All the better for Hollywood film sets, then. If there’s a whiff of familiarity about Holkham Beach, you might recall it from 1999’s Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, when Gwyneth Paltrow sauntered across its golden sands in the closing scene. Natalie Portman also graced the beach when 2018’s Annihilation was filmed here, as did the girls from All Saints (where else would you film the video for a song called Pure Shores?)

Hollywood appeal aside, beaches like these are perfect for anything that requires space in spades. Brancaster Beach, also up there among the finest sandy beaches in Norfolk and just around the coast from the wonderfully remote Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve, is arguably the best spot for kite surfing in Norfolk (a word of caution - the tides are strong here). It’s great for land boarding and buggying too – or just roaming the endless sands. Like the rest of the North Norfolk coast, it’s a uniquely invigorating – and genuinely unspoilt – environment for family staycations in Norfolk or just a weekend away from it all.


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