Cromer is a delightful Norfolk seaside town, noted for its fine sand and shingle beaches and beach launched fishing boats. This excellent Victorian resort began with the arrival of the railway in 1887, and the town's many grand hotels reflect the wealth of this 19th century tourist boom. In particular, the very fine Victorian pier on the seafront with its theatre, restaurant, bar and lifeboat station.
Picturesque and unspoilt, Cromer is one of the nicest of Norfolk's seaside resorts, surrounded by wooded hills. The fine golden sand and shingle beaches are backed by 250ft (76m) cliffs; the highest in the county. The cliff tops are lined with hotels, accessed by steep stone steps, and beach below is a favourite haunt for geologists and fossil hunters. Many of their most interesting finds are on display in the town museum. Walks along the cliff top provide spectacular views over the English Channel.
Cromer's fishing boats are a special small double-ended broad beamed type. As there is no harbour here, the boats are launched and landed from the beach. Their freshly caught crab is a famous local delicacy. In the morning you can watch the boats arrive with their catch, then visit one of the many fish shops and kiosks on the seafront to buy the freshly dressed crab - arguably the best in all England. Every cafe and restaurant in the town has a crab dish on its menu.
The narrow streets of old Cromer crowd round the 14th-c Church of St Peter and St Paul, which boasts the tallest tower in Norfolk. The splendid 160ft (48m) Perpendicular square tower once served as a beacon to shipping, before the construction of a purpose-built lighthouse, at Cromer Ridge in 1669.
Although the seashore has safe areas for bathing and the beaches are lifeguarded, there are treacherous sandbanks just offshore, that have cause much havoc for local shipping for centuries. Local lifeboat coxswain 'Henry Blogg' was three times awarded the Gold Medal of the RNLI for his bravery in local sea rescues. A memorial bust of him can be found beside the cliff path east of the town. The story his life is told in the Lifeboat Museum, on the seafront. The current lifeboat is always at the ready to launch from the pier to rescue seamen in trouble.
The town is packed with shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes all aiming to please the holiday maker. The traditional Pavilion Theatre, on the Pier, stages lively entertainment in the summer season. Annual events include a carnival, folk festival and Cromer Art Week.
Cromer is a great base for visiting this corner of Norfolk. It is within easy reach of many other coastal resorts and several charming Norfolk villages. The Royal Cromer Golf Course is a famous seaside links, just one mile east of the town on the A149.
Just three miles south is Felbrigg Hall, a fine Jacobean mansion with 18th-c artworks. The grounds were laid out by Humphry Repton (open to public).
The local history museum, located in an old fisherman's cottage, has displays of local and natural history and geology, including many interesting fossils found in the cliffs.
Opening times: see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: East Cottages, Tucker Street, Cromer, NR27 9HB
Tel: 01263 513543
Henry Blogg, Cromer lifeboat coxswain from 1909 to 1949 was Britain's most decorated lifeboatman. The museum is dedicated to his life and highlights the dangerous sand-banks, known as "The Devil's Throat", which have made the Cromer lifeboat one of the busiest in Britain. Family-friendly with interactive displays.
Opening times: vary depending on the time of year, see website for details - Free Entry
Location: The Rocket House, The Gangway Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9ET
Tel: 01263 511294