Wells next-the-Sea is a great harbour town which received the runaway winner of the first Sunday Times “Beach of the Year” award. It is a traditional seaside town, full of great little shops, cafés, amusements, old buildings and lanes still existing from its heritage as a port and former maltings industry.
The Buttlands, which is a rectangular green lined with Georgian and late Victorian houses, used to be used for archery practise in medieval days. Now it is home to the excellent Crown hotel and restaurant which is run by Kiwi celebrity chef Chris Coubrough, as well as the popular ‘The Globe Inn’.
The sandy beach flanked by pine forest is about a mile from the quay and can be reached by road, on foot along the causeway or via the miniature railway. The beach has great views with mile upon mile of sands and shallow channels, pinewoods and dunes to enjoy. When the tide comes in, the beach is transformed into a harbour. The entrance channel suddenly becomes busy with visiting yachts; fishing boats setting out for the day or returning with their catch; local small boats going out to fish as well as clouds of small sailing boats racing or cruising within the harbour. Wells harbour is great for crabbing, boating and paddle boarding. The golden sands are backed by colourful beach huts and the popular beach cafe nearby is perfect for refreshments. The Coastal Exploration Company provides a variety of adventurous and family orientated sailing charters on traditional north Norfolk wooden fishing boats in and around Wells and the marshes.