About the area
Wells is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty containing some of Europe’s most extensive salt water marshes and miles of beach teeming with bird-life. It is one of the most delightfully old fashioned ports in Britain. Its quay is dominated by The Granary with its jutting gantry.
Twice a day the sea races up the channel (the Run) in front of Gooseye. It covers the salt marsh and sand banks which, in their season, are carpeted with sea lavender, samphire and sea beet. A mile-long walk or train trip along the sea wall brings you to the open sea where you’ll find a fine sandy beach fringed by Corsican pines and adorned with quaint and colourful beach huts.
If you sailed due North you would reach the North Pole without touching land (bold sailors of the past thought nothing of venturing to Iceland for the fishing). Today the Wells fishing fleet sails in over the Bar to land its daily catch of crab, lobster, whelks, and mackerel, some of which you can buy on the Quay.
One of the boats you may see is a cowslip yellow crab boat, ‘Blucher’, named after its original owner, Ernie Jarvis, who once lived in Gooseye.
You’ll also see the North Sea Klipper ‘Albatros’. Built in 1899 she was the last sail-driven cargo ship in Europe and the last vessel to load a commercial cargo here in Wells. She is now a floating bar, restaurant and B&B, and well worth a visit.
There are wonderful coastal and rural walks to enjoy locally. The Coast Path is only 25 metres away and if you only want to walk one way you can jump on a bus to get back. There are also some excellent cycle rides to be had. You can hire bikes at Holkham (Holkham byCycle – 01328 713071) and Wighton (On Yer Bike – 07584 308120). Or just go for a drive.
Chris Trent, in his book ‘Motoring Holidays in Britain’, writes:
… the coast road from Wells to Cromer is exceptionally beautiful. No other coast road in East Anglia has quite the charm of these few enchanted miles
Arthur Howell, butcher, baker, delicatessen and wet fish merchant for Holkham venison, partridge and pheasant, bread and cakes among many other things; Whin Hill Cider for locally produced ciders and apple juice; The Country Garden for organic fruit and vegetables; the Real Ale Shop at Branthill Farm, just south of Wells; and the Old Station Pottery and Book Shop, where you can browse for hours and Thom can probably find you any book you’re looking for on the internet.
There are also many good pubs, restaurants, cafes and fish & chip shops in and around Wells, including a Chinese take-away. We particularly recommend French’s Fish Shop on the Quay (01328 710396 to order ahead) and, for a special meal, Wells Crab House in Freeman Street (01328 710456 – book in advance to be sure of a table).
Places of Interest
The Visitor Information Centre in the Maltings is the place to go for all kinds of information (01328 710885).
Wells Library has free wi-fi and internet facilities for visitors, as well as books, and is a only five minute walk away.
Walsingham: England’s Nazareth and voted the ‘most spiritual place’ in the UK, is only five miles away and you can get there by bus (Lynx No. 36) and steam train (via the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway) as well as car.
Holkham Hall, the Palladian style home of the Earls of Leicester, is only a two miles away and an easy walk from Wells. It boasts a lake, a deer park with 500 fallow deer and, it is claimed, the best beach in England. The film ‘The Duchess’ was made here.
The Norfolk Coast: 90 kilometres long and designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it includes Morston (for seal trips and mussels); the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley; the RSPB reserve at Titchwell; and the national nature reserve at Holkham.
Trains & Coaches: there are main line stations at Norwich, Sheringham and King’s Lynn and national coach stations at Norwich and Kings Lynn.
Buses: there is the Coasthopper service between Wells and Cromer, which connects with services to Norwich, and the Coastliner to Hunstanton and King’s Lynn, both of which are particularly useful for walkers and birdwatchers.
For more detailed travel information go to travelineeastanglia.co.uk