Old Hunstanton Beach & Promenade

Hunstanton

Where to find a nice sandy beach?

For a lady who grew up in Felpham (a village next to Bognor Regis, West Sussex) and spent her summer days down at the beach, I’ve ended up for the majority of the past decade living in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

You literally can not get more landlocked within the UK then Milton Keynes.

It’s as far from the West, South and East Coast of the UK in literally all directions being around a 2.5-hour drive away!

Hottest Day of the Year!

So despite the beginning of June being so cold that I needed to put the heating on for the best part of a week, literally 3 weeks later, the UK has a flash 48-hour heatwave as some warm air was heading north from Africa (if I remember rightly).

With the hottest day of the year predicted for Saturday!!!

Well, it would be a crime to stay put on such a day, but where to go?? On days like this, the beach is the only answer when kids are concerned!

With the choice of 3 coastlines being the same sort of driving time, and mileage distance to choose from I literally put a shout out on Facebook on where to go. I’ve done this in the past but never gone for it.

Mainly due to the effort of packing up kids to sit in a hot car etc… But with such a heads up that the weather was going to be a scorcher, we decided to head for Hunstanton.

Old Hunstanton Beach!

I chose this as over the years I’ve seen the name be passed about on comments on social media, it meant that I need not tackle the M25 car park as often becomes the way on days like this.

A number of mums had practically guaranteed me that there was ample sand to go around and so armed with this knowledge and nothing more than Google Maps to help me get there, I planned a picnic the night before and packed the kids into the car at 7:30 am.

2.5 hours became a 3 hour journey.

The night before (when traffic was not at its peak) Google Maps reported the driving time to be 2.5 hours from my home in MK to Old Hunstanton Beach.

We made incredibly good time until we reached Kings Lynn, by which time it was nearing 10 am.

They have a number of dual carriageways that converge into single-lane roads, so as the traffic built we had some queuing with other lanes to get around Kings Lynn, which pretty much accounts for an extra 20 minutes or so time to our journey, but at least the traffic flowed, all be it slowly.

Multiple Beaches in the Area!

One of the biggest fears on a day out like this is that you reach your destination and find the beach under piles of stones (as in Felpham where I grew up is like unless the tide is really far out).

So when I had set my mind on Old Hunstanton, I then googled some images and sure enough, there were pictures of long expanses of sandy beach.

As we got within about 12 miles of the destination, we saw many brown tourist signs naming and indicating a number of other beaches in the area.

But not wanting to disappoint I remained on course to our intended destination.

A few of these people have mentioned to me as worth visiting, especially Wells-next-the-Sea and photos of its sand dunes look amazing.

So that will most likely be my next plan of attack for a day out at the beach!

Parking

I didn’t have a clue what to expect, but knowing it is a popular seaside town, I pretty much expected there to be council-run public carparks.

I managed to find one right on the Promenade, which was awesome when carrying a small tent, picnic blankets, kids beach toys etc!!! It cost me £6 for a 24-hour stay.

Job done!

The Beach Itself

By the time we actually got onto the beach I would say it was about 1040am. The beach was reasonably empty.

The very start of the beach has some cobles stones and shingle you need to make your way across which was not too bad. Some areas were cordoned off for horse and pony rides.

There were also the amphibious boat/coach type vehicles offering tourist rides into the sea, where you climb on, from the beach and they drive down into the sea until they float and become a boat.

The sort you see in photos of the D-Day landings in WW2.

The sea was way way out in the distance, and once you were on the sand, the sand itself was very wet as the tide/sea when in, comes right up to the promenade wall.

So, it was a bit difficult to find somewhere to set up camp for the next few hours, but we found a nice spot about 80 meters from where we parked the car.

The tide comes in real quick once it starts to make it’s way in, so by about 2 pm in the afternoon, we had to shift our tent camp back towards the stones on to the wetter sand which meant the picnic blankets soaked up the water and were dripping by the time we left.

Promenade & Attractions

The Promenade was full of ice-cream stands, bucket and spade sellers, fresh doughnut stands and fish ‘n’ chip sellers. All the usual stuff you’d find at any UK seaside town and resort.

There are also lots and lots of amusements arcades in the area, including one right next to the car park we stayed in.

I would have really liked to have had a wander around the promenade but by mid-afternoon the temperatures were well into the 30’s (which for the UK is unheard of!) and the girls were feeling lethargic and my youngest (despite being 6, nearly 7 years old) started complaining that she wanted a nap.

A combo of the heat and an early/bust start that morning.

So we played a bit in the Arcades, had cheeky ice cream (yes I cheated on my Keto diet) and pretty much headed off around 4 pm.

The drive back was less congested around Kings Lynn, but my Google Maps seemed to take me on every road around the town on the way back (unlike on the way there were we skimmed the outskirts).

So, I’ll be sure to check on that next time we head out that way so as to avoid all the inner city congestion.

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