Seeing seals at Horsey Beach in Norfolk

posted in: Blog, UK | 37
Gorgeous grey seal pup seen on Horsey Beach in Norfolk
A gorgeous grey seal pup

“It says here that you can see seals at this beach”, I told my husband doubtfully. We had just arrived to stay a night in the Norfolk Broads and, despite the persistent drizzle, decided that we should go out and enjoy the fresh, country air (we don’t get very much of this at home in London). The chances of viewing some seals made going out sound extra appealing. But I wasn’t convinced we’d actually see any. Luckily I was completely wrong.

We drove from our delightful cottage in Potter Heigham to Horsey, on the coast, around 10 minutes away. The beach (Horsey Gap) was clearly signposted, and from the carpark (pay and display, but not expensive) there was another sign showing us which way we should walk for the seals (the walk, the sign, warned, would take 20 minutes).

I hoped that I wasn’t dragging my husband and kids on a wild goose (or should I say seal) chase, but decided we might as well give it a go.

The walk was pretty, round the back of the sand-dunes, and about a mile long. Unfortunately it was also riddled with deep puddles, which Robert simply could not resist. He was wearing wellies, but they were soon full of water as he jumped in one puddle after another.

Robert loved the puddles on Horsey Beach in Norfolk
Robert loved the puddles!

After a good 15 minutes or so, we saw a wide path leading up the dunes. We clambered up and saw some people coming the other way.

“Did you see any seals?” I asked breathlessly and they nodded confidently.

A minute later I saw just why they were so confident: the beach seemed to be full of grey seals, of all different sizes and shading. There was even an incredibly cute baby one. It was fantastic.

Standing in front of seals on Horsey BeachThere were lots of people on the beach, many taking pictures. The seals seemed quite unbothered by this, until one young woman moved within about 10 metres and knelt down for a picture. The response was remarkable as the group of seals she was near started barking and moving away.

We walked further along the beach where there were fewer people – and found lots more seals. It was amazing to see them there in their natural environment, looking as if they were basking in the sun (when in reality it was rainy and cold). I particularly loved it when they moved off and started to swim in the water.

Seals on Horsey Beach, Norfolk
There were so many seals!

Apparently the seals come to Horsey in the winter months in order to breed, although we only saw one baby. We did, however, see well over a hundred seals and found out later that Horsey is one of the best places to see them, particularly as around half of the world’s population of grey seals are found around Britain.

A grey seal swimming off Horsey beach
A grey seal swimming off Horsey beach

We decided to walk back to the car park along the beach itself which was beautiful, and must be even more so in the summer when I’d love to return and bring a picnic. There were huge expanses of sand and it was totally unspoilt and very clean. It was also fascinating to see the dunes which surround this beach – in the summer I think they must be full of wildlife, but in the winter, they seemed rather desolate and wonderful.

All in all it was a terrific experience and one I don’t think any of us will ever forget. It was truly special.


More animals on Family Travel Times

A day at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling

A trip to Amazon World Zoo Park on the Isle of Wight

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


37 Responses

  1. chantelle hazelden

    You’ve captured some great photos, a very memorable experience by the looks of it!


    Looks like everyone had a great time there. I’m ashamed to say that at the grand old age of 38 I only learnt the difference between seals and sealions last week!

  3. Christine

    Glad you got to see the seals, and a good walk too. We went on a boat trip to Blakeney Point to see them when we were in Norfolk but I think I’d prefer the walk.

  4. Zena's Suitcase

    Wow! I don’t think I would have believed it either until I saw your pictures. What an amazing this to see. I’m really quite jealous and will have to visit here one day

  5. Jayne

    I spent a lot of time around the Broads as a kid as my Grandarents lived in Lowestoft, but I never saw seals! I’ve been meaning to take our girls to the area to show them where I spent some of my childhood and this would definitely be a sight to make the trip worthwhile.

  6. Mari

    How wonderful to see them in their own habitat, I’m not surprised they barked at the photographer especially if there was a baby amongst them.
    I saw seals for the first time on a geography field trip to the Isle of Arran off the coast of Scotland, an experience that has remained with me always.

  7. Mary Louise

    How lovely and such a wonderful and free experience. I love your pictures also.
    We are wanting to visit the broads so have made a note of this beach x

  8. Andrea

    Oh my goodness what a wonderful opportunity! They look so lovely especially in their natural environment, well done for taking the chance and going on the walk!

  9. Coombe Mill - Fiona

    I’m so pleased your beach trip was a success and you found the seals. I must say they look amazing, we sometimes see them off the coast line here in summer but I’ve never seen them up on the beach in winter like this. A real treat and definitely worth the journey in the drizzle. such gorgeous photos, I especially love the last one in the sea, it looks like he is staring right at the camera! I hope you managed to dry the wellies out OK, it sounds like they came in for a real soaking. Thank you for sharing this beautiful scene on #CountryKids

  10. Sonia Constant

    Ahh we went there around May of last year and discovered the beach. We loved it. We only saw seals swimming up and down the water edge though – not on the sand. They look so cute. Great photos!

    • Sarah Ebner

      Thanks very much. It was amazing! It’s interesting you saw them there later in the year; that must have been great fun too.

  11. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    How amazing! I’m always braced for disappointment when it comes to animal spotting but that’s incredible to see so many of them on the beach. Definitely on my list for when I finally take that Norfolk holiday. Love the photos.

  12. Zen BabyTravel

    Loving the seals! We saw & swam with them at Blakeney point few years ago but it was quite a trip. Now with a toddler and a baby coming shortly could use seal spotting closer to the car parking 🙂

      • Villa Elena

        It is amazing how many Brits think we got nothing to see here and go abroad but I have actually seen many travel blogs and so on showing me things I didn’t even know about. Need to discover Britain a bit more I think. 🙂

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