Couple looking out to sea across Dunwich heath in Suffolk

Top 10 Beaches on the East Anglia coast

Holme-next-the-Sea

One of the most secluded beaches in Norfolk, Holme-next-the-Sea is where the Peddar's Way joins the Norfolk Coast Route. This is the beach where the famous Seahenge was discovered. Nearby is Holme Dunes National Nature Reserve with three birdwatching hides overlooking grazing marsh and pools.

Where to eat: The Ship Hotel in the traditional fishing village of Brancaster specialises in preparing fresh, locally-caught seafood.

Where to stay: Titchwell Manor is a boutique countryside hotel with a contemporary feel and uninterrupted views to the North Sea.

Lowestoft

Fun in the sun is the name of the game on Lowestoft’s Blue Flag beach. Wide golden sands, volleyball nets and a traditional pier full of arcade games, restaurants and even a roller skating rink make Lowestoft the place to be if you’ve got a young family in tow.

Where to stay: Ivy House Country Hotel is just 5 minutes from all the fun: coastal walks, local attractions and stunning seaside towns. Surrounded by a beautiful country garden, this 18th century thatched barn provides all the comfort you’ll need.

Where to eat: Inspired by European and British influence, markg uses local, rustic, seasonal and sustainable ingredients offering the freshest market dishes. Located on Claremont Pier, interior oozes seaside charm.

Horsey

Tucked away down a little track Horsey has no facilities – just peace and quiet. From the top of the marram-covered bank (marram is an original East Anglian word, deriving from Old Norse words for sea and grass) you might be able to spot a few basking seals... if they're not up on the beach, sunbathing.

Where to eat: The Nelson Head at Horsey is one of the quirkiest traditional pubs you’re likely to find, just a short walk from the beach.

Where to stay: The Ingham Swan, nestling between the coast and Broads, is a 14th century coaching inn with luxury rooms and award-winning food using locally sourced produce.

Covehithe

Just a few miles south of Lowestoft you’ll find Covehithe, possibly the wildest and most beautiful of Suffolk beaches. Driftwood forms beautiful shapes protruding from the sand, while Covehithe’s unique church inside a church adds an element of the surreal to this Suffolk beach.

Where to stay: A good option is to head into Southwold for a variety of accommodation, from self-catering charm, to the stylish seaside hotels that frequent its high-street, such as The Crown or The Swan.

Where to eat: For a light bite and a coffee, Black Olive Delicatessen is great choice for a bit of modern elegance, or for a true fish experience head to Sole Bay Fish Company. Fish doesn’t get fresher or tastier than this.

Family playing on Holkham beach in the waves

Holkham Bay

Holkham Bay gained worldwide publicity when it featured in the Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar-winning movie Shakespeare in Love. The beach is enormous, totally unspoilt and has been voted the best beach in Britain. There's a large car park, and then a pleasant walk on boardwalks through the pine woods before you reach the beach proper. The beach is also part of a National Nature Reserve.

Where to eat: Head into Holkham Hall for the courtyard cafe for refreshments – the Palladian mansion is magnificent!

Where to stay: The Victoria Inn stands at the gateway to Holkham Hall and park, and is a perfect base for discovering the coast here.

Dunwich

Dunwich beach and the surrounding heath and woodland are one of the most precious Suffolk beaches, home to a plethora of rare plants and wildlife. Dunwich is also a fascinating place historically – look out to sea from the beach and you’re staring at the watery resting place of what was once a city larger than London!

Where to stay: Stay at The Ship at Dunwich which was once a haunt of smugglers. It not only has a great story to tell, it offers tasty pub grub and a good ale in front of crackling fires.

Where to eat: You may be tempted to stay put with the quality of food served at The Ship at Dunwich. But if you fancy a quick bite and a cuppa right on the beach front, Flora Tearooms maybe a bit throwback 1980’s, but it’s full of charm.

Brancaster

Brancaster beach, accessed at the car park by the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, has miles of golden sand for long or short walks, a great place for building sand castles and also specific area for power kiting sports. You might even see Princes Harry and William on the golf course! Why not visit the National Trust Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre at the quay while you're in the area. If you’re feeling adventurous, wade out to Scolt Head Island!

Where to eat: The Jolly Sailors at Brancaster is a traditional 18th century free house pub with real ale, roaring fries and local seafood.

Where to stay: The White Horse at Brancaster  is a lovely flint hotel-restaurant with perhaps the best views of any venue in Norfolk – from the conservatory look out over the tidal salt marshes and creeks where the mussels and oysters on your plate come from!

Thorpeness

The quirky village of Thorpeness already has a lot to offer as a day trip destination, including the Peter Pan-inspired boating mere, mock Tudor buildings, a house floating above the clouds and an acclaimed golf course. The lovely shingle beach simply adds to the magic. Look out for the futuristic Dune House, created by renowned Norwegian architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs and Living Architecture.

Where to stay: For a full-on golf experience stay at the hotel and bask in the glory of others in the Clubhouse bar with its numerous trophies. Or stay in more unique surroundings at the House in the Clouds; a converted old water tower with magnificent views of the heritage coastline.

Where to eat: For something relaxed and informal, head to The Dolphin, a cosy pub serving great pub grub. Or for a light lunch or coffee and cake, The Kitchen at Thorpeness makes an excellent choice.

Burnham Overy Staithe

You have to walk beside the River Burn for around a mile from Burnham Overy Staithe to get to the beach, but it's worth the effort – it's another of those beaches where you're likely to be on your own. Look to your right and you'll have uninterrupted views all the way down to Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea. The tidal beach is backed by marram-tufted dunes. This is the beginning of the Holkham National Nature Reserve.

Where to eat: The Lord Nelson used to be called The Plough and it’s where Britain’s greatest naval commander, who was born nearby, used to drink. Try the Nelson’s Blood.

Where to stay: The Victoria Inn stands at the gateway to Holkham Hall and park, and is a perfect base for discovering the coast here.

Southwold

Charming Southwold is an eternal favourite with Suffolk visitors and residents alike. Lined with picture-perfect beach huts and the odd beach café selling bacon sarnies, tea and ice cream, and just a stone’s throw from some fantastic shops, pubs and restaurants, Southwold beach is an undisputed classic. Don’t miss out on a visit to Southwold Pier while you’re there.

Where to stay: Catch the human ferry from Walberswick to Southwold (a very short journey) for a place to stay for the night. Choice is endless, from smart, quaint self-catering accommodation to the main players such as The Crown or The Swan, both serving the famous local ale from Adnams.

Where to eat: Finally, head to Southwold, where after a tour of the famous Adnams Brewery to see exactly how they create that fabulous taste, you can dine at the two AA Rosette Sutherland House.