Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach - UK
© and licensed for reuse under this Licence

Holkham beach is widely regarded as the finest beach in Norfolk, and by some the UK. In fact a recent survey amongst travel editors and writers put Holkham beach right at the top of the list. Whilst I don’t agree with this result, it is still a very fine beach.

The beach at Holkham is a great expanse of fine golden white sand which stretches off in every direction. For England there is a rare feeling of massive space and wilderness. This is probably what inspired the director of the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love” to use the beach in the final scene with Gwyneth Paltrow walking across the sands of a low tide, Holkham beach.

The beach at Holkam is part of a nature reserve owned by the Earl of Leicester as part of his Holkham Estate. Backing onto windswept dunes, salt marshes and a pine forest the area is teeming with bird life. Pink-footed geese along with various finches and pipits are all visitors to Holkham.
One drawback to the beach’s status as a nature reserve is that barbecues aren’t allowed

At low tide the walk to the sea is considerable. You’ll probably see dogs running like they’ve never run before and often horse riders skirting the surf.
At high tide Holkam is a very different place. The beach doesn’t feel so huge as the shoreline moves closer to the dunes and pine trees beyond. The high tide sand is different too; not like that further out which is perfect for making sand castles, but dry fine sand covered in broken sea shells. As the tide comes back in a shallow basin in the sand fills with water forming a lagoon.

In recent years there has been a deal of controversy about Holkham’s useas a naturist beach. The estate tried to enforce a ban on nudity but British Naturism threatened legal action after which this was lifted. However, there are still restrictions with the sand dunes behind the beach being out of bounds to nudists. All the areas favoured by naturists are well signed so if you think you may be offended they are easily avoided.

Nearest town/city


Nudist/naturist beach


Submit a correction

Current weather (Wed Sep 27th 17:00)

Light rain

(Light rain)
18.3°C / 65°F

Sea temperature


Holkham BeachFull weather & tide times info »