Brancaster Beach

Brancaster beach is yet another of Norfolk’s glorious beaches, with miles and miles of unspoilt golden sand, as far as the eye can see, and also has the added advantage of housing the remains of an old shipwreck, seen when the tide is out.

Brancaster Beach

It’s always a fantastic Norfolk beach to walk on, whatever time of year you visit Brancaster, but the nicest time is when the tide is out.  It's also a very dog friendly beach (apart from a very small restriction in the summer months).  If you walk either east or west away from the main entrance to the beach, you’ll be fine with your pets.

There are more details on this beach plus 27 other Norfolk beaches in the Norfolk Beaches Handbook.

If you're a keen kite surfer or into kite buggying, then Brancaster is a fantastic beach for this, but there are restrictions which you can find here at the National Trust Norfolk Coast website.

Royal Norfolk Club House from Brancaster beach

Arrival at Brancaster Beach

It’s very important to check the Brancaster tide times for this particular beach otherwise you could be left stranded for quite a while!  Why? Well, when there is a high Spring tide, the road to the beach can become flooded, and it’s really not advisable to drive through this high water. 

And if you arrived at the beach as the tide is coming in, you’ll have to stay there for a while until it goes out again – no great loss if it’s a beautiful sunny day though!

Brancaster Beach looking West

Brancaster Beach looking West

Brancaster Beach looking East

Brancaster Beach looking East

However, once you get onto the beach, the world’s your oyster.  Wide open sandy beaches which go left or right, and it really doesn’t matter which way you head, you can walk as far away as you wish, or just plonk your gear down near the entrance and get set in for the day. 

Fortunately there is a WC at the car park, as well as a little wooden shop where you can get ice creams, drinks, buckets and spades, balls and so on, so there will never be a dull moment! 

Often you want to avoid a long walk to a beach from the car park, (such as Holkham Beach), especially if you’re carrying handfuls of paraphernalia, and this is a great beach for that reason and is also a good alternative to Wells beach which again is a short walk from the car park.

The Shipwreck

Ahoy, the Shipwreck!

If you want entertainment for the children, the shipwreck is a great sight to see from the beach.  All your images of pirates come to mind as you see this boat which is mostly buried in the sand.  Get them to play pirates all day long!

The shipwreck at Brancaster beach

The shipwreck is the remains of the SS Vina which was used by the RAF for target practice before the Normandy landing prior to it accidentally sinking in 1944.  She was anchored further out to sea, but on the fateful date, she dragged her anchor in towards land and became stranded on one of the many sandbanks around this area.

Various efforts have been made to remove the shipwreck.  There are two particular dangers to this wreck

  • Navigation for sailors, as it sits close to a channel
  • Visitors – the tides are horrendous here, and many a visitor has attempted to go and visit the site (some ending in death), only to find they have become cut off at high tide.  It is extremely dangerous and you should not attempt to reach the site under any circumstance.

Eventually it became obvious that it was going to be too uneconomic to remove it, so all removal efforts have now been abandoned.

Brancsater beach shipwreck

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Child Friendly Beach

If you’re looking for a child friendly beach, this is definitely one, but with ONE condition.  You MUST NOT let your children wade out too far into the sea.  As I’ve already mentioned, the tides on this beach hide hidden sand banks and every year there is an accident, or worse, a fatality, due to the ignorance of the tides on this particular beach. 

But on a more positive note, don’t let that stop you coming here, because the sand is wonderful for building sand castles, there are numerous opportunities to do some beach-combing and collecting shells, particularly razor shells, and flying a kite here is excellent too as there is so much room.


A really relaxing hotel for a dog friendly stay near Brancaster is Briarfields Hotel.  You can read much more about this great hotel here.

If you stroll east along the beach, past the shipwreck, you can easily spot Scolt Head in the distance.  This is another of Norfolk’s Nature Reserves, jointly owned by The National Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Scolt Head

One of the joys of coming to Brancaster beach is that it is never as busy as somewhere like Wells beach, partly due to the tide, and this makes is really enjoyable North Norfolk beach.  Like all of the North Norfolk beaches, Brancaster beach exudes beauty and serenity.   A “must visit”!

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