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The Seals At Horsey

What A Sight!

If you are going to see the seals at Horsey, nothing quite prepares you for the sight that you’re faced with once over the dunes and onto the viewing platform which has been especially set up for the seal pup viewing during the winter months of late October through to February.

Horsey beach had 2069 seals that were born in the 2019/2020 season, so this really is a great place to come and see them.

And it isn't just Horsey beach that now has the seals.  Every year more and more seals breed at Winterton beach too.

Little seal pup on Horsey beach

It’s a really special treat, and Horsey Gap is probably the best place in Norfolk to see the seals in the winter as there are no limits as to how long you can stay, how far you can walk and how to spend your time there (though there are roped off areas which you must adhere to for the sake of the seals).    

Unfortunately, wheelchair accessibility is not good here.  There is a steep incline up to the top of the dunes and once on the dunes, the sand is fairly soft.  The other viewing area also has steps up to the top.

If you want to see what it's like to visit the seals, I've made a short video which you can see here.

The Best Time To See The Seals

The seals at Horsey usually start to have their pups in late October/early November and carry on until early February so there’s a big window of opportunity for you to visit.  


For your guide of where, when and how to see the seals in Norfolk, why not buy this downloadable pdf which has all the information you need in one place. 

It's your Ultimate Guide to Seals In  Norfolk.  It has  everything you need to know about seeing the seals in Norfolk, whether it be at Blakeney Point in the summer months or Horsey Beach and Blakeney Point in the winter months, how to get there, info on the boat companies, best time to see them etc. 

Price:   £3.29 - downloadable pdf

The Ultimate Guide To Seals In Norfolk

"Thank you very much, can't wait to go and see them, and your e-book is very useful"

However, if you aren't in Norfolk in the winter months, then no worries.  Watching the seals in Norfolk is an all year round activity.  In the summer months it's mainly on the North Norfolk coast so if you're in that part of Norfolk you can see them at Blakeney Point.  You can find out more about other seal trips here.

Every year the seals in Norfolk are increasing which is excellent news for the seal colony.

The viewing platform at Horsey Gap

The Friends of Horsey Seals

The Friends of Horsey Seals, a volunteer seal warden group, took over from Natural England in 2012 and now monitor the seals and the area every day.  Unfortunately, funding ceased for Natural England and they could no longer use their time to look after the seals. 

The Friends of Horsey Seals are always looking for new volunteers, so if you are interested in helping, plesae go to the Friends of Horsey Seals website here. 

Grey seals all over the beach at Horsey

They do an incredible job.  They cordon off the beach during the pupping season so you obviously can’t go onto the beach, and actually you probably wouldn’t want to for fear of being mauled by an angry seal.  But there are excellent paths which you can follow and you’ll have no trouble getting great views of the seals and their pups.   

You can find out here what to do if you see a dead or injured seal.

The Friends of Horsey volunteers also man the car parks and are dotted around the paths so you can ask them any amount of questions and they'll hopefully be able to answer your questions!

A Video Of The Seals At Horsey

Car Parking For The Seals At Horsey

If you’re wondering where to park to see the seals at Horsey, here is what you can do.

Horsey Gap Car Park Sign

Horsey Gap car park is definitely the best place to park to see the seals and their pups.  During the winter months there is an overflow car park due to the huge number of visitors who come to see this fantastic sight.

HOWEVER, they are not keen on campervans or motorhomes so you may need to try and park somewhere else. 

In fact there are over 70,000 people who come to Horsey to see the seals between November and January!

This overflow car park is manned by volunteers, so please be nice to them!  If you are told to park here, please do so, and then you’ll need to walk for about 5 minutes to reach the main beach car park.  If you have accessibility issues, you’ll be able to park near the beach.  

Payment is in cash at the overflow car park, but the beach car park has a pay and display machine.  

To reach this car park, you need to turn off the B1159 on the very sharp corner which is about a ¼ of a mile west of the village heading towards Sea Palling.  You'll easily spot it.

How To See The Seals At Horsey

There are two ways you can arrive to see the seals at Horsey Gap.

The first is to park at the Horsey Gap car park (this is NOT a National Trust car park), pay your parking charge at the machine operated meter and then follow the signs which are clearly marked to see the seals. 

The roped off paths at Horsey Gap

This path is a cordoned off track which doesn’t allow you onto Horsey beach, but does allow you to walk all the way along the back of the dunes and eventually on to the top of the dunes to see the spectacle. 

From the car park, the first viewing area is on your left and will take you about 10 minutes to walk there.  This path takes you up past the old pill box with incredible views inland over the surrounding area.  From here you’ll find you can view a short stretch of beach behind the rope.

The path to the pill box at Horsey Gap

The second viewing area to see the seals at Horsey is by far the better one as the seals are huge in number compared to the area closer to the car park.  

You approach this by walking from the car park along the sand path all the way to the steps which take you over the dunes.  This will probably take you about 20 minutes.  The sign says 35 minutes, but I think you have to be walking quite slowly to take that long! 

Signs to the seals at Horsey Gap
The steps to the seal viewing platform at Horsey Gap

The viewing platform on the top of the dunes is an actual metal structure with a roped off area on the top of the dunes where you can walk further along.  It is much longer than the first viewing area which is why it's worth the extra walk to get here.

If you've seen the seals at Horsey, I bet you enjoyed it!?

It's such a fantastic sight seeing the seals at Horsey, or even at Blakeney Point, so why not let us know how much you loved it!

Visitors love to hear what it's like and why you enjoyed it so much, so here is YOUR chance to share your seal stories and photos with us on Explore Norfolk UK!

From the viewing platform you can watch the seals and their pups for as long as you like.  You can continue to walk away from the viewing platform along the top of the dunes marvelling at the incredible sight of all these seals lying on the beach.   All you can see for miles is this incredible stretch of sand, interspersed with large bolders for groynes and seals.  Seals, seals and more seals!

Lots of Grey seals at Horsey beach, Norfolk

It really did blow my mind to see these wonderful creatures in their own natural habitat, just being left to get on with giving birth without any interference from humans.  The best thing I loved about it was that there was no health and safety involved, apart from the regulatory signs warning you about “Caution, soft sand” – where does that one fit in on a beach!!!!!   Totally back to mother nature on this quite beach in Norfolk

Seals everywhere on Horsey beach, East Norfolk

I would suggest you wrap up warm if you’re coming to see the seals at Horsey, but any weather will do!  I went on a cold and blustery day, but it certainly didn’t detract from my pure enjoyment of this amazing scene.  There are also wardens on hand to answer any questions, especially during the busy months of December and January.

The second way to arrive at the viewing area is to

  • either walk on the footpath from the National Trust Horsey Wind Pump site  (this car park is National Trust and different to Horsey Gap), a well-trodden walk which takes in fields, rushes, flat meadow and marshland and finally you reach the beach, (this takes about 35-40 minutes).
  • Or you could park somewhere in the village and walk towards the sea front along the footpath, passing the pub on the way.
Walking to see the Horsey seals
National Trust windpump at Horsey
Horsey Gap seals
Horsey Beach covered in seals and their pups
A beautiful seal pup on Horsey beach
A slightly older seal pup on the path at Horsey Gap

However, Horsey Gap isn’t the only place to enjoy the seals in Norfolk.  Dedicated seal tours which take you out to Blakeney Point is the other way to see the seals, usually taking a boat trip from one of the boat companies which motor up the creek and out to the spit, giving you a fantastic view of the seals on the beach there.  Because you’re on a boat, this is obviously more controlling, but you still get a great picture of these wonderful mammals.

There are numerous Norfolk gems to discover, but this should definitely be top of your list to visit.


For your guide of where, when and how to see the seals in Norfolk, why not buy this downloadable pdf which has all the information you need in one place. 

It's your Ultimate Guide to Seals In  Norfolk.  It has  everything you need to know about seeing the seals in Norfolk, whether it be at Blakeney Point in the summer months or Horsey Beach and Blakeney Point in the winter months, how to get there, info on the boat companies, best time to see them etc. 

Price:   £3.29 - downloadable pdf

The Ultimate Guide To Seals In Norfolk

"Thank you very much, can't wait to go and see them, and your e-book is very useful"

How Old Are The White Seal Pups?

A young seal pup before moulting

The white seal pups that you’ll see on the beach are newly born.  This white fur is non-waterproof so they have to stay out of the water and close to their mother for at least 16-21 days before they moult and can then go into the sea.  

The mother has to come ashore to give birth, hence the large numbers of seals here.  Interestingly, they come ashore 24 hours before giving birth so you may well catch sight of a seal pup being born when you visit!

And these hungry pups put on about 2kg a day!

Can You See Seals After February?

Yes you can, but  never in such large numbers as between November to January.   Between February and April they "haul-out".  They all group together and moult last year's coat and grow a new one. 

At this time of year the beach is open, but you do need to keep your distance, especially if you have dogs.  Seals become  very distressed by humans  AND they can also be very dangerous.

What To Do If You Spot An Injured Or Dead Seal

Occasionally you’ll see an injured, distressed or dead seal on the beach, that’s nature I’m afraid. In any of these instances, you’re advised NOT to approach the seals and to stay a safe distance away from them.   

If you see a dead seal, you should just ignore it and let nature take its course.

If you see a distressed seal (sometimes with netting around it's neck) or without it's mother, please don't approach it.  Usually the mother finds them, but if not,  you should try and contact one of the wardens on the beach.  Failing that, contact one of the numbers below:

What you should do is call one of the following people:

  • Friends of Horsey Seals – 07562 392033
  • RSPCA East Winch – 0300 123 4999

Where Are The Injured Seals Taken To?

When you contact the seal warden, you’ll need to explain to them where you are and where you’ve see the seal (it may not be at Horsey, it could be anywhere around the coast).  They then come and rescue the injured seal and take it off to East Winch Wildlife Centre to recover and then it gets released back when it’s ready.

Accommodation Close To The Seals

In Horsey Village 

Just Outside Winterton

Have you seen the seals in Norfolk?

I bet you enjoyed seeing the seals in Norfolk? Everyone does, and now's your chance to share your story!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Seals at Horsey in March - annual moult 
Absolutely incredible sight. We visited on 22/3/2022 and although all the pups were born the amount of seals was astonishing. All on the shore line, taking …

I saw the seals at Horsey 
I have lived in Norfolk 5 years and hadn't been to see the seals until Valentine's Day this year 2022. I was totally surprised to see that many seals …

Beautiful seals at Horsey  
Went to see the seals on New Years Day. What a wonderful sight seeing them all, the seal pups so cute … I especially loved seeing a mother and her pup …

A lovely sight!  
We went to Horsey this week and loved having the chance to see the seals with their newborn pups. The wardens were really helpful and we loved our …

Very first time of seeing the seals at Horsey 
I took a late break in Norfolk in October 2020 and decided to go and see the seals. This was my first sightseeing trip to see them and it was totally …

First visit to Horsey seals. 
My wife and I paid our first visit to Horsey and , “Wow,” what an experience. The car park team were so very helpful, and by chance we met two seal …

Seals On The Beach At Horsey Beach 
We were delighted to see a group of about 100 seals on Horsey beach at 15.30. They were located about 2/3 of the way between Horsey Gap and the Crinkle …

Breathtaking to watch the seals at Horsey 
After spotting a loan seal in the waters of Bacton, we thought we'd try and see them at Blakeney. Sadly due to covid restrictions we were unable to get …

Seals, Seals and More Seals!! In August too! 
This is Horsey beach in August 2019, Seals Seals Seals!!!. Such a wonderful sight. Nature at its best. These were taken in the summer of 2019 so shows …

The seals and their pups at Horsey Gap Beach 
Horsey Gap is a gorgeous, sandy beach in a quiet village. The seals are on this beach all year round, but between the cooler months of November and February …

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