Wells-next-the-Sea is a beautiful seaside town in Norfolk, England surrounded by diverse countryside. The town is sheltered from the sea by salt marshes and has a beautiful beach lined with multicoloured beach huts. Wells-next-the-Sea is a firm family favourite of ours and this was not our first time visiting. We have previously been twice.
Our First Time Visiting Wells-next-the-Sea…
It was just us and the dog. He was a puppy and it was his first experience of the seaside. I can still remember his puppy paws touching the powdery sand for the first time and flipping out. Going full zoomies in circles because he was just so excited by this new experience. He was shy of other dogs, reluctant to get into the water and there was no way in heaven I was letting my fur baby OFF LEAD! The list of possible horrors was endless!
The Second Time…
We stayed in Norfolk for almost a week. We visited other beaches and tourist sites but we couldn’t not say hello to Wells-next-the-sea again. This time, I was about 4 months pregnant with Olivia, had a noticeable bump and after I hiked the hill over the sand dune to get to the beach (very much feeling like a bloated puffer-fish) I looked over the beach and thought “One day, I’ll bring you here little one”.
Oh and I can never forget this trip because it didn’t exactly go as I had thought!
Olivia’s first real experience of the seaside! We took a day trip, mid-week so it wasn’t too busy. We got everyone up early (much to Cody’s dismay), headed straight to Starbucks and munched on apple turnovers I had made the night before.
We arrived late morning and parked in the closest car park to the beach. Being parents of a toddler and pooch, we brought everything and the kitchen sink, so we wanted to have the car close by to unload the rubbish we realised – once we were there – we didn’t need. I highly suggest you get there early to nab a decent car parking spot, as by about lunchtime it was full. Pricing isn’t too bad. We paid £9 for an all-day ticket (the car park closes around 9pm).
We hit the beach straight away with bags on our backs and our zebra wellies on! Olivia’s first reaction to the powdery sand was nothing at all like Cody’s. She just stood there holding onto my hand and looked out at all the sunbathers, surfers, picnic-ers as if to say “What the f*ck? You’re all mental!”. With encouragement, she willingly toddled on further down the beach until we found… a puddle. Suddenly, this place isn’t so bad! I mean, if they have puddles and dogs running around it can’t be horrible, right?
We found a spot to lay our blanket, kicked off the zebra wellies and have a sandwich (very British). Cody was released from the lead, as we have full trust in him now, he was having a great time. We sat there, as parents, soaking in the magic of this moment, admiring how far we’ve come. Sitting on a blanket at the beach, our little girl munching on a sandwich and our loyal pooch… stealing said sandwich from our toddler’s hand. CODY! NO! BAD DOG! It’s ok, it’s ok. Mummy packed another one. Olivia carried on munching away, not even phased she was robbed. Ah, back to bliss. Except, where is the dog now? Oh for f*cks sake! CODY! LEAVE THAT FAMILY ALONE!!! I’m so sorry! CODY! THAT IS NOT YOUR SANDWICH!
So it turns out, we were right the first time we took Cody to the beach. The list of horrors is long, it’s just not a list of horrors that would happen to Cody but rather what horrors he can inflict on others! Especially ones with very tasty baguette sandwiches! Right, put him back on lead.
Wells-next-the-Sea: The Town
After that fiasco, we headed into Wells-next-the-Sea the town. A 20 minute walk from the beach itself but this was perfect for convincing a toddler to sleep in her buggy and IT WORKED! I’m just as shocked as you are. So, this left us to sit by the harbour and eat fish and chips UNINTERUPTED. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. Of course, we still had food thief on our hands but he sat and waited patiently for his fish. Our favourite place to get proper British seaside Fish and Chips? Here!
After stuffing our faces, we took a stroll round the shops (I love a bit of seaside tat spying) and stumbled across a lane of shops that I thought only existed in Hallmark movies. You know the ones! A tiny fruit and veg shop with fresh local fruit in wooden crates outside. A book shop (who knew they were still a thing), a florist with vintage planters and a doorway you had to duck your head to get into and a tiny tea room with a bright pink sign and cakes in the window.
One last moment…
As we decided to head back to the car, the sun came out (which is rare for us Brits). So we dumped everything in the car and headed back to the beach for one more run around. Olivia took to the beach like a trooper! She was running over rocks (that hurt) and didn’t care, splashing in knee-deep cold sea water like it was nothing and picking up shells and sticks in the sand. It was such a heart-warming moment seeing her so comfortable and care-free. Or it was until I nearly had to do CPR on her because she decided now was the time to taste test a shell. I have never been more petrified in my life! She’s fine by the way, if anything she was annoyed I put a stop to her fine dining experience.
Our visit came to a close. We strapped everyone in their relevant seatbelts and waved goodbye to Wells-next-the-Sea (of course stopping for McDonald’s on the way home). We love family days out here and we’ve already planned another trip to visit again at the end of next month! I’m hoping this time to buy Olivia a bucket and spade and build sandcastles with her (which Cody will undoubtedly cock his leg on). Ah, making family memories!
I also wrote a blog post about the time we stayed in Norfolk for 5 days. You can read it here. I talk about where we stayed, where we ate, what we did etc so if you’re looking at planning a trip, I highly recommend you read it. You should read it anyway because it has more cute photos of Cody.
Click here to read it!