12 fantastic things to do in Cromer
Stunning, cheerful and no-nonsense, Cromer is a seaside gem with a great community spirit. From surf schools to beachfront boogies, here's everything you need to do in town.
1. Explore fab indie businesses
There’s a friendly sense of community in Cromer, driven (at least in part) by the fantastic independent businesses that keep popping up there.
Fuel up with a brew from small batch Norfolk roasters Grey Seal Coffee, then browse for second-hand and antiquarian books at quaint, photogenic bookshop Bookworms (so old-school we can’t find it online!)
Watch out, too, for deli and eco refill store Fig & Olive, which should be ready to open in a couple of weeks.
2. Be a surfer babe
Norfolk may not be as famed for its waves as the likes of Cornwall, but we have a fantastic burgeoning surfy culture all of our own.
Whether you’re a total rookie or an experienced rider of gnarly North Sea waves, Cromer’s Glide Surf School is the place to go for board hire and lessons. More of a SUP kinda gal? They can sort that out, too!
3. Take a turn (or catch a show) along the pier
We don’t want to bandy around the word “iconic” too liberally, but Cromer’s Grade II 1902 pier is just that. (There’s actually been a pier/jetty type structure here since, get this, 1391, history fans!)
A thing of beauty, it’s where everyone comes to fish, go crabbing, watch the sunset or just eat an ice cream watching the ships in the distance. It’s also home to the fabulously retro Pavilion Theatre, which hosts a traditional ‘End of the Pier’ summer spectacular that’s the only show of its kind in the world.
You can also catch various comedy gigs, tribute acts and other bits of entertainment on the pier throughout the year. We’ve heard great things about Keep The Faith, a vintage vinyl night dedicated to Northern Soul, Motown and R’nB. Time to shake your stuff!
4. Try an eaterie with a panoramic view
Awesome views are in abundance in Cromer, but there are a couple of eateries with vistas you just can’t miss. Nip up to The Rocket House, tucked above the lifeboat museum, for tasty cafe grub and an epic seafront balcony.
You can also eat top notch fish and chips or fresh seafood platters, with panoramic views, in the upstairs restaurant at No 1 Cromer (there’s a more traditional chippy run by the same company on the lower floor).
5. Grab some amazing street food
Just want to pick up some tasty food to eat on the beach? Cromer has plenty of brilliant street food offerings. We thoroughly recommend a dip in the sea (brrr!) to work up an appetite for The Bucket List, who specialise in chips smothered in delicious and inventive toppings.
For more of a tapas-style munch head over to The Artisan 2, a newly launched offshoot of The Artisan Cafe at Alby Crafts offering Spanish-inspired street food, fun mocktails and wicked sweet treats from local business Dotty About Cakes.
6. Hit the promenade for an al fresco party
Cool coffee joint North Sea Coffee, modelled with wood reclaimed from the pier, may be compact on the inside – but it’s all about the outside! Pick up a locally-roasted coffee (perhaps with a “cheeky shot” in it) and kick back on the East Promenade to enjoy the incredible view.
Watch out for the return of of their North Sea Nights, seasonal parties which bring beers, live music, DJs and dancing onto the prom, prom, prom. They even build a special outside bar with help from nearby The Gangway, and we’ve heard the espresso martinis are pretty killer. All ages, and dogs, are invited to boogie as the sun goes down (and beyond).
7. Treat your kiddos to a spot of tractor watching
Hear us out on this one – Cromer is a wonderful place to do some good old-fashioned people watching. Close your eyes, sniff the salty air, and you could be living in a bygone age.
The tractors which line the Cromer beachfront are a local institution, and kids in particular will love watching them hauling fishing boats up and down the beach. Plus, if you’re really lucky, you might also see a lifeboat launching off the end of the pier! Honestly, who needs a TV?
8. Check out some quirky museums
While we’re all about the outdoor vibes in Cromer, we have to admit that it does occasionally rain in the UK. When it does, it’s time to take a potter around Cromer’s kooky museums.
You can’t go wrong with the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum, celebrating a local man who became the most decorated lifeboat person in UK history and saved an astonishing 873 lives.
The cute Cromer Museum, housed in a series of quaint Victorian fisherman cottages, is also a great place to potter about. You can discover anything from the West Runton mammoth (a landmark nearby fossil find) to pioneering local photographer Olive Edis.
Plus, don’t forget to check out the amazing Norfolk-inspired art at Muddy fave The Gallery Norfolk. Local art curated by not-for-profit Cromer Artspace will also soon fill the walls of a previously vacant Art Deco building on the seafront, which is set reopen as a local arts hub. The inaugral exhibition, called called It All Starts Here, is set to run from from April 30 to May 18.
9. Go on a stunning walk
You’re never short on beautiful strolls in Cromer, but we thoroughly recommend walking to neighbouring village Overstrand (around 2 miles).
Depending on the tides (and your mood) you can choose your route – either stomp the whole way along the sandy beach, or take the clifftop path for sweeping vistas and a photogenic lighthouse. (Or turn the walk into a loop and do both!)
10. Fill your boots with crab and lobster
Cromer crab is so famous that they sell it in the likes of Harrods, and the town has plenty of fab places where you can sample the local delicacy – so fresh that it’s practically still nipping and crawling.
The buzzing Old Rock Shop Bistro is the place to go for delicious crab salads, crab baguettes and even crab jacket potatoes. They get all their seafood from Davies Fish Shop, a Cromer fishmongers which has been in the same family for generations.
11. Have a tipple at an amazing drinking hole (or two, or three)
Built up a thirst after all that seaside exploring? Time for a few glasses of something special! Your first stop should be The Gangway, a micropub serving cracking cocktails and local craft beers mere minutes from the sea. If you like what you find, they also have outposts in Sheringham and Overstrand.
We also love a pint at The Red Lion, a family-friendly boozer with atmospheric wood panelling, flint walls and huge windows looking out to sea. (They also do lovely rooms, and quality food.)
12. Hunt down a Banksy
Fancy snapping a Banksy original, created by the elusive street artist during his “Great British Spraycation” around the East Anglian coast? His crab mural may look cool, but it’s also a tongue-in-cheek comment on the major issue of second home ownership.
Head down the East side of the beach, past the jaunty beach huts, and you’ll find it.