Hunstanton Discovery Trails
Gentle Walks Around "Sunny Hunny"

Living in a landlocked county in the middle of England, we like to get out now and again to see the sea and remind ourselves that we live on an island on the edge of Europe. For us, it feels like a special day out and we enjoy taking a walk in the sea air, and on rare occasions, even a quick dip. We’ve taken the Norfolk coast to our hearts and regularly travel up for a day out. We’ve been visiting the pretty coastal resort of Hunstanton for over ten years and on one visit popped in to see an exhibition in the Heritage Centre. We were fascinated by all we read about the town’s history, architecture, and gardens and promised ourselves to explore more on our next visits by following these Hunstanton discovery trails.




Like us, many people visit Hunstanton, on the northwestern tip of the Norfolk coast, for a day out or a holiday by the sea. It’s a pretty seaside resort that was built by the Victorians for this purpose and has retained its charm over the years. Yes, it has beaches, a fairground, amusements, and everything that most families expect when they arrive to have fun beside the sea, but if you look closer there’s plenty more to discover!

Hunstanton has a flat, two-and-a-half-mile promenade or cliff walk to stretch your legs, historical and geological interest, original Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a shipwreck. The Hunstanton and District Society have devised a selection of Hunstanton discovery trails around the town which delve into its history and development. And whilst learning about Hunstanton you get some fantastic sea views!


For more information about Hunstanton and events and activities please read the Hunstanton Society website.


Hunstanton Discovery Trails

1. The Hunstanton Town Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Town Trail Map


The Hunstanton Town Trail is a 1.5-mile stroll around the centre of town which takes in most of the important buildings and sites. It would make an excellent introduction to Hunstanton and there are plenty of places to sit and relax and take in the views, and to get refreshments.

The walk starts outside the Golden Lion Hotel on The Green, and if you follow the mapped route, you will find the places of interest in the order listed below.


Henry L'Strange Statue in Front of the Town HallHenry L'Strange Statue in Front of the Town Hall
© essentially-england.com
Tide and Time Garden in HunstantonTide and Time Garden
© essentially-england.com


1. Golden Lion Hotel

Originally called The New Inn, this was the first building in the new town in 1846.

2. Hunstanton Town Hall

Built in 1896, the town hall is still used by the local council and is also the Tourist Information Centre.

3. Henry L'Strange Styleman le Strange statue

The Lord of the Manor and founder of the new town.

4. Ancient Cross

The cross is thought to have come from nearby Snettisham.

5. Town Sign

The town sign displays the coat of arms and St. Edmund who landed below Hunstanton Cliffs to claim the crown as Anglian King.

6. The Green

The Green was the central point of the new Hunstanton town and has a great view towards the sea.

7. Site of the Pier

The pier was washed away in a violent storm in January 1978. It was built in 1870 and ran out 800 feet into the sea from where the new family entertainment centre is below The Green.

8. Esplanade Gardens

These colourful gardens include play areas, crazy golf, bowling greens, the War and Flood Memorials, and the Tide and Time Garden.


9. The Little Pavilion

Just past the crazy golf is the white Little Pavilion from 1907. It was moved here from Westgate in 1986.

10. Cliff Terrace

There are some lovely buildings on the left-hand side of Cliff Terrace.

11. The Vicarage

An impressive red brick-built house with corner turret used to be the home of the vicar of St. Edmunds Church which is next door.

12. St. Edmund's Church

A flintstone decorated, towerless church built in 1866.

13. Victoria Buildings

Dating from 1872, it is thought that this building has been a bank since the 1890's. Recently it was Barclays Bank.

14. Church Street

Take a peek down Church Street to see Carstone cottages from 1866.

15. Greevegate

Stone built buildings along Greevegate.

16. Valentine Road

Road named after the chief engineer of the Lynn to Hunstanton Railway

17. Valentine Court

Convalescent Home opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1879.

18. Old Police Station - 1875

The building on the corner of James Street was the first Police Station, gaol house, and courthouse in Hunstanton.

19. The Valentine Centre - 1907

Children's convalescent home where children came to get fresh sea air.

20. Hunstanton Primary School - 1874

Former primary school which closed in 2015.

21. James Street

Notable terraced houses on the right.

22. Church Street

Terraced house with memorial stone to Henry L' Strange opposite house dated 1874.

25.  Union Church

Built in 1870, the foundation stone was laid by J.J Colman, chairman of Colman's Mustard. The interior of the church was refurbished in an Arts and Crafts style by renowned architect Herbert George Ibberson.

26. Ashley House - Westgate

The first detached house built in Hunstanton and owned by the first banking family in Hunstanton.

27. Hunstanton Southend Carpark

The site of the railway station which closed in 1969. There is a small memorial garden next to the original coal office.

28. Wash and Tope Hotel

Formerly the Railway Hotel which was built at the same time as the station in 1862.

29. The Princess Theatre

Built in 1932 and has been part of a hotel, a cinema, and from 1981 a theatre.

The Vicarage in HunstantonThe Vicarage © essentially-england.com
Victoria Buildings in HunstantonVictoria Buildings © essentially-england.com














2. The Hunstanton Cliff Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Cliff Trail Map


The Hunstanton Cliff Trail is probably one of the most popular walks around Hunstanton. This fantastic walk is a fraction over 2 miles long, but the sea views are fantastic. If the tide is out, then it is possible to walk below the cliffs along to Old Hunstanton Beach which allows great views of the famous stripy cliffs, fossil and rock pool hunting, and to see the wreck of the ST Sheraton. There are plenty of interesting things to see and several information boards to read. The start point for this walk is the Lookout in the Esplanade Gardens near the bowling greens and café.


View of Hunstanton Cliffs from the LookoutView of Hunstanton Cliffs from the Lookout
© essentially-england.com
Hunstanton Lighthouse and Coastguard LookoutHunstanton Lighthouse and Coastguard Lookout
© essentially-england.com


1.  The Lookout

A great starting point with fine views along the cliffs, Hunstanton coast, and on a clean day, over the Wash to Lincolnshire.

2.  The Shelters

The beautifully manicured grass cliff top walk was created around 1897 and became popular with locals and visiting walkers. The first resting shelter was built here in 1898 as a memorial to frequent visitor Francis Hewitt, father-in-law of George Herbert Ibberson who designed many of the old building in Hunstanton. Two further shelters were built in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

3.  St. Edmund’s Chapel

The chapel was built around 1272 to celebrate Edmund landing below Hunstanton Cliffs in 855 to claim his right to be King of East Anglia. He was killed by Viking raiders, linked with miracles, and became England’s first patron saint.

4.  The Lighthouse

There has been a lighthouse on this site since 1665. The current lighthouse has stood here since 1840 and was used until 1922 when a lightship took over.

5.  The Coastguard Lookout

The Coastguard Lookout was built in 1907 as a Marconi listening station. It was used during the two world wars to intercept German radio transmissions and monitor fleet and Zeppelin movements. The Royal Family visited in 1944.

6.  The Beacon

The beacon was one of four hundred erected around the country in 1988 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

7.  Old Hunstanton Beach

The beautiful sandy beach at Old Hunstanton is very popular and has beach huts spread throughout the grassy dunes.


8.  Marine Court

At the junction of Cliff Parade and Clarence Road is Marine Court. Built in 1899, this was a recovery home for patients of Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge who would come to Hunstanton for the sea air.

9.  20 Austin Street - 1888

This wonderful Carstone house with highly decorated wooden windows and balcony is supposedly haunted by an actress called Harriet.

10.  The Gables

At the end of Austen Street where it meets Northgate there are two attached houses in the Arts and Crafts style. The Gables, which has a sundial on the wall was designed and lived in by George Herbert Ibberson and his family.

11.  The Mistress' House, Northgate

Just around to the right of The Gables is another impressive Arts and Crafts house called the Mistress’ House. This wonderful turreted house apparently got its name for being the home to a mistress of one of the L’Strange family.

12.  Boston Square Sensory Gardens

This inspiring garden is split into different rooms that depict the landscape around Hunstanton. Waves, the beach, and cliffs are all interpreted in this small pretty garden making it a peaceful spot to relax.

13.  The Little Pavilion

As you make your way back to the Lookout start point, you’ll pass the Little Pavilion near the crazy golf course. It dates from 1907 and was originally in the garden of Gate Lodge on Westgate.




View to Old Hunstanton Beach from the Cliff Top CarparkView to Old Hunstanton Beach from the Cliff Top Carpark
© essentially-england.com
Grass Waves in the Boston Square Sensory GardenGrass Waves in the Boston Square Sensory Garden
© essentially-england.com











3. The Hunstanton Arts and Crafts Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Arts and Crafts Trail Map


The Arts and Crafts movement rose to prominence between 1880 to 1920, with its proponents trying to revive design and decoration in Britain. The trail starts outside the impressive Vicarage at the end of Cliff Terrace and its junction with Northgate. The route is just under 1-mile long and takes you past some very attractive buildings. Please respect that most of these buildings are private homes!


Art and Crafts Houses in Boston SquareArt and Crafts Houses in Boston Square
© essentially-england.com
View of 5 and 7 Boston Square in HunstantonView of 5 and 7 Boston Square from the Sensory Park
© essentially-england.com


1.  The Vicarage – 10 Northgate

2.  10 Boston Square

3.  8 Boston Square

4.  6 Boston Square

5.  5 Boston Square

6.  7 Boston Square

7.  9 Boston Square

8. The Mistress’ House – 96 Northgate

9.  35 Northgate

10.  9 Lincoln Square

11.  47 Northgate

12.  The Gables – 28 Austin Street

13.  9 Austin Street

14.  7 Austin Street

15.  5 Austin Street

16.  The Retreat – Lincoln Street
















4. The Hunstanton Gardens Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Gardens Trail Map


The Hunstanton Garden Trail starts outside the Town Hall on the northern tip of The Green. It is a little longer than the previous walks but can be shortened by catching the bus back into town after seeing the Easton College Garden. The nearest bus stop is back down by the lighthouse.

What I do enjoy about Hunstanton is the use of green spaces to break up the expanding town. This walk visits many of these green areas, big and small, simple and complex, and with the great sea views it makes a wonderful place to explore.


Hunstanton Railway GardenHunstanton Railway Garden
© essentially-england.com
The War Memorial in the Esplanade GardensThe War Memorial in the Esplanade Gardens
© essentially-england.com


1.  Rotary Garden – Greevegate

A small, paved area ideal for a quick break or catch-up with friends with hedging, benches, and a tree beside the Town Hall.

2.  High Street

The High Street has colourful planting displays in planters and hanging baskets, and an open area and green for events.

3.  The Community Centre

An area of the Community Centre grounds has been planted with fruit and nut trees to create a community orchard.

4.  The Brownie Garden

What was once a bland grassy area at the junction between Westgate and Le Strange Terrace is now a small garden patch maintained by the local Brownie group.

5.  The Cellar Bar Garden

Opposite the Brownie Garden is the Cellar Bar Garden which contains trees and palms and an attractive entrance down to the Southend Carpark.

6.  The Railway Garden

Southend Carpark is the site of the former railway station and sidings. All that remains of the railway is a coal office with a small memorial garden. It’s easy to find as there is a tall railway signal!

7.  The Green

The Green was the heart of the new town and is a large grass area with wonderful sea views. There are several colourful flower beds and lots of benches, which all make it a lovely place to have a fish and chip lunch.

8.  The Esplanade Gardens

See 8 on the town trail above.

9.  Boston Square Sensory Garden

See 13 on the cliff trail above.

10.  Lincoln Square Park

A very popular spot for the locals to catch up with one another. There are several benches which face out to the sea and, usually, a vibrant, anchor-shaped flowerbed.

11.  St. Edmund’s Memorial Garden

On top of the cliffs, you can find a small memorial garden surrounding the ruins of St. Edmund’s Chapel.

12.  The Signpost Garden

A small horseshoe shaped garden with a picnic bench in the centre and a great view of the lighthouse. Naturally, part of the display is a wooden signpost!

13.  Pitch and Putt Course

The borders of the Pitch and Putt area have been turned into wildflower meadows to improve the habitat for wildlife.

14.  Easton College Garden

At the end of Lighthouse Lane is a small garden created by three Easton College students as part of their studies. There’s a bench that looks over the Pitch and Putt area towards the sea, palm trees, and shrubs.

Boston Square Sensory GardenBoston Square Sensory Garden © essentially-england.com
St. Edmund's Garden in HunstantonSt. Edmund's Garden © essentially-england.com














5. The Old Hunstanton Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Old Hunstanton Trail Map


We’ve only seen parts of this circular trail around Old Hunstanton and need to come back and finish it. The start point is the beautiful Clifftop Carpark with its stunning views along the coast towards Old Hunstanton Beach and beyond.



1.  The Beacon

See 6 in the Cliff Trail.

2.  Coastguard Lookout

See 5 in the Cliff Trail.

3.  Hunstanton Lighthouse

See 4 in the Cliff Trail.

4.  St. Edmund’s Chapel

See 3 in the Cliff Trail.

5.  Alice Oliphant Almshouses – Chapel Bank

Small, low-cost community houses built by the le Strange family in 1912.

6.  Estate Houses – Church Road

A short row of estate houses beside the picturesque duckpond. House number 66 is from the fifteenth century and has a plaque stating it was the centre of the medieval village.

7.  St. Mary’s Church and Graveyard - Church Road

There has been a church on this site since 1038. The current church is from early thirteenth century and was restored during the Victorian period.

8.  Old Hunstanton Hall Gateway

At the end of Church Road is an impressive gateway entrance to the Hall which dates from around 1850.

9.  Caley Hall - Old Hunstanton Road

Originally built as a farmhouse in 1648.

10.  Neptune Inn - Old Hunstanton Road

A 1700’s Inn.

11.  Boys and Girls Schools - Old Huntstanton Road

The boy’s school was built in 1843 for up to 50 students, and the girl’s school is from 1849. Please respect these are now privately owned!

12.  Lodge Hotel - Old Hunstanton Road

Dating from 1542, the Lodge Hotel was the former Dower House of the le Strange family.

13.  Post Office and Village Store - Old Huntstanton Road

This used to be a coaching inn called the Lifeboat Inn and is from around 1700.

14.  Old Hunstanton Village Sign - Old Huntstanton Road

The village sign was erected in 1977 as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. Apparently, the sign illustrates the land rights of the le Strange family estate as the furthest a man on a horse can throw a javelin at low tide.

15.  Sea Lane

Full of old cottages and was the heart of smuggling in the 1700’s.

16.  The Mariner Inn and Le Strange Arms Hotel

Starting life as a traditional Norfolk farmhouse in the 1600’s, the original building was transformed into a beautiful hotel and inn during the 1800’s.

17.  Beach Café

Back in 1900 this used to be the lifeboat station whose first boat was sponsored by the wine importers in Kings Lynn and called The Licensed Victualler.












6. The Hunstanton Heritage Plaque Trail

Hunstanton Discovery Trails - Heritage Plaque Trail Map


Starting outside the Golden Lion Hotel, the oldest building in Hunstanton, this is a real fun walk that explores both Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton. There are 27 heritage plaques to find as the walk wanders through Hunstanton, up onto the cliffs, around Old Hunstanton, and back. It reminded me of my school/scouting orienteering days.


We’ve not completed the whole trail yet, and had trouble spotting some of the plaques! Still, a great walk if you love a good treasure hunt.


The Golden Lion HotelThe Golden Lion Hotel © essentially-england.com
Hunstanton Heritage CentreHunstanton Heritage Centre © essentially-england.com


1.  Golden Lion Hotel – The Green

Haven’t found plaque yet.

2.  Town Hall – The Green

Plaque reads “TOWN HALL OPENED FOR NEW URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL 1896”.

3.  Heritage Centre – Greevegate

Plaque reads “MARY EVELYN RHODES 1925-2018 AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN HUNSTANTON BORN AND BRED”.

4.  Marine Hotel – St Edmund’s Terrace

Plaque reads “1860 GIRL’S SCHOOL 1890 DOMINICAN CONVENT”.

5.  Ashley House - Westgate

Haven’t found plaque yet.

6.  1 and 2 Hill Street

Haven’t found plaque yet.

7.  Smithdon High School – Kings Lynn Road

Plaque reads “SMITHDON HIGH SCHOOL “BRUTALIST” ARCHITECTURE DESIGN AWARD 1951 FOR P & A SMITHSON”.

8.  Westgate

Haven’t found plaque yet.

9.  The Valentine Centre - Valentine Road

Plaque reads “1890 CHILDREN’S RECOVERY HOME COUNCIL OFFICES FROM 1979”.

10.  Former Infant School - Valentine Road

Haven’t found plaque yet.

11.  James Street

Plaque reads “POLICE STATION 1875-1954 WITH THREE CELLS”.

12.  Valentine Court – Valentine Road

Plaque reads “CONVALESCENT HOME VALENTINE COURT OPENED IN 1879 BY THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF WALES”.

13.  The Gables – Austin Street

Plaque reads “HOME OF ARCHITECT H.G. IBBERSON 1908”.

14.  28 Victoria Avenue

Plaque reads “H.G. WELLS & REBECCA WEST’S SON BORN HERE 1913”.

15.  Glebe House School – Cromer Road

Haven’t found plaque yet.

16.  First Shelter on Cliff

Plaque reads “HAMON LE STRANGE OPENED CLIFFS TO THE PUBLIC 1879”.

17.  Lighthouse

Plaque reads “LIGHTHOUSE 1665-1921 WORLD’S FIRST PARABOLIC REFLECTOR 1776”.

18.  Coastguard Tower

Plaque reads “COASTGUARD LOOKOUT VISITED BY KING GEORGE VI, QUEEN ELIZABETH, AND PRINCESSES ELIZABETH AND MARGARET 24TH APRIL 1943”.

19.  Le Strange Arms Hotel – Golf Course Road

Haven’t found plaque yet.

20.  The Old Boathouse Café – Sea Lane

Plaque reads “PRIVATE LIFEBOAT HOUSE 1824 RNLI LIFEBOAT LAUNCHED 1867”.

21.  Shop and Post Office – Old Hunstanton Road

Plaque reads “BUILT AS LIFEBOAT INN EARLY 18TH CENTURY”.

22.  Lodge Hotel – Old Hunstanton Road

Haven’t found plaque yet.

23.  Neptune Inn - Old Hunstanton Road

Plaque reads “NEPTUNE INN 1780’s THE RIFLEMAN AND STORE FOR SEIZED CONTRABAND NEPTUNE INN 1880’s”.

24.  Caley Hall – Old Hunstanton Road

Plaque reads “1649 FARMHOUSE CALEY HALL HOME OF L’STRANGE STEWARD 1842-57”.

25.  Old Schoolhouse – Old Hunstanton Road

Plaque reads “OLD VILLAGE SCHOOLS BOYS 1843 GIRLS 1849 CLOSED 1989”.

26.  Alice Oliphant Hostel – Chapel Bank

Haven’t found plaque yet.

27.  66 Church Road

Plaque reads “15TH CENTURY COTTAGE AT THE CENTRE OF A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE”.

Hunstanton Lighthouse Through St. Edmund's ChapelHunstanton Lighthouse Through St. Edmund's Chapel
© essentially-england.com
Inside the Modern Day RNLI Station in Old HunstantonInside the Modern Day RNLI Station in Old Hunstanton
© essentially-england.com















Are You Planning to Visit Norfolk?

Where You Could Stay

We love this part of the country and were really sad when the holiday cottage we liked so much in Blakeney became a private home. However, it did make us research the area again and try something new - Honey Barrel Cottage in Stiffkey. Again, we were close to the salt marshes and could explore new parts of the north Norfolk coast path. So my selection of holiday cottages are spread along our favourite parts...


Norfolk Holiday Cottages: Primrose Cottage, Stiffkey | sykescottages.co.uk

Primrose Cottage
Stiffkey
Sleeps 6


The Granary, Wells-next-the-Sea | norfolkhideaways.co.uk

The Granary
Wells-next-the-Sea
Sleeps 2


Seaview Cottage, Salthouse | sykescottages.co.uk

Seaview Cottage
Salthouse
Sleeps 4

To see other holiday cottages in Norfolk click here. Or check out holiday cottages in other parts of England by clicking here.


Or, if you fancy staying in a hotel here are some nice examples...


Norfolk Hotels: Hotel Wroxham, Wroxham | hotels.com

Hotel Wroxham
Wroxham


Norfolk Hotels: Dunston Hall, Norwich | hotels.com

Dunstan Hall
Norwich


Norfolk Hotels: Heacham Manor Hotel, Heacham | hotels.com

Heacham Manor Hotel
Heacham


Please click here if you would like to review more Norfolk hotels, or you could try a Booking.com search.


 

What You Could See and Do


Are you feeling in need of a holiday yet? Here are a few more pages that might give you ideas...






For more holiday ideas return from our Hunstanton discovery trails page to the Norfolk page.