The National Trust’s Sheringham Park in north Norfolk is famous for its colourful rhododendron and azalea display between May and June and has drawn us to visit several times during our Norfolk holidays. We particularly love that time of year, since it's also the asparagus and strawberry season. However, our latest outing was a day trip from our Northamptonshire home, and we wanted to try and combine a walk around the park and time by the sea with picking up freshly harvested fruit and veg. Our research came up trumps with a couple of options for a walk and our driving route also passed by our favourite farm shop near Sharrington. Perfect! Now we just needed a day with good weather, and we would set off for one of our favourite Norfolk walks!
We'd previously visited Sheringham Park as part of our tandem cycling holidays where we would be out on the bike in the morning and arrive around lunchtime for tea and cake before having a gentle stroll admiring the colours and take in the great views from the gazebo. In fact, one year we started a ride from the Sheringham Park carpark to Baconsthorpe Castle.
This time, though, since we were coming all the way from home, we wanted a slightly longer walk. We found two
suitable walks on the National Trust’s website. The first was the “Woodland and Coastal Walk”, which had a map and point-to-point
instructions. The other was the “Ramblers Route”, where you just follow the
red marker posts. And that's another reason why we enjoy North Norfolk so much - there are plenty of Norfolk walks to choose from!
As so often in England, the weather decided our choice of walk. And as the forecast threatened showers, we chose the 5-mile Ramblers Route over the longer Woodland & Costal Walk. So, we set off following the red way marker posts, and it was later in the day that I realised that I should have mapped the walk on my mapping software just to check the distance. We were measuring the walk using a GPS device and a step counter and by the end we both had around 7-miles, and we even missed out the short coastal leg towards Sheringham because of the time.
Later, at home, I mapped the walk in the software I use, and the distance calculated was 7.8 miles!
Our Sheringham Park and Coast Walk map is not really required as the route is clearly signposted with the red way markers. However, if you use Komoot mapping software you can follow the route on your mobile device, or if you need to download the gpx file for you GPS device, then click on “Discover more info about this Tour” to get the file.
From the car park, we followed the signs to the courtyard café area where all the waymarked walks start. Initially, all walking routes follow the same path into the woodland. If you visit during May and June, the rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas soon make their presence known.
crossroads of paths, the red Ramblers Route turns left and follows a gentle slope deeper into the woodland. The footpath turns right, and we strolled under a
canopy of trees - dense enough to protect us from a light rain shower or two.
Walking through the woodland was absolutely glorious. The park is filled with colourful rhododendrons, ferns, and magnificent trees. We even spotted a few tired-looking bluebells. Had we come a few weeks earlier the spreads of bluebells would have looked stunning!
After passing between some ponds, the route turns sharp right onto a wider path. There’s no tree cover here, but luckily for us the rain had decided to stop for the rest of the day!
The path turns to the left alongside tall pine trees and ferns. As we followed the line of trees, we came to the edge of Weybourne Heath and open views across the North Norfolk Railway to Weybourne Windmill and the North Sea. If you’re lucky, a steam train may come past allowing you to capture a lovely photo like this one we got from the gazebo on an earlier visit!
We weren’t so lucky with the photo this time as we heard the train pass before we got to the heath, but we did get to see it up close and pulling away from the station platform.
The short leg to and from Weybourne Station is well worth it, as Weybourne is a pretty station in a lovely, peaceful setting. It also has a buffet which is usually open during operating days, just right for a tea and cake stop.
Retracing our steps to the main loop of the walk, we continued along the heath with sea views on our left and woodland on our right. There are some lovely spots for picnics, unless you’re waiting to get to the beach!
The route reaches a gate and turns left to go towards the cliffs. Passing through the gate gives you a shortcut to the car park and the beginning of the walk.
We, however, followed the red markers to the coast before returning to the gate later. Passing the steps up to the gazebo and a war bunker we came to another gate beside the A149 road. We crossed the road and followed the footpath to the right and then left and then on to a long straight path that went over the railway and on to the cliff top.
We turned left here and walked towards Weybourne. Initially the cliff was quite high and gave beautiful vistas both left and right. It was really nice to see the Lifeboat Station and Coastguard Lookout in the distance as we visited those on a walk we did on a day out to Sheringham the previous year. Do you think we like this part of Norfolk?
Sadly, time was pressing on, so we returned to the cliff and retraced our steps to the long straight footpath. If you want to extend your walk, you can walk a little further along the cliff towards Sheringham. We, being short on time, turned right.
As we walked along the path towards the bridge over the railway, we heard the whistle and chuffing of a steam train. We reached the bridge just as the train approached and were able to stand in its steam as it passed beneath us. I’ve always wanted to do that!
We followed the route back to the steps up to the gazebo. It’s a bit of a climb up the hillside steps and then up the wooden gazebo, but the views from the top are well worth the effort even after we’ve been here many times.
After descending the steps, we turned left, passed through the gate we'd ignored earlier, and turned left again. The route joined a road that went past the manor house and a beautiful flint-decorated lodge with a lovely lilac Wisteria growing up the front, to a grass path up to the Temple on our right. The views here are stunning!
This walk just didn’t stop giving us “wows”. From the Temple, the path took us into an area of pine trees and ferns that really did look wonderful. I tried to capture the scene as best I could, but you need to have the smell as well. Each time we’ve been here we've walked up to the Temple, but today was the first time we took this footpath back towards the car park. We usually took the stony track between rhododendron bushes that runs parallel to this new (to us) path.
Sheringham Park is criss-crossed by paths and walking trails, all offering spectactular sights and experiences. On our return to the car park, we took a right turn at a crossroads to climb one of the (signposted) viewing towers. These offer the chance of a cloud-side view over the canopy of rhododendrons. Quite something when the all the flowers are out. This year we weren't quite so lucky, having arrived a little too early in the flowering season. Still, we found a nice red-carpeted woodland floor!
We made our way back to the car, arriving a little too late for tea and cake from the cafe. Fortunately, we'd bought fresh strawberries on the way up!
sad leaving North Norfolk, but we agreed on one thing as we drove home. This
was a thoroughly lovely walk and one that we strongly recommend as it was peaceful and full of interest - just what we like on our Norfolk walks. Perhaps next time we’ll
try the other National Trust walk, maybe even at a different time of year. Autumn colours must look wonderful here, too.
PS. Just in case you were wondering, our fresh fruit and veg lasted us a few days and made some very tasty dinners. The farm shop never disappoints us!
Norfolk has no shortage of fabulous holiday accommodation whether you want to spend time on the beach, love boating or want to explore inland. You may covet a tiny fisherman's cottage like the one in Blakeney we kept returning to. You may like something larger and more modern like a loft overlooking the Norfolk Broads, or the right place for you may be a chic city apartment perfectly placed to explore Norwich...
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It's next to impossible to be bored in Norfolk, there's just so much to do and see. The list below includes some of our favourite places