I love visiting the English seaside. Dipping my feet in cool water on a hot summer's day, feeling the sand between my toes and the taste of fresh ice-cream or beach side chips. There are so many things I love about the seaside, but most of them revolve around the weather being slightly warmer than it is now.
Last week I made a surprise trip to Cromer on the Norfolk coastline. It wasn't planned. My parents decided they wanted to spend time with my husband and I and convinced us to join them on a trip to Norwich which is a four hour car journey from where we live. When we got to Norwich, there was a football game on and the town was heaving with traffic. We couldn't get in and for almost an hour, we even struggled to get out. After being stuck in traffic for quite awhile and not wanting to waste our day, we decided to drive out of Norwich and followed the directions to Cromer.
Cromer is a small fishing town known for it's independent boutiques, traditional pier and white, blue flag beaches. Cromer is also renowned for it's fishing, particularly crab, which is available in most fisheries in the area. When we arrived, I admit I was a little disappointed as I usually visit the beach when it's sunny and the towns are thriving with busy tourists. Cromer looked like a ghost town and despite it being only midday, everywhere was closed. The museums were shut, there was only a handful of pubs open and even the sandwich shops were shutting their blinds when we arrived. Nevertheless, it was great to glance out at the North Sea, walk along the pier without little kids or dogs running between my feet and the fish and chip shops were still open giving Cromer it's traditional seaside scent - y'know, that mix of seat salt, vinegar and seaweed.
My day out in Cromer prompted this post on how to survive a wintery day at the seaside. As we didn't plan to go the beach, we weren't really prepared, but if you plan in advance and know what you're getting yourself in for, you'll probably have a more success trip than we had.
Research your destination.
A lot of costal towns close for the winter so you may turn up to a destination and be sorely disappointed if everything is closed. Check reviews and tides and try to find a place that is quite popular as the chances are they are more likely to cater for tourists outside the typical tourist seasons.
Wrap up and stay warm
Beaches are breezy on the best of days as the wind blows inland from the sea, on a winter day this can make visiting the beach really cold, so always pack a scarf and a thick pair of gloves.
Pack a lunchbox
As previously mentioned, a lot of places close in the winter including some restaurants and cafes as they rely more on peak tourist times. Fisheries and fast food stores may be open, but if you have special dietary requirements, it might be safer to pack a lunchbox.
Write an itinerary or a plan of action
When you're visiting the seaside in winter or on a particular cold day, the weather may prevent you from doing certain things such as dipping your toes in the sea or walking on the beach. Research nearby tourist attractions and things you can do so you make the most of your day whatever the weather.
Do you like visiting the beach during winter?