Nestled amid wild expanses of coastline and nature hot spots, you can find the delightful harbour town of Wells-next-the-Sea. First recognised in the Domesday Book, Wells was named after the fresh springs that were once found along its stretch of coast. Since those days, the town has grown but always in keeping with the surroundings – ensuring much of the area’s natural beauty has been protected and respected.
Regarded as one of the most attractive towns on the North Norfolk coast, Wells is famed for its long sweeping beaches, the majority of which are bordered by pine woodland. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the sandy beaches of Wells are edged by colourful beach huts – arguably Well’s most famous feature. Dog friendly and immortalised in film thanks to the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love, the beaches offer no end of possibilities for family, walkers and water-sports enthusiasts to name but a few. Behind the beaches and over the grassy dunes you’ll find yourself lost in a forest of mature pines, planted over 100 years ago, which is home to a multitude of rare birds and all manner of wildlife.
Moving into the town, you are met by the bustling harbour filled with small fishing boats, as well as a fine selection of shops along the charming Staithe Street – not a chain store in sight. The shops you find at Wells take pride in their local produce, providing a full range of foodstuffs, including a traditional butcher, baker, fishmonger, delicatessen and greengrocer as well as serving holiday needs for buckets and spades, holiday clothing and gifts to take home. For those looking to browse; books, paintings, jewellery, designer clothes and giftware of many kinds are on offer.
Wells has a complex network of narrow streets, old alleys and yards, and a many number of former coaching inns and public houses. Unspoilt and attractive, Wells is filled with beautiful architecture, many of which are listed. Travelling towards the top of the town, you will find the Buttlands – a wide green space bordered by thriving lime trees and impressive Georgian and Victorian properties. In this area, you will also find the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, which was rebuilt on its present footprint in about 1460, and again after a fire in 1879 following a lightning strike.
As a popular holiday destination, the peak summer season sees over 10,000 holidaymakers join the 2,000 permanent residents, drawn in by the ever-popular Summer Carnival. Various events take place over a one-week period, including live music, competitions, BBQ, workshops, and disco, which culminates in a Carnival procession that starts and finishes at the Buttlands, winding its way around the town – something to look forward to each year.
Quaint and calm, Wells-next-the-Sea offers safe harbour for all, whether they need a short getaway or a long-term arrangement.