Where To See The Seals In Norfolk & When

You can see Atlantic Grey seals all along the Norfolk coastline, if you know where to look and what time of year. When visiting the seals we needed to make sure we knew what was expected of us and how to make sure it was enjoyable but not dangerous for the seals.

  • You should never get within 10 metres of a seal on the beach. During November – January it’s extremely important not to walk among the seals at all. Look from a distance as getting too close can cause the mothers to abandon their pups. If this happens then the pups may starve or drown as they will attempt to enter the water before they are fully waterproof and when they are too young.
  • If you’re taking a dog with you to see seals, keep it on a short lead. Seals will bite if they feel that they are in danger, and they see dogs as predators. I would advise not taking them, a lot of dogs were barking and upsetting the seals when we went. It isn’t worth the risk to your dog or the seals if you can help it.
  • Supervise children at all times when the exploring sand dunes, they have uneven flooring and lots of dips and enclosed spaces. Children must be supervised at all times when in areas where seal colonies are resting. Seals can be hidden in the dunes, and there is a high risk of disturbing the seals, as well as them hurting children by biting them in a fight-or-flight response.
  • This should be a standard beach rule but do not take ‘flying ring’ frisbees to the beach. These end up as ‘necklaces’ for animals when they end up in the water, which can result in serious injury and death. Please take rubbish home with you and help the animals by taking any litter you see as plastic bags, fishing netting and rope are major problems on the beach for the animals.

Blakeney Point (Best time: May – August)

Blakeney Point is classed as the best known place to see seals in the Norfolk area. Blakeney Point is the home of England’s largest Grey Seal colony. The best time to see seals at this location according to my research is between May and August, when you’re sure to see them basking on sandbanks a short way from the coastline.

There are several companies offering boat tours around Blakeney Point, and you’ll need to book with one of them and I recommend pre booking as it gets busy. The tours either set off from Blakeney or Morston Quay. Google threw up a few companies for me when I was googling:

  • Ptarmigan Seal Trips – departing Morston Quay – April to October
    £20 per adult, £10 per child, Infants (under 2) free of charge
  • Beans Seal Trips – departing Morston Quay – all year round
    £20 per adult, £10 per child, Infants (under 2) free of charge
  • Bishops Boats – departing Blakeney and Morston Quay – April to October
    £20 per adult, £10 per child, Infants (under 2) free of charge

We didn’t visit here on this occasion but this is based on the research I did before we visited.

Horsey Gap (Best time: November – February)

Seals come to Horsey Gap each year between November and February, and their main aim is to give birth to new pups and bask on the sand. We visited at the start of February and the pups were already quite grown up and a lot of the seals were basking on the sand. We did spot quite a few seals in the water and moving around but the majority were just sleeping. This is the best location to see them during November – February as the local colony begins to settle in. The local volunteer told me that it wasn’t even the busiest time for the seals yet as more were expected when we arrived.

The car park at Horsey Gap does get full, and it cost us £3.50 for our time there which we thought was reasonable for the location and reason of us being there.

It’s EXTREMELY important to keep dogs on a lead, listen to the 10m rule and listen to the volunteers as humans can be extremely harmful to the seals at Horsey Gap as they are so close to people instead of having the water as a barrier. The guide said to us that every year there are cases of pups being abandoned because people have got too close when trying to take selfies or their dogs are off the lead and have scared the mother or pup away from each other.

Horsey Gap is around a 45-minute drive from Norwich City Centre, and 30-45 minutes from Great Yarmouth. It took us 2 hours door to door from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire and it was a fairly simple drive. There is ongoing works on the A11 that I can imagine will cause delays during busy times so allow time for road works.

Waxham (June – August, November – February)

Waxham was the place reccomended to us to see the seals at Bay 21 but we couldn’t find them there so we ventured onto Horsey Gap. I think with Waxham they are a little hit and miss and tend to be there until Mid January from what I have read online. It was a lovely beach though and with no proper car park, it wasn’t busy at all. We had the whole beach to ourselves and the dunes gave us a lovely view across the town and the sea. I would imagine that the roads that lead up to Waxham beach can get crowded in the summer months but I think some would be put off from going there as there are no toilets or coffee shops nearby.

You can drive from here to Horsey Gap in under 10 minutes and Horsey Gap car park was well sign posted so even though we aren’t locals we found it easily. If we didn’t have Ezra with us I reckon we would of taken a leisurely walk between the two locations but Ezra is heavy and buggies and sand definitely don’t mix.

We saw a Airbnb type place called Shangri-La on the way onto the beach and it looked amazing but due to location it is way out of our price range.

Winterton-on-Sea (June – August, November – February)

Winterton-On-Sea is in close to proximity to Horsey Gap just the same as Waxham is. They are all along the same stretch of beach and I would say they are probably both 10 minutes each way of Waxham. Winterton is often classed as an ‘overflow spot’ for the late arrivals but you can often spot them there it just might be in smaller numbers than at Horsey Gap.

The dunes at Winterton are part of a site of special scientific interest, and as well as seals you may see terns, Natterjack Toads and even adders during your trip. Much like Waxham there is no facilities including no cafe at Winterton but there is a reasonably-sized car park for ease of access.

We didn’t visit here on this occasion but this is based on the research I did before we visited.

If you see an injured seal or a seal pup you think has been abandoned in the Horsey Gap area, contact the Friends of Horsey Seals rescue team on 07706 314514 , or the RSPCA on 0300 1234999.

Visit the Friends of Horsey Seals website to find out more about how you can help Norfolk’s seal colonies.

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