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About Wells

Wells-Next-The-Sea is a traditional seaside town on the beautiful North Norfolk coast. It's home to everything we love about the seaside - amusement arcades, hungry seagulls, fish 'n chips, ice cream and cockles. But it's also so much more, a most interesting and fascinating place, charming and picturesque, having lost none of its historical character.

The name Wells derives from the many clear spring wells that were found in the area. Wells became Wells-next-the-Sea in the early 1800's to distinguish the town from other places in Norfolk of the same name. Wells-on-Sea was also used, but in 1956, Wells-next-the-Sea became the town's official title and has been in use ever since.

Where We Are and All you Need to know about the area!

Voted Best Beach in Britain

(Beach awarded Blue Flag 2015).

Despite its name, Wells-Next-The-Sea is over a mile away from open water. In the late 16th Century, when the town benefited from much easier access to the sea, it was one of the major ports for the area. The town remains a commercially viable port today.

Wells has been a port for at least 700 years and was at its peak in the middle of the 19th century, when the quay was built. There were 3 shipyards in Wells in that century, and between 1801 and 1860, over 60 ships were built in the town. There were also many flourishing trades connected with ship building, including ropemakers, sailmakers and ship chandlers. Then, the primary trade was the import of coal, timber and salt, and the export of corn, barley and malt for breweries. One of the other main industries of the town at that time was malting.

The town is a delightful network of narrow streets, old alleys and yards, and boasts some impressive Georgian and Victorian architecture. Some of the buildings are hundreds of years old, including former coaching inns and public houses. Many are now listed buildings.

The Parish Church of St. Nicholas dates from about 1460. It was burnt down in 1879 after being struck by lightning but was skillfully and carefully rebuilt.


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Fakenham is the nearest Met Office forecast for Wells-Next-The-Sea - 10 miles away.

Met Office weather for Fakenham

BBC weather for Wells-Next-The-Sea



Next The Sea

The Beach

The beautiful sandy beach, with its pine trees, sand dunes and colourful beach huts, is Wells' most famous feature. Walk for 1.5 miles or so along the golden sands and you'll end up in Holkham. Gwyneth Paltrow walked across this very beach during the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love. Whether you decide to collect shells, fly a kite or build a sand castle, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and deservedly so! For nature lovers, you can spot oyster catchers and ringed plovers, who nest on the beach, along with some common and little terns.  

What you need to know.

The Beach Huts

No visit to Wells is complete without a visit to the renowned colourful beach huts. Wells is as synonymous with beach huts as Southwold on the Suffolk Coast. Walking barefoot along the beach and reading the names of all the different beach huts is a great way to spend a sunny morning, and why not take a camera and your pet dog along too! The beach huts are set against a backdrop of mature pines, planted over a hundred years ago. Wander through the woods and you might spot grey squirrels and rare birds. The pinewoods can be accessed via the Wells beach car park, or directly from the beach via numerous sets of wooden steps.

The Quay and The Granary

The busy fishing Quay is an ever popular attraction. Children fish for crabs from the edge of the quay, and frequent the amusement arcade, the ice cream stall and the sweet shop. You can buy cockles and crab sticks from the fish stall and watch the fishing boats come and go. The freshly caught seafood is a speciality in many of the local restaurants, and eating fish 'n chips on the quay is a popular pastime. One of the main industries of the town in the 19th century was malting. Some of the granaries and maltings still exist, and an impressive feature of the harbour is the large granary building with its distinctive overhanging gantry. Built in 1903, the granary has been turned into luxury flats with magnificent views of the harbour.

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