Sancastles on the beach

Once a busy fishing village it has become a holiday favourite for those in the know.

Backed by the beautiful dunes - a nature reserve and a site of special scientific interest - the beach offers acres of golden sand and even on the hottest summer days there is always plenty of space for children to build their sandcastles. Here you can enjoy the sound of skylarks singing against a background of waves lapping against the shore. Sometimes you'll catch sight of a seal bobbing in the water or lazing on the sand. If you feel peckish there is the Dunes Cafe, which is popular with visitors and locals alike all through the year.

Overlooking the beach are the eye-catching colourful African roundhouses of the Hermanus holiday centre. The thatched buildings, modelled on huts at Hermanus Bay in South Africa are part of a complex with a bar and restaurant that are open to the public.

Life's a beach

Turning back from the dunes you will see the tower of

Holy Trinity and All Saints church,  one of the biggest

landmarks in the village. In summer the tower, which at

132ft is the third highest in the county, opens to the

public every Saturday. Views from the top are stunning on

a clear day. Inside the 12th Century church Winterton's

maritime heritage is evident with fishing nets on the walls,

a fisherman's corner under a First World War cross from

Flanders and a memorial to a rector who gave his life saving a choirboy from drowning.         

As well as the lighthouse, which is now a holiday home, the village once had its own lifeboat. The last one, the Edward Birkbeck, saved dozens of lives between 1896 and 1925 when the lifeboat station closed down. The foundations of the building along with remains of the wartime coastal defences, can still be seen in the dunes near the cafe while the boat, rescued decades later from the harbour in Conwy, Wales, is now back in the village and under the care of the Winterton on Sea Lifeboat Restoration Group. 

The village is also blessed with a post office stores, which was taken over in 2016 by Jeanne and Gino Farace and given a revamp as well as a new name, Poppy's.

Over the road there is a handy convenience store, Loomes, taken over in 2008 by high school teacher Sathees Vethanayakampillai, it runs with help from his wife Kamaliny, brother-in-law Thajee and assistant Vicky. It has also undergone improvement work and more products are being introduced. A few doors away is the Fish Bar which is just as popular with the residents as it is with visitors.

Adding to the charm of the village are the spectacular flower displays, created and tended by the  Winterton-on-Sea In Bloom committee, businesses and residents. In 2016 the village won a gold in the Great Yarmouth in Bloom Awards.

Fishing boats still go out from the village, but the days of being able to buy fish from the huts on the dunes are gone. Herring fisherman Sam Larner, who found a national following in his 80s, is remembered in the village with a blue plaque on the cottage where he lived near the church. Famed folk singer Ewan McColl wrote The Shoals of Herring after interviewing Sam for the radio in 1960. One of the pubs where he often sang was the Fisherman's Return. Still a popular watering hole, the 300-year-old freehouse has only changed hands four times in the past century. Current landlord Darrin Winter took over in 2009 from Kate and John Findlay who had it for many years.

Jeanne and Gino

The Village

WINTERTON is a little oasis on the East Norfolk coast. There is none of the brash razzle dazzle of other resorts nearby, but what it does have in buckets and spades is charm, history and the benefit of being next to a fabulous unspoilt beach.

News from the Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council & the village

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BEACH ROW WALKOUT: A councillor walked out of a meeting after he was challenged over comments he had made about work to combat beach erosion in front of the Dunes Café.

Cllr Alec Sutton made his departure following a heated discussion at the 15th May session as the council heard the landowner was concerned he had called her integrity into question when she encountered him on the beach.

She stressed she had obtained all the necessary permissions for the effort to protect the café and car park and would not do anything to harm the beach. The council confirmed it backed the work.

Cllr Sutton told his colleagues he had been speaking to her as a member of the public after getting stuck in quicksand and he claimed he had then been asked by the owner to leave the beach. He had not been back since and believed the beach had been changed.

He stood up and left after the parish clerk reminded councillors they were bound by their code of conduct whether or not they were speaking as a member of the public and chairman Eric Lund said he thought there might have been a misunderstanding on both sides.

CHAIRMAN RE-ELECTED: Eric Lund has been voted in again as chairman of the parish council, with Mark Bobby as his deputy.

There are currently three vacancies on the council, which could be filled through co-option.

Community-minded people with a few hours to spare who are interested in joining can call Cllr Lund on 01493 394331 or email the parish clerk for more information at

NEEDLES FOUND: Neighbourhood police are focussing on the issue of drugs after needles were found in the wooded area of the dunes.

Antisocial cycling and speeding in the village are also being targeted.

But problem parking along beach road appears to have eased. Year-round parking restrictions are set to be brought in and the parish council has been told parking enforcement officers will be making regular visits.

GARAGE SALE POSTPONED: The village’s popular garage sale, usually held in July, has been postponed until later in the summer or early autumn.

The move comes in the wake of changes to the management of the village hall and the decision by most members of the committee to step down.

PIONEERS OF THE PAST: Early cinema heroes Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are brought to the screen in Winterton this June when the cinema society shows Stan and Ollie.

Steve Coogan, whose alter ego Alan Partridge is well known to Norfolk audiences, plays Stan, while John C Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman 2, Gangs of New York) takes on the role of his comedy partner.

Then in July the 50th anniversary of the moon landings is marked with the screening of First man, which tells the story of Neil Armstrong’s journey to the point where he made one giant leap for mankind.

Stan and Ollie is on 29th June, First Man follows on 27th July. Tickets cost £5 from Poppy’s or on the door and curtain up is at 7.30pm.

For Parish Council minutes and much more visit their website.