It’s always a bit of a cliché to say that a holiday location has something to offer everyone, but as far as Cromer is concerned, most boxes are ticked. So let’s avoid the cliché and start with what Cromer lacks.
Cromer does not have the mountains of The Alps, the caves and little coves of Devon and Cornwall. It doesn’t have the pleasure beach and miles of amusement arcades of Yarmouth. It doesn’t have the marshlands that go right down to the sea of Blakeney and Morston, and it doesn’t have designer shops, but as far as lacking facilities goes, that is about it.
In terms of landscape, Cromer has impressive cliffs and beaches, both shingle and sand. It has the largest chalk reef in Europe on its door step, which provides a perfect habitat for crabs and lobsters to become juicy and succulent. It has hills and valleys (well one valley – aptly named Happy Valley) it has natural, untouched playing fields, it has one of the best links golf courses in England. Moving onto architecture, think late Georgian – early Victorian grand houses, mixed with earlier flint buildings. Locally, Cromer is known architecturally for its balconies.
In the summer Cromer comes alive. The beaches just to the east and west of the pier are busy with families peering into crab boats as they bring in their catches. But venture half a mile further from the pier either towards East Runton or Overstrand, you will find beautiful sandy beaches that are rural and quiet, even in the middle of August.
The pier itself is a draw and has a wonderful and historic pavilion theatre perched on the end, as well as a working lifeboat house, which is open to the public to view Cromer’s life boat primed and ready to zoom off on a daring rescue. Crab lines dangle into the sea, while excited and expectant, children tug hard on the other ends, trying to catch giant squid or sea monsters.
The town itself has a lot to offer including two museums, the Lifeboat Museum on the promenade, and Cromer Museum next to the Church, which itself is remarkable. The Church tower is open to the public and is the tallest in North Norfolk. Cromer has coffee shops, boutique clothes shops and gifts shops selling anything from kiss-me-quick hats to antique furniture. It has art galleries, decent pubs and fish and chip shops, selling both high-end fish and chips and traditional fish and chips. Cromer does not have a McDonalds. For children on rainy days, there is an indoor play centre and pottery painting at the Sticky Earth café.
In terms of events and festivals, four stand out: The Crab and Lobster Festival in May, North Norfolk Open Studios in June, Cromer Carnival in August and COAST arts festival in October. All of which are well worth putting in the diary, not to mention lifeboat day, and Cromer Cricket Week, both in August.
Over the last few years, it has often been remarked upon that Cromer is on the up. We have a fish and chip shop opened by a Michelin starred chef, old garages have becomes micro-breweries, carpet shops have become art galleries. At The Grove, we hope that we have contributed to this, being the first place in Cromer to gain two rosettes in our restaurant and getting a gold star from the AA for our accommodation.
In the summer, Cromer has a buzz about the town, it’s lively, vibrant and busy. But just two minutes away from the town centre, it’s peaceful, tranquil and calming. Even though it is a cliché, Cromer really does have something for everyone.