For fans of British naval hero Horatio Nelson, this part of Norfolk is a treasurehouse of memories of the great man. He was born a short distance inland at Burnham Thorpe, but later in his life, while Nelson was away at sea, his wife Fanny rented a cottage on the large green known as The Buttlands in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and Nelson was a frequent visitor to The Crown Hotel situated at the side of the green. The hotel is still open for business now for anyone wanting to follow in Nelson’s footsteps.
As with Cley Next The Sea, the name Wells-Next-The-Sea – which derives from the many spring wells around the town - is a bit of a misnomer, since this former port, one of the most important in the region in the 16th century, is now a good mile from open water due to the silting up of the harbour. However, there is still a proper quayside where points of interest for the visitor include a Dutch barge which doubles as a cafe bar serving up delicious Dutch style pancakes. One of the buildings dominating the waterfront is the Granary, which now offers luxury holiday accommodation with harbour views. To the west of the town is a long, sandy beach backed by pine woods and adorned by jolly beach huts which can be reached on foot or, alternatively, by means of a miniature steam train. Another attraction for train ride enthusiasts is the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, of which the Wells terminus is on the Stiffkey road. There is a boating lake on reclaimed marshland behind the sea wall.
Webcam view of the harbour.
Map of the area.