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Sun, sand and shingle... 15 great family beaches to visit this summer in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 10:46 06 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 06 July 2019

Holidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach . Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Holidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach . Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Are you looking for beaches to try with the family this summer? Here are 15 top suggestions - but the region has many more great stretches of shore to enjoy.

Holidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHolidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Gorleston - This sandy beach is currently in the spotlight after being chosen as a setting for the new Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film Yesterday, starring Ed Sheeran. It has also received a national accolade, being placed eighth in this year's TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards - the only East Anglian entry in the top 10, All this may mean it attracts bigger crowds than usual this summer! Until September children can enjoy the free Splashpad, a wet seafront play area including fountain sprays and jet streams,

Sea Palling beach. Picture: John Paul.Sea Palling beach. Picture: John Paul.

Sea Palling - Another beach to receive special recognition this year, it was named as one of the top 10 Blue Flag beaches in the UK for 2019 by Condé Nast Traveller magazine. The lifestyle magazine said: "The sand is softer and the sea is calmer than at many of Sea Palling's neighbouring beaches. This is thanks to the nine offshore reefs that protect the area from flooding. It's perfect for family days out, as there are cafés, a pub and a small amusement arcade behind the beach, plus a farm shop and stall selling local fish."

Walberswick Beach. Picture: ALISON CONNORSWalberswick Beach. Picture: ALISON CONNORS

Walberswick - The town's famous crabbing championships might have been scrapped because they were just too popular, but this is still Suffolk's capital of crabbing. If you don't have a crabbing line, you will easily be able to buy it locally, as well as bait - bacon rind is very popular with the local crustaceans. Of course, the resort isn't only known for its crabs. It also has an unspoilt sand and shingle beach, plus marsh and heathland for walks and wildlife spotting. There are plenty of good places to eat along the shore, and the resort is dog-friendly.

Great Yarmouth beach from the pier.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Great Yarmouth beach from the pier. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Great Yarmouth - If you're looking for seaside entertainment, Great Yarmouth's famous Golden Mile has it all, with two traditional piers and a huge range of arcades, shops and amusements. The Pleasure Beach is free to enter, with rides being paid for by tokens or wristbands, while bouncy castles, crazy golf, ten-pin bowling and donkey rides are among the other attractions for families. The central beach is wide and sandy, with plenty of sand even at high tide, while the quieter south and north beaches both have wide sand dunes.

Clacton beach. Picture: Nige Brown.Clacton beach. Picture: Nige Brown.

Clacton-on-Sea - With its wide stretches of golden sand, Clacton has always been a popular family resort. The pier is officially the largest pleasure pier in the UK, with a wide range of rides and amusements. The beaches are quieter if you go away from the pier. There are many good places to eat.

A seagull on the beach in Aldeburgh.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA seagull on the beach in Aldeburgh. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Aldeburgh - This is definitely one of the most popular venues in East Anglia to enjoy fish and chips, and you can also buy fresh fish from huts on the beach. Despite its fame, the resort feels natural and unspoilt. When visiting the shingle beach, don't forget to admire Maggi Hambling's famous Scallop sculpture. One of the most popular attractions for children is the toy boating pond.

People enjoying the summer sunshine on Cromer beach.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYPeople enjoying the summer sunshine on Cromer beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cromer - The 19th-century pier received national attention over the Christmas period when it was featured in a BBC One station ident, Cromer is of course famous for its crabs, while the golden sands and clifftop gardens add to its appeal. Children will also be interested to spot the Bagot goats which graze on the town's west cliffs. The pier is home to the only full-season end-of-the-pier show in the world, and a new glitter station, with glitter tattoos and face paint every weekend and during the school holidays. Nearby Sheringham is also very popular, with its shingle beach and rock pools.

Frinton beach packed with visitors soaking up the sun - from left, Hannah Hazel, Josie and Lucy-Jo Reeder. Picture: SARAH-LUCY BROWNFrinton beach packed with visitors soaking up the sun - from left, Hannah Hazel, Josie and Lucy-Jo Reeder. Picture: SARAH-LUCY BROWN

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Frinton on Sea - Frinton has taken care to preserve its old-fashioned atmosphere, with no modern amusements, so you won't have your children pestering you to use arcades! The beach is long and sandy, but you need to watch the tide times, as the beach disappears at high tide. There is an attractive greensward area which is also great for children to play in.

The pier at Southwold. Picture: RACHEL WALLERThe pier at Southwold. Picture: RACHEL WALLER

Felixstowe - As well as the sand and shingle beach itself, the Prom and the Seafront Gardens are great to explore. You can follow a heritage trail through the gardens, which were awarded a prestigious Green Flag award in 2018 for the third year running. The popular resort has recently had a boost with the redevelopment of its pier, including Manning's family entertainment centre which includes mini retro-style tenpin bowling. There are also plenty of places to eat, including the Boardwalk Cafe Bar and The Alex.

Southwold - With sand, the promenade and its famous beach huts, Southwold is known as a wonderfully traditional and unspoilt resort. The Denes beach is great if you are looking for somewhere more peaceful. The beautifully-restored Victorian pier is probably best-known for the "Under the Pier Show", full of weird and wonderful machines created by Tim Hunkin, as well as the water clock.

Hunstanton - Rock pooling is great fun for all ages, and there are many places to do this all along the Norfolk coast. At Hunstanton many rock pools are exposed beneath the colourful cliffs at low tide. Sturdy footwear is needed to avoid slipping! The main Hunstanton beach can get very full on sunny days, when Old Hunstanton beach is a good alternative. You can take a coastal cruise on one of the two Wash Monster amphibuous vessels, or even go on a seal safari, although it is advisable to pre-book.

Thorpeness - Close to Aldeburgh, this unique seaside village was bought in 1910 by a Scottish businessman, Stuart Ogilvie, who transformed it with unusual colourful mock-Tudor buildings and quirky follies including the House in the Clouds. The shingle beach has cafes and restaurants nearby and is great for kite flying. Families can combine a visit to the beach with a trip on the Meare, the famous artificial boating lake, which is shallow to make it perfect for children.

Kessingland - If you are looking for a more unspoilt and wild beach, this long, wide sand and shingle beach, with its windswept dunes, is likely to be ideal. This is a huge beach, so there is plenty of space even on hot days. The beach is also great for dog walking. There are several good places to eat and Benacre National Nature Reserve is also nearby.

Lowestoft - The beach is known for its golden sands, and the beach south of Claremont Pier won a Seaside Award in 2019. The Royal Plain fountains on the seafront are an extra treat for children, with 74 water jets where children can play. Every half an hour from 10am to 10.30pm there is a musical fountains display. Many different activities and events are held on the beach during the summer.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Wells beach is lovely and sandy, fringed by pine woodland. It is some distance out of the town, but accessible as it is just over the dunes from the car park. Children will enjoy taking a splash in the Run, the channel which links the harbour to the sea. There are colourful beach huts which are well-equipped, if you can manage to book one in advance for the day. Nearby Holkham Beach is beautiful and unspoilt.

- Have we missed out your favourite family beach? Email us about your best beach.

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