We stayed for a few days in Sheringham during October Half-Term with family friends who are not terribly familiar with the area. We wondered how best we fill the short time available to us.
What would be the perfect excursion?
Seal Trips from Morston Quay
After some consideration we decided that a seal trip would tick all the right boxes; a relaxing way to explore the coast, observe seals in their natural habitat, and entertain a flock of children aged between 8 and 17.
There are a handful of seal trip businesses operating from Morston Quay. They are established businesses with experienced crews and well maintained boats. We usually book with Beans Boats and personally recommend them. It is worth booking a few days in advance as the seal trips are very popular.
Morston Quay is about 30 minutes drive from Sheringham. With Beans you pay on the day in cash and their office is on the A149 opposite the car park entrance to the quay. We set off an hour ahead of our booking so that we could pay, park up and find our boat without feeling rushed.
The National Trust car park at Morston Quay provides ample parking for cars and larger vehicles. Parking is free for members who display a valid membership card or car sticker, and £4 for cars before 6pm.
We had to wait about 10 minutes for the tide to float the boats.
The creek by the quayside quickly filled as we watched and the anticipation of the trip alone was enough to prevent the kids from getting bored.
The traditional boats are of a good size and there is plenty of room to manoeuvre once on board. We all boarded the boats, they were untied from the quays and we headed out to find some seals.
By a stroke of good luck our late afternoon trip coincided with sunset so we were also treated to a stunning spectacle in the sky over Holkham.
En-route our guide on the boat pointed out the flora, fauna and wildlife that inhabits Blakeney Point and surrounding salt marshes.
The seals spend most of their time basking along the shoreline but, being inquisitive animals, will occasionally slide from the shingle into the water to play around the boats and “people-spot”.
The grey seals are larger than the common seals and have speckled coats; the common seals have a more rounded face and “V” shaped nostrils.
The boats make sure that everyone has had ample opportunity to observe and photograph the seals and will get move quite close to the shore, taking care not to disturb the animals. Our guide was able to answer our questions about the seals and offered interesting information about the history of the local area.
We all really enjoyed this trip and my youngest neatly summed it up by simply saying “The seal trip was amazing”.
What you need to take:
- A camera, ideally one with a good zoom lens, though a smartphone would be sufficient.
- Suitable clothing for the weather.
- Your National Trust card or coins for parking.