The beautiful sandy beach, with its pine trees, sand dunes and colourful beach huts, is Wells' most famous feature. Walk for 1.5 miles or so along the golden sands and you'll end up in Holkham. Gwyneth Paltrow walked across this very beach during the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love. Whether you decide to collect shells, fly a kite or build a sand castle, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and deservedly so! For nature lovers, you can spot oyster catchers and ringed plovers, who nest on the beach, along with some common and little terns.
Beach Huts and Pine Woods
No visit to Wells is complete without a visit to the renowned colourful beach huts. Wells is as synonymous with beach huts as Southwold on the Suffolk Coast. Walking barefoot along the beach and reading the names of all the different beach huts is a great way to spend a sunny morning, and why not take a camera and your pet dog along too! The beach huts are set against a backdrop of mature pines, planted over a hundred years ago. Wander through the woods and you might spot grey squirrels and rare birds. The pinewoods can be accessed via the Wells beach car park, or directly from the beach via numerous sets of wooden steps.
The Quay and The Granary
The busy fishing Quay is an ever popular attraction. Children fish for crabs from the edge of the quay, and frequent the amusement arcade, the ice cream stall and the sweet shop. You can buy cockles and crab sticks from the fish stall and watch the fishing boats come and go. The freshly caught seafood is a speciality in many of the local restaurants, and eating fish 'n chips on the quay is a popular pastime. One of the main industries of the town in the 19th century was malting. Some of the granaries and maltings still exist, and an impressive feature of the harbour is the large granary building with its distinctive overhanging gantry. Built in 1903, the granary has been turned into luxury flats with magnificent views of the harbour.
Miniature Train and Mile Walk
If you like to travel in style, catch the miniature steam train that takes you the mile or so down to the beach. Wells Harbour Railway (to give you its official name) is situated in the town centre along Beach Road. Four steam and diesel trains (Edmund, Densil, Howard and Weasel) operate on a 10¼" gauge railway track. They run approximately every 15 minutes from the town and harbour, down to the Pinewoods Holiday Park and beach. It is THE way to travel down to the beach, and kids absolutely love it. The best way to return to town is by walking along the raised footpath which affords great views over the channel and salt marshes, the harbour and the town itself.
The most eagerly awaited annual event in Wells is the Summer Carnival. A week of family fun including live music, performances, competitions, fun-runs and BBQs. This culminates in a Carnival procession of floats and fancy-dress which starts and finishes at the Buttlands, winding its way around the town. The recently crowned Carnival Queen also joins the procession. The Carnival is enjoyed by both residents and visitors, and traditional seaside activities include a sand-castle competition, town crier competition and gillying on the quay. It also raises funds for local charities.
Wells Carnival website: www.wellscarnival.co.uk
Photo provided by: www.cycoze.com
At the top of Staithe Street, in the heart of Wells, lies the Buttlands, a quiet, leafy green lined with lime trees and elegant Georgian and Victorian houses. The name originates from the days it was used for archery practice. It is home to The Crown Hotel, a former coaching inn from the 16th century, and the Globe Inn. Enjoy a casual meal in the bar or more formal dining in the restaurant at the Crown, or a pint of local beer and some honest, home cooked food at the Globe. Various events are held in the square during the year, such as Morris Dancing in May.