Cromer Budget Travel Guide

Cromer Norfolk UK Budget Tips

Enjoying an enviable position on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast, Cromer is a true British seaside town. Historic charm, traditional entertainment, excellent facilities and a great beach all make for a most inviting of destinations, one that is referred to frequently as the ‘Gem of the Norfolk Coast’.

If you haven’t got a lot of money to spend during your trip to Cromer then never fear, this budget guide is full of plenty of tips to enjoying this treasure of a coastal town for less, including where to eat, where to stay, what to do and how to get there.

From the world’s only ‘End of Pier Show’ to the town’s famous Cromer Crab and a its fascinating lifeboat heritage, this really is a place to marvel at. And in this guide we show you exactly how to enjoy this Norfolk gem for less.

How to get to Cromer on a budget

Train travel on tracks
Train Transport England

Cromer can be easily accessed by train from Norwich and indeed from London, with a quick change in Norfolk’s capital. Travel via rail for less by avoiding peak travel times and by purchasing tickets as far in advance as possible.

Reserving seats both ways on specific timetabled trains will also cost a lot less than buying an open return. Alternate options include taking a National Express coach to Norwich and changing for a local bus service to Cromer.

Getting around Cromer on a budget

The town centre of Cromer is small and can be easily navigated on foot. Most of the main hotels and b&bs are also centrally located so it’s usually easy to enjoy your holiday without the need to spend money on transport.

Should you need to travel further than the town centre, then use the local bus service which is considerably cheaper than taxis. The North Norfolk Coasthopper is one such affordable bus service that links Cromer to the coastal towns heading west including Sheringham, Wells-next-the-Sea, Blakeney, Holkham and Hunstanton. If you think you will use this bus a lot then a three or seven day pass will save you money.

Aerial view of Cromer town centre and beach
Cromer town centre and beach

Attractions and culture for less

The biggest and best attraction in Cromer is totally free and it is of course, the beach. It’s rarely hard to find somewhere to settle on this expansive sand and shingle beach. Plus a Blue Flag award and five star water quality rating means that visitors can enjoy more than just sunbathing.

At Cromer swimming, kayaking and surfing are all popular, low cost activities. The beach also benefits from a lifeguard in summer months.

The most popular landmark is certainly Cromer Pier, one of the oldest in the country. So old in fact that it is thought to have existed in one incarnation or another since the 14th century. Its own attraction however lies in the theatre that was built at the end in the early 20th century.

The Pavilion Theatre is variety show performance at its very best and the show is considered the only ‘End of the Pier Show’ of its kind in the world. The easiest way to get cheap tickets for the Pavilion Theatre is to look out for vouchers and coupons on tourist brochures. Adult seats vary in price and the side seats may have a limited view but they are less the half the price of other seats.

Cromer North Coast of Norfolk England
Cromer Pier

The RNLI Henry Blogg Museum is free to enter and is a deserving testament to the town’s most decorated life-boatman who helped saved over 800 lives during his 53 year voluntary career which started in 1917. If you find this museum interesting, then head to the modern day lifeboat centre where you can find out more about today’s RNLI operations. This is also free to enter.

Family and giraffe in zoo
Family and giraffe in zoo

Those with children will find plenty to do in the town. Head to the amusements to see how long a couple of pounds last when they’re changed for 2ps or try your hand at crabbing from the pier itself. One of the biggest family attractions however is Amazona Zoo, which is on the outskirts of the town. Despite an entrance fee which may seem too much for those on a strict budget, as British zoos go it is a cheap one and the addition of a soft play area means for a full day out. Look out for vouchers on Groupon or in the back of tourist brochures for reduced entry prices.

Walking is a popular pastime in the area and this town is an ideal base for ramblers who can head east or southwest along the Norfolk Coastal Path. Ramblers heading east along the North Norfolk Coastal Path can pass through the smaller seaside town of Sheringham, and on to Blakeney for a chance to see the famous seals that reside here.

Cromer to Blakeney is a 12 mile walk, but the bonus with this route is that you can catch the Coasthopper bus back. Taking a different route to this path, heading east, Happisburgh is 13 miles away and worth the walk for serious ramblers. Along the way pass through the quiet seaside towns of Overstrand and Mundersley before seeing the famous Happisburgh Lighthouse.

A shorter walk can be enjoyed to the National Trust Sheringham Park, located five miles from the town. These 1000 acres of Humphry Repton landscaped gardens are free to walk around and are home to a courtyard café as well as the chance to see diverse British wildlife including basking adders, purple hairstreak butterflies, firecrest birds and even red deer.

Food and drink on a budget

Despite being a tourist town, Cromer is not overly expensive and it’s easy to dine out on a budget whether you want Indian, Thai, Italian or British cuisine. For real cheap eats head to the popular Breakers Café on Garden Street, where you can fill up on a large English breakfast for less than the price of two lattes at a high street coffee chain.

Cheap lunchtime cafes include the ‘About with Friends Community Café’ where a very cheap meal can be enjoyed for a good cause. The Crab Pot Café and Blue Sky Café are both excellent low cost places to enjoy the town’s famous Cromer Crab, a delicious lunch option.

For dinner there’s nothing better than fish and chips on the beach. This can be a very cheap dinner choice if you are prepared to share the generous local portions with your family.

When it comes to drinking in Cromer there are still many traditional pubs where you can enjoy a reasonably priced pint. The Fishing Boat in the centre of the town is perfect for those who enjoy real ale and live music. The Wellington, known locally as ‘The Welly’ also offers a good selection of drinks for a reasonable price including jugs of summer cocktails.

English Pub people drinking and eating
English Pub

Cheap stays in Cromer

Accommodation in the area includes camping, hotels, B&Bs and self-catering.

The town is home to many independent traditional seaside hotels and B&Bs as opposed to the large chain options seen in other seaside towns. These independent hotels can be booked for less than walk-in prices by using discount hotel sites, especially when booking at the last minute.

Cromer Links Country Park Hotel
Cromer Links Country Park Hotel

Hotels are sometimes cheaper out of season, so for those not restricted by school holidays it makes sense to visit this town in May, June or September. Large groups will save money by reserving a big self-catering house, especially in a nearby town or village.

The cheapest option by far is to camp and with a few choices when it comes to low cost pitches including the basic and centrally located Cromer Camping, there’s always somewhere to peg down a tent.

Events in Cromer

The town hosts a number of events, some of which are entirely free to experience and whilst hotel rooms may be harder to come by at this time, provided you book well in advance they shouldn’t actually be more expensive.

These events include Cromer Carnival which takes place for a whole week in the middle of each August. The carnival is an exciting time and to experience the parade won’t cost you anything and neither will the fireworks finale on the last day.

The Lifeboat Day at the end of June is another chance for a free celebration in the town and a great way to find out even more about how important lifeboats are to the town with launches, displays, stalls and demonstrations.

This Victorian seaside town is often overlooked in comparison to places such as Great Yarmouth, Clacton or Bognor, but what it offers in terms of charm, food and entertainment is second to none.

The great thing about Cromer is that it needn’t be a costly holiday, provided you plan well and book accommodation and transport in advance. With plenty of low cost attractions and a free to use beach there’s no reason you cant do this town justice on a very small budget indeed.