Cromer is about 45 minutes drive from Wells-next-the-Sea. We parked in the beach / cliff top car park, just before you get into the town. It cost £5.00 for the whole day and although it involves a 10-15 minute walk into the centre of Cromer, it is a good place to leave your car.
Cromer is a charming Edwardian seaside family resort, famous for its pier, succulent crabs and tall church tower. It has long, sandy beaches; landscaped cliff top gardens; Edwardian style promenades; a boating lake; a mini funfair and great fish and chip shops.
Cromer was developed into a significant seaside resort by the late Victorians when healthy breezes were sought, rather than sun-drenched sands. It was a fashionable place for holidays in the late 1800's. Edward VII came here and Lillie Langtry performed at the Town Hall theatre in the summer of 1906.
The church dominates the town and it has the tallest tower in Norfolk. We were feeling energetic and decided to climb the 172 steps to the top of the tower. It costs £1.50 for adults and 50 pence for children. The climb is really hard work and the last section is extremely steep and very narrow and winding. At the top though, you do get a superb view of the beaches, the sea and the town.
We loved exploring all the narrow lanes and alleys. They are crammed with shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes. The buildings are all pastel coloured. The fishing industry might have declined, but Cromer crabs are still as famous as ever, with fishing boats launched from the beach in season, tending to hundreds of crab pots. We found a little old-fashioned family run tea-shop/cafe (there are lots of these) and had Cromer crab sandwiches for lunch - delicious.
The pier is a blast of nostalgia. We sat on the pier eating ice-creams, then walked to the end and saw people fishing for crabs. The Pavilion Theatre is at the end of the pier - apparently the show here, which is on during the summer months, is the only remaining end of pier show in the country. You can also go inside the lifeboat house. There is a viewing area where you can see the lifeboat up close, and they have a nice little shop as well as interesting displays about the lifeboats and their history.