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Happisburgh, Norfolk

Home > Norfolk > Day Trips | Escape the City | Outdoor | Places of Interest
Published August 18th 2021
Lighthouse in a field, houses in the sea and some very old footprints
Happisburgh Lighthouse
Happisburgh Lighthouse
Happisburgh is a small village with a lot to offer. It is home to a striking red and white striped lighthouse, rising up from agricultural fields on the clifftop. From some angles, the lighthouse appears to have been built in an entirely bizarre location, landlocked and remote from the sea.

It is in fact only about 300 metres inland and this is just as well, as the sea has been lapping hungrily at the cliffs in this part of Norfolk, causing it to crumble into the water. The land is eroding at an alarming rate of about two metres per year, tipping houses and fields into the sea.

The lighthouse holds the distinction of being the only independently operated lighthouse in the UK. It is open for open days in the summer months, but even when it is not possible to climb the tower, it is possible to admire up close as there are paths up to and around its base.

Happisburgh Lighthouse
The lighthouse is in the middle of a field


If you find yourself lost in the network of narrow lanes around the village and need to ask for directions, be warned that Happisburgh is inexplicably pronounced Hazeborough.

Beneath the crumbling cliffs, there is a sandy beach perfect for getting out the buckets and spades and constructing some sandcastles.

Happisburgh Cliffs Beach
Crumbling Cliffs Above Happisburgh Beach


The car park is perched on the cliffs between the beach and the lighthouse and offers everything that could possibly be needed toilets, an excellent playground complete with a zip-line, pretty coastal views and often an ice cream van to provide refreshments.

In 2013, scientists uncovered fossilised footprints which turned out to be 850 000 years old, the oldest known hominid footprints outside of Africa. Happisburgh is now part of the Deep History Coast and there are information boards about our early ancestors, installed next to the playground.

The village is located on the Norfolk coast, 13 miles south east of Cromer and 20 miles north west of Great Yarmouth.
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Why? Lighthouse in a field, houses in the sea and some very old footprints
When: Whenever
Where: Off B1159, Norfolk
Cost: Free, variable charges for parking
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