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All you need to know about visiting Horsey seals

PUBLISHED: 14:15 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:24 12 December 2019

Breeding grey seals on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk.
People watching the seals from the top of the dunes
 
Picture: James Bass

Breeding grey seals on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk. People watching the seals from the top of the dunes Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Norfolk’s most magnificent wildlife spectacle is even bigger this year with over 2,000 fluffy seal pups to coo over on the sands already.

 seal pups at Horsey Gap in Norfolk seal pups at Horsey Gap in Norfolk

But a bumper year also means a huge number of visitors, with wardens struggling to balance access to the colony at Winterton and Horsey without disturbing nursing mums.

Here's our guide of how to make the best of your visit.

When to go?

The breeding season is in full swing at Horsey and Winterton and pups will be on the beach until the end of January, so now is a good time.

 
	seal pups at Horsey Gap in Norfolk 
seal pups at Horsey Gap in Norfolk

A mid-week visit will avoid the crowds, but as the schools break up every day is likely to be busy.

Boxing Day sees huge numbers descending, so swerve it if you can. More than 100,000 people visited the colony last year in just a few months.

Best place to see them

Traditionally the colony has massed at Horsey where wardens can easily rope it off. This year the seals have spread all the way to Winterton, with pups being born on the slope by the cafe for the first time.

You may also want to watch:

At Horsey visitors can get good vantage points from the dunes, but seals are present in large numbers all along the coast.

Where to park

The pay and display at Horsey Gap has the most number of spaces with an overflow area for peak days. There is also parking at the National Trust Horsey Windpump a fair way from the beach but perfect for those who fancy a bracing stride across, often muddy, fields to get there, so take your wellies.

At Winterton there is a paid for car park by The Dunes cafe and also toilets.

Public transport links

Bus routes are limited but the Coastal Clipper from the Gallon Pot at Yarmouth will take you to Winterton (Bulmer Lane). The service takes 30 minutes and runs hourly.

Keep your distance

It is unwise to get too close for your own safety as well as that of the seals. Trying to stroke, sit on, or take a selfie with seals is an absolute no-no and could lead to the pup being abandoned and ultimately dying.

Wardens advise sticking to paths and keeping about 20m away. Dogs must be kept on leads, there have been several attacks already this year.

MORE: Man accidentally puts 600 seals up for sale


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