Newest Review: ... took a walk into Hemsby resort. It had not really changed in the years since our last visit other than to look somewhat shabby and tired... more
Hemsby and Chips!
Member Name: brittle1906
Advantages: Good base for touring .
Disadvantages: A bit tacky and brash.
Review of Hemsby, Norfolk.
My partner and I have just returned from a week long break in Hemsby. We had visited the area previously, around 10 years ago and had a very pleasant holiday, so when the opportunity to take a last minute holiday presented itself, we decided to return to Hemsby.
Situated on the beautiful Norfolk coast, Hemsby is definitely a divided village! The residential part is a mixture of old and new houses, a few small shops and other facilities. Then comes Beach Road, the main thoroughfare leading to the beach, this and nearby Newport Road make up the 'resort' section of Hemsby. The two areas could not be more different.
My review will concentrate on the resort area as this is where we stayed. We chose to go self-catering, this suits us as I am a very picky eater which can make dining out a bit of a trial at times!
We have had a particularly difficult year and were in dire need of a break. We had booked online and on arrival, found to our delight that we had been allocated a chalet in the quieter area of the resort, on Newport Road. We did not particularly want to be near entertainments or amusements, so the Sundowner site was good for us.
As we were not visiting during school holidays, the site was very quiet, with few people, other than chalet owners on our part of the resort. There was a clubhouse and bar on the site, but we did not use this at all.
The chalet was designed for four and although far from perfect, due to inadequate kitchen utensils and the most uncomfortable beds I've ever come across, it was OK and we were just happy to be on holiday!
Hemsby is located approximately 12 miles north of Great Yarmouth and is an ideal base for touring Norfolk. We settled in and once rested after our 4 hour drive from home, took a walk into Hemsby resort. It had not really changed in the years since our last visit other than to look somewhat shabby and tired.
Beach Road is lined with amusement arcades, bingo venues, places to eat and convenience and gift shops. There are several pubs and bars in Hemsby and various attractions such as mini golf and children's rides.
At first glance, it has to be said, that if you don't want fish and chips, you feel you'll be hard pushed to find anything to eat in Hemsby! Closer inspection does reveal one of the best Chinese take aways I've ever come across, plus a few other types of food outlets, it is however predominantly chips, chips and more chips!
For those who opt for self catering, the biggest drawback in my opinion is the distance from a decent supermarket. There is a small Spar shop in Hemsby which stocks the basics, but is a little on the pricey side. There is also a Co-Op supermarket in Martham, a few miles away, but you would really need a car to access this. We found a convenience shop on Newport Road which was useful for milk, bread and other sundries. Luckily we had brought almost everything we needed with us so shopping was not an issue, however, a proper supermarket would definitely enhance this resort in my opinion.
Hemsby is a purpose built resort, whilst buzzing with activity in the holiday season, things wind down in the late season and most of the shops shut for the winter. I have to say that in my view, the whole resort looks a bit tatty, tacky and brash.
All this can be forgiven in my opinion, once you reach the beach!
This coastline of Norfolk is blessed with miles and miles of beautiful sand, rolling dunes and amazing sea views. The beach at Hemsby is accessed by several paths, the main one at the end of Beach Road has a wooden slope making access for pushchairs/wheelchairs and so on easier. We used to walk through the nature reserve that runs behind Beach Road for many miles and we would then access the beach via a steep sand track which led over the dunes and on to a particularly gorgeous stretch of beach. This was usually pretty deserted. Given the season, early September, the weather was super and we were able to relax on the beach in a pleasantly warm temperature.
Unsurprisingly, Hemsby is very popular with families, the beach is lovely for little ones and the sand makes great castles! This I can vouch for having spent an enjoyable hour or two engaged in sand construction activities....well, I am only 53!
*==My thoughts and Conclusion==*
All in all, Hemsby is a great place for a good old fashioned British bucket and spade type holiday. The is a wealth of self catering chalet and caravan parks, camp sites in the resort area and bed and breakfast accommodation is available in the residential part of Hemsby.
The resort area of the place is a bit shabby, the large 'Pontins' holiday camp stands empty and semi derelict, as this is literally at the start of Beach Road it is a bit off-putting and doesn't enhance the resort at all!
I must admit that I found the tinny music from the amusement arcades when walking along Beach Street very intrusive, I appreciate that the penny falls and similar machines are a source of great enjoyment and an intrinsic part of holiday fun for many people, but they do not do much for me personally.
We paid a tad over £200 for our weeks self catering stay at the Sundowner Park in Hemsby. I do not class this as cheap for two when added to travel expenses and the cost of buying your own food, however it should be born in mind that had we travelled as a party of four, the accommodation would have cost us exactly the same!
As mentioned Hemsby is ideal as a base for touring the area, personally I feel a car is required if holidaying in the resort. Of course, some people are content to stay in Hemsby, relaxing on the beach or using the amusements available, but we prefer to go out and about. We found the road system to actually leave Hemsby and return to the main road, a little confusing and we did get lost a couple of times! It didn't matter, we took it as part of the holiday experience! We discovered that once on the main road (A149), we were fairly central to all the locations we wished to visit, Stalham and Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads, Caister-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth on the coast. We ventured as far afield as Cromer, approximately 30 miles from Hemsby and found the drive very pleasant.
For me, it is definitely as a base for exploring all that Norfolk has to offer, that Hemsby comes into it's own. The area is packed with places to visit, admittedly we already knew the area and had a good idea of where we wished to go and what we wanted to see. I understand that there is a public transport service from Hemsby to Great Yarmouth which is great for those who do not wish to drive.
To conclude, it is hard to recommend a holiday to others as we all have different tastes and expectations from a holiday. Hemsby suited our purposes very well indeed and although I do not think I would like the place in high season, for a September break, it was ideal.
I would return to Hemsby, but would probably opt to take my motor-home and stay on one of the camp sites in the area, rather than a chalet park.
Thank you for reading
İbrittle1906 September 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
Summary: A great British 'bucket and spade' holiday