Magical places to see sunrise and sunset in Norfolk
- Credit: Ryan Grice/iwitness24
It’s the longest day of the year on Monday June 21 - and, clouds allowing, the ideal day to enjoy a Norfolk sunrise and sunset and make the most of very nearly 17 hours of daylight in between
For the earliest sunrise head to the north-east coast. The beach at Hopton-on-sea is Norfolk’s most easterly point with sunrise scheduled for 4.31am. Just a hop over the border will get you to Ness Point, Lowestoft – the most easterly town in the whole country.
Cromer is one of the best places in Britain to view the sunrise and the sunset from exactly the same spot. Stand at the end of the pier for a stunning view of the sunrise at 4.29am and return at the end of the longest day for sunset at 9.24pm.
Norfolk’s west coast is another perfect place for a seaside sunset. If the solstice evening is clear the fiery disc will seem to sink beneath the waves at 9.28pm at Hunstanton, setting the sky alight in pinks and reds and throwing its final beams of the day on to the famous red and white striped cliffs.
Stonehenge is one of the most spectacular settings in the world to see sunrise on the summer solstice – and while Norfolk has not got a stone henge it has the remains of wooden henges just south of Norwich and at Holme-next-the-Sea near Hunstanton. Arminghall Henge is believed to have been aligned with the winter solstice sun 4,000 years ago. Seahenge, which emerged from the sea at Holme in 1998, is a very similar age.
Mountain sunrises are particularly spectacular and while Norfolk’s peaks are less showy than the Himalayas we have our own high points. Beacon Hill, aka Roman Camp, in West Runton, near Cromer, rises to a magnificent 103 metres of 338 feet. Yes, it’s the lowest high point of any English county – but as poet John Betjeman said: “I am still reeling with delight at the soaring majesty of Norfolk.” There are tremendous views from the top and it is worth knowing that as the sun rises its rays are warming what was once the front line of an ice age. Glaciers up to a kilometre thick ground to halt here.
The second highest point in Norfolk is in the middle of the county between Melton Constable and Swanton Novers, at just over 100 metres or 331ft above sea level. Picturesque Beeston Bump, east of Sheringham, is the 19721st highest peak in the British Isles with a mighty 63 metres or 207ft between the top and the sea.
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To capture a castle sunrise for free climb the man-made castle hills at Castle Acre, Thetford or Norwich.
For fine Norwich views (summer solstice sunrise at 4.31am and sunset at 9.22pm) try Mousehold Heath for the first of the sun and Kett’s Heights, off Kett’s Hill, to watch it dip down behind the city at the end of the day.
Just across the border into Suffolk is Lowestoft, Britain’s most easterly town, where the First Light Festival includes a live-stream of the summer solstice sunrise on Lowestoft beach from 4.15am, accompanied by music by trio Kosmic. Most of the rest of the festival events will be over the weekend of June 26 and 27 including art, music, drama and sea shanties.