Walk along any Norfolk Beach and you are likely to see a seal bobbing alongside you in the sea.  Seal watching at Horsey Gap is possible all year round but in the late autumn and early winter Horsey beach becomes seal central.

Seal Watching at Horsey Gap In Norfolk

Tucked down a sandy track is Horsey Gap beach which in late autumn becomes a magnet to breeding seals.  Come mid October heavily pregnant seals begin to arrive on Horsey Beach, the day after arrival they give birth.  Then the bull seals arrive to help feed and protect the mothers and pups.  From mid October to mid January the beach is home to hundreds and hundreds of seals.  Early on in the breeding season you can walk along the beach to see them but when things get going access is restricted to special viewing platforms in the dunes.

Seal watching Horsey Gap

I love a fact …. Here are some of my favourite seal facts:

  • Half the world’s grey seals live in Britain.
  • Seals gather in what is called a Rookery or Haul-out. 
  • Seal mother milk is 60% fat.
  • Seal pups grow 2 kilograms a day.
  • Bull seals can be 3 metres long and weigh 300 kilograms. 
  • Pups are born with with fluffy fur that is not waterproof. 
  • After 3 weeks a sleek grey waterproof coat grows.

Horsey Gap Seals

  • Do stay at least 10 metres away from the seals. 
  • Do keep dogs on leads. 
  • Don’t get too close as seals can bite.
  • Do wear warm clothes as the wind whipping across the dunes might have come straight from the Arctic.


You can see basking seals at all times of year on the North Norfolk coast, the best way to see seals outside the breeding time is to take a boat trip.  Boats leave from Morston Quay and Blakeney Quay and cost £12 for adults and £6 for children, make sure you ring and book first or else you may arrive to find a full boat.  We have done seal watching trips at all times of year in all weathers and always seen seals. There are four main seal watching boat trip operators and they all charge the same.

Horsey Gap

Horsey Gap is beautiful at any time of year, with or without seals.  It is has a sandy beach that begs to have sandcastles made on it.  Don’t expect ‘facilities’, this is the remote Norfolk coast so bring a picnic or do as we did and have a tasty bacon bap from the JT’s caravan in the car park.  If you walk back along the path at the back of the dunes you will see some of the many World War II concrete defences that litter the East Anglian countryside.  The reinforced concrete has begun to decay but the view looking through the pillbox was too fine a frame to resist taking this snap of the Junior CW’s.

Horsey Gap


You can follow the aforementioned narrow track and park in the car park which is pay and display and then follow the signs.  Walking to the seals from the car park takes about ten minutes or so.  If you fancy a longer walk, or if the Horsey Gap car park is full, park in the National Trust Horsey Windpump Carpark and then follow footpaths across the fields and dunes to Horsey Gap, this will take about 45 minutes.

Seal Watching Horsey Gap Norfolk

If you’d like to find out more about life on the Norfolk coast check out my Great Yarmouth Time and Tide Museum post.

Suitcases and Sandcastles


  1. October 30, 2016 / 6:14 am

    Thank you for the mention ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your pics. Mark was gutted we got back to the car park too late for him to have a burger. Hehe. #MySundayPhoto

    • Catherine
      October 30, 2016 / 9:21 am

      You’ll just have to go again!

  2. October 30, 2016 / 6:34 am

    Hi Catherine, OooOOoo, I want to go to Horsey Gap and see the seals! The less facilities the better (in my opinion!). I love your last photo, the concrete defence certainly did make a nice frame.


  3. October 30, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Those seals are so beautiful. Next time I am in Norfolk I will have to remember this place.

  4. October 30, 2016 / 9:15 am

    What a treat to see the seals, I’ve seen them a couple of times in Cornwall but not in these numbers.

  5. November 5, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    This looks like such a beautiful place. Sorry I am late with my comment! #MySundayPhoto

    • Catherine
      November 5, 2016 / 1:03 pm

      Don’t worry, I’m impressed that you are commenting with your treatment. I have everything crossed for you xxx

  6. December 13, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Those were some interesting facts about seals that I definitely didn’t know! We have a lot of seals down at the La Jolla Cove I grew up watching! Didn’t realize so many lived in Britain! #FarawayFiles

  7. December 13, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    The last time I saw seals like that were in San Francisco. Don’t need to venture far now! #FarawayFiles

  8. December 13, 2018 / 2:02 pm

    I had no idea you could view seals there! How gorgeous, another place to add to the UK bucket list

  9. katerinaemalina
    December 13, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    I also didn’t know you could see seals here. I love Norfolk so much. Can’t wait to get back there #farawayfiles

  10. December 13, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    This looks like my kind of day out! I have never seen so many seals in the UK. We spotted them from a distance on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne a couple of years back but this looks like a better opportunity to see them close up. It looks chilly but so much fun! #FarawayFiles

  11. December 13, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    We’ve done similar days out here on the Northern California coast and I love seeing the wildlife up close and personal. Once we did have to scamper away pretty quick when some Elephant seals decided they were on the move and we were in their path. I’m surprised that dogs are allowed… #farawayfiles

  12. Anisa
    December 15, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    I have only been to Horsey Gap once and it was last May. We didn’t expect to see seals but we saw about 200! It was amazing, I definitely need to go back and I also want to do one of the boat tours. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Catherine
      December 15, 2018 / 12:26 pm

      It is the most amazing place!

  13. December 19, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    My kids love seals. I was paying particular attention to your Do’s and Don’ts section as when we were in La Jolla, CA (known for its plethora of seals) everyone was walking right up to them, and so so did we – until a seal went for my daughter and almost bit her! It was a very close call! Suffice it to say we will still seal watch, but from a distance. Ha! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  14. February 1, 2020 / 2:47 pm

    First time I hear about Horsey Gap, but the pictures are beautiful, so will definitely put this on the list. In Norfolk, we’ve previously only done seal-spotting in Hunstanton. Next time around we’re planning on doing Blakeney, but might aim to squeeze Horsey Gap in on our way back to London. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Catherine
      February 1, 2020 / 5:42 pm

      All good places to see seals, you donโ€™t need a boat at Horsey so a bit more accessible

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