Top Tips for Seal Watching at Horsey Gap Norfolk

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.


Horsey Gap Seals sign
This way to the Seals

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. Beware of the bull seals as they be very aggressive and territorial. 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.

Two kissing seals and a baby seal at Horsey Gap Beach Norfolk
Kissing seals!


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
Time for a snooze


  • 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.
Horsey Beach with seals


Horsey Gap seals are not the only seals in Norfolk. 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 sand dune with a sea view
Gap at Horsey Gap


Horsey Gap is beautiful at any time of year, with or without seals.  Horsey Beach is fine sandy strand 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


Car or bicycle is the best way to get to Horsey Gap, it is a 45 minute drive from Norwich. Keep a sharp eye out for small signpost and turn just beyond the Poppylands tea room (which does a fine lunch and afternoon tea) if you coming from the South. Follow the narrow track and park in the pay and display car park, 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 #familydayout #styacation

Norfolk is my home county for more family days out check out Crabbing at Wells next the Sea, Sculpture at Houghton Hall, Great Yarmouth Time and Tide Museum, Norwich, an Insider’s Guide or Quiet Norfolk, off the Beaten Track.



  1. October 30, 2016 / 6:14 am

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

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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. πŸ™‚

    • February 1, 2020 / 5:42 pm

      All good places to see seals, you don’t need a boat at Horsey so a bit more accessible

  15. September 28, 2020 / 1:15 pm

    I swam with those seals years ago at Blakeney point, that day were super playful and playing hide and seek with me ! Looking forward to going back with the kids soon, we preferred walking to taking a boat last time so they’d better be up for walking few kilometres πŸ™‚

  16. Debbie
    November 15, 2021 / 11:44 pm

    A lovely, inspiring post. We saw the seals and had a great day out, thank you.

    I need to point out, however, that the male seals come back to mate with the mothers once they have given birth and can be quite aggressive. They aren’t the fond providers of child care that you describe.

    • November 16, 2021 / 4:03 pm

      Yes, they are aggressive in when interlopers, seal or other beasts, try to encroach

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