The coastline of the North Sea stretches for a considerable distance through the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Through the years the local authorities have been able to utilize the warm summer months and pleasant beaches, to produce a number of towns that have become popular with tourists. These coastal towns are a combination of towns that have primarily grown as a result of the business that has been created from their harbors, and those that have grown from tourism. The coastline is a gateway to the rich fishing waters of the North Sea plus the west coast of mainland Europe where for centuries that the region has been doing business with. The region’s most southerly coastal town is Felixstowe which is located in Suffolk. Feilxstowe does attract some tourists, as it has a beach and a pier, but it is better known for having the largest container port in the UK.
The port does much business with Europe and has its own police force as a result of it being a major international border centre. The port is deep enough to accommodate some of the largest container ships in the world and both terminals at the port have train stations so that its cargo can be shipped off to other areas of Britain. Another important port in the region is Lowestoft. In the past over 100 fishing boats have operated from this north Suffolk town but today only a few operate as a working business. The port however is still important to the town but a lot of traditional industries being located in this area.
The town has also grown in popularity as a tourist destination. Its larger beach has two piers and the waters around the town are famously clean. Pontins has its own holiday park and the economy of the town relies heavily on the trade from tourism. Just north of Lowestoft is the town of Great Yarmouth which combines being both a working port and also having an expanding tourist economy. The port services off shore gas rigs that are located in the North Sea.
The town has a population of over 90,000 and benefits from being close to both Norwich and the Norfolk broads. The long beach is a major attraction and this area is known as the “golden mile”. It is surrounded by numerous indoor arcades plus many other tourist attractions. Cromer is another town that has benefited from tourism. Originally the town was famed for the crabs that the local fisherman caught and there are still boats that set sail everyday fishing the waters. The town has a pier and a Pavilion Theatre and the beach area is particularly popular with visitors during the summer months.
Just up the coast from Cromer is Sheringham which also has a small fishing industry with 8 boats making up the current day fleet. It is a popular destination as it is a railway town and enthusiasts come to visit the steam engines that run each day from the town on the “poppy line”. The town is quite small but during the summer months its numbers are swelled by people who are attracted by the flora and fauna of the North Norfolk coast line. Near-by at Cley-next-the-Sea are the Cley Marshes which are renowned for the millions of birds that migrate there each year with many remaining to breed.
The spit beach that spreads from Cley to Blakeney Point also gives tourists to see the seals that populate this long 4 mile beach. Boat trips also operate especially during August when the seals are having their pups. The coastal towns in the region are currently experiencing a boom in tourism. This has been vital for the area as it has coincided in a downturn in both North Sea fish stocks, and the British fishing industry. There are many attractions in the region that brings them into the area.