Tuesday 30 October 2018

Seeing the Seals at Blakeney Point with Beans Boat Trips

seal pup

At the end of the summer, we had a lovely stay in Fakenham, North Norfolk. We stayed at the White House cottage, which is an Air BnB property and we love it there. This is our second year staying and I’m sure we’ll go back as it suits all the family, with animals to keep the girls entertained, good Wi-fi for JJ and a lovely lounge and garden for my husband and I to fully relax in.

About a twenty-minute drive away is the NationalTrust maintained nature reserve of Morston Quay and Blakeney Point. This is a great place to go for a family walk and just have a look around at the boats mooring up or travelling down the river.

We went there specifically to go out on a boat trip to see the seals which head there to relax and carry their babies. There are several companies offering boat trips out to see the seals, the two most popular ones seem to be Beans and Temples and from I understand from friends who have used both, they are are both reliable, quality and pretty much of a likeness.

Mum & daughters on a boat

For no particular reason, we used Beans boat trips and all the information about sailing times and prices is on their website. You do need to call to make your booking but there is no payment in advance, you pay on the day when you arrive. For this reason, there did appear to be some non-arrivals and there were plenty of people who’d arrived without reservations and were waiting in reserve.

We sailed on Thursday 30th August at 11.15am and this was a super busy day, lots of boats were heading in and out of the river harbour area. We arrived at Morston Quay about 10.30am and this left enough time for us to get parked, pay the £4.50 daily parking charge at the information office and to use the toilets quickly. We then checked in with the Beans boat trip rep who was dressed in bright orange, which made them nice and easy to spot. Apparently. we should have stopped at the office in the village of Morston, just before the quay but I wasn’t aware of this and to be honest, I’d no idea where we’d have parked, as Morston is a small place and very busy in the summer.

Beans boat
Can you see the seal swimming past, on the left?

I’ll admit I was a little worried as we waited to board the boat, as there were so many people and I thought we’d end up sitting on top of each other on the boats and perhaps not even being able to see very well, but I really need not have worried at all. We were comfy on the boat with enough bum and legroom, although I suspect there might have been one or two people on the boat who got on at the end of the queue who might have been less comfy than us, as their legs were bashing with another person.

The price we paid was £12 per adult and £6 per child, 14 years and under, so at £40 for a family of five, it wasn’t the cheapest excursion for an hours boat ride but we thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it again. If you go outside the summer months the trip is 1.5 hours as it includes a short stop at Blakeney point where you can get off the boat for a walk around. I’m not sure why they don’t allow this in the summer but my husband and I assumed it might be to do with the seals being heavily pregnant or having young babes with them.

Seals at Blakeney Point

Seals at Blakeney Point

You’ll see from my photos that we were able to get very close to the seals and it wasn’t just a short sail past them once, we went around the point where the seals lay several times so the visitors on both sides of the boat got equally good views and amount of time seeing the seals up close.

I can’t recall the name of our skipper or crewman (I really should have written their names down) but they were both great and very knowable of the local area and the waterways. We had excellent commentary as we sailed out, about the boats, tides, local area, migrating birds and of course the seals too. There are grey and common seals residing in the area and it is estimated that the colony is about 500 strong, so you really do get to see loads of them.

Man taking photos

If you like seals, birds, nature, water, boats - then this is going to be a perfect trip for you. We had such a good time and I'd imagine we'd do the trip again. The only one who wasn't completely enthralled was JJ, he's 14 and not particularly into animals, so it didn't hit the mark for him.

resting seal

Beans boat trips

Birds on a boat

Blakeney Point lifeboat centre

Sail boat

Pregnant seal

Seal going in water for a swim

After our trip, we enjoyed a take-away coffee and hot chocolate from the National Trust kiosk and then headed into the town of Sherringham for some lunch and a wander. It's a great little town with a really nice beach and we had some fabulous filled baguettes from the delicatessen.

I'd highly recommend North Norfolk, we've enjoyed our last two years staying there.

Why not pin this post for later?

Beans boat trips pin

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose, we paid for this trip ourselves. As always I remain honest.