Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk

Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk

Renowned far and wide, the Cromer crab is a local delicacy which has increased the popularity of crabbing in this region of the coast.

North Norfolk is filled with estuaries, creeks and shallow sea water, providing the perfect habitat for crabs to grow and thrive. Locally known as gillying, crabbing, is a family-friendly activity for all ages and is a fun pastime for any holiday or weekend away, creating memories to last a lifetime. From finding the perfect spot at the quays at Wells-next-the-sea and Blakeney to strategic positioning on Cromer Pier, there are many beautiful locations to catch crabs in North Norfolk.

Enjoy days out together as a family trying to catch the largest crab and then sampling this local delicacy in the many seafood restaurants serving the freshest catches of the day. Our luxury North Norfolk holiday cottages are perfectly positioned near to all the best local crabbing spots and provide a relaxing place to unwind and enjoy after the day’s activities.

Where to go crabbing in North Norfolk

Crabs are abundant in this area of England thanks to the clean waters and large areas of habitat. To go crabbing you only need a high tide and a place to wait high above the water. The following places are some of our favourite places to go crabbing, but there are numerous locations to catch these local crustaceans including rock pooling in areas such as Hunstanton.

Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk
Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk


Arguably the most famed location for this pastime is Cromer. The offshore chalk reefs result in large, delicious crabs which grow and feed in cleaner waters opposed to the muddy sea floor, creating a succulent meat and the famed Cromer crab flavour. Cromer has some of the best restaurants to taste the fresh catches, which are caught and prepared locally by fishermen.

The Cromer Pier is the perfect vantage point and you can often find other budding catchers tending to their lines beneath the waves. There is always plenty of friendly competition but also many crabs to go around, you might even pick up a few tips if this is your first time gillying. The area is so popular and rewarding for catchers the Annual World Pier Crabbing Championships take place here each year over the August bank holiday weekend.


The quay is the best location in Blakeney to cast your lines. The local shops provide everything you could need for a successful trip and the Blakeney Spa also sells delicious ice creams to enjoy whilst you wait for your catch to take the bait. As with most of the locations in this area, the best time to crab is at a high tide as this is when the crabs are most active and feeding and are most likely to take a bite from your bait.


A must do activity when visiting Wells is crabbing at the quay, as it is locally known as one of the top spots for crabbing in North Norfolk. The waters here provide the perfect habitat and shelter for crabs resulting in large numbers of these crustaceans taking up residency here. To protect the harbour environment, local businesses such as the Gilly Hut rent eco-friendly crabbing kits from just £1 providing everything you need for your day of fun.

After you have caught the best crabs of the day there is still plenty to do as Wells-next-the-sea is also one of the best beaches in the region and even features a miniature train ride taking you from the harbour to the beach, perfect for children, before heading back to your coastal holiday cottage.

What do you need to go crabbing?

Your equipment list is very small and remember, most of the local businesses stock all the things you could need for a successful crabbing experience.

  • Bucket
  • Piece of string or fishing line
  • A weight
  • Bait

In North Norfolk the use of hooks is discouraged and are not allowed in some areas. This is to protect the local wildlife and can make it difficult for little ones to get involved, when it comes to crabbing the simple method usually works best!

There are many different choices for bait but tried and tested temptations include fish, raw chicken, and bacon. Something to leave a scent trail and attract the crabs tends to work better with fish such as mackerel being popular choices.

The process is simple! First pick your location. Next prepare the bucket where you can admire your catches. To prepare the bucket, simply half fill with sea water and add several rocks and seaweed to the bottom of your bucket to mimic the natural environment.

At your chosen spot tie the bait of your choice to the end of your line and secure the weight just above the bait. Check both are secure and then cast your line beneath the waves, now the wait begins. Keep hold of the line and when you feel a tug, slowly pull the line out of the water, if you pull too quickly the crab will drop off and you’ll have to start again. Watching your little one’s face light up when the line begins to pull is one of the best parts of the experience.

When collecting your crab, carefully hold the back of the shell avoiding its legs and front claws and place it in your bucket of sea water. The aim is to collect the biggest crab. After you have caught your winner, return the crabs carefully to the ocean, do not throw them back, walk them safely to the water’s edge and release gently.

Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk
Best Places to go Crabbing in North Norfolk

When are Norfolk crabs in season?

The peak of the Norfolk crabbing season is March to July, but this does vary depending on the weather, with warmer summers increasing the season all the way through to October. Usually there is a slight decline in July and August when the crabs hide away to moult and grow new shells.

For those wishing to create long lasting holiday memories, crabbing is definitely an activity to try when visiting the region. Our coastal holiday cottages are conveniently located just a short drive from all of the best crabbing hotspots and other local attractions. For more information about our properties or for any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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