Seal Colony at Blakeney Point

See the Seals in North Norfolk

There is nowhere like north Norfolk to get up close and see seals in their natural habitat, making it the natural choice for a visit.

explore the largest seal colony in england

Seal pup at Blakeney Point
Blakeney National Nature Reserve
Grey Seals

The colony at Blakeney Point, a nature reserve run by the National Trust since 1912, is home to Common and Grey seals, and with over 3,000 pups born each year, it makes Blakeney Point the largest colony in England.

In the summer between June and August, Common seals have their young, while the Grey seals have their pups between November and January. The Grey pups are recognisable from their snowy white fur coats and big black eyes. The pups feed from their mothers for around three weeks, in which time they triple in size and shed their white fur, before heading into the sea.

Grey adult seals, the larger of the two species, have speckles on their coats and longer pointed heads with parallel nostrils, whereas the Common seals' faces are more rounded face with 'v' shaped nostrils. Mating takes place soon after pupping, when male seals (bulls), fight for territories; a dramatic sight to see.

Blakeney Point, with its distinctive blue Lifeboat House visitor centre, is a four-mile shingle and sand spit, which is also accessible by foot from Cley car park. (The western-most end is fenced off during the breeding season, from October to January, for the safety of seals and nesting birds).

Also recognised as internationally important for its breeding birds, you are likely to see Sandwich and Little Terns in Summer, as well as Common and Arctic Terns as they begin to arrive from West Africa in April. On the sands you might also see Oyster Catchers, Dunlin, Ringed Plovers and Turnstones. During the winter, you can often see duck and geese including Teal, Pintail, Pinkfooted Geese, noisily passing overhead.

How to see the seals:

The best and safest way to see the seals, is to take a boat trip from either Blakeney harbour or Morston quay, usually lasting about an hour (or longer in the summer when the days are lighter), where you're taken to the natural habitat of the seals around the Spit.

other places to see seals

There are also trips, aboard amphibious boats, from Hunstanton to see the group of Common seals in the Wash, an area of shallow tidal sandbanks, fed by four tributaries. At Horsey, you will find a large colony (please admire from a distance and keep dogs on leads) and you may be lucky to also see seals in the water or basking on the beach at Wells harbour, on the sandbanks at Holkham and at Sea Palling.

Responsible seal viewing:
The best way to view the seals and pups is by boat trip, minimising the disturbance to the seals. Please follow the recommended walking route along Blakeney Point (three miles one-way on loose shingle) if walking to the colony and always respect fence lines and advice given by the National Trust. Keep dogs on short leads at all times and please do not take your photo with the seals as this will disturb the protective mothers and fathers, which could result in serious injury to you and the pup.

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