Visiting the Obs

The Observatory is manned throughout the year and on all days of the week and visitors are welcome.

We aim to provide a warm welcome at the reserve and a cafĂ© and toilets are available between approximately 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the NWT Holme Dunes visitor centre next door daily over the summer months, but only at weekends during the winter. Toilet facilities are limited, and visitors arriving by car might wish to consider stopping en route at the Public Conveniences at the northern end of Beach Road. Day permits for the Observatory are £3 per person, with reductions for groups of 10 or more people. Information on membership is always available to anyone who is interested in joining the NOA.

Grant aid from the Norfolk Coast Partnership in 2009 allowed the NOA to construct a ramp, making the Observatory accessible for wheelchairs. A viewing platform next to the Observatory building was constructed in 2012, and is also wheelchair-accessible. Nearby are the ringing laboratory and a purpose built sea-watching hide. The latter stands high in the pine trees looking north over the dunes out to sea, and is ideal for use during autumn storms.

There are five other hides; one looking over the Broad Water a short distance along the east bank, and three viewing hides along the main bank west of the Observatory building, which look into the scrub that grows in the shelter of the pines. These are good places to look for skulking warblers, and a feeding station at the Dell hide nearest the Observatory building sometimes draws in Bramblings, Mealy Redpolls, and even Water Rails on occasion. There is a further hide adjacent to the NOA car park, overlooking the Broad Water.

Two moth traps are opened daily between March and October, and we welcome anyone interested in seeing these fascinating creatures at close hand.

 Grid Reference of Observatory building: TF717450


Directions
The Observatory is signposted off the A149 at the western end of Holme village. From the A149 approximately 1 mile east of Old Hunstanton, take Beach Road, and then at the toilet block just before the Golf Course take Broadwater Road east, following signposts to the Observatory. Broadwater Road crosses the grazing marshes en route to both the NWT visitors’ centre and NOA Observatory. Plenty of parking is available in the NOA's car park – on the right at end of track. There is a second much smaller car park for disabled visitors situated just to the east of the NWT visitors’ centre, and within the Observatory grounds. The Observatory can also be accessed on foot from either Holme village or Thornham, using the Norfolk Coast Path.

Note: If stopped at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust entrance hut, Observatory visitors and members do not need to buy a permit or car parking pass for the adjacent NWT reserve - just let them know you are going to the NOA Observatory. The gate just east of the NWT entrance hut is normally open only between 10 a.m and 5 p.m., but NOA members and bona-fide visitors to the Observatory may open the gate and drive down to the Observatory. If you open the gate, please be sure to close it behind you again.