One of England’s most important ports from as early as the 12th century Kings Lynn is the gateway to the beautiful Norfolk coast.
Fine old merchants houses stretch down to the river, between cobbled lanes which host a variety of shops, alongside independent retailers creating a complete shopping experience.
We used this old market town as a springboard to the Norfolk Coast as part of our stay-cation holiday post the COVID-19 lockdown. Our accommodation was a lovely self-contained annex which was very nice and cosy. The weather was not on our side when we decided to go into town and we spent a few hours walking around with a brolly, on a stormy Sunday afternoon.
The town centre was pretty much deserted and we felt like we had the whole town to ourselves. On a particularly bad downpour we darted into the Poco Lounge for a bit of cover and quick drink which we highly recommend doing.
Five minutes from our accommodation is the Sandringham Estate, the much loved country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Sandringham Estate, including the six hundred acres of the Country Park, lies within the Norfolk Coast area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Sandringham offers you the royal estate with stately home, museums, gardens and vast woodland of walks and wildlife to discover. The estate also has its own church, the church of St Mary Magdalene.
We could not pass up the opportunity of paying the queen a visit whilst we were in the area so we popped along to see her but she wasn’t in.
The estate is well kept (not a weed in sight) with the gardens looking like a botanical garden with a massive variety of different plants and flowers on show. Access to the gardens and the house come at a cost but the surrounding six hundred acres of woodland are free to visit any day of the year, which is fab. So if you are in the area, why not take a look.
Popular with visitors since Victorian times, the classic resort of Hunstanton provides a cherished mix of Victorian charm, coupled with plenty of opportunities for day trippers and holiday makers young and old coming to enjoy what the resort has to offer.
There are two sides to Hunstanton; the main resort of Hunstanton famous for its distinctive striped cliffs and beach, ideal for exploring rock pools and spectacular sunsets. Only a mile further down the coast to old Hunstanton the quieter, more traditional face of the resort which has more of a village feel.
We had a very pleasant walk along the beach, at low tide across the soft wet sand which was scattered with shells, mostly razor clam shells. The cliffs were indeed striped with half white chalk and half red chalk which was pretty cool. Zig-zagging our way across the beach, we stumbled across a ship wreck at the bottom of the cliff, mostly submerged by sand. That was pretty cool too.
Making our way up to the promenade to the main centre of Hunstanton, we popped into Becca’s Kitchen for some well earned breakfast. Yummy!
Heacham is an English village in West Norfolk overlooking The Wash, between King’s Lynn, 14 miles to the south, and Hunstanton, about 3 miles to the north. It has been a seaside resort for over a century and a half.
This beach was on the way back to our accommodation and as the sun was shining we decided to take a detour. The beach is sandy and reminded us of camber sands. The green reeds sprouting from the ground and the lovely warm sand felt great between the feet after spending a day walking around the shops. We laid on the sand and watched the sun set before heading home.
Wells was a harbour as far back as the eleventh century. There was a commercial fishery by the early fourteenth century and Wells vessels fished for herring and cod off Norway and as far away as Iceland. Its vessels were used by the King in the Hundred Years War.
The town shows evidence of its commercial past; the lovely narrow yards containing fishermen’s cottages, former merchants houses and traditional shops.
We popped along on a nice sunny day to check out this quaint fishing village and to try the local seafood. We were lucky and managed to book the last table at Wells Crab House seafood restaurant. The seafood was caught locally that morning and was very nice. We had the platter which included local crab, cockles, prawns, crayfish tails, salmon, mackerel and lobster. After eating all that, we didn’t eat very much for the rest of the day.
Its all about the crab here and by lunchtime the quayside was packed with families crabbing, with the savvy using bacon scraps as bait to temp the crabs into their nets. They were all pretty small and not worth eating but provided hours of fun.
Away from the quay is a narrow street which is bustling with coffee shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. Its a relaxed affair, nothing opens until 11am. Further along the quay a well presented little shop caught our eye which was offering locally distilled vodka and gin. Fen Spirits are a family run local business that specialise in handmade liquors and spirits and we couldn’t resist venturing in and came away with far too many souvenirs (which we can now say, after having tested a few are very tasty indeed).
There is a beach about a mile down the road and a caravan park near by and by 2pm the whole place was very busy so we headed off to our next stop, Cromer.
With perhaps the most famous pier on the Norfolk Coast, beautiful beaches and great places to eat out, Cromer has a winning tourist industry and it is unsurprising that Hotels in Cromer book up quickly during the summer months. Cromer also acts a residential, administrative and service centre for North Norfolk.
Although buildings in Cromer such as the church have a history dating back to the medieval period, when the area was known as Shipden, Cromer really came into being and developed during the later half of the 19th century.
The streets of Cromer have changed little since the Victorian era. Most of the great landmarks, many funded by well-to-do Victorian “summer timers”, still stand today as familiar sights to holiday makers.
We had a cup of tea on the pier and walked along the promenade which has some great views of the enormous beachfront which stretches out before you both to the left and the right. It was really busy, with other stay-cationers but there was plenty of room for everyone.