Norfolk - a County Rich in History
There are many reasons to choose Norfolk for a holiday destination; but sometimes one of the most overlooked is its history. Norfolk has been home to numerous historical figures from a Tudor Queen to a national war hero; while its capital city was once among the most important and wealthiest in Britain. Here are some of the best historical attractions we feel Norfolk has to offer.
Historic Houses and Halls
Scattered across Norfolk are a number of historical houses and estates that are open to the public. Perhaps the most famous being Sandringham Estate, which has been owned by the Royal Family since 1862. Holkham is a beautiful seaside town, which homes Holkham Hall, this privately owned family home is one of the Treasure Houses, which consists of ten of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England.
Another noteworthy historical house is Blickling Hall and estate, with rich history the fascinating red-brick Jacobean House is set within beautiful gardens and parklands. It is now owned by the National Trust and open to all to explore.
The most famous person to have been born in Norfolk was the national war hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Born in the tiny village of Burnham Thorpe, in North Norfolk in 1758, which has memorabilia and the 17th century Lord Nelson Pub, which is well worth a visit. You can find the Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth which is dedicated to telling Nelsons story, with Discover Life Below Decks showing the life of a naval officer at the time and a Georgian Herb Garden to visit.
Castles, churches and Cathedrals
Norwich was England’s second city in the medieval days through to the industrial revolution and was extremely wealthy and culturally active. Norman invaders built Norwich Castle, now a museum and art gallery, where you can explore the Castle Keep, and prison. Norwich Cathedral is surrounded by medieval streets, independent shops, boutiques and galleries. This Romanesque cathedral is free to visit and well worth it with the second tallest spire in England. Strangers Hall is a wonderfully preserved building dating back to 1320, with real life scenes of Tudor and Georgian times in Norwich. Norwich also has the world’s only Mustard Museum, fancy that!
Traditional Villages and Seaside Towns
Norfolk is well-known for its coast, but not just for its sandy beaches. The Victorian seaside towns of Cromer and Sheringham are just a short drive away. There is evidence of their being a pier or jetty in Cromer since 1391. With its Pavilion Theatre open all year round, as well as the town having friendly pubs, traditional charm and even a museum or two to visit, it’s a lovely day out. Every September Sheringham celebrates its 1940’s weekend on the North Norfolk Railway with music, food and fancy dress! You can take the heritage railway line between Sheringham and Holt and remember or experience the spirit of the 1940’s.
Wells-next-the-Sea and Blakeney are also perfect places to stop off, with bird-watching, sandy beaches, pinewoods and some impressive Georgian and Victorian architecture, discovering the rich history of these seaside towns that were once booming with trade and industry is hard to believe in the now quintessential and picturesque seaside towns, which happen to serve possibly the world’s best fish and chips.