King’s Lynn has a rich Hanseatic heritage and some very royal links, it’s a popular destination for people exploring West Norfolk. With a name change from no other than King Henry VIII himself, King’s Lynn’s historical storyline is full of adventure, excitement, blood and betrayal and it has all been perfectly preserved by the local Heritage Fund.
The award-winning Lynn Museum tells the story of West Norfolk and its past in a glorious interactive tour, where you can examine the skeletons of Anglo Saxon warriors and even Egyptian Shabti figures. For a more Maritime history tour, walk through True’s Yard Museum, which is all that remains of the towns old fishing community and now has a Victorian tearoom.
A short walk to the old King’s Lynn Saturday Market Place and you can step back in time once more with a tour of the town’s old Gaol House where, for over 400 years, King’s Lynn most notorious criminals were imprisoned. An excellent audio tour really brings the history to life and younger visitors can even dress up as gaolers and prisoners for a taste of what the Victorian justice system was really like.
King’s Lynn’s redeveloped town centre has everything you need for a day of shopping and is brimming with cafes, bars and pubs for you to relax and refresh yourself. Grab an evening show at the town’s Art Centre or Corn Exchange, which has played host to many a pantomime, ballet or famous comedian. Both situated close to the famous Tuesday Market Place, which was once used to burn witches at the stake, but is now used on a day to day basis as a central car park. During the summer, this is turned into the town’s free entertainment extravaganza ‘Festival Too’, which has grown in recent years and attracts crowds of 15,000 to watch big names in entertainment. During the February half term, the King’s Lynn Mart takes over the carpark, as it has done in one form or another for over 500 years.
The King’s Lynn ferry is also a staple sight and is still used today to transport local people across the Ouse to and from West Lynn. In the centre of the town sits The Walks park, where you can feed the ducks, play a game of football or just sit on the grass with a good book. The Walks’ original bandstand still sits by the river, as does the Red Mount Chapel. The Walks Stadium in Walks Park is home to King’s Lynn Town Football Club.
King’s Lynn is full of historical buildings, with St Margaret’s Church standing proudly on the Saturday Market Place, and just around the corner the chequered front of the Town Hall. Arguably the most well-known buildings in King’s Lynn are the Customs House, a 17th-century building originally built to serve as a merchants exchange on the towns medieval harbour, and the Southgate which marks the original entrance to the town.
Not far from King’s Lynn is the Queen’s estate of Sandringham, which is visited by the royal family annually at Christmas and frequently throughout the year. With most of the grounds open to the public, it is a wonderful place to wave to the royals or to simply have a picnic. King’s Lynn is just a short drive to the coast and is close to Hunstanton beaches and Burnham Market. In addition to Sandringham, both Houghton Hall and Holkham Hall are in easy reach.
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