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A Norfolk market town steeped in maritime history

17.05.2022

A Hanseatic market town brimming with heritage, King’s Lynn boasts a vibrant town centre with a great blend of history, shopping, and entertainment.

Surrounded by idyllic West Norfolk countryside and nestled just a stone’s throw from the sprawling golden sands of the Norfolk coast, King’s Lynn is a much-favoured Norfolk town for both visitors and those who call it home – it’s even got the royal seal of approval!

Once one of England’s most important ports, the King’s Lynn played a crucial role in England’s maritime past and that is evident to this day.

With old merchants’ houses, cobbled lanes and the Custom House overlooking the harbour, the town’s heritage is reflected everywhere you look.

Boasting over 450 listed buildings, the medieval architecture to admire is unmatched anywhere else in the country for a town of its size.

King’s Lynn’s development in the 12th century and successful Hanseatic trading links created one of the wealthiest towns in medieval England.

The legacy of this trade can be seen today in its beautiful and significant architecture, with its two marketplaces, two Guildhalls, and two churches. The historic Tuesday Market Place, Guildhall of St George and St Nicholas Chapel are all the largest in England.

The market town offers an array of cultural and entertainment events and venues, such as the Alive Corn Exchange and the renowned ‘Festival Too’, an award-winning park and gardens and many sports and leisure facilities.

The Vancouver Quarter provides a modern shopping experience and compliments the town’s markets on the historic Tuesday Market Place, offering a fantastic blend of contemporary and traditional ways to shop.

If we haven’t already piqued your interest with the town’s abundance of history and frequent visits from the royal family, here are our top picks of things to do when in the area…


Join a Guided Walk of the Town

Between the months of April and October, you can take a guided walk of King’s Lynn and learn about the town’s unique heritage from a knowledgeable guide.

Allowing you to explore nine hundred years of maritime past, soak up the array of fine houses, medieval churches and guildhalls, secret courtyards and hidden alleys waiting to be discovered.


Admire the Minster

Situated in the heart of the town in the historic surroundings of the Saturday Market Place, the Minster was founded back in 1101.

Originally called St Margaret’s Church, it was entitled King’s Lynn Minster in 2011 and is a Grade I listed parish church steeped in heritage.


See the Custom House

A must-see when visiting, the iconic 17th century Custom House is one of King’s Lynn most recognised historic buildings.

Having been built by Sir John Turner in in 1683 and designed by architect Henry Bell, the Custom House was opened in 1685 as a merchant’s exchange and a place to regulate trade through the port.


Visit St George’s Guildhall

The Guildhall of St George is the largest 15th century Guildhall in England and the oldest working theatre in the UK, renowned for having hosted Shakespeare.

The Guildhall now operates as an arts centre with a range of local events and concerts and is open free of charge, every day of the week.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the unique Grade I listed building and the vision for its future, volunteers provide guided tours.


Say hello to the Queen!

The much-loved Norfolk retreat of Her Majesty the Queen, Sandringham is a magnificent country home sat in a wonderful 20,000-acre estate and gives you a great chance to get a glimpse into the royal way of life.

Perhaps one of the most famous stately homes in the county of Norfolk, Sandringham is best known as the place where the royal family traditionally celebrate Christmas.

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