Old town wall
South Quay

King's Lynn


King's Lynn an historic Norfolk Market town dating back to 1095. Situated just six miles south of the Sandringham Estate.



Originally called Bishop’s Lynn, after the first bishop of Norwich Cathedral, who founded the town in 1095, and at one time the town was walled on all four sides; today, only the Guannock Gate and South Gate remain.


The Tuesday Market Place was built in the 12th Century and is surrounded by impressive architecture such as The Dukes Head Hotel built in 1686. By the 14th century, King’s Lynn ranked as the third port of England. It still retains two buildings that were warehouses used between the 15th and 17th centuries.


When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538, the town became royal property. The name King's Lynn reflects this change. The town became very prosperous from the 17th century through the export of corn; the Customs House was built in 1683 to the designs of local architect Henry Bell.


In April 1792, the town’s most famous son, Captain George Vancouver's ship Discovery beat a convoy of American ships to the northwest coast of America to declare the land as "British Columbia". Vancouver, British Columbia was named after the man himself and today it is Canada's largest port.


King’s Lynn went into decline after this period, and was only rescued by the arrival of railway services in 1847. In the post-Second World War period it was designated a London Expansion Town, and its population roughly doubled as thousands of people were relocated from the capital.


1999 saw the King’s Lynn Millennium Project begin; the project is designed to preserve and transform the riverside for future generations of residents and visitors.



King’s Lynn lies on the banks of the Great Ouse and is one of Norfolk’s northernmost towns. The river Great Ouse is a 150 miles (240km) long, the fourth longest in the UK, and is sourced in Northamptonshire before meandering through East Anglia to its mouth where it enters The Wash at Kings Lynn.


King’s Lynn lies just six miles south of the Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk residence of the Royal Family.




The Sandringham Estate – The much loved country retreat of the Royal Family, it has been in the family since 1862. Set in 60 acres of stunning gardens, the house is the heart of the 20000 acre estate, 600 acres of which are the country park. The estate is open to the public free of charge every day of the year, however there is a fee for visiting the house. 


RSPB Snettisham Nature Reserve – 4 miles west of Hunstanton, Snettisham is the place to witness two great spectacles. At high tide water covers the vast mudflats and tens of thousands of wading birds can be seen and in the winter months, thousands of pinkfooted geese are visible.


Caithness Crystal Visitor Centre –-Witness free glass making demonstrations and there is also a shop and coffee shop, found on the Hardwicke Industrial Estate off the A149 in King’s Lynn.


Litcham Village Museum – A small museum with an underground lime kiln, housing local artefacts dating back to Roman times alongside a collection of over 1000 local photographs. Free Admission located in Litcham on the B1145 between King’s Lynn and Dereham.


Lynn Museum – This museum has displays on local history, natural history and archaeology. It is housed in a Victorian Church on Market Street in King’s Lynn, admission is free. 


RSPB Titchwell Marsh – 5 miles east of Hunstanton, Titchwell Marsh offers a visitor centre from which you can walk down to a sandy beach which takes you past reed beds and shallow lagoons full of birds.


Bircham Windmill - Bircham Windmill still looks as it did over 100 years ago. Today, very few windmills are left, it is the only windmill in working order in the area open to the public. Visitors can climb the five floors up to the fan stage and, on windy days, see the sails and the milling machinery turning. There are tearooms, bakery and grounds to visit.


EcoTech Centre -An environmentally friendly visitor attraction with a climbable wind turbine, Cafe and gardens. Free entrance. Located just off the A1065 at Swaffham, south of the A47.


Fakenham Racecourse – a friendly, casual atmosphere to watch horse racing, Fakenham Racecourse has no formal dress code. Children aged 16 and under are admitted free, the racecourse welcomes all visitors. It is located on the south side of Fakenham off of the A1067 Fakenham/Swaffham road.


Tales of the Old Gaol House – Here a personal stereo guide takes you on a tour of the 1930’s police station including the old cells. Located on The Saturday Market Place in King’s Lynn.




Hunstanton - Known as ‘sunny hunny’ , the beach and cliffs at Hunstanton face west, which means they capture the sunshine and are the perfect spots for viewing some spectacular sunsets. The beach runs for two miles along the coast to Brancaster and when the tide goes out , rock pools appear around the groynes.

The seafront is bordered by large Victorian and Edwardian houses and you can walk along the top of the cliffs to the lighthouse.


There's plenty to do on rainy days - Hunstanton is very much a family holiday destination and is also popular with older holidaymakers



Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015

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