North Walsham


A busy Norfolk town midway between the Norfolk Broads and the rugged sandy coastline of North Norfolk



Walsham appears in the Domesday Book of 1080 as  a small settlement belonging to the Danish 'Waelsing' or 'Waels' family, the anglo-saxon 'ham' indicates that the family settled here sometime in the 6th century. Walsham was captured during the raids of Viking Norse and Danes, and during the reign of King Canute, a Norseman named Skiotr (Sket) gave the village of Walsham along with its Church and estates to the Abbey of Saint Benet at Holme, near Horning. St Benets was a rich Benedictine Monastery with much of its wealth coming from Walsham.


The flourishing weaving industry of the area brought great wealth to the town and its Abbey resulting in the Abbey Church of Saint Benet along with the Parish Church of North Walsham expanding greatly.


1381 saw the famous 'Peasants Revolt', a battle in North Walsham led by John Litester. It was a rebellion of many thousands who seized the city of Norwich. The combined forces of Bishop Henry De Spenser, forced the rebels from the city and they retreated to a camp at Bryant's Heath near North Walsham. They were confronted by the bishop's forces, and it is said that thousands were slain as the peasants fled to the town where they barricaded themselves inside the unfinished church. Litester was captured, and the church witnessed a massacre of hundreds of peasants. Litester was publicly executed and three stone crosses were erected to mark the site of the battlefield.


Sir William Paston founded his free Grammar School in 1606. A new School House was built in 1765, the one seen today, and shortly after in 1769, the school received the brothers William and Horatio Nelson as boarders. It was from here, in March 1771, a young Horatio Nelson set out on his legendary career. The school boasts other fine scholars, including Archbishop Tenison, who crowned Queen Anne & George I. The founder's amazingly elaborate tomb can be seen inside the Parish Church.


Nearby Bacton woods were bought by the Forestry Commission in the 1950’s and are now utilised for mountain biking and woodland walks.



North Walsham is on Anglia Railways ‘Bittern’ Branch Line, giving access to the coastal towns of Cromer and Sheringham, and south to Wroxham & The Broads and the City of Norwich. Good road links to the town are provided by the B1150 from Norwich, and by the A149 which gives access to the towns of Cromer, Sheringham, Holt and Fakenham to the north, and Stalham, Potter Heigham, Wroxham and Great Yarmouth to the south.




Blickling Hall – A National Trust property, this magnificent Jacobean house offers much to its visitor from fine tapestries, paintings and rare books to its famous long gallery. Reputedly Blickling is the home

to the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn. The gardens offer wonderful viewing the whole year round.


Amazona Zoo - located just to the south of Cromer, the Zoo is home to a wide range of animals from Tropical South America including Jaguar, Otters, Spider Monkeys and Flamingos. The Zoo is open all day every day.


Aylsham Fun Barnsprovides fun for children under 12 where they can Swing, climb, slide, balance and clamber on the outdoor play frames. Picnic areas are also available and all play areas are easily accessible for wheelchairs and buggies. Located on the A140 at the Aylsham roundabout - between Norwich and Cromer.


Cromer Museum – Housed in a row of Victorian cottages, the museum has displays of geology, archaeology, photographs of old Cromer, lifeboat men, poppyland and a feature on Cromer at war. The museum is open daily from 10am and is located on Tucker Street.


RNLI Museum – The museum tells the story of Henry Blogg, who has been dubbed the greatest lifeboat man of all time. Open daily from 10am (closed Mondays) located on the Gangway.


Happisburgh - a lovely East Norfolk village, home to a long sandy beach, Happisburgh has two key buildings of interest amongst its quaint country lanes and thatched homes. Overlooking the sea is the church of St Mary's. It has a tower of 33.5 metres (110 feet) and inside it contains some medieval features, stained glass windows. The church graveyard contains the graves of sailors drowned in accidents off the coast of Happisburgh. The village is also home to a red and white striped lighthouse, built in 1791; it was originally one of a pair, and was recently featured in the ITV series Kingdom. The lighthouse is privately owned, but opens its doors to the public certain weekends including Easter and August Bank Holiday. Inside, the 96 stone steps wind their way up the inside to the light at the top 40 metres (134 feet) above sea level.


East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens - now 15 years old, the gardens are a feast of formal design, and decorative exuberance. The gardens are home to many linked and themed gardens, an exotic garden, sunken garden, vicarage house and pavilion, great views of Happisburgh lighthouse and church and even have a tearoom.


East Ruston can be found just off the Walcott to Stalham road. The gardens are open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2.00pm to 5.30pm.


Stow Windmill – Four floor restored tower windmill, all accessible to the public with gift shop selling exclusive souvenirs.


Norfolk Motor Cycle Museum – Displays a wide collection of motor cycles, bicycles and old toys dating from 1920 to 1960. Free admission.



Mundesley - A blue flag winning sandy beach very popular with families with a row of brightly coloured beach huts along the promenade.

Sea Palling - A blue flag sandy beach with a number of offshore reefs that provide a safe beach for families. Sea Palling is also popular with jet skiers.


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015