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Norfolk see + do

One of the most enjoyable pastimes in Norfolk is simply poking around the many pleasant villages with their markets, antique shops, and pubs. The large harbor town of Great Yarmouth in the east is a longtime seaside resort and fishing center; in the northwest, King's Lynn has a picturesque medieval center. Other villages worth exploring include Holt for its pretty square and antique shops; Burnham Market, ditto; and neighboring Burnham Thorpe, where Lord Horatio Nelson once lived. Wymondham ("Windum") is known for its medieval abbey, Friday market, and Elizabethan houses; Castle Acre for England's best-preserved Cluniac priory, with its medieval herb garden and the Castle's earthworks; Aylsham, on the River Bure, for its Georgian houses, its Thursday market, and the 14th-century church of St. Michael's with the tomb of landscape gardener Humphry Repton. Visit Stiffkey ("Stewkey") for the ruins of 16th-century Stiffkey Hall, the Salt Marshes nature reserve, and, a couple of miles south, the ruins of Binham Priory, founded in 1091.

The seaside town of Cromer is famous for its pier, its crabs (available between April and September), and the church of St. Peter & St. Paul; the nearby fishing village/resort of Sheringham is also lovely, as is beautiful little Blakeney, with its 14th-century Guildhall and quay. The ancient market town of Dereham has roots traceable to the seventh century and the church of St. Nicholas; Swaffham has the best Georgian town square in the county, where a daily market is held; Castle Rising is dominated by the Norman castle keep. Georgian Little Walsingham (far bigger than Great Walsingham) has been a pilgrimage site since the Crusades and still is to this day; each year some half a million worshippers make their way to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, where the Holy Virgin is said to have appeared in 1061.

Cley next the Sea ("Kly") is in fact a mile away from the sea, but it has a picturesque windmill, Cley Mill, and is the starting point for hikes to the northernmost bit of East Anglia, the bird-watchers' paradise of Blakeney Point. Wells next the Sea really does front the sea, and it has the prettiest quay in the county, as well as lots of candy shops and restaurants and the quaint narrow-gauge Harbor Railway. And don't forget the capital, Norwich—one of the cutest county capitals in England, with its quasi-Dickensian atmosphere, its Georgian and Tudor houses, pedestrianized alleys, excellent market, and many small and interesting shops. Both the 11th-century cathedral and the castle are musts.

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Felbrigg Hall, Felbrigg

Felbrigg Hall is of the finest 17th-century country houses in East Anglia, with its original furniture intact, an outstanding library, the famous Walled...more

Editors' Pick
Castle Rising Castle, King's Lynn

One of the most famous 12th-century castles in England, with a magnificent stone keep and massive earthworks. It's been in the Howard family since 1544, and...more

Editors' Pick
Blickling Hall, Garden & Park, Norwich

One of the great Jacobean houses of England, Blickling is known for its spectacular long gallery as well as fine furniture, oils, and tapestries. The extensive...more

Editors' Pick
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