May's Hidden Gem - Walsingham
Our hidden gem for May is Walsingham.
Located just four miles from the seaside town of Wells-next-the-sea, Walsingham has a very rich and long history of religious pilgrimage.
In Walsingham, you will find many 14th and 15th Century buildings, such as the fascinating Shirehall Museum where you can discover the interesting history of the village since 1061.
In around 1153, one of the medieval world’s most important places of pilgrimage was founded, the Augustinian Priory of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and stood as one of the premier shrines to Our Lady of Walsingham until its dissolution in 1538.
In the late 17th Century, a country house known as Walsingham Abbey, was built over the ruins. The country house was expanded in the early 19th Century, and a beautiful landscaped park was created surrounding it, covering 18 acres. During the cooler months of January to March, the land, which runs through the ruins of the Priory, gets sprinkled with beautiful snowdrops.
Little remains from the original buildings, but the most striking section of the ruins is the amazing East Window. The large window towers over the landscape and gives some indication of the size of the old Priory Church. The Crypt and Well Garden are also fascinating to wander around.
What to do
Walsingham is a beautiful quiet village; an ideal place to visit if you long for a bit of peace and quiet, an escape from everyday hustle and bustle.
In Walsingham, there are a variety of tea shops and cafes to visit. Walsingham is home to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway which is the longest 10¼ inch narrow gauge steam railway in the world.
When visiting Walsingham, a trip to Walsingham Abbey is a must. Discover the history of religious Walsingham while wandering around the fascinating ruins of the Priory in the glorious sunshine. Admire the peaceful surroundings of Walsingham Abbey; visit the towering East Window, learn about the Crypt, gaze at the acres of flowers and walk alongside the trickling river.
After a day exploring Walsingham Abbey, pop to the Bull Inn for a spot of lunch. Enjoy some home-cooked food and indulge in their large range of fine wines and ales. Alternatively, head to Walsingham Café for a delicious range of scones, cakes and sweet tarts, which are all baked in-house, and a lunch menu which includes soups, salads, fish cakes and tarts.
If antiques are your thing, located near the car park in Walsingham is Holt Antiques at Walsingham Mill. Holt Antiques are one of North Norfolk's premier purveyors of amazing antique 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Century period oak and country furniture, fine art and decorative items.
The renowned Wells & Walsingham Light Railway is a fantastic place to visit during your time in Walsingham. The railway is the longest 10¼ inch narrow gauge steam railway in the world. The railway is also the world’s smallest public railway. The train travels 30 minutes each way, from the lovely seaside town of Wells-next-the-sea to the beautiful village of Walsingham, and back again. Experience picturesque views of the serene Norfolk coast and countryside. Bring your binoculars as the journey is flooded with stunning views, plants and wildlife – if you’re lucky, you might see butterflies, birds of prey, brown hare and deer.
This property, sleeping 4, is a delightful cottage, full of character with a contemporary twist. End Cottage is bright, airy and flooded with light. Enjoy a summer barbecue and a chilled beverage in the glorious garden courtyard.
This charming 19th Century holiday home sleeps 5, perfect for the whole family. The property has a lovely decked garden area, garden furniture, barbecue and Summer house for the warmer days, and a wood burner for the chillier nights.
Pebble Cottage, sleeping 6, is a beautifully modern property offering comfortable accommodation that is well equipped with modern facilities. It sits on the outskirts of the village, with a gorgeous enclosed garden.
This wonderful cottage, which sleeps 3, is situated at the end of a terrace of 17th Century cottages that overlook Great Walsingham village green. The cottage includes luxury touches such as underfloor heating to the ground floor and bathroom, an open fire and a summerhouse in the garden.
Tudor Cottage is an outstanding period cottage in The Old Foundry development at Great Walsingham. It has beautifully restored by award winning architects retaining many original features, including exposed oak beams and period fireplaces.
Winch Cottage is part of an outstanding conversion of two former foundry buildings and is set in a delightful courtyard setting. The cottage has wonderfully spacious rooms, lovely high ceilings, gorgeous exposed timbers and brick and flint walls.