Heritage and culture on the Royal Norfolk Coast
Just a casual drive through this spectacular area of Norfolk will tell you that this area is rich in history and culture. The architecture is more than just distinguished and the landscape has given rise to many a recent archeological discovery. Here's what to look out for during your stay...
The Royal Norfolk Coast isn't home to many museums, but who needs them when you have ancient monuments and so much rich history being uncovered? Situated just north of Kings Lynn, Castle Rising is one of the country's most famous 12th century castles. Built in around 1140, it has served as both a hunting lodge and Royal residence. Head a little east and you'll come to Holme, where in 1990 two timber circles were uncovered. One, titled Seahenge, is now on display at Kings Lynn Museum. Many a discovery dating back to Iceni times and our warrior, Queen Boudicca, have been unearthed in this part of Norfolk too. Torcs, gold coin hoards and more are now displayed at Norwich Castle.
We challenge you not to be impressed and immersed as you walk the halls and grounds of both Sandringham and Houghton Hall. The former is the country residence of HRM The Queen, a place where she spends Christmas with her family. The hall offers a wonderful opportunity to imagine the Royals at their most leisurely, and the grounds offer relaxing walks. There is a museum too (the Royal vehicles are a treat) and the grounds host a variety of excellent events year-round. The Craft Fair and Flower Show are highlights. Houghton Hall is also a private residence, first built for the country's first Prime Minister, Lord Robert Walpole. It has an award-winning walled garden - a game of croquet anyone - and houses regular headline exhibition that draw crowds from all over the world. Lightscape by James Turrell was one of our favourites here at Norfolk Country Cottages.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Kings Lynn is quite an impressive cultural hub. The programme at its Corn Exchange is a riot of comedy, shows and live music, as is the variety of entertainment at the nearby Princess Hunstanton.
It's not surprising that with such a rich artistic and literature heritage that this area enjoys an array of galleries and art and craft exhibitions. Famous names to have been born or lived here include diarist and novelist Fanny Burney (1752-1840), renowned painter Walter Dexter (1876-1958), artist Matthew Hilton (the son of artist Roger Hilton CBE), actor Stephen Fry, and sculptors Antony Gormley OBE and Andrew Schumann. You'll see much of their work interwoven into the public spaces throughout the area.
We love the pottery at Dersingham, and the exciting exhibition programme at the Greyfriars Art Space in Kings Lynn is certainly worth a look.
Each July, Kings Lynn puts on a festival to rival most others. Rich in live music, theatre, comedy and talks covering a multitude of topics from humanity, geographic, literature and more, it never fails to disappoint. At the same time, Festival Too runs alongside, providing visitors and residents with a fortnight of free entertainment. Literature lovers will adore the spring Fiction Festival and the Poetry Festival each September - both in Kings Lynn too. Then there's Sandringham's programme of events to enjoy too.