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West Norfolk

A popular corner of Norfolk with plenty to see and do

An Introduction to West Norfolk

Purfleet Quay
Bircham Windmill
Castle Rising
Heacham Sign

West Norfolk has been discovered by visitors more than other area of Norfolk and the road running north from Kings Lynn can actually get quite busy during the summer months - busy in Norfolk terms that is! All these visitors already know just how much West Norfolk has to offer, from sandy beaches to beautiful woodland and historic buildings. West Norfolk is also great for walkers and has paths that take you through some of the most beautiful countryside in the country. You will also find castles, tranquil villages, wildlife and plenty of country pubs to discover. With lots of wide open skies, this beautiful corner of Norfolk is great to forget your busy life and get some fresh air!

Norfolk Cottages

West Norfolk Map

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Map contains Ordnance Survey Data © Crown copyright and database right 2018

West Norfolk Guided Picture Tour

Our tour of West Norfolk starts in Kings Lynn, which competes with any town in Britain for its history. It is relatively undiscovered containing a wealth of historic buildings and tales to go with them. Highlights include the Historic Quarter, Purfleet Quay, Customs House and the fabulous Town Hall.
King Street
Looking along King Street past the Custom House
Town Hall
The Town Hall
Purfleet Quay
Purfleet Quay and Custom House
Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

Just to the north of Kings Lynn is Castle Rising. The keep at Castle Rising is one of the largest medieval castle keeps in the country and is very similar to the one at Norwich Castle. To the north of the castle is a ruined church that dates to around 1100, and both this church and the keep appear to have been rendered and whitewashed during the early medieval period. The earthworks surrounding the castle keep are one of the largest in the country, although it should be noted that both the castle and the earthworks were originally half their current size. Their present appearance is the result of a major building program in the late 12th or early 13th century. The castle is in remarkably good condition despite being over 850 years old. English Heritage manage the site and allow visitor access. There is a gravel path at the top of the built-up area, which enables the visitor to walk right around the castle, getting not only a good view of the castle itself, but also of the surrounding countryside.
Castle Rising
Castle Rising
Castle Entrance
The Entrance to Castle Rising

The magnificent Sandringham Estate is the country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, and has been the private home of 4 generations of British monarchs since 1862. The house, set in 60 acres of stunning gardens, is perhaps the most famous stately home in the East of England and is at the heart of the much larger Sandringham Estate, including woodland, heath and Country Park, open to the public free of charge every day of the year. Thousands of visitors each year come to see the House, Museum and Gardens or just to enjoy the Country Park; so enjoying Sandringham is not just for the Royal Family!
Sandringham House
Sandringham House
Sandringham House View
The view of Sandringham House over the lake from the gardens

Standing in the heart of West Norfolk's undulating fields, Bircham Windmill now looks as it did over 100 years ago. At that time over 300 mills ground corn for horse and cattle feed and bread-making in Norfolk. Today, very few windmills are left, and Bircham Mill is considered one of the best still remaining: 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, when possible, on windy days, visitors can also see the sails and the milling machinery turning. There are also many items of interest to see in the tearooms, bakery and grounds.
Bircham Windmill
The view over the fields towards Bircham Windmill
Bircham Windmill
Bircham Windmill

Moving towards the West Norfolk Coast, we find the resort of Heacham, where you will find a wonderful beach with far reaching views over the Wash. The village today is full of holiday caravan parks, but has a fascinating link to Pocahontas, the early 17th century native American princess, known for assisting colonial settlers in present-day Virginia. Pocahontas met and married John Rolfe, from Heacham, who was in America cultivating a new form of tobacco plant. The couple returned to England, where unfortunately Pocahontas became ill and died in Gravesend, Kent. John Rolfe returned to Heacham and is buried in Heacham church. Pocahontas is depicted on Heacham village sign.
Heacham Beach
The view over the Wash, from the beach at Heacham
Heacham Caravan Park
A caravan park in Heacham, backing on to picturesque dykes
Heacham Village Sign
Heacham Village sign, showing Pocahontas

Next we come to the seaside resort of Hunstanton - or Sunny Hunny as it is often known! This seaside resort has the unusual distinction of being an east coast resort that faces west and as a result gets more than its fair share of sun and enjoys some lovely sunsets. You can enjoy all the traditional seaside attractions, such as donkey rides on the beach, or if you’re feeling more adventurous a ride on a sea buggy, which trawls up and down the coast. There is also a swimming pool, an indoor leisure centre, a theatre and Sealife Centre.
Hunstanton Cliffs
Hunstanton cliffs
Hunstanton Chapel
Hunstanton Chapel ruins and Lighthouse
Norfolk Funfair
Hunstanton Funfair, West Norfolk Coast
Hunstanton Wash Monster
The Wash Monster
Norfolk Sealife Sanctuary
Sea Life Sanctuary, West Norfolk Coast

Where the West Norfolk Coast meets the North Norfolk Coast, you wil find Holme next the Sea. Here you will find a magnificent sandy beach, which is an ideal place for a family day out. There is plenty of golden sand which is a great place in summer to throw down your towel and get sunbathing or building sand castles. On cooler days, you may like to take advantage of the footpaths that exist in the area area and go for a walk. Holme next the Sea is starting point of 2 long distance footpaths - the North Norfolk Coast path to Cromer (44 miles) and the Peddars Way to Knettishall Heath (46 miles). Adjacent to the beach is the northern edge of the Hunstanton golf course and a convenient car-park, with a stall selling refreshments in season.
Holme next the Sea beach
Enjoying a family day out to the beach at Holme next the Sea

We complete our tour of West Norfolk just around the top corner at Brancaster Staithe, which is a lovely spot for a walk. You will find plenty of fishing boats and equipment; you can buy their catch from a fresh fish stall. The harbour is also home to Brancaster Sailing Club, with many sailing dinghies stored in and around the harbour.
Brancaster Harbour
Boat on the mud at Brancaster Staithe
Brancaster Harbour
Fishing boats at Brancaster Staithe
Brancaster Harbour
Brancaster Staithe
North Norfolk Coast Path
The North Norfolk Coast Path

See also Guided Tours of other areas of Norfolk
West Norfolk
West Norfolk
North Norfolk
North Norfolk
Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads
East Norfolk
East Norfolk

West Norfolk summary of what to SEE and DO

Visit the historic centre of Kings Lynn
Explore the ruins of the 12th century castle at Castle Rising
Enjoy the view of Sandringham House from its beautiful gardens
Climb to the top of Bircham Windmill
Walk on the beach at Heacham, Hunstanton or Old Hunstanton

Our Verdict

West Norfolk has much to offer the visitor, make sure you get to see the essentials - Sandringham, Hunstanton Cliffs, Bircham Windmill and Castle Rising.




My Day Out
Princess Theatre
Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary
Searles Sea Tours
Hunstanton Golf Club
Castle Rising
Norfolk Lavender
Bircham Windmill


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