CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EDP Norfolk today CLICK HERE

The wonders of west Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:09 06 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 June 2013

Focus of North Creake for the EDP Norfolk Magazine. Creake Abbey Studios.

Focus of North Creake for the EDP Norfolk Magazine. Creake Abbey Studios.

Archant © 2011; TEL; (01603) 772434

International attention is focused on west Norfolk this summer as the amazing Houghton Revisited exhibition brings thousands of art lovers to the area.

The exhibition, of priceless, peerless masterpieces by Rubens and Rembrandt, Velazquez and Van Dyck, is set to attract people from all over the world – but it is only part of the wonderful offering that the west of the county for visitors from far and near.

International attention is focused on west Norfolk this summer as the amazing Houghton Revisited exhibition brings thousands of art lovers to the area.

The exhibition, of priceless, peerless masterpieces by Rubens and Rembrandt, Velazquez and Van Dyck, is set to attract people from all over the world – but it is only part of the wonderful offering that the west of the county for visitors from far and near.

Stately stunning

Houghton Hall

Itself a treasury of art, and architecture, Houghton Hall’s delights range from the design of flamboyant mansion itself to the modern sculpture trail, curated by the current owner, the seventh Marquess of Cholmondeley. There are beautiful gardens and parkland and a new café in the original kitchens of the Hall.

Sandringham

The patron of the prestigious exhibition knows the area well because he is none other than the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles is, of course, a very regular visitor to nearby Sandringham. But when the Royal Family are not in residence the house is open to the public. And the Sandringham shop, restaurant and visitor centre are open all year round. Visitors can walk through the rooms used by the Royals, explore the beautiful gardens and see collections of carriages and cars used by kings, queens, princes and princesses, plus rare ceramics, photographs and memorabilia in the Sandringham Museum. Children will love the tractor and trailer tours of the country park, and the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, which often counts the Queen and her family among its congregation, is well worth a visit.

Holkham Hall

The Earls of Leicester have lived at Holkham Hall for more than 250 years. The palatial stately home was conceived as Italian villa, transplanted to the north Norfolk coast. The Coke family still live here and share with visitors the house and its treasures, surrounding garden and parkland, and access to the coast and iconic beach.

Oxburgh Hall

This romantic moated manor house is owned by the National Trust and still lived in by the Bedingfeld family, who had it built six centuries ago. It is famous for its priest-hole, the needlework stitched by the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, and the beautiful hall, gatehouse and gardens too.

Sense of place

King’s Lynn

Lynn is a town steeped in seafaring history – visit its Tourist Information Centre in the magnificent Customs House on the quayside for full details of Lynn’s rich past. This month history comes to the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange too.

Horrible Histories brings the past to gleeful, gruesome life from May 24 to 26 and The Drifters’ 60th anniversary tour comes to town on May 19. The theatre also has comedy, drama and popular and classical music on its programme this month.

Hunstanton

Famous for its red and white cliffs, beautiful beach and traditional seaside fun, the attractions of Hunstanton include its Sea Life Sanctuary which is home to a wealth of ocean wildlife, including sharks and penguins.

Castle Rising

The magnificent earthworks and stone Norman keep of the Castle Rising Castle are among the finest surviving ruins of their kind. Astonishingly, the current owner is a descendant of the Norman knight who first owned the castle.

Castle Acre

This beautiful village has both a castle and a priory. The priory is one of the best preserved monastic sites in England, dating back almost 1000 years. Its recreated herb garden is packed with plants monks would have used for medicines and cookery. At the heart of the village are the extensive ruins and remains of the castle itself – which are free to visit.

North Norfolk coastal footpath

Not everyone will have time to tackle the full long-distance path – but it can be broken down into some lovely shorter walks. Try the six miles from Hunstanton to Thornham, six miles from Holkham Gap to Stiffkey or the two miles from Blakeney to Cley.

Stay awhile

West Norfolk is a wonderful place to stay and enjoy some of the best accommodation and food in the region. There are two Michelin-starred restaurants – at Morston Hall, on the north coast, and The Neptune in Old Hunstanton – offering fantastic menus.

The wealth of other eateries includes hotels such as Briarfields in Titchwell with its stunning views out over the saltmarshes and a reputation for fine food and luxurious accommodation. The Lodge in Old Hunstanton is a pub with luxurious and newly revamped accommodation, in the heart of the pretty village, close to the sea and with an excellent restaurant, serving fresh, local produce. Then there are the traditional country pubs with top-quality cuisine. Many are in tiny villages and yet have a big following of fans from miles around. The Duck Inn at Stanhoe has recently reopened, and is reviewed in this issue by our food critic David Adlard.

Pay a visit

Creake Abbey, set alongside the picturesque ruins of a 13th century Augustinian abbey, is home to an award winning farmers’ market and a courtyard packed with shops and studios offering everything from antiques to clothing and beauty therapies to art.

This month the farmers’ market is on Saturday, May 4. Look out for stalls laden with rare-breed meat, fresh fish, local fruit and veg, home-baked cakes and pies, cheeses, preserves, artisan breads and local ales and fruit juices. A new café and food hall also opens at Creake Abbey this spring, showcasing some of the finest local, national and international produce.

See highly skilled glassmakers create beautiful vases, tableware and ornaments at Langham Glass in Fakenham, where visitors can watch glass being made, browse the gift shop and take a break in the restaurant.

Houghton Revisited is a not-to-be-missed exhibition of around 70 paintings bought by Britain’s first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, to hang on the walls of his lavish new stately home.

In 1779 the entire collection was sold to Catherine the Great of Russia to hang in The Hermitage. This summer some of the masterpieces are being loaned back to Norfolk, where they are being hung in their original settings.

Houghton Revisited runs from Friday May 17 to Sunday September 29.

Tickets can be booked at www.houghtonhall.com/houghtonrevisited or by calling 01603 598640.

More from Out & About

Fri, 12:47

Most people know that Hunstanton is the east of England resort with a west-facing beach, but there are a whole host more fascinating facts that light up this east-west-both-best seaside town

Read more
November 2018
Sunday, October 28, 2018

For a county that’s so steeped in history, it’s not surprising that Norfolk has its fair share of ghost sightings and paranormal activity. We have gathered an unlucky 13 legendary haunted places to visit if you dare!

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Stockton villagers in Norfolk gain a grant of £1,000 to help fund new bus shelters on the A146 Norwich Road, as part of Calor’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Scole Nature Trail Trust is celebrating a grant of £1,000 to help fund new facilities as part of the rural energy provider’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cobbled roads, rural pathways and coastal walks, Norfolk has a plethora of streets that are a pleasure to explore. Here we have collected just eight of the pretty streets in Nelson’s County

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

We all know how to pronounce it properly. (Think win and you’re a winner, think why and you’re not.) But did you know all these winning facts about Wymondham?

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Norfolk Ramblers guide us on a beautiful autumnal walk around Blickling Hall, near Aylsham

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The landscape designer who nurtured some of Norfolk’s grandest gardens is the star of a beautiful new book

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Do you know your Bawdseys from your Blakeneys and your Cromers from your Covehithes? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the Suffolk and Norfolk coast!

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

An ancient castle and a massive mill are two of the highlights on this walk with Norfolk Ramblers

Read more
September 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search