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PUBLISHED: 06:42 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:37 11 August 2014

EDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centre

EDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centre

Archant 2014

In the heart of Norfolk is a town full of heart. Dereham is a historic market town that is big on family life and sense of community.

EDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centreEDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centre

Evidence has been discovered of life at Dereham from Neolithic times, through the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman days, underlining the importance of this area of Breckland which is so central to our county today.

If you are considering moving to Dereham with children or to start a family, there is a welcoming range of schools with good reputations, including the two high schools, Neatherd and Northgate. There are also plenty of sporting and leisure opportunities to keep all ages busy and entertained, with the swimming pool and sports hall of £7m Dereham Leisure Centre plus football, cricket, hockey and rugby clubs.

To find out about the history of Dereham, pay a visit to Bishop Bonner’s Cottage, a museum of the town for more than 50 years. This charming thatched building is the oldest in Dereham and dates back to 1502. Another must on the visitor’s trail is the well at the grave of St Withburga St Nicholas’ churchyard. The body of seventh century saint, who founded a monastery at Dereham, was stolen under the direction of the abbot of Ely and legend has it that a spring began to flow at the site of her grave and has never stopped since.

History mixes with modern throughout the town, which has seen housing developments expand its population to almost 18,000 in recent years. For many, it is Dereham’s half-hour proximity to Norwich, as well as ease of accessing the rest of the county, coast and countryside, that is a major attraction of the town.

EDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centreEDP Norfolk Magazine. July. Views around Dereham town centre

In recent years, the Wright’s Walk shopping development brought new life to the town centre along with a range of national and regional high street stores to complement the independents and long established shops that serve the town and surrounding villages well. The Tuesday and Friday markets and regular farmers’ markets make for a busy town centre, while pubs and eateries - such as Romany Rye, The George and The Kings Head hotels - are popular meeting places for this friendly community.

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