Car-free adventures aroundKing’s LynnNorfolk
Fine old merchants’ houses stretch down to the river between cobbled lanes and the elegant Custom House overlooks the harbour. Perhaps the only thing keeping King’s Lynn from being crowded by tourists is its lack of direct motorway access. No problem for car-free visitors, who can arrive on the hourly trains from London and Cambridge to find a network of buses heading off to the wild west Norfolk coast and countryside. Here are some of the many adventures on offer around King’s Lynn. And if you think it sounds like a great base for a staycation (you'd be right!) scroll down to the bottom for more tips on transport and places to stay.
1. Stroll or cycle around town
A twelfth-century church, England’s largest chapel (with carved angels on the ceiling), a 4000-year-old timber circle, a museum of fishing heritage or an elegant customs house from the maritime glory days: don’t overlook the town’s own treasures in a rush for the sea and sand.
- The Tourist Information Centre (inside the chequered Town Hall opposite the impressive Minster) has handy maps with detailed routes past the major sights or cycling maps for heading further afield. There’s also lots of information on the Explore West Norfolk website, see Good Journey’s directions. The Stories of Lynn Museum in the same building has an ornate medieval cup and a spooky old gaol house.
- The bus and railway stations are pretty central and the town itself is not huge so it’s easy to explore on foot. Don’t miss the Victorian park and Red Mount chapel, almost next to the railway station, with Greyfriars Tower, part of a medieval friary, nearby.
- In the Lynn Museum, right next to the bus station, you can see the Seahenge wooden circle found on the west Norfolk coast at Holme-next-the-Sea.
- Ten minutes’ walk north from the Lynn Museum, True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum celebrates the town’s fishing heritage and houses two whole cottages, a smokery and smithy as well as a tea room. Nearby St Nicholas Chapel has a ceiling covered in beautiful carved angels.
- King’s Lynn marks the start of the Norfolk Coast cycleway so you might want to bring your bike on the train and head off on two wheels.
2. Coastliner bus
The Norfolk Coast is just a bus ride away. You can ride along the splendid shoreline and explore the coastal nature reserves between Hunstanton and Holkham – and beyond!.
- Lynx buses run frequent services (34, 35, 36) from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton, leaving four times an hour from the bus station (twice an hour on Sunday).
- Bus 36 once an hour (every two hours on Sunday) runs on along the coast as far as Wells-next-the-Sea.
- You could hop off at the award-winning Orange Tree pub in Thornham and walk along the coast. Wildlife lovers will be in heaven on this stretch of the Norfolk Coast Path. The dunes and marshes are alive with waders and waterbirds like avocets and oystercatchers, terns and egrets.
- There are more pubs and cafés in Old Hunstanton and, nearby, the iconic striped cliffs of the seaside resort of Hunstanton begin. The striking red and white sedimentary rocks were deposited more than 100 million years ago.
- You can ride the bus all the way to Holkham for dune-backed beaches and playgrounds, a deer park, walled garden and elegant Palladian mansion. It’s nearly two hours by bus from King’s Lynn, but the journey is packed with interest, from the woods around Sandringham and the lighthouse-topped cliffs of Hunstanton to stretches of saltmarsh, purple in summer with flowering sea lavender. Follow Good Journey’s directions.