Car-free adventures aroundWest NorfolkNorfolk
West Norfolk is sometimes overlooked by tourists racing for the Norfolk coast and the Broads. But King’s Lynn and the other towns, villages and countryside nearby are packed with rich heritage and unique wildlife. And you can reach most of the area without a car, taking a beautiful journey by train, bus, bike, foot or even leisurely sailing! Here are just a few of the great car-free adventures you can have in West Norfolk.
1. Get the train to King’s Lynn
Have a relaxing drink on the cobbled quay beside a wide, seagoing river. Cross over by ferry to see the old waterfront houses from a new angle. Wander through medieval streets and gardens, packed with museums and galleries, cafes, monuments, markets and more. King’s Lynn makes a great hub for adventures in west Norfolk.
- How do I get to King’s Lynn car-free? Comfortable Excel buses run regularly from Norwich to King’s Lynn’s bus station and take an hour and 30 minutes. Hourly trains arrive at King’s Lynn railway station from London and Cambridge. You’ll find excellent maps of the town at the railway station, bus station visitor centre or the Tourist Informantion Centre, showing all the interesting sights.
- Arriving at King’s Lynn railways station, cross over at the lights outside the station and walk straight ahead along Waterloo Street to reach Lynn Museum, the bus station, the shops and the old waterfront beyond, steeped in centuries of varied maritime history.
- For a real flavour of King’s Lynn’s old fishing community, visit True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum with its original eighteenth-century cottages, smokehouse, restored fishing smack, samphire cart and lots more. There’s a cafe too and other attractions nearby, including the West Lynn ferry, just a few minutes’ stroll away along a cobbled lane.
- How do I get to True’s Yard without a car? Just follow Good Journey’s directions for walking from King’s Lynn railway station. From the bus station, go through the arch into the shopping area, and turn right along pedestrianised Broad Street. Keep going in this direction, along Chapel Street. True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum is also on the route of the Heritage Trail suggested on the Tourist Information Centre’s town maps (such as the ‘Hanseatic King’s Lynn’ leaflet, the ‘Maritime Trail’ booklet, or this sightseeing walk).
- You can find more ideas for car-free trips around the town in our King’s Lynn guide.
2. And to Downham Market
Stop off in Downham Market on a Friday or Saturday and you’ll find the market that gives the town its name still going strong. You can buy provisions for a picnic in the nearby countryside or local produce to take home as a souvenir. Lots of the houses are built from distinctive local carrstone, warm and golden-brown, earning Downham the nickname “Gingerbread town”. In the Town Square near the market stalls, there’s a smart black and white clocktower.
- How do I get to Downham Market’s Town Square without a car? Trains from London, Cambridge and King’s Lynn arrive hourly at Downham market railway station. From Norwich, you can also go by train via Ely in an hour and 20 minutes. Come out of the station and walk along Railway Road and Bridge Street to the centre of town with its shops, cafes and market.
- Before leaving the station area, you could visit the Willows nature reserve, a wild oasis full of birdsong with reed-fringed ponds. And, from the junction with Bridge Street, you can detour into Priory Road for Discover Downham Heritage Centre.
- Some of the great country walks near Downham Market include stretches of the Fen Rivers Way. Walking beside the River Great Ouse means the chance to spot waterbirds, including herons, cormorants, gulls, geese and great crested grebes.