West Norfolk has a superb unspoilt coastline with pretty villages, all with their own individual charm. The medieval port of King's Lynn has some very interesting architecture. The town’s 17th century Custom House is now the local tourist information centre and is also home to a maritime display. It was initially built in 1683 as a merchant exchange, and had open ground floor arcades. King's Lynn was a noted harbour at the time of the Doomsday book, and was once considered to be England’s third port.
Five miles north-east of King's Lynn is Castle Rising, a Norman fortress built around 1140, covering an area of 12 acres. Parts of the great tower, gatehouse, fine Norman arches and vaulting still remain and a tour of the castle offers a fascinating insight into its history and its most famous occupant, Queen Isabella.
Northwards from Sandringham is a place called Heacham. A large seaside village, Heacham is the centre of Norfolk’s lavender growing industry. The scent of lavender fills the air during the summer months.
Further along the coast is Hunstanton, a Victorian town with long sandy beaches and cliffs some 60 feet high. At the top of these cliffs is where the ruins of the old St Edmunds Chapel remain. This chapel was said to commemorate the landing of the King of the East Angles in 850 AD.
Thursford is home to the Thursford Collection. Here you will find painstakingly restored steam engines, as well as nine mechanical organs, Carousel and Wurlitzer. During the summer season there are live musical shows and later in the year there is a Christmas extravaganza show.
A 12th century priory is set in the village of Castle Acre. Headsets available from the gift shop give its history as you stroll around the grounds.
Pensthorpe Natural Park is one of Norfolk’s finest attractions and is located 45 minutes from Norwich on the A1067 Fakenham to Norwich road. It is home to many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates and plants and its diverse range of habitats creates a stunning rich landscape which Pensthorpe Conservation Trust manages. With indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, educational facilities, talks and guided tours, bird hides, a café and gift shop, it’s a great place to visit, whatever your age.