Aylsham is a bustling market town that stands next to the River Bure in North Norfolk, close to the beautiful Norfolk Broads. There are many fine 17th and 18th century buildings and an impressive mid-Victorian watermill whose ancestry can be traced back to the Domesday Book and up until 1969 it was still working.
Aylsham was famed for its linen and canvas industry during the 14th century and then later on became renowned for its weaving of woollen and worstead cloths. Sadly, this industry was killed by the development of the knitting frame.
Standing near to the market place is the flint-faced church of St Michael, a fine example of Gothic architecture of the Decorated style. Within its 14th century tower there is a ring of ten bells, considered one of the finest rings in the county.
The town is close to some very large estates and grand country houses including Blickling, Felbrigg, Mannington and Wolterton, which are popular tourist attractions and easily accessible from Aylsham.
The town’s market place, which is owned by the National Trust, hosts two weekly markets a monthlyfarmer’s market and other community events.
Aylsham is the terminus for the Bure Valley Railway, a 15in minimum gauge heritage railway which runs from Wroxham to Aylsham and is Norfolk’s longest railway of less than standard gauge. Welcoming over 100,000 visitors each year, it’s a popular tourist attraction and attracts visitors from afar.
Aylsham Show is held annually in Blickling Park on August Bank Holiday Monday and is one of the largest one-day shows in the country.
Interesting facts about Aylsham
- Aylsham once had two railway stations, Aylsham South Railway Station and Aylsham North Railway Station - both are now closed
- Once noted for its spa, half a mile south of Aylsham town, the chalybeate spring was used by those suffering from asthma and other chronic conditions
- Humphry Repton, (1752-1818) who was the last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century, is buried in St Michael's churchyard in Aylsham
- Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), who was probably most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, stayed in Aylsham in 1732 and enjoyed a meal at the Black Boys Inn. Parson Woodforde, the famous Norfolk diarist, also dined there in 1781, and Horatio Nelson, whose cousin lived in Aylsham, is reported to have danced in the Assembly Room that was attached to the inn
- Clive Payne, a former professional footballer who played for Norwich City and Bournemouth was born in Aylsham
- Kathleen Starling (1890-1972) who became an opera singer under the name of Kathleen Destournel and sang at Covent Garden and entertained troops in North Africa during the Second World War was born in Aylsham. Kathleen moved to Arizona, USA but after her husband's death, returned to Aylsham to live with her sisters
Map of Aylsham
Accommodation in Aylsham
Tudor Rose is a beautiful bijou barn offering first-rate accommodation for two in the pretty outskirts of Aylsham. With its well-equipped modern kitchen opening onto a cosy sitting room with comfy sofas, cast iron gas stove and gorgeous country views, this is a luxury couple's retreat in the heart of the Norfolk countryside.
The Gate House (B)
On the perimeter of the Wolterton Park Estate you will find the Gate House standing proudly, as it has done for 120 years. Made available to guests after refurbishment, the property can now accommodate five guests looking to enjoy a peaceful retreat where they will be able to enjoy the surrounding parkland, countryside or nearby Walpole Arms. Nearby, the wonderful Blickling Estate awaits exploration and offers varied days out that appeal to all ages and interests.
Keepers Cottage (Wolterton)
A wonderfully eclectic mix of old-world character and a uniquely bespoke modern interior, Keepers Cottage offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves amongst the ancient woodlands and pasture of the surrounding estate for a true experience of Norfolk. Located in the heart of Wolterton estate, close to Blickling Hall, you can be assured of a quiet, relaxing holiday that is ideal for families, couples and friends looking for a relaxing getaway.
Set within the private estate of Wolterton Park is Stewards House, a spacious cottage decorated to a very high standard throughout. This splendid accommodation is located just six miles from the North Norfolk coast and close to the historic Blicking Estate and thriving market town of Aylsham.
The East Wing (B)
Occupying the entire wing of this impressive Georgian Palladian house is The East Wing, Grade I listed and set within the private estate of Wolterton Park. Restored to the very highest standards, this magnificent seven bedroom accommodation has five marble bathrooms and most rooms boast wonderful views of the lake and parkland beyond. Nearby Blicking and Itteringham also have fabulous parkland to explore and properties that have significant historical provenance, both of which occasionally run special concerts, exhibitions and shows.
The Treasury is a luxurious Grade II listed, ground floor cottage on the historic and private estate of Wolterton Park. Boasting a state of the art bathroom with vaulted ceiling, deluxe furnishings and its own private garden, this beautiful property is indeed a very special and romantic retreat for two. Nearby, romantic walks can be enjoyed through both of the nearby National Trust estates at Blicking and Felbrigg.
Garden House (B)
Garden House is a charming, Grade II listed three bedroom cottage with its own private walled garden and wonderful views. Beautifully restored throughout, this cottage provides a luxury holiday retreat on a peaceful private estate with stunning parkland and a picturesque lake. Nearby, the historical significant Blicking and Felbrigg Estates await your exploration.
Wild Meadow Barn
Standing proudly on a raised position with spectacular views across the Bure Valley, surrounded entirely by a combination of woodland, lake, wildflower meadow and pasture, Wild Meadow Barn awaits your discovery. This sumptuous, luxury retreat offers its guests a privileged window upon this wild landscape and direct access to bridleways and walking routes, allowing you a rare freedom to roam, explore and uncover the secrets of wild Norfolk.