King’s Lynn, in west Norfolk, is a medieval port steeped in maritime history, which stands on the River Ouse, 44 miles west of Norwich. In medieval times it was considered a very important port, only being exceeded by London and Southampton. Its trade brought great wealth to the area and many fine buildings were built. The town was protected by walls and gatehouses and the South Gate is still present today.
In the heart of the town stands the church of St Margaret. Its foundations date back to the 12th Century, although the present building is not as early and has a very interesting tide clock. Also situated in the town centre is the Saturday market place which has been in use for 900 years.
In 1349 AD the Black Death struck the town and nearly half of the town’s population perished. The town also suffered great loss of life when floods and gales caused shipping disasters.
The town’s Trinity Guildhall is the home of ‘Tales of the Old Gaol House’. Visitors can see the original cells of the town’s jail and listen to the corresponding audio information. During the summer months there are guided walks from the Gaol House for those who want to learn more about the town’s history.
Adjacent is the Town House Museum, which recreates the domestic life of the Lynn residents from medieval times. The Lynn Museum hosts displays of archaeology and history dating back to prehistoric times.
In 1683 the magnificent Custom House was built, which is now home to the town’s Tourist Information Centre. It also houses a special display of the town’s maritime history.
King’s Lynn has an abundance of history and is also a thriving centre with markets, theatres, live music venues, leisure centres, cinema, galleries and an excellent variety of shops. There is a wide range of places to eat suiting every conceivable budget and taste.
Interesting facts about King's Lynn
- In 1537 the king takes control of the town from the bishop and from here on it is known as King's Lynn rather than Bishop’s Lynn
- Plague hits King’s Lynn in 1665
- The railway reaches King's Lynn in 1847
- During World War I, King's Lynn was one of the first towns in Britain to suffer aerial bombing, killing two and injuring several others
- King's Lynn Festival provides high quality performances of classical music, choral, jazz, recitals plus talks, exhibitions and films and features internationally renowned performers and uses beautiful historic venues around the town
- Seahenge, the Bronze Age timber circle is put on permanent display at Lynn Museum in 2008
Lynn Museum is in a former Union Baptist Chapel which was built in 1859 and a schoolroom was later added in 1867 and can be found adjacent to the town’s bus station. The Union Chapel opened to the public in 1904, but Lynn has had a public museum since 1844, founded by members of the Lynn Conversazione and Society of Arts.
The west Norfolk town of King’s Lynn is situated 44 miles from Norwich, 12 miles from the beautiful Norfolk coastline and 8 miles from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. The town is an interesting mix of old and new and was once one of England’s major trading ports. With a rich maritime heritage, King’s Lynn has a lot to offer day visitors or those wanting a short break or a longer holiday. Discover some of King’s Lynn’s most historic buildings, visitor attractions, restaurants and places of interest in and around this Norfolk town.