Looking along Purfleet Quay to the Customs House in the historical quarter of King's Lynn, Norfolk

The Market Town of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England

In Counties, En-Route, Norfolk, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Strolling the Historic Centre

We visited King's Lynn one sunny morning.

A town with quite a significant amount of maritime history.

King's Lynn is one of the few Hanseatic towns in the UK, during the 14th century The Hanse defensive alliance was set up in Europe, this league included significant seaports & market towns.

During this era, King's Lynn in the East of England was one of our most important ports for sea trade.

Many historical buildings from this period remain today along the cobbled streets and on the banks of the River Great Ouse, Custom houses, Guildhalls, warehouses & a large communal market square.

A bronze statue to the 18th Century Captain George Vancouver placed on the quayside, in front of Customs House in King's Lynn, Norfolk

The statue to Captain George Vancouver

Quick Links

Custom House

On locating the 17th-century Customs House in Purfleet Quay, we also found that this is now the local tourist office, so armed with a map we set off to discover the historical centre of King's Lynn.
Looking along Purfleet Quay to the Customs House in the historical quarter of King's Lynn, Norfolk

Purfleet Quay & The Customs House

Custom House was King's Lynn’s first classical building and originally used as a merchant’s exchange. The House was built in this prime location to witness the comings and goings in this once busy port.
The River Great Ouse flowing through King's Lynn before it heads out into The Wash before joining the North sea.

The River Great Ouse

Further reading

If you're intrigued by Norfolk, a UK county with an interesting past, then why not check out  "The Little Book of Norfolk".  Full of facts and obscure information. It's a fun read on the region.

You can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old hardcover. (Depending on region)


Quay

Strolling around this pleasant Quay, you’ll wander into King’s Staithe Square, still used through the 18th century for trading in corn & wine.
A traditional Street sign for 'King's Staithe Square' on the corner of an old brick-built building in King's Lynn, Norfolk

King's Staithe Square

The 15th Century Brick-built St George’s Guildhall which is now a Theatre in King's Lynn, Norfolk

St George's Guildhall

Heading along King’s Street is England’s largest surviving 15th-century Guildhall, the medieval St George’s Guildhall, now a theatre.

Escape for a few days

Are you searching for a tranquil hideaway to unwind in, while you explore the picturesque Norfolk landscape?

After a day visiting the golden beaches or touring the charming, quaint villages return to one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

Tuesday Market Place

Walking into Tuesday Market Place was quite a surprise, considering the size of King's Lynn this is rather a grand square and quite a quirky name.
A traditional street sign for 'Tuesday Market Place' on an old brick-built building in King's Lynn, Norfolk

Tuesday Market Place

Within the same square is the Corn Exchange, an elegant building with a classical façade, built in 1854 and where merchants and farmers traded their wares.
The beautifully restored Old Corn Exchange, in golden sandy stone, that is now a theatre venue.

The Corn Exchange

On the opposite side of Tuesday Market Place, is The Duke's Head, this striking Inn was built as a coaching house in 1685 and was used by many local traders for business including ship auctions.
The striking mid blue & white Duke's Head Hotel alongside Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn Norfolk

The Duke's Head

In contrast, The Maid's Head just next door was frequented by a slightly lesser clientele of local smugglers.
The historic Maid's Head pub on the edge of Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn Norfolk

The Maid's Head

It all builds up quite an image as to how this bustling town was in its heydey.

The North End

True's Yard is a museum dedicated to the fisher folk who worked in the old fishing quarter at ‘The North End’ and was opened by HRH Prince of Wales in 1993.

True's Yard Museum in the North End quarter of King's Lynn, Norfolk

True's Yard Museum

The entrance & spire to St Nicholas Chapel in King's Lynn, Norfolk

St Nicholas Chapel

Continue along St Ann’s Street is St Nicholas Chapel, the name given as St Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors and merchants.
Opposite the chapel is another wonderful example of a merchant’s house ‘The Tudor Rose’ which was built around 1500.
The 15th-century 'Tudor Rose' merchants house half-timbered building in King's Lynn, Norfolk

The Tudor Rose

All of these buildings give so much character to King's Lynn.

Queen Street

Turning right from Custom House you follow along Queen Street, once again the cobbled lanes full of charm and some wonderful historic architecture.

The red brick buildings of Queen's Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk

Queen Street

Heading towards Saturday Market Place, the chequerboard style building on your left is King's Lynn Town Hall & Trinity Guildhall. Through the 19th-century the merchants would have used the Guildhall as a base to stamp their authority across the town.
The chequerboard flint & yellow stone frontage of King's Lynn Town Hall & Trinity Guildhall.

The Town Hall and Trinity Guildhall

Minster

Dominating the view opposite is the wonderful St Margaret’s, Minster. Originally built around 1100, the Priory Church has grown over the years, and in 2011 the Bishop of Norwich designated St Margaret’s as a Minster Church.
The impressive 12th Century St Margaret’s Minster in King's Lynn, Norfolk

St Margaret's Minster

Merchants galore

All around the surrounding area of Nelson Street are merchants houses and the Hanseatic warehouses dating from 1475.
Constructed around a narrow court, the large warehouses were owned by Hanseatic League merchants until around 1751.
Looking along Nelson Street with its 15th-Century merchant houses

The Hanseatic warehouses

An ochre-coloured half-timbered building in Hampton Court in King's Lynn, Norfolk

Hampton Court

Nearby Hampton Court was another prominent merchant warehouse which was built in the 14th century and had additional wings added during the 15th & 17th centuries.

Why not visit?

King's Lynn is a bustling town and an ideal base if you also want to visit Sandringham Estate, just 8 miles (13km) away.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of King's Lynn

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Have You?

Visited King's Lynn, or enjoyed any of North Norfolk? What was your hightlight? We'd like to go back and spend a little more time in the town to explore further.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Inspired to visit King's Lynn?

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The open roads await, pop in your location details then Rental Cars will search well-known car hire brands and discover the deals that suit you the best.
Have a peek at the latest offers from Booking.com, our preferred hotel booking website.
Booking.com
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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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