Home to fens and forests, sandy beaches, and of course the Sandringham estate. When you think of Norfolk, Thetford might not be your first choice of destination, but it might be the perfect base for your staycation. Here are five of our favourite things to do in and around Thetford.
The largest pine forest in Great Britain is waiting to be explored. Whether you choose to go hiking, or cycling, or even Nordic walking. Thetford forest is a patchwork of pines, heathland, and broadleaves and provides the ideal setting for a great day out.
The changing seasons brings changing scenery in this vast landscape, from golden hues in autumn, to golden rays in summer, darling buds of May, to frosty winter mornings. No matter when you visit, you’re certain of a picture perfect scenes.
Destroyed by Henry VIII under the reformation, Thetford Priory is now an impressive set of ruins. Founded in the 12th century, the priory was the final resting place of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk. This fascinating building is maintained by English Heritage and is free to enter.
Surviving remains include the lower walls of the church and cloister, along with the impressive shell of the priors’ lodging, as well as an almost complete 14th century gatehouse.
A trip to Norfolk wouldn’t be compete without a trip to the beach. Head to the Victorian pleasure town the traditional way by travelling by train. The medieval port of King’s Lynn has a wealth of stunning buildings, heritage museums, and plenty of seaside attractions.
Located in the centre of the town is the largest and best-preserved medieval guildhall in England, as well as medieval merchant’s houses, and “one of the most perfect buildings ever built”, according to the great architect Pevsner. Of course, if you’re little ones are more interested in splashing in the sea, than soaking up cultural sights, there are plenty of stretches of sand.
Castle park in the centre of Thetford is the perfect place for little ones to burn off steam. Let them run, climb, even summersault along the earthworks of a medieval motte and bailey castle, or they can explore the play park.
Weather permitting you can also enjoy a picnic in the large expanse of lawns, as you sit and watch the world go by.
The Dad’s Army Museum
Many of the outdoor locations used in the BBC comedy Dad’s Army were shot in and around Thetford. And the Dad’s Army Museum plays homage to the great series, as well as being a great source of information about the home guard.
The museum is independently run by a dedicated platoon of volunteers, and not only features many props from the set, but sets themselves. Housed in the old fire station, it’s a nostalgic way to spend a few hours.