Just a two (and a bit) hour drive from our home South Essex, the historic town of King’s Lynn is a perfect spot for a day trip. It’s located in the north west corner of Norfolk and was a much simpler drive than our first visit to Norfolk earlier in the summer. This time, we left Ted at home so that we could make the most of the town and surrounding attractions, and so we were able to enjoy a great collection of things to do in and around King’s Lynn with our not so little one. Here is what we did!
Eat on the River Ouse
The first thing we did when we arrived in King’s Lynn was grab something to eat – we were starving! Initially, I had hoped to eat at Archers Bar and Kitchen, but when we arrived, we realised that a pram was not going to fit inside. Instead, we walked to Riverside Restaurant only five minutes away.
Located in a 15th Century warehouse on the River Ouse, the restaurant is hidden away through a little cobbled side street. There is a flight of steps that we had to carry the pram up, so I’m not sure it’s accessible – unless there is a another way up that we didn’t see! The restaurant was completely empty at the start of lunch service, but we could overhear the staff taking bookings for dinner. They kindly brought us a high chair for Chunks, as well as menus. We ordered a sandwich each, which came with salad and ready salted crisps. Even though it wasn’t on the menu, the staff brought us a side of chips too, which was good of them.
Visit the Custom House
The Custom House is located on the quay and medieval harbour. On the Saturday that we visited, it was open to the public, and the lady inside informed us that it was only open a few days a week. It’s managed by the King’s Lynn Civic Society, a charity which works to improve the environment of King’s Lynn.
Inside the house is a museum dedicated to seafaring and trade. There are three rooms open to the public: one is set up as the Surveyor’s office (in its original location) with a scrapbook detailing the restoration work on the Custom House planted on the large desk. The smallest room is an exhibit on Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was born in Norfolk and is probably the most famous naval officer in history. And in the third room, there is a collection of models, paintings, and artefacts associated with naval trade.
For a free attraction, this is certainly one of the most surprising things to do in King’s Lynn.
Search for the green plaques
On route to our next stop, we spotted the King’s Lynn equivalent of the London blue plaques. King’s Lynn’s brand however, are green circles with information on some of the town’s most ancient buildings. This particular scheme is run by the King’s Lynn Council and Rotary Club.
There is also a Maritime Trail that you could follow to get to know the history of the town. We didn’t have time to find all the green plaques or follow the Maritime Trail, but if we were to go back, we definitely would.
Visit the museums
If Custom House wasn’t enough for you, King’s Lynn has a few museums that you could explore. When we visited, we only had time for one, so spent it at Stories of Lynn. This particular museum has an exhibit on 800 years of history at King’s Lynn, including mayoral regalia, and the King John Cup, an impressive treasure. The second half of the museum is the old gaol (pronounced ‘jail’) house. There are a few torture devices on display, and you can poke your nose into some of the cells if you fancy imagining yourself as a convict.
In one of the cells, there was a pillory, so of course I had to stick the baby’s head through. No one can pass on a pillory.
Watch a football match
I’m not going to kid you. The reason we were in King’s Lynn when we were was to watch a football match. We’re not King’s Lynn Town FC supporters so clearly, away matches are a key reason for people to visit the town. As we walked around the town, there were hundreds of Essex based football fans drinking in pubs and looking for things to do in King’s Lynn while they waited for the match to start.
I didn’t actually watch the game, but since they are a Conference team, there is a chance that you could purchase tickets at the gate on match days – a luxury you definitely don’t have when trying to watch a Premiership club.
Visit Sandringham House
Instead of sticking with Dan to watch the football, Chunks and I made a short drive to Sandringham House. The royal home – where the Queen spends Christmas with her family – is only a 15 minute drive from the centre of King’s Lynn so I booked a ticket to see the house and gardens the week before our trip.
At Sandringham, you can visit four of the rooms in the house, walk through the gardens, explore the museum (which was closed when I visited), and see the church that the Queen goes to for Christmas services. We spent an hour exploring the grounds before Chunks got hungry, so we popped over to the café for a coffee and a snack (or dinner for the baby). The indoor area of the cafe is currently closed – thanks Covid – but we were still able to find a seat under the pergolas outside.
Sandringham also has a gift shop, a garden shop, and a large, wooden children’s play area, which unfortunately my baby was a little too young to enjoy!
And there you have it: at least six great things to do and enjoy in King’s Lynn, but I know for sure there will be more.
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