The bustling port of King’s Lynn is the historic hub of West Norfolk and has plenty of attractions to suit all ages

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King's Lynn Dock

Where is King's Lynn?
From Norwich head west on the A47 and keep going until you reach the Hardwick roundabout. Then follow the signs for the town centre.

About King's Lynn

Although badly damaged by 1950s and 60s development, Lynn still has a charming Old Town.

This cluster of old buildings, including many medieval structures, centres on the twin-towered St Margaret's church.

King's Lynn Tower Gardens

There is also a lovely range of Georgian buildings on King Street and Queen Street, which link the Saturday Market Place to the site of the town's main civic space, the Tuesday Market Place.

Key entertainment attractions in town are the Corn Exchange and the King's Lynn Arts Centre which both host a variety of concerts and plays.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, Tuesday Market Place is bustling with shoppers keen to snap up a bargain. On Saturdays a smaller selection of stalls stands in Saturday Market Place.

What to see and do in King's Lynn

Captain George Vancouver

Greyfriars Tower, a former Franciscan Friary in Tower Gardens, dates back to 1230.

The Custom House, which overlooks the River Great Ouse, dates back to the 17th century.

The Trues Yard museum provides a fascinating insight into the towns fishing communities.

You can also catch a show at the Corn Exchange one of the main venues in East Anglia which attracts a host of household names or the Arts Centre.

History of King's Lynn

A rich mixture of old and new is awaiting potential visitors to King's Lynn.

With an ancient port dating back to the 12th century, the town has a well documented maritime history.

Among its most noticeable seafarers was Captain George Vancouver, whos statue stands in front of the Customs House (right).

In April 1792, his ship Discovery beat a convoy of American ships to the northwest coast of America to declare the land as "British Columbia".

He littered the new land with names that would be recognised by people from West Norfolk, including Vancouver, British Columbia, which was named after the man himself.

A lasting monument to the town's maritime prosperity is the Custom House, built by Henry Bell in 1683, which overlooks the River Great Ouse from Purfleet Quay.

It is said to be Lynn's most photographed building and lay empty for 10 years until it was re-opened by the Prince of Wales in 1998 as the town's tourist information centre, with a display of maritime history on the first floor.

Other historical architectural delights in the town include elegant merchants' houses and medieval riverside storerooms.

During the 15th Century the town hosted two marts which were important trading fairs which attracted visitors from as far afield as Italy and Germany today.

Today the town hosts just one mart on the Tuesday Market Place which starts on February 14 each year, and is believed to be one of the oldest fairs in the country.

Traditionally, it is the first funfair in the showmen's calendar where new rides are tried out and old favourites brought out from winter storage.

During medieval times the town was known as Bishop's Lynn after the Bishop of Norwich took it under his wing in the late 11th Century.

It was christened King's Lynn in the 16th Century when Henry VIII took over its lordship.