Kingdom tourists get taste of seaside

Forget Wells, Yarmouth or even Blackpool - the latest destination to offer a taste of the seaside is Swaffham.

Forget Wells, Yarmouth or even Blackpool - the latest destination to offer a taste of the seaside is Swaffham.

Despite lying 25 miles from the nearest wave, the landlocked town has started offering an old favourite for beach-goers - sticks of rock.

It is all part of the blurring between Swaffham and its TV alter-ego Market Shipborough, the setting for the ITV show Kingdom which is mainly filmed in the town.

Ever since the show aired earlier this year, confused tourists have been turning up to Swaffham expecting to hear the surf they have seen crashing on Market Shipborough's shores.

Now the town is making the most of its fictional beach - which in reality is the coastline at Wells or Holkham - by offering a chance to pick up a stick of Market Shipborough rock from its tourist information centre.

It is the latest cottage industry to grow up on the back of the programme with shops in the town also offering Market Shipborough postcards.

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It recently emerged that the series is likely to have ploughed the lions share of its £2.5m budget into the Swaffham area by the time it finishes filming the second series this summer.

At Cool Cabs, which is running the information centre on behalf of Swaffham Tourist Association (STA), employees said the sticks of rock had been flying off the shelf. Jamie Moulding, office controller at Cool Cabs, said: “People are a bit surprised to see a town inland offering sticks of rock but then we often get people coming in here looking for the coast they have seen on Kingdom anyway.

“We usually sell about five a day. Last week a woman came in and she bought 11 sticks of rock.”

STA chairman Martin Hickey said: “It is an initiative in the same vein as the notices we have put up in the tourist information centre saying 'Welcome to Kingdom Country'.”

Mr Hickey said that soon visitors to the town would be able to explore locations from the show such as The Greyhound pub and the Buttercross online when a Kingdom section is added to www.visitnorfolk.co.uk.

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