Category Archives: What to do/Where to go

Unearthing Norfolk’s past with SHARP

SharpThere are a few things that Norfolk has in abundance: stunning countryside, picturesque towns, great food and history. Having been inhabited since pre-Roman times, the county has seen Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, plagues, wars and natural disasters. On top of these dramatic happenings, Norfolk has also played an important part in Royal life over the years and castles, palaces and forts can still be seen across the county.

As you can imagine unearthing and investigating this rich history is no easy task. Different periods of the county’s past are layered up in fields, residential areas and historic sites across Norfolk, giving archaeologists plenty to get their teeth into. From the 10th July to 12th August 2016 the exciting archaeological ‘Sedgeford dig’ is coming again to the field just behind us, giving all of our guests, the chance to see real history in action.

SHARP, or the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project, is a long term venture tasked with investigating and uncovering the “entire range of human settlement and land use in the Norfolk parish of Sedgeford”. This titanic task began back in 1996. This July and August the team will be excavating for their 21st season. There are various projects planned for summer 2016; from large-scale projects like excavating an Anglo-Saxon village to uncovering a medieval manor and identifying the exact location of a First World War aerodrome, the hard working team at SHARP do it all.

sharpGetting involved, visiting the site & lectures
If you’re interested in local history, there are lots of ways to get involved with SHARP’s upcoming projects. The team run a range of courses to teach people about archaeology, giving you the chance to gain first hand experience uncovering the treasures of Norfolk’s past. Schools and other groups who want to find out more about the work that the team do can arrange visits to the dig site. This gives pupils and enthusiasts a unique opportunity to look into Norfolk’s past and learn all about how the archaeologists interpret the objects and structures they discover. The site is open 10am-4pm each day except Saturday. Guided site tours are every Friday 3pm. A series of archaeologically themed lectures are given every Tuesday 7.30pm at St. Mary Church, Sedgeford,  through the season.

Updates
If you’d like to find out more about local history and the work that SHARP do, follow the team on Facebook or check their website http://www.sharp.org.uk for regular news and updates.

Better yet, why not book yourself a break at the King William and see what the team are up to in person? Call 01485-571765 or visit http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk

Norfolk’s unique galleries and antique shops

antique shopIf you’re the sort of person who likes to lose themselves in antique shops, discover local artists and pick up unique souvenirs, Norfolk is the perfect destination for your next getaway. To help you discover the very best that the county has to offer, we’ve put together our pick of the most interesting and unique galleries and shops just a stone’s throw from our doorstep.

Shirley Carnt. As many of Norfolk’s artists live and work in the local area, there are lots of opportunities to visit working studios and see where the artists produce their pieces. One such studio is that of Shirley Carnt. Located in Coastguard House in Thornham, just a few miles from the King William, this unique little gallery gives visitors the chance to meet the artist, discuss her works and even purchase original pieces.

Hector’s Barn. Specialising in quirky and original pieces, Hector’s Barn sells a mixture of antiques, retro items and specially selected contemporary works. Located in Ravens Yard, Nethergate Street in the village of Harpley on the edge of the spectacular Houghton Hall Estate, the shop makes a charming addition to a day out at the stately home. With many of the pieces in the shop customised and restored, it’s easy to find furnishings and accessories that are truly one of a kind. A second Hector’s Barn can be found at 2 Chapel Yard in Holt.

Ringstead Village Stores
On entering the shop you will discover Hidden Treasures, 9 rooms and 2 courtyards creating a Labyrinth for you to explore. Within you will find an eclectic collection of old and new items, including jewellery, books, glass, pottery, small silver items, pictures, prints, coal scuttles and companion sets, vintage tools, garden furniture including statues, obelisks, plant pots, bird tables, feeders, baths and much, much more.

Le Strange Old Barns. If you want to combine your love for art and antiques, a trip to Le Strange Old Barns in Old Hunstanton is a must. Located just 200 yards from the beach, in a rambling converted barn, this extensive art and antiques centre boasts a fantastic collection of local and historic pieces. The gallery at Le Strange Old Barns is the perfect place to pick up a unique and original piece for your walls. Alternatively, if you’re on the lookout for some original crockery, you can visit the resident potter at the site and watch as your plates, bowls and mugs magically appear out of a block of clay. As well as a fantastic selection of art and antiques, Le Strange Old Barns also run regular workshops and demonstrations.

If pottery is your passion we also recommend a visit to Dersingham Pottery on 48 Chapel Road, and Philippa Lee’s shop in Dalegate Market, Main Rd, Burnham Deepdale

antique collectionIf you like a full day antique shopping the country Town of Holt is your perfect place with numerous antique shops tucked away in every street and around every corner.

Exploring the art and antique shops around Norfolk is a fantastic way to get to know the county, its artists and its history. To find out more about attractions in the local area, or to book your stay, get in touch with the King William today http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk

The History of Wolferton Station

Wolferton StationLocated on the historic King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line, the picturesque Wolferton Station opened to the public in 1862. By chance, this was the same year that the nearby Sandringham Estate was purchased as a private residence for the young Prince of Wales. As Wolferton was just 21/4 miles from the house, it quickly earned itself a reputation as the most upmarket station in the country. Within easy reach of The King William, Wolferton Station offers a unique glimpse into the glamorous past of rail travel and the unique role the Royal Family have played in shaping Norfolk’s landscape. A must see for all railway enthusiasts, Wolferton is an important part of our local history and heritage.

Early years – Thanks to its Royal patronage, Wolferton Station was completely renovated in 1898, transforming it from an everyday stop into a station fit for a king. The refit saw Wolferton kitted out with Tudor-style platform buildings including a specially designed Royal waiting room complete with oak panelling couches and easy chairs. Also a clock tower and ornate lamps topped with crowns were fitted. Between 1884 and 1911, almost 650 royal trains called at Wolferton. The station played host to numerous luncheon parties and was a focal point for many Royal occasions including the funerals of Queen Alexandra in 1925, King George V in 1936 and King George VI in 1952. In 1886, for the 21st birthday of the then Prince George, the station saw a special Royal service bring a circus to Wolferton. At the end of the performance, one elephant refused to be loaded back onto the train, ripping up a lamppost and demolishing the station’s gates before finally being coaxed back on board.

Closure – Wolferton_Railway_Station 2By the end of the 1960s, many of the country’s regional train lines were being cut and Wolferton saw its last Royal service in 1966. In 1970, railwayman Eric Walker, who had purchased the station following its closure, reopened the waiting room as a museum. Over 6,000 pieces of memorabilia were on display, most of which Walker had collected himself. When Eric Walker died in 1985, his son was sadly unable to support the up keep of the station. In 2001, the station was sold to railway enthusiast Richard Brown who has undertaken significant restorations and returned much of Wolferton to its former glory.

Today –Though some parts of the station are private, visitors can still explore the platforms and other selected areas. Souvenirs are available on site and the owner is generally very happy to talk to visitors and to share his extensive knowledge about the history of the station and its Royal connections.

Norfolk’s Famous Farmers’ Markets

Farmers MarketOne of the most fertile parts of the UK, Norfolk has long been known for the quality of its meat, dairy, fruit and veg. From handmade cheeses and specialist sausages to delicious jams and plump, ripe vegetables, the county boasts a range of mouth-watering delicacies and specialities. Visitors to Norfolk can sample this outstanding produce at one of the many farmers markets that dot the county. Fun, vibrant and full of tantalising sights and smells, these markets are the perfect introduction to Norfolk’s culinary heritage.

Farmers’ markets take place in towns, villages and cities across Norfolk throughout the year. Some of the most famous markets are located in Norwich, Loddon, Creake Abbey, Poringland and Fakenham, though smaller markets and farm shops can be found throughout the county. As well as fruit, veg, meat and dairy, a lot of farmers markets also offer plants for sale and most boast a choice of food stands.

Farmers Market 2The vast majority of the produce on offer in Norfolk’s farmers’ markets is grown locally. Most markets ensure that at least 70% of the food sold is produced in Norfolk, giving visitors the chance to sample the very best ingredients the county has to offer. Fans of cheese will be spoiled for choice as Norfolk is home to some of the tastiest vintages in the country. From Binham Blue and Wighton to Wells Alpine and Warham, Norfolk boasts some of the most varied and delicious cheese made anywhere in the UK. Other products you may come across at Norfolk’s farmers’ markets include fresh, crunchy broccoli, firm, ripe tomatoes, fragrant mint and, or course, mustard. Holidaymakers who visit markets close to the sea may also come across the world famous Cromer Crab, freshly harvest samphire and mouth-watering Brancaster mussels.

Head Chef Chris Marshall & his team at the King William love working with our very own county’s produce and we try to use locally sourced meat, fruit and veg wherever possible. Not only does this allow us to produce outstanding meals for you, it also gives you the chance to try some of the best produce in the country.

Creake Abbey 1st Saturday of every month. 9.30am – 1pm at Creake Abbey
Fakenham 4th Saturday of every month. 8.30am – 12pm. at Fakenham Market Square
Holt Country Market every Friday. 9am – 11am. at St Andrews Church Hall
Norwich Monthly 9am-3pm at the Forum
Sandringham 4th Sunday of every month. 10am – 3pm, at Sandringham Visitor Centre.
Thornham last Saturday of every month. 9.30am – 12.30pm, at Thornham Deli.

 

 

Norfolk Bird Watching

Bird Watching in Snettisham and Titchwell

Birds

Though Norfolk has many outstanding attributes, if we had to pick one as our absolute favourite, it would have to be the landscape. Largely unspoilt and boasting some of the most unique habitats in the country, Norfolk’s fields, beaches, marshes and lagoons help to make the county one of the most beautiful in Britain. With two of the county’s best RSPB reserves within easy reach of the King William, a day of spotting some great British birds is guaranteed to be a highlight of your trip to the region.

Snettisham and Titchwell
Snettisham and Titchwell Reserves are a must-see for anyone staying in the area. Taking in one of the most beautiful stretches of the north Norfolk Coast and large, muddy expanses of The Wash, the area that the reserves cover is incredibly important for wading birds, sea birds and other British species. Snettisham is free to visit while Titchwell charges just £5 per car for non-members, making both ideal destinations for a family day out and great places to start your adventure in the Norfolk countryside.

Birds
Both reserves boast a number of star species, with many easy to spot throughout the year.  As Snettisham is located on the coast, it’s the perfect place to spot waders and other water loving birds. The pink-footed goose, the bar-tailed godwit, the avocet and the knot are all regular visitors to the reserve, with shelducks also easy to spot throughout the year. At Titchwell you’ll find a mixture of species, with the marsh harrier, the bittern, the bearded tit and the redshank some of the most exciting visitors to the area.

Visit any time of year
Both Snettisham and Titchwell offer a range of outstanding walking routes, as well as a network of hides and observation points. During big tides, Snettisham is especially popular as the rising water forces thousands of waders off of the mud flats and onto the land, providing a spectacular view for visitors to behold.

The Unforgettable Fakenham Racecourse

Exciting, invigorating and unforgettable, a day out at Fakenham Racecourse is a treat you’ll treasure for years to come. A unique part of Norfolk’s heritage and culture, a day at the races is something that we highly recommend to all of the guests we welcome at the King William.
fakenhamracecourse2 If you’re planning a cosy stay in Norfolk this winter and are looking for a day out with a difference, Fakenham Racecourse is the perfect choice. Whether you’re travelling with your family, organising a weekend away with your better half or you’re coming to the region with friends, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained at this much loved Norfolk attraction.
There has been almost continuous racing at Fakenham since the course first opened its doors way back in 1905. Though there were short interruptions during both World Wars, crowds have been enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, stunning setting and unique buzz for generations.Almost square in shape, the course at Fakenham is left-handed and has a circumference of around a mile. The steeplechase course is located to the outside of the hurdle course and features six fences per circuit. Today, crowds are still attracted to Fakenham in their thousands, with the course packed full of eager spectators on most race days. And with a wide choice of bars, restaurants and cafes available on site, it’s easy to make a full day out of your trip to the races.fakenhamracecourse
Race days
Races are held at Fakenham Racecourse at regular intervals throughout the year. Most meetings take place in the afternoon, with hospitality available throughout the day. If a trip to Fakenham Racecourse is one of your main reasons for visiting the area, it’s a good idea to check the dates of upcoming races before you book your stay. Though with a number of events throughout Christmas and into the New Year, it should be easy to find a date that suits you perfectly.
As the team at Fakenham Racecourse are committed to welcoming all spectators, the course has a range of facilities for disabled visitors and those with limited mobility. Children under 17 can attend the races for free, though they must be accompanied by an adult during their visit.
Known as one of the friendliest and most welcoming courses in the country, Fakenham makes a great day out whether you’re a seasoned punter or a complete novice.

The magic of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular

We love Christmas at The King William. One of our highlights in the Norfolk festive season is undoubtedly the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. One of the largest and most impressive shows of its kind in Europe, the event is one that no lover of Christmas should be without.

Thursford1What is the Thursford Christmas Spectacular?                              The pretty village of Thursford, just half an hour from The King William, is home to this annual festive show featuring a cast of 130 singers, dancers and musicians, many of whom have performed in the West End. A three-hour extravaganza, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular has it all. From solo singers and heart warming carols to huge show-stopping choruses and chart topping favourites, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone at this magnificent celebration of the festive season. What’s more, as the spectacle takes place in a theatre surrounded by mechanical organs, fairground carousels and other festive features, the audience will be transported into the seasonal spirit from the moment they arrive.

Attending the Thursford Christmas Spectacularthursford2                    Though many of the tickets for the show sell out early in the year, there are often some seats to be had right up until the last performance. This year, the extravaganza kicks off on the 11th November and runs through to the 23rd December. Many days feature two performances, giving everyone plenty of chances to see this impressive festive feature. For tickets call the booking office on 01328 878477 or visit the website www.thursford.com

Making the most of your trip to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular                                      If you really want to make the most of your theatre trip, why not book yourself a night or two at The King William? From exploring local sights and attractions to enjoying a bracing walk along the stunning Norfolk Coast, there’s plenty to do in this captivating corner of England throughout the winter months. With our cosy rooms, roaring fire and warm welcome, The King William IV is your perfect base for unforgettable Christmas outings.

The Sedgeford Hoard

Norfolk has a very rich heritage and the historic village of Sedgeford dates back many centuries. During the Summer months the history can be relived at the Sedgeford Historical Archeological project  (SHARP) http://www.sharp.org.uk/ . One of the amazing finds over the past years is the famous Sedgeford Hoard. Its story can be found below.

Last Autumn I had the pleasure of being shown around the Lynn museum and there it was ‘our Sedgeford hoard’ for all to see. If you have the time during your stay please do go and visit the Lynn museum. This truly delightful museum tells the story of West Norfolk. Step back in time as you walk into a life size replica of Seahenge. This astonishing Bronze Age timber circle is the museum’s stunning centrepiece’ but there are many more collections to see.  The museum is open daily 10-5pm (closed on Mondays and Sundays). Entry is very reasonable and starts from £3.95 for an adult and £2.95 for a child. Family tickets and concession tickets are available.

 

Sedgeford Hoard0001

Sedgeford Hoard0002

Norfolk’s best Horse events from April-June

NORFOLK’s BEST HORSE EVENTS APRIL-JUNE

For those who enjoy a spot of top quality horse racing, eventing or carriage driving, we really are spoilt here in Norfolk over the coming months. Whether you’re a keen amateur or aspiring competitor, the calendar of upcoming equestrian events provides fantastic, all-round entertainment for the whole family.

Horse Trials Burnham Market

Events kick off with Burnham Market International Horse Trials from 2 to 4 April – past competitors include Zara Phillips and other Team GB Olympians – and this year again some of the best event riders in the country will be in action in the dressage and show jumping arenas and testing their skills over Sussex Barn’s challenging cross country course. See your favourite athletes and enjoy over 50 trade stands and children’s activities – family day tickets start at £17 for 2 adults and up to 3 children on 2 & 3 April and £23 on the final day, children under 4 are free.

Get set for a superb day’s racing at Fakenham on Easter Monday and Tuesday, 5 May – not forgetting the stylish Ladies’ Day later in the month on 31st May. General admission to the course enclosure costs £10 and £15 for access to the Grandstand and Paddock – day membership costs £20 with children under 17 free when accompanied by an adult. Enjoy an array of refreshments, great shopping, a wonderful atmosphere and even a winning bet!

horse racing

There’s a plethora of country stalls and fun activities at the East Anglian Game & Country Fair at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich from 25 – 26 April. From falconry, dog shows, spectacular arena displays and cookery demonstrations – there truly is something for everyone.  Buy a family ticket for £36, 2 adults and 3 children (5 – 16 years).

The prestigious Houghton International Horse Trials take place from 28 to 31 May in the magnificent setting of Houghton Hall.  Welcoming over 700 horses each year, the event offers a further opportunity for all who love the sport to see a strong international line-up competing on home turf. With some 70 trade stands, it promises to be another brilliant day out – family day tickets start at £22.

At the end of June, enjoy all the skill, precision and expertise of horses and drivers at Sandringham Driving Trials from 26 to 28 June.  Entry is free on all three days and in the beautiful setting of Sandringham Park, it’s a thrilling and fascinating day out for all the family.