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Its the Heart of Norfolk
East Dereham (Norfolk, England)
Member Name: melvinium
East Dereham (Norfolk, England)
Advantages: Centrally located in Norfolk - large market town
Disadvantages: Small town mentality
Also known as East Dereham, but the locals refer to it as Dereham.
It is a market town in the heart of Norfolk, easily accessible from the A47 around 15 miles from the county capital of Norwich.
Now what is there to tell you about Dereham?
Well as far as market towns go in Norfolk, it is rather large. In 2001 there was a population of 15,659, but there has been a fair bit of expansion to the town since then so I would imagine that figure has gone up quite a lot.
It is believed that Dereham got its name from a deer park that existed in the area. Also Withburga, who was the daughter of a Saxon king, set up a religious community in the deer park. When Withburga died she was buried in the grounds of St Nicholas church, until her body was snatched away by the Abbot of Ely. It is said that when her body was taken, a well sprung from her tomb with magical properties. This well still exists today and can be viewed in the church grounds.
Where to stay?
There are a few hotels in Dereham, so if you need accommodation you can try The Phoenix which is situated near to St Nicholas Church; The George, situated at the top of Swaffham Hill; The Kings Head hotel or Hill House, which is a newly renovate building turned into a hotel. I have never stayed at any of the hotels in Dereham , so cannot give any feedback on them. The George does have a nice restaurant though, and is a popular drinking hole amongst some Dereham Residents. Hill House do a cheap carvery which is also popular.
What is there to do?
Well Dereham is a growing town, with a good selection of shops. You can find the usual shops in the town centre such as Woolworths, Boots, Superdrug, New Look plus a few non chain shops such as Chambers, which is a stationery shop come newsagents and GD Cook and Sons who stock leather goods. There is a new shopping district just been built on top of the old carpark opposite the police station, and some of the shops that can be found here are: QD, Peacocks, Wilkinsons, Bon Marche and Julian Graves.
There is a bowling alley and Zoom childrens play area in Dereham, next to the new Leisure Centre. There is also a skate park opposite which is popular with the Dereham youths.
A railway connects Dereham up to another market town, Wymondham (pronounced Windham - Norfolk is infamous for its pronounciation of words). This is the Mid Norfolk railway, and operates a steam train throughout the summer months. It is planned to run a daily service linking the town to main line routes one day.
Is the nightlife any good?
Well it depends on what you think makes a good night out!
There is a cinema in Dereham, which is where Prince William watched "Return of the King" Lord of the Rings movie. It is a small scale Hollywood cinema with 3 screens.
There are several pubs: The Bull, The Royal Standard, The Red Lion, The Cherrytree, The Plough and Furrow, The George to name but a few. Some pubs on the edge of town are notorious for underage drinkers.
There is an infamous nightclub in Dereham which has gone under various different names over the years. It used to be the Upstairs which was over 21s and the Downstairs which was over 18s. These then merged into one and became known as Splitz, then it was Aurora Borealis. The locals lovingly? Refer to it as the "Pit". You can guarantee your feet will become stuck to the floor if you venture in.
There are plenty of takeaways in Dereham; about 4 chinese, a thai, 2 Indians. Due to the influx of Portugese over the last few years, there is now also a Portugese restaurant, café and shop.
So as you can see Dereham has a reasonable amount to offer its visitors. It is situated in the beautiful county of Norfolk and is an ideal place to explore the surrounds.
Some surrounding areas worth visiting include the beautiful Norfolk coast. Wells-Next-The-Sea is one of the closest beaches to Dereham, and is about 30-40 minutes away. Next to Wells is the beautiful Holkham beach where various films have been filmed, including some scenes in the Duchess, and also the All Saints video for the Beach.
Thetford forest is a nice play to go for a walk and a picnic, you can also find "Go Ape" here, a treetop adventure in the forest.
The Norfolk Broads are a popular attraction and you could hire a boat for the day at Wroxham.
Norwich is only 15 miles from Dereham, and is a lovely city for shopping or tourists. Norwich castle is well worth a visit.
If you are ever out this way, don't hesitate to look up Dereham and see some of her sights!
Summary: There are worse places to go!