Here is my oppinion on the delights of Kings Lynn
Living near Fakenham, which is slap bang between Kings-Lynn and Norwich, I was reminded yesterday why I generally avoid Kings Lynn. Just driving in to the place from Fakenham there is an over-whelming sense of drabness and lack of prosperity as you drive past the seemingly derelict looking docks and skanky housing estates of West Lynn. After a weeks work experience in Kings Lynn with my dads surveying firm, my oppinion was not changed in any way. In this time, we primarily experienced the delights of The Fairstead estate, full of boarded up houses and burnt out cars.
The centre of town isn't much better. Yes, there are the majority of the high street chain stores, Argos, Costa-coffee and even a whimpy! However, even the chain stores seem smaller and behind anything else in the UK in terms of what they stock. Generally the town centre is like a 1970s architectural time wharp, horribly paved and full of tired, struggling shops, tatty cafes and boarded up buildings.
The worst part (without wanting to sound like a snob) is the people. Everyone looks so god damn miserable!!! 95% of the population are chavs with witticisms and comments such as 'get a f*cking haircut you greb'. Worse is the way they congregate in large groups by the bus stops near sainsburys and in shop doorways, staring out any poor passer-by who has dared venture into their precious town
If you are fortunate enough to pass, god forbid venture into any of the local pubs (the one opposite the station is a great example of Kings Lynn hospitality) expect to be pointed at and commented on by the locals and see an array of local alchys talking to their pint glasses. I even saw several chaps staggering through town at around 10am swigging neat spirits. God only knows what a friday night out in this place is like.
All in all a tired, depressing sh*thole of a town. Anyone visiting Norfolk and thinking of paying Kings Lynn a visit, I would advise you not to bother.
Kings Lynn is an interesting mix of ancient and modern. The old co-exists, quite happily, alongside the new in this Norfolk market town. It's importance may not appear to be as it was in the Middle Ages, when this was one of the Hanseatic Ports and a major point for shipping and receiving of goods from Europe, yet it's industries are varied and seem to be thriving.
There are still markets held in the Tuesday Market Place on Tuesdays and Fridays, these dating back hundreds of years on the same site. And the Tuesday Market Place itself has seen much history over the years - having been used for public executions and amassing of men prior to going off to war, to the more enjoyable tradition of the Mart which opens every Valentine's Day, as it has for many centuries now. Many of the buildings surrounding the Market Place are also steeped in history of their own. The Corn Exchange now houses anything from concerts, to fleamarkets, to Broadway type musicals and is usually packed for most of it's offerings. The Olde Mayden's Heade is associated with an occurrence that happened during an execution of an accused witch, while what is now Barclays Bank was once a Merchant's House. King Street boasts many old houses which formerly belonged to some it's more notable fellows. The old Guildhall is now used as a theatre and gallery, and enjoys quite a varied schedule.
The Custom House has been re-furbished courtesy of a lottery grant, and is now the Tourist Centre. It has a small museum on the upper floor, showing it's importance in the earlier days of mechant shipping. It is picturesquely sitting on the bank of the Purfleet Quay - itself also recently drained and re-built.
Kings Lynn has lent itself, in the past, to the making of quite a few historical films, because the King and Queen Street areas can be easily transformed into earlier periods, and much of the riverfront has original warehouses. This has also provided many locals with the added bonus of a part as an extra - as in when "Revolution" was filmed, among others.
You can visit the Old GaolHouse and walk through seeing the sights of law enforcement of years ago, and an audio tour is available to complement the standing displays. Close by is the Guildhall, now accessible from the Old GaolHouse. Not only used for ceremonial purposes, it had a long history as the local courthouse prior to the new one being built. And just around the corner from that is one of the two museums in the town, the other being situated on the Vancouver Bus Station. for a look at Lynn's social and natural history, these are a must. Small and friendly, inexpensive and well worth dropping in for a visit. And walk around some of the smaller streets - like Nelson Street - many old houses marked by plaques of who lived there and when. Guided walking tours leave periodically from the town centre during Summer months.
There are various churches throughout the town, dating from the 9th century. Be sure to walk by the Greyfriar's Tower, now supported by scaffolding and desperately fighting a battle against time. St. Margaret's at Saturday Market Place and another on St. Anne's Street, whose name I can't place at this time.
Lynn's North End, which was for years a thriving fishing community, has it's own museum at True's Yard on the corner of St. Anne's Street. Behind the main museum are two of a terrace of tiny cottages which once housed complete families of those who belonged in this community. It is an interesting museum to do with the fishing heritage of Lynn, and the families who were a strong part of that history.
The local "park"- The Walks - boasts shaded avenues to walk through, a stream (with plenty of ducks to feed!), even a bandstand where the Town Band still plays on occasion. Local schools often use one low lying area for their sports days, and Summer sees many local College students in groups on the grass. There is a decently sized play area for children, with swings, slide, climbing frame and other activities. Well appreciated - the benches for us older folks to rest while the younger ones have their fun!
And here again, more history. Segments of the ancient wall still stand, as does the Red Mount Chapel, which has been used for many purposes over the centuries and is occasionally open to the public, and even less often, still used .
Kings Lynn is easily reached by bus or train from London and other areas. Visitors coming via the Southgates Roundabout will pass beneath the arch of the South Gate, once an integral part of the perimeter defence of Lynn. There is ample parking but very little that is free. Shopping is ok. The main shopping area in the town centre is pedestrianized and has a varied selection of stores including Mothercare, Boot's The Chemist, Littlewoods, a slew of electronic and music shops, and clothing places, and a small bakery restaurant, which is EXCELLENT and hads the most scrumptious salad rolls you can get! Sainsbury's and Iceland are close to the Bus Station, and Sainsbury's car park - ideal when you're laden down with bags of shopping.
Tesco is on the outskirts of town, close to the Hardwick Roundabout, along with Burger King, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and your big electronic store like Comet, and the D-I-Y heavens of MFI, Do-It-All and Sainsbury's Homebase. Here too, is one of the industrial areas, home to Campbell's Soups, Multitone, Decorative Sleeves, Frigoscandia, Master Foods and more. Another is along the North Lynn by-pass area, and yet another off the Hardwick Roundabout to what is now called the Old Cattle Market. I remember it being the NEW one, when the old was demolished to build the Vancouver Bus Station, and livestock was an integral part of the local agricultural community. Sadly, BSE and porcine ailments killed the industry in the 1990's and the Cattle Market fell victim, too.
There is a thriving club scene in Lynn, with places catering for most tastes in music. "Zoots" is for the younger crowd and plays up-beat dance music, "Chicago's" is a bit of dance mixed with rock, reggae, whatever you fancy if the deejay has it. "Dr. Thursday's"is a bar/eatery - ALWAYS PACKED on weekends.
"Top of The World" caters mainly for the 'more mature' ( I found it incredibly boring and preferred "Chicago's").
Likewise, the local eateries span all tastes and continents. Fish and chips, Chinese, Indian, Greek, and plenty of kebab shops ( that stay open after the clubs close and are always packed at that time!). My favourite after-club much was a chicken tikka naan from ChilliMasters. Just filled that empty spot nicely!
There's a lot to see in Lynn, and the tourists seem to like it, they come from all over. Famous folk associated with Lynn include Elizabeth Fry (the prison reformer), Captain Vancouver, Princess Diana and many others. Hotels range from the expensive to the cheap, so there's a place that everyone can afford. Stop by and visit the next time you're in the area - I know I will the next time I visit England again!
I moved to the North Norfolk Port of Kings Lynn in 2001 from the South Coast as much because of its rural charm as the cost of living here was considerably cheaper than the south where I was born and grew up.
Everywhere you walk within Kings Lynn you are reminded of the former history that surrounds this former Hanseatic Port when it was used as a major port for shipping and receiving goods from Europe.
If arriving in the town by car you will pass through the South Gate, part of the original town fortifications which acted as a place of entry to the town and could be manned. Built in the 15th Century the stone structure immediately makes you aware of the importance that buildings such as this have on the town.
Following on through as you head towards the car parks you will pass the Greyfriars Tower the last significant remaining part of a friary established in the 1230's by a group of Franciscan Friars (followers of St Francis of Assisi). Greyfriars Tower was recently a finalist in the first series of the BBC2 programme Restoration.
Every Tuesday and Friday you can visit the Tuesday Market Place for the weekly markets dating back centuries on the same site. This Market Place itself has seen much history over the years , it was previously used for public executions, but now more commonly for parking, markets, live outdoor concerts and the Mart which opens every Valentine's Day, as it has for many centuries now. This is the oldest fair in the country.
Around the Market Place are many buildings themselves steeped in history. The Corn Exchange (a grade II listed building) houses everything from concerts to Broadway musicals and children only shows and it is usually packed. The public house The Olde Mayden's Heade takes its name from an incident during an an execution of an accused witch. Even Barclays Bank was previously a Merchant's House.
From Tuesday Market Place you can walk along King Street past The Custom House (built in 1683 by Henry Bell) which has been turned into a small museum showing its importance in the early days of shipping on the upper floor and houses the Tourist Board on the ground floor.
King Street boasts many old houses and this part of the town has also been transformed on many occasions easily into period backdrops as many buildings are originals for films including Revolution.
Arriving at Saturday Market place where the Saturday market takes place outside the magnificent 12th century church of St. Margaret you will see the Trinity Guildhall now used mainly for ceremonial purposes - it is the Town Hall, it has itself had a long history as the Courthouse prior to the new one being built.
Next to the Town Hall is the Old Gaol House now a museum recreating prison life years ago and telling the stories of some of Lynn's more infamous characters in the original cells of the town gaol. Also housed here is the Regalia collection, whose exhibits feature a series of facsimile royal charters and the priceless King John Cup. Another of the towns museums is the other side of the Guildhall and this houses
Town House museum recreating life in Lynn in Tudor, Stuart and Georgian displays, a Victorian Kitchen and a 1950's sitting room.
Another museum is situated near to the Bus Station and here you can see the paw print of a Roman dog, antique fairground horses, and a special collection of Nelson memorabilia.
North of Tuesday Market Place is St. Anne's Street where you will find True's Yard museum, a museum of the fishing community that lived in the town, behind the main museum are two tiny cottages which once housed complete families of those who belonged in this community.
The local park boasts shaded avenues to walk through, a stream (with plenty of ducks to feed!). and there is a decently sized play area for children, with swings, slide, climbing frame and other activities. The park itself houses more history with small parts of the original Town walls still standing as does the Red Mount Chapel, which has been used for many purposes over the centuries including smuggling, and is occasionally open to the public.
Families who enjoy sport are well served, Lynnsport is the biggest sporting and leisure complex in East Anglia. The King's Lynn Sports Centre has facilities like a climbing wall, squash courts and a multi-purpose sports hall where everything from Gymnastics to trampolining take place. Outside sports including Rugby, Cricket and Football also take place, and the Town is home to the Linnets Dr. Martens League Football Side. There is also a 25m swimming pool within the town and a speedway stadium.
Kings Lynn is easily reached by bus or train from London and other areas. There is plenty of parking however very little is free and free spaces are only available for a limited period of time usually 30 mins.
Shopping is ok. The main shopping area in the town centre is pedestrianized and has a varied selection of stores including Mothercare, Boot's The Chemist, Littlewoods, however the town centre is currently undergoing millions of pounds of work to improve the service to residents and tourists alike and hopefully all new traders will be in place by the Autumn of 2005.
There are plenty of Supermarkets with Sainsbury's in Town and 2 Tesco's on the outskirts of town, as well as a newly opened Morrisons.
The Industrial Estates house the larger electrical stores such as Comet and Curry's as well as a drive thru McDonalds and Pizza Hut and the D-I-Y heavens of MFI, Do-It-All and Sainsbury's Homebase. Here too, is one of the industrial areas, home to Campbell's Soups and Masterfoods.
There is a thriving club scene in Lynn, with places catering for most tastes in music. Likewise, the local eateries span all tastes and continents. Fish and chips, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Greek, and plenty of kebab shops. So whatever your taste in music or food, King's Lynn will cater for you.
There's a lot to see in King's Lynn, and the tourists seem to like it. Stop by and visit the next time you're in the area .
"Welcome to Kings Lynn" the half hanging of its hinges sign says, “Historic Market Town”. One of the first things you see in Kings Lynn, (depending which direction you come from) is the Campbell’s Soup building. Kings Lynn is a market town and has a market twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You can buy anything from socks to mobile phones to plants and flowers. We have many a good pub: The Globe Hotel just taken over by J.D. Weatherspoons and The Lattice House, also owned by Weatherspoons, both serve great food at expensive prices. We have the Dukes Head Hotel, owned by Forte Grand, is the local 4 star hotel. Nice rooms, okayish food. Mc Donald’s – Oh yeah we have 2 of them, soon to be 3, Located around the town. The Library is very good. It has local information about Kings Lynn, including the census returns from some 100 years ago, a very good selection of books and a good reference section. We have a Bingo hall which pays out very good prizes on a Monday night. A few supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s (now open 24hr), to name but a few. The Local Sainsbury’s has just had a major refurb and is looking very nice. We have a High Street (yes I know!!!!), with all the main brands, shops, and as always the annoying mobile phone shops. A few amusement arcades and the Antique shops. For Visitors to Kings Lynn, we have an excellent Tourist Information Centre, a few attractions including Trues yard (a museum about fishing), the local Museum, the Town Hall, Tales of the Old Gaol House, to name but a few. I hope that this is okay and if you want anymore information get in touch with me.
I spent my childhood in King's Lynn. During the 11 years I lived there very little changed however when I left and returned years later, it was so different. It was a safe place to live. I could play out with my friends till late and my parents always knew I would be safe. The main park was called The Walks and that is where you could find the swimming baths. We went there with school and with friends and family. I remember it was right next to the river and the walls were made of corrugated tin. Each Sunday afternoon my mum and I would go swimming and usually were the only ones there except sometimes we would disturb the water rats who had popped under the tin from the river. There were 3 cinemas which showed all the latest films. Saturday mornings it cost 6d to get in downstairs and 9d for upstairs. It was always packed with kids. I worked in Woolworths Saturdays and holidays when I was at school. I went to the Norfolk County Technical College to study shorthand and typing. The College probably has a different title now but we thought it was very grand. I also used to work on the land during holidays from a very early age. I did everything - potato picking, strawberry picking, black currant picking, bulb picking. You name it, I think I've picked it. It would be interested to know if the gangmasters still operate. The butter factory and Campbells were large employers then but it would appear that things have changed a lot. King's Lynn is a beautiful place and a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. Sandringham of course is on the doorstep and Heacham and Hunstanton. Many little villages surround King's Lynn and I'm sure they would not have changed. St Margaret's Church is worth a visit on the Saturday Market Place and the buildings surrounding the Tuesday Market place are worth a second glance. The old guild hall used to hold the more class
ical performances. I went with my school to see the ballet etc. A wonderful old building. I think I've talked myself in to revisiting. I'll be able to let you know if it is still as beautiful as I remember.
I have worked in King's Lynn for 3 years now, and lived in the King's Lynn area for 4 years, having moved to Norfolk from Derby in 1996. Two immediate things struck me about this area: 1. The peace and quiet, including lack of violence, and "clean" areas. 2. The lack of facilities! By that, I mean that having lived in Derby for 20 years, I had grown used to not walking on my own in the City Centre at night, locking my car and house door at all times , but having the luxury of 2 cinemas on my doorstep with 12 huge screens in each. Imagine my shock when I moved to a small village just outside King's Lynn. The main cinema in Lynn only has THREE screens, one of these no larger than my front room (honest!), and which still has an interval with an usherette selling ice creams at "half-time"! The shopping centre is nothing special, the Woolworths store is one of the poorest ones I know. The high street has all the brand-name shops, but they never seem to have anything in them! However, one of the main streets is soon to go through a massive re-development, so this is something to look forward to. The nightlife of Lynn is really quite good, though now I have a family I don't experience much of this these days. The pubs are all excellent, I honestly can't fault any of them, the best being the Globe or Doctor Thirsty's. There are many good restaurants, too: the one opposite the cinema is by far the best. Finally, shows and concerts are plentiforous at the Corn Exchange - we have had many "big" names recently, the building has recently had a re-fit and is a superb concert venue. Talking of music, King's Lynn boasts a FREE annual Music Festival, takes place on the Market Square in the Summer, again with many big names. This year we had Rolf Harris! (For free - now that can't be bad!) Sports Facilities are resonable - we have the "Sports for
All" centre, mainly for children, and the main Sports Centre, which has everything you could want from a Sports Centre. We also have a seperate Swimming Pool, called St. James's, which has again recently been refurbished. For young children, "Planet Zoom" offers a great facility - it's a huge indoor play centre with ball pits and climbing frames, slides - you know the sort of thing. At £2.50 a child for as long as you like, it's great to keep the kids amused. It's attached to "Strikes", which is an indoor bowling "experience!" - lots of local firms use it to "Beat The Boss", a great game to embarass your colleagues! Out of town stores include Do It All, Harveys, Homebase, MFI, Halfords, and Tescos (now open 24 Hours!) Finally, there is a plethora of tourist attractions, including The Old Gaol House, The Docks, Town Museum, as well as many other attractions within half an hour's drive from Lynn. In summary, it's good to have "just a few" facilities on your doorstep - if we want anything greater we take a trip to Norwich or Peterborough.