What’s going for it? Amazing, the effect of geography. Were King’s Lynn anywhere else in the country but squelched into the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists. They’d be there getting selfies next to some 18th-century townhouses or cutie-pie half-timbered cottages they’d seen in the latest Sunday night costume drama. Bistros and artisan coffee houses would be flush. Various branches of Edinburgh Woollen Mills would have opened. But it is not. It is squelched into the remoter end of the Fens. The wealth of the north Norfolk coast is tantalisingly near, but not quite near enough. That relative remoteness today (I mean, it’s only just over an hour to Cambridge, so it’s hardly Siberia, is it?) has bred an independent spirit: there’s some great local culture behind those pedimented porticoes, and a fair bit of money has been spent on sprucing up the place. Geography favoured King’s Lynn hundreds of years ago, before trade shifted to the Atlantic. That’s why it’s so beautiful today, all cobbles, alleys and warehouses. King’s Lynn was once the biggest port in the country, and its merchants flashed their cash on those 18th-century townhouses. Maybe fortune will smile on it again some day.
The case against The poor place has been scandalously knocked about in decades past, to make room for car parks and dual carriageways, meaning that today it’s a slightly surreal mishmash of 18th-century alleys and retail parks.
Well connected? Trains: to Cambridge (52 minutes) and London (one hour 50 minutes). Driving: 30 minutes to the seaside at Hunstanton, 50 minutes to Peterborough and the A1, 70 minutes to Norwich and 75 to Cambridge.
Schools Primaries: while many are “good”, Eastgate is “outstanding”, Ofsted says. No reports yet for North Wootton, Reffley and Gaywood. Secondaries: Springwood High is “good”. No report yet, either, for Fen Rivers Academy.
Hang out at… Market Bistro on Market Place is fabbo, as is Marriott’s Warehouse.
Where to buy The old town is a knockout. From the brick Georgian townhouses lining London Road right up to the stunning King Street, you won’t want for pretty amazing period property from the 15th century onwards. Nice nook of cottages, too, around Friar’s Street. Good suburban detacheds in Gaywood, on and off Gayton Road; and in South Wootton. Large detacheds and townhouses, £400,000-£650,000. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £200,000-£400,000. Semi-detacheds, £115,000-£300,000. Terraces and cottages, £90,000-£250,000. Flats, £60,000-£250,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £380-£600pcm; a three-bedroom house, £550-£900pcm.
Bargain of the week It’s £750,000, yes, but look at what you get for that: a remarkable eight-bedroomed Victorian villa; with sowerbys.com.
From the streets
Nick Cooper “The lovely Norfolk coast is only 12 miles away. House prices are very reasonable, despite London being less than two hours away by train on the Fenland line.”
Ivor Rowlands ‘It has the only remaining theatre in the world that can claim Shakespeare performed there – St George’s Guildhall.’
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