Norfolk is a rural county with lots of countryside, quaint villages and a beautiful coast… and only one city and no motorways! There are plenty of lovely Norfolk market towns for you to visit as you explore Nelson’s County.
And if you’re moving to Norfolk, perhaps one of these towns could be your new home!
From lively seaside towns like Cromer to historic market towns in the countryside, and colourful spots like Great Yarmouth, there are plenty of Norfolk towns to keep you busy as you discover Norfolk. Many of these towns are hidden gems and make perfect bases to explore the surrounding coast and countryside.
In this guide you’ll find lots of information about each town, an A-Z list of all 27 Norfolk towns, as well as a map. There’s also a size-ordered list of Norfolk towns by population, in case you’re looking for the bustle of a big town or the peace of somewhere smaller.
Whatever you’re after, there’s something for everyone in Norfolk!
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Norfolk Towns Map
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How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.
Norfolk Towns by Size
A-Z of Towns in Norfolk
Acle is a pretty market town on the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads, located halfway between Norwich and Great Yarmouth.
Acle has retained its traditional character and has several good pubs, independent shops and a village green. There is also a weekly market here, as befits a market town!
This is an ideal spot for exploring the Norfolk coast, Norwich and the Norfolk Broads, with many of the county’s top attractions within easy reach.
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Attleborough is a thriving market town between Norwich and Thetford, with a strong community spirit and an abundance of green space.
With plenty of countryside walks and cycle routes through the picturesque Breckland landscape and Thetford Forest on the doorstep, this is a great location for lovers of the outdoors, who want to explore Norfolk’s attractions.
The delightful (and world-famous) Peter Beales Roses is on the edge of town, ready to inspire gardeners far and wide!
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One of the prettiest market towns in Norfolk, traditional Aylsham is located beside the tranquil River Bure.
Home to Norfolk’s slow food movement, Aylsham is just one of three UK Cittaslow towns, making it the perfect spot to shop for local Norfolk produce at one of the two weekly markets or monthly farmer’s market. It’s also home to the wonderful Biddy’s Tea Room, which serves one of the best afternoon teas in Norfolk!
Aylsham’s unspoilt and traditional 18th century market square surrounded by elegant Georgian architecture (owned by the National Trust), nearby Jacobean Blickling Hall, the Bure Valley Railway and the start of the Marriotts Way Heritage Trail, make it a charming place for a day out.
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Who can resist Cromer? One of my favourite seaside towns in Norfolk, traditional Cromer is home to the much loved Victorian Cromer pier, the delicious Cromer crab and a strong connection with the sea through the RNLI. For many, is the best seaside town in Norfolk.
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Dereham, also known as East Dereham, is a small and often overlooked market town in the heart of Norfolk, between Norwich and King’s Lynn.
After the discovery of flints and axe heads found in nearby fields in 1986, Dereham was dated back to the Neolithic Bronze Age era. Nowadays, Dereham is a bustling market town with lots of good independent shops, cafes and a weekly market.
Dereham is also home to the Mid Norfolk Railway which starts in the town and travels along the line to Wymondham Abbey. Nearby is the excellent Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse and the picturesque Grade II Dereham Windmill.
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An ancient Norfolk market town with real character, Diss sits just north of the Suffolk border in the delightful Waveney Valley.
With historic churches, timber-framed buildings and the Diss Mere with its central fountain and underground springs, Diss makes the perfect base for exploring both Norfolk and Suffolk.
Diss is also home to the fabulous Bressingham Steam Museum & Gardens, where you can explore the seventeen-acre gardens with over 8000 species and varieties of plants, before hopping on the narrow-gauge steam train for a ride through the local woodlands.
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On the banks of the River Great Ouse on the edge of the Fens, and dating back to Saxon times, Downham Market is one of Norfolk’s oldest market towns.
Although it’s one of Norfolk’s larger towns, Downham retains an intimate and friendly feel and enjoys a bustling market and lots of independent shops and cafes.
Downham Market is home to lots of historic buildings and historic architecture. Nicknamed the ‘Gingerbread Town’ due to its buildings made from local carrstone, this is the perfect spot from which to explore the Fen Rivers Way and nearby Castle Acre and Oxburgh Hall.
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Just ten miles from the beautiful North Norfolk coast, Fakenham is a traditional Norfolk market town and the largest town in North Norfolk.
Sitting along the pretty River Wensum, Fakenham is an ideal destination for enjoying the beaches of the coast and surrounding countryside, with many good walks and cycle routes on the National Cycle Network around the town.
Fakenham’s lively market dates back to 1250 and today a market runs weekly, where local traders gather to sell their produce. Nearby is Pensthorpe Natural Park, home to a nature reserve, beautiful gardens and lots of stuff to keep kids entertained.
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Often overshadowed by Great Yarmouth, its larger and livelier neighbour, Gorleston-on-Sea is more laid-back and peaceful.
Gorleston has its own huge bay, riverside quay and a stunning sandy beach below cliff gardens, topped by a grand promenade. It’s no surprise that Gorleston has been voted the 8th best beach in the UK by TripAdvisor.
The town enjoys all the amenities of a holiday destination and is also on the doorstep of the Norfolk Broads, offering a perfect mix of beach, holiday attractions, rivers and wildlife.
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One of the liveliest Norfolk seaside resorts, Great Yarmouth makes for an action-packed day out or holiday destination. With its famous Pleasure Beach, amusements and attractions, there’s lots to keep visitors (especially kids!) busy.
It’s easy to see why Great Yarmouth is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Norfolk. There’s plenty to see and do, including theatre, SEALIFE, boat trips to see local seals, crazy golf, pretty gardens, Merrivale Model Village and the wonderful Time and Tide Museum.
Don’t go to Great Yarmouth if you’re looking for history or culture – this is a brash, loud, and in-your-face kind of place. What you will get is good value accommodation, a great beach and LOTS to do!
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Harleston is an ancient market town nestling on the south Norfolk borders close to the River Waveney, which has been voted Norfolk town of the year on several occasions.
The town centre’s narrow streets, half-timbered buildings and quaint alleys tell the tale of its history, where past residents include some of the first Pilgrim Fathers who travelled to settle in the United States of America.
Harleston is ideally placed to explore the beautiful Waveney Valley, Thetford Forest and the nearby coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk.
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Hingham is a charming little market town in south Norfolk with a number of attractive Georgian houses around a pretty town green, known at that time as ‘Little London’.
Hingham is also famous for being home to one Samuel Lincoln, ancestor of US President Abraham Lincoln. Samuel left for America in 1637, and in 1919 a bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln was installed in the nave of St Andrew’s Church.
Nearby are Banham Zoo, Melsop Farm Park and Rooar Dinosaur Adventure, making Hingham a good base for exploring Norfolk with kids.
The historic Georgian town of Holt is a charming North Norfolk market town. Close to the coast and with a station on the North Norfolk steam railway from nearby Sheringham, Holt makes a wonderful holiday destination.
Holt’s fine 18th century Georgian buildings make the town one of the most attractive in North Norfolk, and with its many art galleries, antique and book shops, independent boutiques and places to eat, it’s a lovely place to while away an afternoon.
To learn the town’s history follow the Holt Owl Trail through the alleys and lanes, before visiting nearby Baconsthorpe Castle, Holt Country Park and the many seaside villages within easy reach.
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Hunstanton, or ‘Sunny Hunny’ as it’s known by locals, is a real mixed bag of traditional seaside resort, great beach, fairground rides, crazy golf and amusements.
It’s a wonderful family holiday destination with lots for all ages to do and see. The beach is a focal point, with lots of water sports and rides available, as well as traditional donkeys and family beach games. You can also take a boat trip to see Norfolk’s famous seals from Hunstanton.
Grown-ups will love the beautiful 19th century heritage gardens and enjoy the unique red and white striped cliffs, one of Norfolk’s most iconic and enduring images. You’ll also find the start point of the glorious Norfolk Coast Path is Hunstanton, at the bowling green!
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Nestled in a corner of west Norfolk is the historic port and market town of King’s Lynn, the largest town in the county.
With a rich Hanseatic past, streets and squares lined with period architecture, and bustling marketplaces and quays, King’s Lynn is a Norfolk town well worth visiting and makes a great starting point for a Norfolk road trip.
King’s Lynn also makes a well-located Norfolk holiday base. Not only can you explore the town itself, Lynn is also surrounded by the stunning West Norfolk countryside and is just a stone’s throw from huge sandy beaches and some of Norfolk’s top attractions, like the Sandringham Estate, Bircham Windmill and Castle Rising.
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Loddon is a small town to the southeast of Norwich on the beautiful River Chet, a tributary of the River Yare.
Centred around the historic 15th century Holy Trinity Church, Loddon has many fine buildings which reflect the growth of the town over the centuries.
Loddon lies within the bounds of The Broads National Park, Britain’s largest protected wetland, and has direct access to its miles of navigable waterways, by boat from Loddon Marina, and the many walking paths from the town. It is also home to the fantastic Chet Valley Vineyard which produces award-winning Norfolk wines.
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Long Stratton is located between Norwich and the market town of Diss, along the old Roman road, now the A140, and historically consisted of two villages the Stratton St. Mary and Stratton St. Michael.
There are a couple of good pubs, an excellent farm shop and the nearby Forncett Industrial Steam Museum and Norfolk Tank Museum to keep visitors busy.
With the coast, Norwich, the county of Suffolk and the Norfolk Broads all within striking distance, Long Stratton is well positioned for a Norfolk break.
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Steeped in history as far back as Anglo-Saxon times, North Walsham is close to the Broads National Park and beaches of the North Norfolk coast.
The market town became a centre for weaving in the Anglo-Saxon era, along with the nearby village of Worstead, the namesake of the famous cloth. The money made from weaving built the 14th century St. Nicholas Church, the tower of which is the second tallest in Norfolk after Norwich Cathedral.
Surrounded by scenic countryside, North Walsham is an ideal holiday base to explore North Norfolk. The beaches of Bacton and Mundesley are just a few miles away, and to the south is Norfolk’s Deep History Coast, where you can hunt for fossils and find out about the county’s million-year-old heritage.
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Founded in 1277, Reepham is a beautiful market town surrounded by stunning countryside between the Wensum and Bure valleys.
Reepham’s pretty streets are lined with historic 18th century buildings, shops, hotels and restaurants, and the marketplace conservation area holds a weekly market, as well as regular antique fairs.
The former Reepham Station is on the Marriott’s Way, a 26 mile footpath, bridleway and cycle route, which follows the routes of two disused railway lines, and runs between the historic market town of Aylsham and the medieval city of Norwich. Close to Norwich, Blickling Hall and the North Norfolk Coast, Reepham is a popular spot for holidaymakers.
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Sheringham is a traditional Norfolk seaside town with a blue flag beach and lots of family-friendly resort attractions, including a snorkel trail and lifeboat museum.
Developed around a once-thriving fishing village, you can still watch wooden fishing boats bring in their catch of the day up the shingle and sand beach, as you stroll the seafront promenade lined with pretty cottages, beach huts, cafes and places to eat.
Sheringham is one of Norfolk’s most popular seaside towns, with lots to do locally, including the heritage North Norfolk Railway, known as The Poppy Line, the paths and trails of Sheringham Park and the 17th century Felbrigg Hall.
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A small market town on the River Ant, Stalham is perfectly positioned for the Norfolk Broads, the blue flag beach at Sea Palling and the award-winning woodland theme park of BeWILDerwood.
Stalham offers visitors good shopping, museums, a beautiful church and great eateries, as well as boat hire and direct access to the waterways of the Norfolk Broads, including Barton Broad, the very pretty How Hill and Ludham Bridge. From here you can find a watery route to Potter Heigham in the heart of the Broads.
Call into the Museum of the Broads to learn about the rich heritage of the area, and the Stalham Firehouse Museum to see their 1881 horsedrawn pump.
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Swaffham is an attractive Norfolk market town which sits at the very northern point of the beautiful Brecks.
Swaffham’s streets are lined with elegant Georgian buildings and there is a busy Saturday market and twice-monthly farmer’s market. Look out for the medieval church of St Peter and Paul with its magnificent double hammer-beam angel roof.
Nearby is the EcoTech centre with its wind turbine where you can climb the 300 steps for superb views as far as Ely Cathedral, the wonderful Gooderstone Water Gardens and Castle Acre with its Norman castle and priory.
Thetford is a historic market town in the unspoilt Breckland area of Norfolk. Known for its turbulent and influential past and Norman history, this medieval Norfolk town has lots to discover.
There are lots of Thetford attractions to keep everyone busy. With the award-winning Dad’s Army Museum, a heritage trail and medieval motte and bailey castle to explore, this often overlooked Norfolk town is well worth a visit.
Thetford is also home to the fantastic Thetford Forest, 73 square miles of pines, heathland and broadleaves which provides the ideal setting for a great day out (I especially like Go Ape!), and a welcome refuge for a rich variety of animals and plant life.
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Watton is most famous for the traditional English tale ‘Babes in the Wood’, which is said to have been set in nearby Wayland Wood. On the town sign are the two ‘babes’ from the popular fairytale. The hare (wat) and barrel (tun) also feature on the town sign showing the derivation of the town name.
Watton is probably best known for the Wayland Show, one of Norfolk’s oldest agricultural events. The show attracts vast crowds to see displays of livestock, falconry, classic cars, vintage tractors, gun dogs, horse and carriage rides and many equestrian events.
Known simply as Wells, the pretty harbour town in North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, lies between charming Blakeney, trendy Burnham Market and the birthplace of Lord Admiral Nelson, Burnham Thorpe.
Wells town has a fine Georgian square and a good mix of independent traditional and contemporary shops and some lovely boutique hotels. Along with the award-winning Wells beach, lined with colourful beach huts, and some of the best fish and chips on the coast, Wells is one of the top seaside resorts in Norfolk.
The lively harbour is sheltered by salt marshes from the open sea and there are lots of water-based activities here including crabbing, stand-up paddle and boat tours, whilst on dry land, you can take a trip on the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, or even go trekking with an alpaca!
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A historic Norfolk market town close to Norwich, Wymondham (pronounced win•dm) is nestled amongst the lush fields of the Tiffey Valley.
There are lots of historic Elizabethan and Jacobean buildings near the market square and a 12th century chapel which is now a library. Another building of note is the 15th century Green Dragon inn, which once served as a guesthouse for visitors to Wymondham Abbey, the town’s most famous historic building.
Today, Wymondham is a thriving tourist destination with lots to see and do. Within easy distance of Norwich and the Norfolk Broads, it makes a great spot for exploring this part of Norfolk.
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Have you visited or stayed in one of these towns in Norfolk? Share your experience in the comments below!