If history is your thing, then a visit to King's Lynn shouldn't be missed. Despite not being a large place, King's Lynn is packed with interesting historical buildings - it's actually home to more than 481 listed buildings. It's also a market town through and through, and it is believed that the first market held in King's Lynn took place at the start of the 12th century.
We wanted to highlight what there is to see and do in King's Lynn, all updated for 2023. Let's get into the guide:
Where is King's Lynn?
What is there to do during your time in King's Lynn?
King's Lynn is a great place to visit, here are some of our favourite things for you to check out:
The Custom House
If you ask locals what their favourite building in King's Lynn is, there's a chance they'll mention The Custom House. This 17th-century building overlooks the medieval harbour and attracts architectural interest from around the world. The building was used as a merchant's exchange, but it isn't really the history of the building which attracts such interest - it's the design. The Custom House has actually been described by some architectural historians as one of the most perfect buildings ever built. See it for yourself and let us know what you think!
True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum
King’s Lynn Minster
St Nicholas' Chapel
St Margaret's might be the best-known church in King's Lynn, but definitely don't miss out on a visit to St Nicholas' Chapel - as the largest Chapel of Ease in England, it has an important place in the history of the country and is equally as great to visit. The chapel is impressive from the outside (particularly the 19th-century spire), but it's inside the chapel which will really blow you away. The chapel is famous for its 'angel roof', which consists of 24 oak statues of angels attached to beams above the windows. The spread eagle brass lectern is also very impressive, and is one of only 45 in England dating from before the English Reformation. The huge windows flood the chapel with light, giving it quite a surreal feeling. Don't say it too loudly, but we think we actually prefer this chapel to the Minster. Learn more about the chapel here - stnicholaskingslynn.org.uk
King's Lynn Mart
For 2 weeks each year (typically starting on February 14th) the Tuesday Market Place is the place to be for the King's Lynn Mart. Music, funfair rides and more can be found here across the entire fortnight, and if you're in King's Lynn during this period then we highly recommend you attend. One of the things that we feel really separates the King's Lynn Mart from other town funfairs is the variety of rides - traditionally, this is the first funfair in the Showmen’s calendar where new rides are tried out and old favourites are brought out from storage.
The mart was closed in February 2021 due to the lockdown, but reopened in 2022 and was a roaring success. There isn't really a website or anything else to check out, you just turn up on the 14th of February and enjoy.
Lynn Museum has to be one of the best local museums in the country - plus, it is free to enter almost the entire year round. There are a number of excellent things to see at the museum, but the standout section is Seahenge. The remains of this strange timber circle date back to the Early Bronze Age, and despite much research the purpose of Seahenge is still unknown. Learn more about the museum here - museums.norfolk.gov.uk
St. George’s Guildhall
This Grade 1 listed building is best known for being a theatre where Shakespeare himself performed - the only theatre in the world that can claim this. This is also the largest surviving medieval Guildhall and the oldest working theatre in the whole of the UK. It is well worth a visit, particularly if there is a show on. Learn more about this building, which is now managed by The National Trust, here - nationaltrust.org.uk
Peter Scott Walk
Things to be aware of before visiting King's Lynn
Like we mentioned previously, King's Lynn is quite a small place so despite having a lot to see and do, you could quite easily cover most of the things we've included in this list within a day (albeit, a busy day). It's worth travelling to some of the nearby towns if you're looking for other interesting things to do such as Grimston, which is only 6 miles northeast and is home to the remains of Roman villas (plus it has some great pubs!)
Also, if you want to impress locals then you should mention the 'Monster Cod' (no, we're not talking about fish and chips). Apparently, the bones of a large fish were once discovered in the town centre, with the bones suggesting that the fish was more than 50 inches long. For reference, the average cod is less than 20 inches long!