Events at the Bank House Hotel

The Times loves King's Lynn and Bank House

Did you see Nicholas Roe's article in The Times 9th Feb, 2013?

(Editor's note - Nicholas's only mistake was to miss out on Sunday lunch at The Rose & Crown in Snettisham! But we couldn't keep him all to ourselves!)
We’re off to north Norfolk for the weekend, which isn’t far from where we live — so why does it feel like a wild and adventurous thing to do? It is, we agree as the road unwinds, because Norfolk’s on the way to absolutely nowhere else, so the edges of this flat but attractive county have a frontier feel that is quite exciting.
Soon we come to King’s Lynn on the banks of the Great Ouse River, a few miles inland from the coastal mysteries of the Wash. And here, amid a surrounding bustle of shopping precincts, we discover a medieval town that’s so much a reflection of olde England we are immediately won over. It’s brilliant.
So beautiful, in fact, they built it twice, or so they tell us down at the quayside in the 17th-century Custom House, a fine building that nowadays houses the tourist information office and a museum. King’s Lynn was once an important trading centre developed by the Church in the early 12th century, then extended to the north 50 years later as an entirely new town — complete with duplicate market place, duplicate church and second lavish guildhall. They’re all still standing, these magnificently unnecessary civic monuments, and we spend a couple of hours enjoying the double-vision.
Nelson Street proves especially atmospheric, filled with perfectly maintained houses up to 600 years old in a world of their own, so calm that when we emerge at the other end, the ugly postwar shopping areas seem like a crude joke. That’s exactly what this town’s all about, though. Some parts are wonderfully ornate; others are plain shabby. We stick to the good bits, and there are enough to keep us happy. Both guildhalls and many old trading houses near the water are fascinating, and the churches — St Margaret and St Nicholas — are unusually imposing for a town of just 42,000.
Sneaking down a riverside path we discover a £1-a-go ferry that whisks foot passengers over to West Lynn on the far bank, from where visitors can walk back along the river if they fancy a three-mile stroll (I do it by myself later that night, enjoying the atmosphere of all that dark water).
Before that, Lynn Museum reveals the mysteries of Seahenge, a 4,000-year-old oak stockade famously dragged from the shifting sands on the nearby coast in 1998. Better still, we visit True’s Yard, a fishing and community museum in the northern part of town, where the lives of fishermen who still cling to King’s Lynn are recorded and celebrated. The Queen has visited this tiny museum, they tell us; so has the Prince of Wales. But then, Sandringham is just down the road.
As night falls we retire to our quayside hotel, the Bank House, which is another pleasant discovery. The 11 rooms in this Georgian building are beautifully designed and spacious, the view from our window revealing misty riverboats blinking their nightlit way downstream to the Wash. Over breakfast the next morning we notice young men queueing by one of the most attractive old buildings in town, barely a hundred yards away, and our friendly waitress informs us that this is, in fact, the local probation office and the young men are queueing for community service — modern life once again imposed on a rather attractive historic backdrop.
As a Sunday fog descends, we drive a few miles to the RSPB nature coastal reserve at Snettisham where it’s too misty to see far, though we make out waders, gulls and bar-tailed godwits picking at mudflats, and it’s a bracing walk. Lunch is good, too. The Black Horse at Castle Rising, just outside King’s Lynn, is big and interesting in a pleasantly old-fashioned way; the landlady calling us “love” as we order roast pork and almost-local beer (well, Suffolk). We’ve enough time to look round the nearby 12th-century Castle Rising ruins, where towering earthworks and a deep dry moat surround a Norman keep, silences broken by the flapping of a single flag, high on the uppermost tower. Then home we go, cheered by a trip to nowhere.
Need to know
Where to stay
The Bank House Hotel in the heart of King’s Lynn old town has modern rooms, with large bathrooms. Doubles start from £100, but it’s worth paying £140 for the Captain’s Room, best in house (01553 660492,
Where to eat
The Bank House restaurant is buzzy and offers a mix of upscaled classics such as gammon steak, chips and egg (£10.95), with more interesting dishes such as roast belly of pork with Bombay potatoes, coriander and mint chutney (£13.50). Alternatively the Riverside Restaurant in King’s Street has a more formal style (01553 773134, theriversiderestaurant
More information

What’s On in North Norfolk 2014

Thur 30 Jan
Mon 31 March                       Titchwell’s Fabulous Wildlife – 2-3 hour wildlife walk                           
Tel: 01485 210779
Fri 14 – Tues 25 Feb              King’s Lynn Mart (fun fair), Tuesday Market Place
Sat Feb15 – Sat Mar 15         Exhibition by Lorraine Bewick, Greyfriars Art Space, 43 St James  St, King’s Lynn “EARTH, SEA AND SKY”  landscape oil paintings
Fri 21 Feb (8pm)                     Westacre Theatre, PE32 1UD “The Open Couple” Satirical comedy
Sat 22 Feb                               King’s Lynn Corn Exchange – Abba Mania
Sun 23 Feb                              Sunday Afternoon Lecture – Top Floor of Marriotts Warehouse,  South Quay, King’s Lynn. Richard Young of Wisbech, Victorian  ship-owner and politician.
Sun 23 Feb                              King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, OASIS UK tribute band
Tues 25 Feb                            King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac
Thurs 27 Feb (1-2pm)             Trues Talk, Trues Yard Fisherfolk Museum, North Street, King’s  Lynn.  Alison Gifford – Charles Burney and his Norfolk Friends
Thurs 27 Feb   (8.45pm)          King’s Lynn Corn Exchange Comedy Club
Fri 28 Feb – Sat 1 March       Westacre Theatre “The Open Couple” satirical comedy
Sat 1 March (9.30am)             Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market
Thur 6 March                          Trues Talk, Trues Yard Fisherfolk Museum, North St, King’s Lynn.  Matthew Champion talk on “Medieval Ship Grafitti”
12th March      (7.30pm)        King's Lynn Society of Arts & Sciences, Perpetual Light, the stained glass at All Saints', South Lynn, Dr Julien Litten 
Thur 13 March (1-2pm)          True’s Talk, Spring Series, King’s Lynn
Thur 13 March (7-10.30pm)   Thursday Evening Lecture.  Marriott’s Warehouse, South Quay,    King’s Lynn
Fri 14 March – Sun 16            King’s Lynn Fiction Festival, King’s Lynn Town Hall
Tues 18 March (7.30pm)         King’s Lynn Festival Winter Programme, King’s Lynn Arts Centre,   29 High Street, Heart of the Hero: the remarkable women behind    polar exploration by Kari Herbert
Wed 19 March                        Jennifer Morsches (cello)
20 March (1-2pm)                   True’s Talk, Spring Series
Sun 23 March (3.30pm)          Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, King’s Lynn Corn Exchange
Sun 23 March  (3-4pm)           Sunday Afternoon Lectures at Marriott’s Warhouse
Tues 25 March                        Beginning Birding, Titchwell Nature Reserve,
 Titchwell,  Introductory guided walk to bird watching.
 Tel: 01485 210779
Thurs 27 March (1-2pm)        True’s Talk, Spring Series
Fri 28th March (7.30pm)        From Leeches to Lotions, A History of the Pharmacy Shop, Richard Plagmann
Fri 28-Sun 30 March               Sandringham Craft & Food Fair, Sandringham
Sun 30th March (7.30pm)       King’s Lynn CornExchange, In the Mood, Popular Swing classics for  band and voices
Fri 4 April (7.30pm)                King’s Lynn Festival Winter programme, King’s Lynn, Berkeley Ensemble Trio – clarinet, cello and piano – leading young musicians from London
Fri 4 April (6.45pm)               Leaves from Honor’s Diary (1914-1918) Juliet Webster Talk, Holkham Hall
Thur 10 April (7pm)                Thursday evening lecture at Marriott’s Warehouse King’s Lynn
Sun 13 April (7pm)                 Chamber Music in the Marble Hall, Holkham Hall, Arcadia Quartet
Thur 17 April – Sat 19 April  Burnham Market International Horse Trials, Sussex Farm, Burnham Market PE31 8JY.
16th April                                Peter Marchbank on Charles Burney
26th -27th April                        East Anglian Game and Country Fair, Norfolk Showground, Norwich

Thu 1 May (midday)               May Garland Procession, Saturday market place, King’s Lynn
Sat 3 – 5 May                          Pedal Norfolk Cycling Festival, Holkham Hall
Sun 4 May (10.30am)              BESPAK 10K run, King’s Lynn
Sat 10 May (7pm)                   Chamber Music, Marble Hall, Holkham Hall
Sat 17 May                              King’s Lynn HANSA DAY
(11 – 4pm)                   Clifton House (Tower only) Open
Sun 18 May                             Spring Tour of Private Garden, Holkham Hall
21st May                                  Chanter's Jigge
Thurs 22 May – Sun 25 May  Houghton International Horse Trials, Houghton Hall, King’s Lynn
Sat 31 May (10am)                 Creake Abbey Plant Lovers’ Day
Fri 27 – Sun 29 June               Sandringham Driving Trials
Fri 27 June                              Chamber Music, Marble Hall, Holkham Hall
Sat 28 June                              Festival Too – Fireworks at King Staithe Square, King’s Lynn
Sat 28 June- Sat 12 July         Festival Too, King’s Lynn Tuesday Market Place Free Music  Festival
Fri 4 July (pm)                         Diva Opera, Don Giovani, Holkham Hall
Sat 5 July (pm)                        Diva Opera, the Tales of Hoffmann, Holkham Hall
Sat 19 July (11-4pm)              Clifton House and Tower Open.  Clifton House is the most important house in the historic town of King’s Lynn.
Sun 20 July                             Around the World in 80 Dishes, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn.  Food Festival
Sat 26 July (11-4pm)              Clifton House and Tower Open.  Clifton House is the most important house in the historic town of King’s Lynn.
Wed 30 July                           Sandringham Flower Show, Sandringham
Fri 31 July – 3rd Aug              Seastar Opera, “Cosi fan Tutte”, Wells next the Sea
Thurs 5 Aug (pm)                   Outdoor Theatre, The Jungle Book, Holkham Hall   
Fri 8 – Sun 10 Aug                 Sandringham Crafts, Arts and Sculpture Festival
Sun 17 – Sat 23 Aug               Hunstanton Tennis Tournament, Hunstanton
Tues 26 Aug (7.30pm)            Bat Walk, Holkham Hall
Sat 30 Aug – 31 Aug              Launch at Holkham Hall of month long county wide Norfolk Food and Drink Festival
Tues 9 Sept (7pm)                  Bat Walk, Holkham Hall
Sat13-Sun 14 Sept                  Sandringham Game & Country Fair
Fri 21 – Sun 23 Nov               Sandringham Christmas Fair
Sat 16th Nov (7.30pm)            Choral Classics in King’s Lynn Minster, Durufle Requiem
Sun 23 Nov                             Chamber Music Concert, Marble Hall, Holkham Hall
Fri 5 Dec                                 Concert in Marble Hall, Holkham Hall, The Upper Octave

Useful Contact Information:
Creake Abbey, café and shopping
Clifton House Group Tours Dr Paul Richards
Community Cinema Club, King’s Lynn
Golf: King’s Lynn Golf Club Tel: 01553 631654, Hunstanton Golf Club Tel: 01485 532811, Brancaster Royal West Norfolk Golf Club Tel: 01485 210223
Burnham Overy Staithe Ferry to Scolt Head Island Tel: 01328 738348 or 07776 302413
Holkham Hall
King’s Lynn Arts Centre 01553 779095
King’s Lynn Corn Exchange 01553 764864
King’s Lynn Museum 01553 775001
King’s Lynn Music Society
King’s Lynn Town Guides. King's Lynn Tourist Information Centre - 01553 763004
King’s Lynn Fiction and Poetry Festivals
King’s Lynn Festival  - 01553 764864
Princess Theatre, Hunstanton
Northshore Sailing, Brancaster Staithe 01485 210236
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve Tel: 01328 851465
RSPB Snettisham
Sandringham House Tel: 01553 612908
Sea Fishing Trips, Brancaster Staithe Tel: 01485 517610
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve  Tel: 01328856788
Thursford Christmas Spectacular or phone 01328 878477.
Tourist Information, Burnham Deepdale Tel: 01485210256
True’s Yard Museum, King’s Lynn 01553 770479
Wildlife boat trips, Brancaster Staithe Tel: Branta Cruises 01485 211132
Wiveton Café and fruit farm, Nr



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