Norfolk—A County of Enormous Contrasts

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Properties for sale in Norfolk, England, ENG


Population: 859,400
Language: English
Currency: GBP (Pound sterling)


100 miles of coastline for boating, fishing, birdwatching or relaxing with a plate of excellent seafood.

Noël Coward may have called it flat, but Norfolk is a county of enormous contrasts. It has wonderful huge open spaces, big skies, the watery charm of the Norfolk Broads, the dense forests of Breckland, the vast wilderness of the beaches of Holkham and Brancaster on the north coast, the sheer cliffs at Cromer, little flint villages and a seal colony at Blakeney Point. Then there is the wonderful cathedral city of Norwich, well known for its university, football club and annual arts festival and as a world leader in agri-science.

Nelson’s county isn’t on the way to anywhere, doesn’t have a motorway, and is one of the few unspoilt counties left in England. People used to buy second homes and enjoy its time-forgot quality but now around two-thirds of buyers are incomers who want to live here, work from home, and maybe pop down to London one day a week. The hottest spot is Burnham Market, known as Chelsea-on-Sea.

Strutt & Parker’s Norwich office covers the whole of Norfolk, which is still very affordable compared to any Home County—buyers can get 2050 percent more house for the money.

Key towns in Norfolk

The cathedral city of Norwich is Norfolk’s county town and, until the start of the industrial revolution, was England’s second city, meaning it has a rich and fascinating history and wonderful architecture which has been complemented more recently with  stunning modern buildings. It has an enviable location just half an hour from the Norfolk Broads and only slightly further from a long expanse of coast, making both easily accessible by car for a quiet afternoon in the great outdoors.

Norwich has the largest intact medieval street pattern in Europe which is home to the cobbled Norwich Lanes and its beautiful historic buildings, housing an impressive array of independent businesses.

The exceptionally pretty Georgian town of Holt, in the countryside of north Norfolk, is renowned for its independent boutiques and eateries. Holt is superbly situated just 10 minutes from the North Norfolk Heritage Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is well known for sailing, walking, and birdwatching. It is also home to the highly recommended Gresham’s public school.

The attractive village of Salthouse is a few miles north of the town and, due to its location on the salt marshes and next to a pebbly beach, is blessed with magnificent views that can be enjoyed from the well-reputed pub, the Dun Cow. Salthouse Heath, 66 hectares of nature reserve managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, is just one place to which birdwatchers flock to see both common and rare species.

Diss is a market town on the southerly border with Suffolk, sitting in the Waveney valley surrounded by beautiful countryside and boasting a lake with a surface area of six acres. The town is blessed with a number of historic buildings including the early 14th Century parish church, which is one of at least nine in the town. Diss became part of the Cittaslow (slow city) project in 2006.

The centre of Diss is rather unique, with the shops arranged around four courtyards—Cobbs, Norfolk House, Hales, and Wills. 

Aylsham is a picturesque and popular market town renowned for its fine architecture and Medieval half-timbered houses. The town is an active local business centre in itself, particularly in agriculture, but is also popular for people working in Norwich. There are many places of interest around Aylsham, enjoyed by both residents and tourists alike, including Blickling Estate.

Aylsham has good ecological credentials, being the first Norfolk town to abandon plastic bags and providing an excellent bus services to the surrounding towns and villages, and a strong community spirit, both of which meant that it didn’t have to make any fundamental changes when it joined the Cittaslow movement in 2004.

Wymondham is a beautiful small town, to the south of Norwich. The unspoilt landscape of the Tiffey Valley forms a striking backdrop to the towers of the imposing Wymondham Abbey, which dates from 1107. The town is full of fascinating buildings, including the Tourist Information Centre, which is set on stilts to protect the documents which were traditionally stored there from flood and vermin. Located in Becket's Chapel, Wymondham Arts Centre offers regular exhibitions from a wide variety of artists.

Transport links

London is between 90 minutes and two hours by train; Cambridge is an hour from Norwich. There are no motorways in Norfolk, but the M11 at Cambridge (an hour and a half from Norwich) runs down to London. A web of decent A-roads connects the towns within Norfolk.

Norwich Airport flies to seven international destinations and some national airports. London Stansted Airport is just two hours from Norwich.


The unspoilt nature of the Norfolk countryside, coupled with its extensive coastline and one of the UK’s 10 national parks (The Broads), Norfolk has an enormous breadth of fascinating wildlife to be discovered. Known as the birdwatching capital of Britain, it is home to the swallowtail butterfly, the Chinese Water Deer, and a vast number of seals which can be seen basking in the sun at Blakeney Point.

Norfolk’s picturesque coastline is home to a number of popular seaside resorts including Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, and Cromer. The beaches that stretch along the coast provide an ideal spot for horse riding and the coastal path—running from Hunstanton to Cromer through an area of outstanding natural beautyis just one of many long distance walking routes in Norfolk. The Norfolk Broads are a series of rivers and broads (lakes) which provide fantastic opportunities for both fishing and boating.

Why we love Norfolk

Stretching nearly 100 miles, Norfolk’s extensive coastline provides huge skies, boating, fishing, and birdwatching opportunities as well as great fresh seafood. Head inland for some breathtaking countryside, ancient parkland, the Norfolk Broads and Thetford Forest—the largest lowland forest in the county. Add to this the drier than average climate and the relaxed way of life, and it’s not hard to see why we love Norfolk.

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