Fun Facts About Norfolk
Updated: Apr 13
Ready to find out some fun facts about Norfolk? You’re in the right place! We’ve got everything from seeing the aurora borealis to the largest seal colony in Britain below.
#1 Norfolk Is Home to The Queen’s Country Retreat
North Norfolk is home to the Sandringham estate, affectionately known as the Queen’s country sanctuary. Amazingly, it’s the only private home and estate of the royal family in the entire country! It’s open to the public when the Queen and her family are not staying there.
So yes, you can walk the same grounds as the royals. Although, we recommend visiting when fewer people are about to ensure you experience the true bliss of your surroundings.
Bonus fun fact: this one of our fun facts about Norfolk probably isn’t all that fun to the locals. Anyone who lives in the county is bound to know it!
#2 Norfolk Has 120 Round Tower Churches
The second on our list of fun facts about Norfolk is that it’s home to 120 round churches — three times the figure of other counties!
Most of these stunning churches were built 100 years after the year 1050. While not much is known about why they constructed round towers, it’s a common belief that it was for cultural reasons. What cultural reasons, we hear you ask? Well, it harps back to when Norfolk had a tight trading bond with the Baltic and North Sea colonies.
If you fancy checking out some of these iconic round churches during your stay, we recommend:
Place Name Church Name
Bradwell St Mary
Feltwell St Nicholas
Eccles St Mary
Heckingham St Gregory
Norwich St Benedict, St Etheldreda, St Mary at Coslany, and St Julian
#3 Norfolk Boasts The Longest Chalk Reef
The Chalk Reef located just off Sheringham and Cromer is the longest in the world. Yep, you read that correctly!
It’s over 100,000 million years old and covers approximately 20 miles. We can imagine you weren’t expecting this to be one our fun facts about Norfolk. Interestingly, it was formed during the Mesozoic Era (i.e., when the dinosaurs were around).
Due to its staggering length, it’s part of the same chalk reef inhabited by the White Cliffs of Dover. Lobsters and crabs simply love it, which explains why Cromer crabs are so delicious.
#4 Horatio Nelson Was Born in Norfolk
If you paid close attention to the county sign when you crossed the border, you will have noticed that under the word “Norfolk” it says, “Nelson’s County”. This is because Horatio Nelson was born here (in Burnham Thorpe, to be precise).
His dad was a rector, and Horatio Nelson learned to sail at the Burnham Overy Staithe near his home. As most people will know, he then became one of the most iconic naval commanders England ever saw.
#5 Norfolk Is Home to The Country’s Biggest Seal Colony
We’ve spoken about Blakeney Point before. But what we’ve failed to mention is that it’s the largest seal colony in the entire country! It boasts roughly 2500 pups every winter and is comprised of both Grey and Common seals.
The Grey seals have their pups through November and January, while the Common seals have them between June and August. You have plenty of opportunities to see them, thanks to the fact they feed on their mum’s milk for three weeks before making their way to the water.
It goes without saying that this is one of our favourite fun facts about Norfolk.
#6 Norfolk Has The Last End-of-Pier Theatre
Again, locals to the county will more than likely know this one of our fun facts about Norfolk. But nevertheless, we thought we’d include it on our list since we find it pretty interesting!
Cromer has the last ever end-of-pier theatre. As you might imagine, it has suffered from disastrous weather, including the 1993 incident where a rig crashed into the pier, slicing the theatre off from the rest of it. But surprisingly, it still stands proud and active today.
Just like the good ol’ days, it offers a complete summer season, allowing you to enjoy a show or two throughout your stay with us at the Crafter’s Retreat (or anywhere else in Norfolk, of course).
#7 The Norfolk Broads Were a Complete Accident
While it doesn’t seem like it, the Broads were an accident. Yup, they weren’t ever supposed to exist! Because of this, it’s one of our favourite fun facts about Norfolk for sure.
Originally, it was believed that the Norfolk Broads were a glorious natural feature of the county’s landscape. However, when 1960 rolled around, the truth was uncovered — they were actually flooded peat excavations from the medieval times! As the sea rose, it flooded the now-vacant land until eventually, the rivers became a constant.
#8 At The Right Place, At The Right Time, You Can See The Northern Lights
The most mind-blowing one on our fun facts about Norfolk is that you can indeed see the northern lights in certain places!
Two villages — Kelling Heath and Wiveton Downs — have been awarded the “Dark Sky Discovery Status”. This means that the area has zero light pollution. So, at the right time, you will be lucky enough to spy the aurora borealis.
Bonus Fun Fact about Norfolk: the villages are also designated “two star” places, meaning that Orion’s seven stars and the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye here.
#9 Norfolk Boasts The Most Complete Mammoth Skeleton on The Planet
The coast running from West Runton to Happisburgh has earned the status of “Deep History Coast” thanks to the three unique discoveries.
The first discovery was the most complete mammoth skeleton on the planet. It was uncovered near the cliffs situated on West Runton Beach and is now displayed proudly in multiple museums. Why multiple, we hear you ask? Well, they are simply too heavy to display collectively!
The second and third discoveries was a 550,000 year old axe made of flint and foot prints of those who first came to Britain. Amazingly, this is the earliest sign of humanity outside of the Great Rift Valley located in Africa.
#10 Norwich Was Once The Same Size as London
The final one on our fun facts about Norfolk list is the fact that Norwich and London used to be the same size. We also think the fact that the intu Chapelfield shopping centre used to be a chocolate factory is pretty interesting!