Swaffham Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by arturowan
  • Things to Do
    by arturowan
  • Things to Do
    by arturowan

Swaffham Things to Do

  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    by arturowan Written Jul 10, 2013

    People like to believe that Norfolk is flat, but stand on the high ground a few miles away from Swaffham town centre, & the panoramic view of the valley beyond, disproves that, & it's a scenery now all the more dramatic for the increasing number of wind turbines which stretch in a line across it...
    Swaffham has become the centre of 'green energy' in Norfolk, due to Ecotricity building their showcase, visionary, The Green Britain Centre, just outside the town, as a tourist friendly way to demonstrate their turbines & solar panels...
    Although the centre is a commercial venture, because the company's market is aimed more at business & local authorities, a visit there can be treated as an educational day trip, without any 'hard sell'...
    The main building is set within a conservation area, containing an orchard, in which it's sited, appearing like an enormous greenhouse on 1 side, & on a hot day can be stifling hot, despite ventilation, so maybe it's better not to visit during humid weather...
    As well as educational exhibits about alternative energy generation, such as the wind-powered record breaking car, Greenbird, the visitor centre has a theatre & an organic cafe, which like most things '0rganic', is prohibitively pricey...
    Beside the visitor centre are the main attractions; the solar tracker, designed to track the sun across the sky, to generate maximum energy from its solar panels, & the so-called 'windmill', (which is actually a wind turbine, because there is no milling mechanism attached to the vanes...)
    This giant turbine has a glass viewers gallery, designed by Sir Norman Foster, where those fit & brave enough for the climb of 300 steps, can receive a panoramic view of Wayland, Norfolk...
    Depending on weather conditions, viewing tours take place 3 times a day, costing between £4-6
    The centre is open weekdays, except usual holidays, from 10:00-04:00

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • School Holidays
    • Theme Park Trips

    Was this review helpful?

  • by smee Written Dec 2, 2003

    Swaffham is a small market town and as implied, has a weekly market every Saturday in the town centre. Fresh local produce is sold as well as imported, and it's the one day the streets are full. I recommend Norfolk-caught (harvested?) mussels in particular. Take a moment to look up at the statue in the centre of the market place. It's of the Peddlar of Swaffham, and yes, there's an old fable about him...
    For history buffs, Swaffham was a Roman settlement, and after the fall of the Roman Empire, became a Saxon settlement in the 5th century. 10 mins down the road - ask anyone which way - is Castle Acre village where you can walk round the ruins of a Norman Castle, visit the lovely village church which dates from the same time, (the end of the 17th century) or pay National Heritage to visit the ruins of the Norman Monastry.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Swaffham Hotels

    6 Hotels in Swaffham

Swaffham Hotels

See all 6 Hotels in Swaffham
  • Strattons Hotel

    4 Ash Close, Swaffham, PE37 7NH, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Solo

  • Best Western George Hotel

    Station Street, Swaffham, United Kingdom, PE37 7LJ

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Couples

  • The Great Danes Country Inn

    1 Hall Lane Beachamwell, Swaffham, PE37 8BG, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

  • The Horse and Groom

    40 Lynn Street, Swaffham, PE37 7AX, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

  • Lydney House

    Norwich Road, Swaffham, PE377QS, gb

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Families

  • Swaffham Lodge- A47 Norfolk

    Woodbury No 5, Adastral Place, Swaffham, PE37 7RG, United Kingdom

Swaffham Restaurants

  • Bonkers11's Profile Photo

    by Bonkers11 Written Nov 29, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A small, family run, two brothers establishment, reasonable prices and very good food.
    Two main dishes, two coffees an orange juice and a peroni costs £26

    Favorite Dish: Lasagne - cooked to perfection with beef and pork just like it should be.

    The cappucinos are the best in Swaffham

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling

    Was this review helpful?

Swaffham Transportation

  • Bonkers11's Profile Photo

    by Bonkers11 Written Nov 29, 2011

    The X1 runs form Norwich to King's Lynn and Peterborough, topping in Swaffham, it runs every half an hour except on Sundays when it is every hour, around quarter to and quarter past the hour and takes 1 hour 15 from Norwich and about 20 minutes form Kings LYnn

    Was this review helpful?

Swaffham Local Customs

  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    by arturowan Updated Dec 28, 2013

    SWAFFHAM says the town sign in large capitols, beneath which on the wooden support, stands a man in a pale blue cloak, holding a stick, with a small white dog between his feet...
    This is John Chapman, whose legend is recorded in the ballad of The Pedlar 0f Swaffham - the man who walked to London with his dog, because of a dream that he'd receive good fortune there...
    The dream is said to have been recurrent, until he acted upon it & set off with a bag upon his back, so as to peddle his wares along the way...
    While standing on London Bridge awaiting his change of fortune, he was approached by a shopkeeper, who'd also had a dream, who told him that if he believed in dreams, he'd be digging up gold from beneath an apple tree of a man called Chapman...
    John returned from where he'd begun his quest, & while rooting around beneath his apple tree, unearthed a ceramic pot with gold coins...
    When he cleaned the pot, he discovered an inscription which he could not read, so he placed it in his shop to sell, where it was later seen by a wandering monk, who translated the line as;
    'Under me doth lie, another richer far than I'
    John was inspired to excavate further beneath his tree, this time finding a much larger pot, filled with gold coins...
    When the people of Swaffham decided to rebuild their church, John paid for the north aisle & tower, & a statue of him, with his pack on his bed & dog at his heels, stands there to this day...
    Similar legends to this exist throughout Europe, & are thought to originate from the Mathanawi, the most influential, collected books of Sufism & Persian poetry...
    The image of the pedlar, carrying a knapsack, with a dog at his heels, also coincides with the tarot image of the card - The Fool...
    (Interestingly, the long-distance footpath, the Peddars Way, runs closeby Swaffham, which is how I came to find Houghton-on-the-Hill, quite by accident...)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

Swaffham Off The Beaten Path

  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    by arturowan Written Jul 11, 2013

    Hougton-0n-The-Hill does not really classify as 'off the beaten path', because the Peddars Way passes directly through it on the section from South into North Pickenham...
    However, I discovered what little remains of this hamlet, entirely by accident, & without prior intention, only because I was distracted by the brown signs pointing towards 'historic murals', which caused me to deviate from the Peddars Way...
    By following the gravel path uphill, I came to the entrance of Saint Mary's church - a place I was already familiar with from television features, but had no idea that it was located in this part of Norfolk...
    Saint Mary's is the only evidence remaining that Houghton-0n-The-Hill ever was, because the village was destroyed by the Black Death, & all the dwellings that survived, have long since been ravaged by time...
    Even the church spent a long while in wreck & ruin, having been bombed by a Zeppelin during WW1 - vandalised by GI's during WW2 - & vandalised again by visitors said to be using it for devil worship, in the 1990's...
    This sad history is difficult to believe for the latterday visitor, since 2 decades of dedicated restoration, inspired by North Pickenham church warden, Bob Davey, whose efforts at the site are a testament to single-mindedness...
    Not only did he oversee the efforts to restore the structure from a bombed-out shell, to a functional church, he sold his antiques business to fund the project - the result is something to behold, & earnt him an MBE...
    As well as the beauty of the church itself, what impressed me most at first acquaintance, was its enchanting setting, in a lovingly gardened churchyard, with benches for the many visitors it now receives...
    Saint Mary's is said to be the most famous church in Norfolk, & on the internet it's 1 of the most visited, because during the restoration period, unique medieval wall paintings were discovered under the plasterwork, which have caused it to become a site of international pilgrimage...
    The long history of Saint Mary's is evident even from the outside, because it's surrounded by stone foundations in the graveyard grass, indicating that it has been through many stages of construction over the centuries...
    Even if you're not able to visit during the daily opening times of 14:00-16:00 - this tiny church in a village that doesn't actually exist anymore, is well worth the detour from the Peddars Way, to rest in its heavanly grounds...

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Swaffham

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

107 travelers online now

Comments

Swaffham Travel Guide
Map of Swaffham

View all Swaffham hotels