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Discover our Museums
If museums are your thing we have plenty to offer. Start with the Walsingham Shirehall Museum also the entrance to the Abbey Grounds, for a fine display of village artefacts and photographs, plus the original Georgian courtroom and lock-up. Ask at the Shirehall Museum for keys to access the old prison, the Bridewell.
St Seraphim’s Icon and Railway Heritage Museum is a unique heritage site in the former Walsingham Station. The railway station is converted to a Russian Orthodox chapel, Orthodox Icon and Railway Museum. Quiet Garden open to visitors.
Displays capture the heritage of the building, with information about its iconography, railway and pilgrimage collections.
The Museum of the Blessed Virgin Mary displays part of a huge collection left to the Catholic Shrine by Peter Sibley. Including reliquaries, pilgrim badges, coins, medals and manuscripts among many other items, the museum is at 22 High Street, open daily, 2pm-4pm in winter, 2pm-5pm Easter-September.
Two miles down the road in Thursford is a stunning collection of old steam engines, mechanical organs, Wurlitzers and old-style carousels.
At Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History (four miles south) you will find the only surviving town gasworks in England and Wales, complete with all the equipment used to manufacture gas from coal.
In Glandford, just south of Holt, is a pearl among museums — the tiny Shell Museum houses the collection of shells amassed over 60 years by Sir Alfred Jodrell, late of Bayfield Hall. Here are shells of every hue from all corners of the earth, and amongst them intriguing little curios diligently catalogued with evocative stories.
In the same vicinity is Letheringsett Watermill, awarded top tourist attraction in North Norfolk year after year. This is a working water-powered mill producing wholewheat flour from locally grown wheat.
Go further on to Cromer to enjoy the RNLI’s Henry Blogg Museum, telling the story of the man who saved 873 people from the sea in his long career as coxswain of the Cromer lifeboats. There are displays covering almost 200 years of RNLI history and Henry Blogg’s dog, Monte, leads younger visitors through the story.
For a wonderful family day out, visit Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, just over 20 minutes drive away on the Dereham Road. Gain a fascinating and very moving insight into the world of the Victorian workhouse. See a lost rural Norfolk brought to life, with atmospheric homes, shops and gardens lovingly recreated. Meet the animals in the working farm and take a stroll through the woods or along the river.
At Holkham Hall you can visit the new Farm To Fork exhibition that tells the story of farming on the estate, beginning with Coke of Norfolk (early owner of Holkham Hall) and his role in the 18th century agricultural revolution.
Further afield, both Norwich and King’s Lynn are each well worth a day’s visit, for a huge wealth of museums and galleries. In particular, check out Lynn Museum for its centrepiece Seahenge exhibit, a Bronze Age timber circle discovered on the beach. True’s Yard Fishing Heritage Museum captures the harsh realities of fishing life and the traditions and spirit of this close-knit community.
In Norwich, the fascinating Strangers Hall dates back to 1320, and exhibits bring the days of the Tudors and Stuarts vividly to life. The Bridewell, once a prison for women and beggars, is now home to a wonderful collection of historic objects and machinery revealing how Norwich people earned their living. And don’t miss Norwich Castle Museum, a magnificent Norman keep that houses Egyptian mummies, eclectic exotica from around the world, plus terrific displays on Queen Boudica, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings.