Dereham – Your Local Town
Dereham, a stone’s throw from Scarning is a gateway to all Norfolk has to offer – open countryside, beckoning pubs, and friendly accommodation. There are stately homes, theatres, wildlife parks, the Broads and along the coast are wide beaches and charming harbours as well as the organised entertainment of the larger resorts.
There is something for everyone, all within an hour’s journey along quiet roads through fields and woodland. At the same time, Dereham has its own attractions with its modern and expanding shopping centre and with a magnificent pool and leisure complex.
These modern developments sit comfortably alongside a heritage dating back to the Seventh Century when Withburga, daughter of a Saxon king, established a religious community in the deer park which gave the town its name. Apart from the Withburga well all trace of her has long vanished. Vikings sacked her buildings and fires in the Middle Ages destroyed what little remained. Instead Georgian buildings now greet visitors to the Market Place and behind their facades lie shops which retain much of the charm of years gone by.
Free parking allows time to seek out restaurants and tearooms and visit hostelries where the poet William Cowper or the author George Borrow may have downed a glass or two. There’s tennis, golf, and bowls and nature lovers can stroll on the Neatherd Moor and the Vicarage Meadow or relax in the walled Queen Mother’s Garden. Nearby is the picturesque Bishop Bonner’s Cottage, the town museum. There is a welcome, too, in the 13th Century St Nicholas Church where volunteers may tell the story of the French prisoner who was shot when he escaped from custody in the Bell Tower during the Napoleonic War.