West Norfolk Borough Council

West Norfolk Borough Council

King's Lynn is an historic medieval port dating back to the 12th century, situated on the River Great Ouse. In medieval times, the Hanseatic merchants wanted an English base with many warehouses, and chose King's Lynn, where the leagues warehouse can still be seen today.

King's Lynn's was home to Captain George Vancouver, born in the town in 1757. He famously sailed to Canada, where he founded the town, which now bears his name.

Burnham Thorpe, north of King's Lynn, is the birthplace of England's most celebrated sailor, Admiral Lord Nelson. The Nelson family came to King’s Lynn to socialise which is documented in the town archives.  

At the heart of the old town, and overshadowed by the 12th century church of St. Margaret, is the Saturday Market Place. Here the chequered-fronted Trinity Guild-Hall is the home of Tales of the Old Gaol House, which tells the stories of some of Lynn's more infamous characters in the original cells of the town gaol. Also housed here is the Regalia collection, whose exhibits feature a series of facsimile royal charters and the priceless King John Cup.

As well as its many elegant merchants' houses and medieval riverside storerooms, King's Lynn also boasts England's only surviving Hanseatic Warehouse, but the most famous monument to maritime prosperity is the Custom house, built by Henry Bell in 1683, which overlooks the River Great Ouse from Purfleet Quay. It houses a special display of the maritime history of King's Lynn, as well as the tourist information Centre.