There are various opportunities to go sightseeing in Thetford. The history of this town has gone through 13 different eras. All of these have left a mark and you can freely view them upon your visit. Apparently, the town played an important role in each of these eras and this is why they have gained prominence for their rich history.
This market town in Norfolk is located on the Little Ouse River. The name of the town came from the words “thet” for people and “ford” for river crossing. Thetford is sandwiched between London and Norwich.
Among the notable facts about Thetford includes the following:
- It was generally believed that the town used to be the royal home of the Queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe, Boudica.
- It used to be a very important settlement back in the Iron Age and Roman era.
- It was the home of the monarchs who ruled during the Anglo-Saxon times.
- It was the seat of the Bishop of Thetford – based on the Domesday Book of the 11th century.
- It is where the Cluniac Priory is located – a monastery that was active from the 12th to the 16th century. It is believed to be haunted and was actually featured in the TV series Ghosthunters.
- It is where the chalk hill is located – a hill that is believed to be filled with underground tunnels that the monks used to escape.
- Castle Hill, or Thetford Castle, used to be a medieval motte and bailey castle. It was destroyed in 1173 by Henry II.
- It is the first town in Britain to have a black man elected as mayor (Dr. Allan GlaisyerMinns).
- It is where metal treasures from the 4th century AD were uncovered. The Thetford Treasure included silver spoons, tea strainers, gold rings, bracelets, pendants, gold amulet, and a decorated buckle. These are currently on display in the British Museum.
- It is where Thomas Paine grew up before emigrating to America. He wrote the book “Common Sense” to show that he favoured the American Independence from Great Britain.
- It is where Dad’s Army was filmed – as the fictional location of Walmington-on-Sea.
As you go sightseeing in Thetford, you will notice that a lot of the locals are of Portuguese descent (around 30%). You can also find a lot of retail stores, shops, and cafes that are inspired by both European and Portuguese cultures.
What to do in Thetford
So what else can you do as you explore Thetford? A lot, apparently. If you want a good start, you can head off to Castle Hill, specifically near the Three Nuns Bridge, where the summit can give you a great view of the historic town of Thetford and the river too. You can also follow different trails like the Heritage Trail, Thomas Paine Trail, Dad’s Army Trail, and Duleep Singh Trail.
Thetford is also a great place to watch the skies. It is practically a rural area – that means you get a lot of dark skies. The Autumn Equinox Festival of Astronomy is usually held near this town.
Apart from the shopping, dining, and outdoor activities that you can pursue, the Thetford Forest offers various possibilities for sightseeing in Thetford. Here you will find the High Lodge Forest Centre where a lot of events are organised – from concerts to enjoyable and fun trails.