Pretty North Norfolk market town Fakenham is a famous Norfolk horse racing centre featuring a beautiful town centre offering a plentiful selection of traditional inns, craft shops and an incredibly popular weekly market. Top hunt racing venue Fakenham Racecourse just south of the town centre has on-site leisure facilities and a long history stretching back over 100 years. If you’re looking for a unique wedding venue in Norfolk, The Prince of Wales Stand at Fakenham Racecourse is fully licensed for civil wedding ceremonies and the racecourse boasts two outstanding on-site restaurants.
Book a Fakenham holiday cottage or self-catering barn and stay in the heart of the North Norfolk countryside, only a 10 minute drive from the heritage coast. Villages around Fakenham like Great Snoring, Thursford and Wood Norton offer an exceptional choice of luxury boutique bed and breakfast accommodation, farm B&Bs and beautiful holiday cottages perfectly placed just off the A148 through road from King’s Lynn to Cromer for exploring the region. A great choice of budget countryside accommodation including camping and touring parks are also available in the area.
Fakenham is the ideal central rural base for exploring Norfolk, North Suffolk and the Wash, with the Norfolk Broads and Norwich only a short drive away. Attractions right on your doorstep range from iconic Norfolk windmills like the nearby Bircham Windmill to Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Gardens just 1 mile outside of the town. Take a tour of architectural treasure Houghton Hall or the Royal Estate of Sandringham, both located close by.
Quirky vintage attractions and craft centres feature in the local area including the Langham Glass Centre and the Thursford Collection of steam engines and organs situated between Fakenham and Holt. The perfect gateway to the Norfolk Coast and a charming market town base with premier golf available at the Fakenham Driving Range and Golf Centre, choose Fakenham accommodation for your Norfolk holiday and book now.
Fakenham Racecourse sits just south of the town centre, only a 10 minute drive from the North Norfolk coast. National Hunt racing has been here for over 100 years. The racecourse hosts race meets annually between October and May. Premier hospitality and leisure facilities include a full catering service with an emphasis on local produce and an onsite caravan and camping site.
Dine in style at The Firth Restaurant on the first floor of the Prince of Wales Stand overlooking the entire racecourse. The W.J.Weston’s Lobster & Oyster Restaurant Bar is within the Parade Ring Room affording views of the Parade Ring and Racetrack and the racecourse also features the onsite 1824 Bar. The Prince of Wales Stand is licensed for Civil Wedding Ceremonies and boasts spectacular views across to the Racecourse and Norfolk countryside beyond. Private hire rooms are also available for weddings, parties and seminars.
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve & Gardens
Awarding winning Pensthorpe Nature reserve spread across 500 acres will be familiar to many as the host of the BBC’s Springwatch TV programme. Pensthorpe is located 1 mile from Fakenham centre and is a haven for wildlife. The reserve contains a network of lakes, meadows, woodland, farmland, gardens and riverbanks. Wildlife here includes many species of birds and wildfowl, and the reserve is a nationally important breeding site for birds like the Little Ringed Plover and Sandmartin.
Bird hides offer an opportunity to see Avocets, Greenshank, Bittern and a range of Summer migrants and warbler species. Weekly recordings of sightings at Pensthorpe are listed on the reserve’s website. Pensthorpe is involved in a number of conservation projects and many vulnerable species have a home in the reserve including Red squirrels, cranes and corncrakes.
Take a tour of the beautiful Millennium Garden designed by award winning garden designer Piet Oudolf. Other garden highlights include the Wildflower Meadow garden and Wildlife Habitat Garden, a garden which has evolved from what was the original Butterfly Garden. Families are warmly welcomed, with designated children’s trails, activities and escorted Land Rover tours all available.
Award winning Bircham Windmill sits just north west of Fakenham clearly signposted with Brown signs from Bircham village. Of around 300 windmills spread across the Norfolk countryside over 100 years ago, the beautiful Bircham Windmill is one of the few that remains. A selection of attractions are on the windmill complex, most of which are free to enter, including the bakery and gift shop, tea rooms and gallery, gardens, the Wild Thyme Cottage Museum and various farm animals. Sheep milking, which visitors can watch, takes place daily at 2pm.
The Bakery adjacent features its original coal-fired oven and visitors can purchase a range of cakes and bread still made here. Visitors can actually climb to the top of the mill and view the original machinery as they climb the five floors to the top to be greeted by spectacular views. Coach parties are welcome and holiday cottage accommodation and camping are both available.
Historic Houghton Hall is an architectural gem, and former residence of Britain’s first Prime Minster Sir Robert Walpole. The hall sits just west of Fakenham off the A148 and was built in the early 18th century. Walpole commissioned the architect William Kent to design the magnificent interiors. James Gibbs and local architects like Henry Bell of King’s Lynn also worked on Houghton Hall through the 1720s and 30s.
The Houghton gardens are a Garden of the Year Award winner, given by Christies and the Historic Houses Association in acknowledgement particularly of the restoration of the spectacular 5 acre walled garden. The gardens include a Rose Garden with stunning Classical statues and an Italian Garden with plum trees and limes.
Some of the finest craftsmen of the day in the early 18th century worked on the interior of Houghton Hall. Visitors will see plasterwork by Guiseppe Atari on the ceiling of the central Stone Hall. William Kent’s elaborate painted central octagon ceiling in the Saloon is another highlight in the tour. Portraits of the Walpole and Cholmondeley family feature in The Common Parlour. Original Stables built between 1733 and 1735, the Soldier Museum and extensive parkland frequented by fallow deer all feature at the Hall and classic gate lodges are available as holiday accommodation.