Difference between revisions of "Norfolk (England)"
Revision as of 13:57, 19 March 2010
Norfolk is a low-lying and predominantly rural county in eastern England, in the region known as East Anglia. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and with Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast, including The Wash. The county capital is Norwich. Norfolk is the fifth largest county in England, with an area of 5,371 sq km (2,074 sq mi) and a population of 816,500.
The Broads, one of the region's most popular tourist destinations, lie partly within the county.
Cities and towns
In many rural communities of Norfolk you will find the rich, soft dialect that is only found in this corner of Britain. The accent and dialect is so broad, in fact, that you may have difficulty understanding it immediately, since consonants are heavily softened and syllables merge into one another. You'll hear a variety of accents at voices at one of the region's many weekly markets, such as that held every Saturday in Swaffham.
The BBC has a number of resources relating to the dialects of Britain, as part of its 'Voices' project.  You can listen to sound recordings and find out more about the Norfolk dialect online. 
The organisation 'Friends Of Norfolk Dialect' (FOND)  records and promotes the regional dialect, publishing newsletters, organising events and collects material.
Norfolk has one small airport with scheduled passenger services: Norwich International Airport  (airport code: NWI) in the northern suburbs of Norwich. The off-shore oil and gas industry supports a busy helicopter service to North Sea oil platforms and a number of (expensive) regional services to cities related to the oil industry around the North Sea. KLM is the principal feeder airline at Norwich with four daily services to its international hub at Amsterdam Schipol. Scheduled airlines and destinations serving Norwich include:
In partnership with Stena Line and Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands Railway), One (Norfolk's principal rail operator) promote and sell connecting train-ferry-train tickets from any station in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to any station in the Netherlands. Fares start at around £25 one way or £50 return. For more information on the 'Dutch Flyer' service see this link . Note that after 8 January 2007, all 'Stena HSS' fast ferry services between the Hook of Holland and Harwich will be replaced by traditional ferries. See this link for more information. 
The two principal routes in and out of Norfolk are the two railway lines that connect Norfolk with London:
Additionally an east-west railway crosses the counties of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk connecting these two principal London - Norfolk rail routes. It runs from Peterborough to Norwich, via Ely, Thetford, Attleborough and Wymondham. Travellers from the north of England, the Midlands and the north-west can use the direct East Midlands Trains  service from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Grantham and Peterborough which runs from Ely to Norwich. National Express East Anglia also operate an hourly train between Cambridge and Norwich.
National Express  is the principal operator of long distance coach services into the county. These include:
Connections to virtually all UK destinations are possible and reservations are recommended. Discounted advance purchase 'funfares' often available.
First Eastern Counties  operate a number of regional services that link Norfolk with neighbouring counties, including:
Norfolk's principal attraction for many tourists is that it is not on the way to anywhere. The state of roads into Norfolk, relative to other counties in Britain reflects this, with a mix of dualled and non-dualled A roads carrying most people into the region. From London and places south of Norfolk, the M11, A11, A12 and A14 are the major trunk roads that lead towards and into the county. From the Midlands and North of England the A14, A11 and A47 are the principal routes.
Information on all rail services can be found on the website of National Rail  or by calling 08457-48-49-50
Information on all national, regional and local trains and buses can be found on the website of Traveline  or by calling 0871-200-22-33.
In addition to the principal rail routes detailed in the Get In  section above, a number of well supported and popular rail services radiate out along named lines through some exceptionally scenic parts of the county. These include:
All services are operated by National Express East Anglia  (NXEA). In addition to the standard range of tickets offered by all train operating companies, NXEA offers a series of 'Anglia Plus' rail passes which allow for one or three days unlimited travel in Norfolk Suffolk or Cambridgeshire. These can be bought on the day of travel from the ticket office or from the conductor on board the train if no ticket office is available.
Information on all national, regional and local buses can be found on the website of Traveline  or by calling 0871-200-22-33.
In addition to the National Express routes listed in the Get In section above, First Eastern Counties  operate most urban buses in and around Norwich, as well as a number of regional and rural services that connection Norwich with other parts of the county. See their website for timetable and fare information.
Norfolk is easily explored by car, and for many tourists this is the most convenient and enjoyable way to explore the rural back roads and villages of the county. However, be aware that during the summer months many areas around the North Norfolk coast and Broads can quickly become clogged with traffic, as large numbers of tourists descend on the picturesque towns and villages of the region. If traveling by car, consider visiting off season to avoid getting caught up in (and causing) this seasonal traffic.
By bicycle, or on foot
Norfolk's geography makes it an exceptionally easy place to explore by bicycle or on foot, and the county is a good destination for cyclists and hikers to explore. Trains and buses are also increasingly friendly towards cyclists who wish to travel with their bikes, although it is strongly advised to call the transport operator in advance to check availability of space and, if necessary, to reserve it.
For details of cycle routes, visit the website of Sustrans .
For details of paths, visit the website of the Ramblers Association 
Those seeking Norfolk's regional cuisine should head for the coast. Although the fishing fleets of Norfolk are not particularly large, their crops can be found in any decent pub or restaurant along the coast, especially that of North Norfolk. Ask what's fresh before ordering, and explore the market towns of the region to find local fishmongers who can tell you about the fish and shellfish that they have for sale.
With prices for wholesale agricultural produce being forced ever lower by powerful supermarkets and bulk purchasers, many farmers are choosing to apply for organic certification and concentrating on producing high quality natural produce. Fruit such as apples and pears are grown in the region, and there is a small but healthy community of organic meat farmers who sell high quality beef, lamb and pork reared on certified organic Norfolk farms. Once again, you'll find the best suppliers hidden away in the small market towns of the county, so if you enjoy a meal in a pub or with your hosts, ask where the ingredients came from and take some local produce home with you.
Whereas the neighbouring county of Suffolk can boast several nationally recognised brewers (Adnams and Greene King, to name but two), Norfolk's brewing industry is on a much smaller scale . This is no bad thing though, as the large number of locally produced beers cater for a broad variety of tastes and palettes. If you want to sample a variety of different Norfolk ales, then simply head for a variety of Norfolk pubs, noting whether they are free houses or attached to a specific brewery, and when you get to the bar, just ask for something local.
In larger towns you are likely to find at least one 'off license' (a shop licensed for the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises) where you'll be able to buy bottle conditioned ales to take home.
Additional programmes focusing on local politics, sport, culture and food are dotted throughout the weekly television schedules, although usually in the graveyard slots not already occupied by national output.
The arrival of a low-cost airline (FlyBe ) at Norwich International Airport isn't just bringing more tourists to Norfolk, it's also encouraging locals to get on the cheap-weekend-away bandwagon. The next nearest airport to the county is London Stansted, which is at best ninety minutes by car from any part of the county, and the low population density of the county has meant that until now, few affordable flights have been offered from Norwich's own airport.
London is easily reached from most railway stations in the region, and is an easy day or weekend destination. East Anglia is one of the few regions to have benefited from the rail privitisation process, with new routes and connections appearing to entice travellers onto the trains: recently restored through services from London to Bury St Edmunds and Great Yarmouth mean that more people can now get to the capital without an inconvenient change of trains.
Cambridge is a short train ride or drive from the county, and is an enticing if extremely popular tourist city to visit for the day.