Thetford is a town that’s full of surprises.
Once the ancient capital of East Anglia, Thetford has a rich and varied history.
Situated at the heart of the unique Brecks natural area and with a wealth of walking and cycling routes, it makes a great location to get closer to nature. An important centre for the Iceni Tribe of Boudica, Thetford evolved from a river crossing. The remains of the Iron Age fort controlling the crossing can still be seen today. At the time of the Domesday Book it was the sixth largest settlement in the country and this important ecclesiastical centre then boasted its own cathedral. The massive Cluniac Priory in the town centre was the penultimate one to be dissolved during the Reformation and visitors can still explore the impressive ruins.
King James I held court in the town and his hunting lodge is the backdrop for the statue of the town’s most famous son, Thomas Paine. The town also features a statue of the Maharajah Duleep Singh who made his home nearby.
In the 19th century Thetford became famous across the world for the production of traction engines and now there is a dedicated museum detailing the history and origins of Charles Burrell.
More recently the town featured as Walmington on Sea in the hit BBC TV series Dad’s Army and its links are celebrated at the town’s very own Dad’s Army Museum and by a life size bronze statue of Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring seated by the town bridge.
Today Thetford is home to the acclaimed British Trust for Ornithology whose headquarters in the town include a publicly accesible nature reserve. No visit to Thetford would be complete without a visit to the Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life which gives visitors an overview of Thetford’s amazing heritage.
Whether you are staying for a weekend or a little longer, Thetford’s location at the centre of East Anglia makes it an ideal place to soak up history and discover a nationally important natural habitat.
Find Thetford’s Great Information Centre in King Street in the centre of the Town and see what Thetford has to offer – Why not try one of our famous themed trails, available from our shop and with 8 to choose from there’s one for all interests.