Norfolk facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsNorfolk
Norfolk in England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||East of England|
|Lord Lieutenant||Richard Jewson|
|High Sheriff||Major General Sir William Cubitt (2016-17)|
|Area||5,372 km2 (2,074 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||5th of 48|
|Population (2005 est.)||824,200|
|• Ranked||24th of 48|
|Density||153/km2 (400/sq mi)|
|County council||Norfolk County Council|
|Area||5,372 km2 (2,074 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||of 27|
|• Ranked||7th of 27|
|Density||153/km2 (400/sq mi)|
Districts of Norfolk
|Members of Parliament|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the west and north-west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and, to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich.
With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile (155 per km²). Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).
The Broads is a network of rivers and lakes in the east of the county, extending south into Suffolk. The area is not a National Park although it is marketed as such. It has similar status to a national park, and is protected by the Broads Authority.
Norfolk was settled in pre-Roman times, with camps along the higher land in the west, where flints could be quarried. A Brythonic tribe, the Iceni, inhabited the county from the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century AD. The Iceni revolted against the Roman invasion in AD 47, and again in 60 led by Boudica. The crushing of the second rebellion opened the county to the Romans. During the Roman era roads and ports were constructed throughout the county and farming was widespread.
Situated on the east coast, Norfolk was vulnerable to invasions from Scandinavia and Northern Europe, and forts were built to defend against the Angles and Saxons. By the 5th century the Angles, after whom East Anglia and England itself are named, had established control of the region and later became the "north folk" and the "south folk", hence, "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". Norfolk, Suffolk and several adjacent areas became the kingdom of East Anglia (one of the heptarchy), which later merged with Mercia and then with Wessex. The influence of the Early English settlers can be seen in the many place names ending in "-ton" and "-ham". Endings such as "-by" and "-thorpe" are also common, indicating Danish place names: in the 9th century the region again came under attack, this time from Danes who killed the king, Edmund the Martyr. In the centuries before the Norman Conquest the wetlands of the east of the county began to be converted to farmland, and settlements grew in these areas. Migration into East Anglia must have been high: by the time of the Domesday Book survey it was one of the most densely populated parts of the British Isles. During the high and late Middle Ages the county developed arable agriculture and woollen industries. Norfolk's prosperity at that time is evident from the county's large number of medieval churches: out of an original total of over one thousand, 659 have survived, more than in the whole of the rest of Great Britain. The economy was in decline by the time of the Black Death, which dramatically reduced the population in 1349. By the 16th century Norwich had grown to become the second largest city in England; but over one-third of its population died in the plague epidemic of 1579, and in 1665 the Great Plague again killed around one-third of the population. During the English Civil War Norfolk was largely Parliamentarian. The economy and agriculture of the region declined somewhat. During the Industrial Revolution Norfolk developed little industry except in Norwich which was a late addition to the railway network.
In the 20th century the county developed a role in aviation. The first development in airfields came with the First World War; there was then a massive expansion during the Second World War with the growth of the Royal Air Force and the influx of the American USAAF 8th Air Force which operated from many Norfolk airfields. During the Second World War agriculture rapidly intensified, and it has remained very intensive since, with the establishment of large fields for growing cereals and oilseed rape.
- See also: List of places in Norfolk and List of settlements in Norfolk by population
Norfolk's county town and only city is Norwich, one of the largest settlements in England during the Norman era. Norwich is home to the University of East Anglia, and is the county's main business and culture centre. Other principal towns include the port-town of King's Lynn and the seaside resort and Broads gateway town of Great Yarmouth.
Based on the 2011 Census the county's largest centres of population are: Norwich (213,166), Great Yarmouth (63,434), King's Lynn (46,093), Thetford (24,883), Dereham (20,651), Wymondham (13,587), North Walsham (12,463), Attleborough (10,549), Downham Market (9,994), Diss (9,829), Fakenham (8,285), Cromer (7,749), Sheringham (7,367) and Swaffham (7,258). There are also several smaller market towns: Aylsham (6,016), Harleston (4,458) and Holt (3,810).
Much of the county remains rural in nature and Norfolk is believed to have around 200 lost settlements which have been largely or totally depopulated since the medieval period. These include places lost to coastal erosion, agricultural enclosure, depopulation and the establishment of the Stanford Training Area in 1940.
Norfolk is one of the few counties in England that does not have a motorway. The A11 connects Norfolk to Cambridge and London via the M11. From the west there only two routes from Norfolk that have a direct link with the A1, the A47 which runs into the East Midlands and to Birmingham via Peterborough and the A17 which runs into the East Midlands via Lincolnshire. These two routes meet at King's Lynn which is also the starting place for the A10 which provides West Norfolk with a direct link to London via Ely, Cambridge and Hertford . The Great Eastern Main Line is a major railway from London Liverpool Street Station to Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Norwich International Airport offers flights within Europe including a link to Amsterdam which offers onward flights throughout the world.
Dialect, accent and nickname
The Norfolk dialect is also known as "Broad Norfolk", although over the modern age much of the vocabulary and many of the phrases have died out due to a number of factors, such as radio, TV and people from other parts of the country coming to Norfolk. As a result, the speech of Norfolk is more of an accent than a dialect, though one part retained from the Norfolk dialect is the distinctive grammar of the region.
People from Norfolk are sometimes known as Norfolk Dumplings, an allusion to the flour dumplings that were traditionally a significant part of the local diet.
More cutting, perhaps, was the pejorative medical slang term "Normal for Norfolk", alluding to the county's perceived status as a quirky rustic backwater.
Norfolk is a popular tourist destination and has several major holiday attractions. There are many seaside resorts, including some of the finest British beaches, such as those at Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Holkham. Norfolk contains the Broads and other areas of outstanding natural beauty and many areas of the coast are wild bird sanctuaries and reserves with some areas designated as National Parks such as the Norfolk Coast AONB.
Elm Hill in the historic city of Norwich
The Norfolk Coast in the little village of Mundesley near Cromer
The beach at Holkham National Nature Reserve
The Queen's residence at Sandringham House in Sandringham, Norfolk provides an all year round tourist attraction whilst the coast and some rural areas are popular locations for people from the conurbations to purchase weekend holiday homes. Arthur Conan Doyle first conceived the idea for The Hound of the Baskervilles whilst holidaying in Cromer with Bertram Fletcher Robinson after hearing local folklore tales regarding the mysterious hound known as Black Shuck.
Amusement parks and zoos
Norfolk has several amusement parks and zoos.
- Thrigby Hall near Great Yarmouth was built in 1736 by Joshua Smith Esquire and features a zoo which houses a large tiger enclosure, primate enclosures and the swamp house which has many crocodiles and alligators.
- Holkham Hall is an 18th-century stately home and visitor attraction, constructed in the Palladian style and at the centre of a 3,000 acre deer park on the North Norfolk coast with a woodland play area, walled garden and farming exhibition.
- Pettitts Animal Adventure Park at Reedham is a park with a mix of animals, rides and live entertainment shows.
- Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach is a free-entry theme park, hosting over 20 large rides as well as a crazy golf course, water attractions, children's rides and "white knuckle" rides.
- BeWILDerwood is an award-winning adventure park situated in the Norfolk Broads and is the setting for the book A Boggle at BeWILDerwood by local children's author Tom Blofeld.
- Britannia Pier on the coast of Great Yarmouth has rides which include a ghost train. Also on the pier is the famous Britannia Pier Theatre.
- Banham Zoo is set amongst 35 acres (14 ha) of parkland and gardens with innovative enclosures providing sanctuary for almost 1,000 animals including big cats, birds of prey, siamangs and shire horses. Its annual visitor attendance is in excess of 200,000 people. It was awarded the prize of "Best Large Attraction" by Tourism in Norfolk in 2010.
- Amazona Zoo is situated on 10 acres (4.0 ha) of derelict woodland and abandoned brick kilns on the outskirts of Cromer and is home to a range of tropical South American animals including jaguars, otters, monkeys and flamingos.
- Amazonia is a tropical jungle environment in Great Yarmouth housing over 70 different species of reptiles including lizards, crocodiles, snakes, tortoises and terrapins.
- Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, near the town of Fakenham in north Norfolk, is a nature reserve with many captive birds and animals. Such species include native birds such as lapwing and Eurasian crane, to much more exotic examples like Marabou stork, Greater flamingo, and Manchurian crane. The site played host to BBC's 'Springwatch' from 2008 until 2010. A number of man-made lakes are home to a range of wild birds, and provide stop-off points for many wintering ducks and geese.
- Extreeme Adventure is a high ropes course built in some of the tallest trees in eastern England. In the 'New Wood' part of Weasenham Woods, Norfolk.
- The Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth is One of the biggest sea life centres in the country. The Great Yarmouth centre is home to a tropical shark display, one resident of which is Britain's biggest shark 'Nobby' the Nurse Shark. The same display, with its walk-through underwater tunnel, also features the wreckage of a World War II aircraft. The centre also includes over 50 native species including shrimps, starfish, sharks, stingrays and conger eels.
- The Sea Life Sanctuary in Hunstanton is Norfolk's leading marine rescue centre and works both as a visitor attraction as well as a location for rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured sea creatures found in the nearby Wash and North Sea. The attractions main features are similar to that of the Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
The Pavilion Theatre (Cromer) is a 510-seater venue on the end of Cromer Pier, best known for hosting the 'end-of-the-pier' show, the Seaside Special. The theatre also presents comedy, music, dance, opera, musicals and community shows.
The Britannia Pier Theatre (Great Yarmouth) mainly hosts popular comedy acts such as the Chuckle Brothers and Jim Davidson. The theatre has 1,200 seats and is one of the largest in Norfolk.
The Theatre Royal (Norwich) has been on its present site for nearly 250 years, the Act of Parliament in the tenth year of the reign of George II having been rescinded in 1761. The 1,300-seat theatre, the largest in the city, hosts a mix of national touring productions including musicals, dance, drama, family shows, stand-up comedians, opera and pop.
The Norwich Playhouse (Norwich) hosts theatre, comedy, music and other performing arts. It has a seating capacity of 300.
The Maddermarket Theatre (Norwich) opened in 1921 and was the first permanent recreation of an Elizabethan theatre. The founder was Nugent Monck who had worked with William Poel. The theatre has a seating capacity of 312.
The Norwich Puppet Theatre (Norwich) was founded in 1979 by Ray and Joan DaSilva as a permanent base for their touring company and was first opened as a public venue in 1980, following the conversion of the medieval church of St. James in the heart of Norwich. Under subsequent artistic directors – Barry Smith and Luis Z. Boy – the theatre established its current pattern of operation. It is a nationally unique
The Garage studio theatre (Norwich) can seat up to 110 people in a range of different layouts. It can also be used for standing events and can accommodate up to 180 people.
The Platform Theatre (Norwich) is in the grounds of City College Norwich (CCN), and has a large stage with raked seating for an audience of around 200. The theatre plays host to performances by both student and professional companies.
The Sewell Barn Theatre (Norwich) is the smallest theatre in Norwich and has a seating capacity of 100. The auditorium features raked seating on three sides of an open acting space.
The Norwich Arts Centre (Norwich) theatre opened in 1977 in St. Benedict's Street, and has a capacity of 290.
The Princess Theatre (Hunstanton) stands overlooking the Wash and the green in the East Coast resort of Hunstanton. It is a 472-seat venue. Open all year round, the theatre plays host to a wide variety of shows from comedy to drama, celebrity shows to music for all tastes and children's productions. It has a six-week summer season plus an annual Christmas pantomime.
Sheringham Little Theatre (Sheringham) has seating for 180. The theatre programmes a variety of plays, musicals and music, and also shows films.
The Gorleston Pavilion (Gorleston) is an original Edwardian building with a seating capacity of 300, situated on the Norfolk coast. The theatre stages plays, pantomimes, musicals and concerts as well as a 26-week summer season.
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Norfolk Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.