SWAFFHAM’S large market place is still the focus of the town. The lovely Buttercross was built in 1783 and topped with a statue of Ceres - the Roman goddess of farming and fertility. Today the open space is ringed with Georgian buildings, alongside more modern additions to this thriving town.
Norfolk hero Lord Nelson is said to have loved Swaffham and in the late 18th century the town was a high society hub with dances, horse racing, theatre and sport. It was also known for its expert clockmakers, but the pretty town does not rest on its historic accolades. Today it has a stellar reputation for food, with everything from a community café to a boutique hotel sourcing local ingredients wherever possible, and the annual Brecks Food and Drink Festival featuring many Swaffham-based events.
Visit the Green Britain Centre by the huge wind turbine on the edge of town – and climb its 300 steps to enjoy views as far as Ely Cathedral. It’s the world’s only turbine open to the public. There are also organic gardens and an orchard, plus a cinema, theatre, café and shop full of local, fairly traded and sustainably sourced produce.
Howard Carter, the first man to see the inside of Tutankhamun’s tomb in more than 3,000 years, grew up in Swaffham, and some of his treasures can still be seen in the town museum. Howard Carter was the archaeologist who found “wonderful things,” gold and much more, in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
DID YOU KNOW. . .
Swaffham has its own fairy story about a man who left the town to seek his fortune but realised that the real treasure he was seeking was back at home in Norfolk. He returned to unearth buried treasure.
DON’T MISS. . .
Angels float out from a magnificent double hammerbeam angel roof in beautiful St Peter and St Paul Church. It stands in a churchyard surrounded by a tree-studded, meadow-like open space.
The Buttercross in Swaffham