One of the most desirable places to live in Norfolk, the Burnhams boast beautiful flint buildings, a rich maritime heritage, a stunning landscape and so much more besides
KNOWN AS Chelsea-on-Sea, due to its popularity with wealthy second home owners, a Burnhams postcode has become one of the most sought-after in Norfolk.
But this label doesn’t nearly tell the full story of these pretty coastal villages which make up the Burnhams. Burnham Deepdale, Norton, Overy, Thorpe and of course Burnham Market, are very much living and working communities with a rich history.
There are village schools, businesses, shops and many community groups and events held throughout the year, as well as excellent pubs, cafes, food suppliers and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, especially the thriving sailing scene.
Of course, for those lucky enough to live in these beautiful villages, they are just a stone’s throw from the sea, the atmospheric, wildlife abundant marshes and the vast, beautiful open countryside which rolls down to the coast.
Properties range from impressive converted barns, old flint cottages with sea views and modern family homes to developments of new luxury houses – but while the choice is fantastic, any househunter should expect to pay a premium for the location.
At the heart of the area is Burnham Market, with a picturesque green at its centre, surrounded by beautiful 17th and 18th century classic stone buildings. The strong sense of history in the village is combined with a very cosmopolitan mix of independent businesses, from day-to-day shops, such as greengrocer, butcher, deli, newsagent and fishmonger, to art galleries, interior designers, fashion boutiques, antique shops, pubs and cafes and much more.
There are also a number of small primary schools in and around the villages, as well as a high school in nearby Wells. There are two independent day and boarding schools within a half an hour drive – Gresham’s School, which takes pupils from aged 3 to 18, and Glebe House at Hunstanton, which is a prep school and nursery.
Just a few miles up the road from Burnham Market is Burnham Deepdale, a popular and busy village, in part down to its central Dalegate Market area which has a number of shops, a café and the always popular backpackers accommodation and campsite. Stroll across the road from the mini hub and you are straight on to the marshes and in sight of the sea.
From here, you are on the Norfolk Coast Path which will take you for miles; turn left and make your way to Brancaster Staithe and then the beach, and turn right and head to the pretty and oft photographed village of Burnham Overy Staithe.
The traditional flint cottages and boat masts rattling in the wind on the quay are very much a reminder of the area’s past, the water where Norfolk’s most famous son – Lord Horatio Nelson – first learned to sail.
The Burnhams are dominated by impressive, architecturally important churches and a strong maritime history – much of which is dominated by the story of Nelson, who was born in Burnham Thorpe in 1758, where his father, Edmund was a local clergyman and rector of All Saint’s Church, which remains a living monument to the village’s seafaring son today.