Let’s move to King’s Lynn, Norfolk: it’s beautiful – all cobbles, alleys and warehouses
If it wasn’t in the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists
What’s going for it? Amazing, the effect of geography. Were King’s Lynn anywhere else in the country but squelched into the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists. They’d be there getting selfies next to some 18th-century townhouses or cutie-pie half-timbered cottages they’d seen in the latest Sunday night costume drama. Bistros and artisan coffee houses would be flush. Various branches of Edinburgh Woollen Mills would have opened. But it is not. It is squelched into the remoter end of the Fens. The wealth of the north Norfolk coast is tantalisingly near, but not quite near enough. That relative remoteness today (I mean, it’s only just over an hour to Cambridge, so it’s hardly Siberia, is it?) has bred an independent spirit: there’s some great local culture behind those pedimented porticoes, and a fair bit of money has been spent on sprucing up the place. Geography favoured King’s Lynn hundreds of years ago, before trade shifted to the Atlantic. That’s why it’s so beautiful today, all cobbles, alleys and warehouses. King’s Lynn was once the biggest port in the country, and its merchants flashed their cash on those 18th-century townhouses. Maybe fortune will smile on it again some day.
The case against The poor place has been scandalously knocked about in decades past, to make room for car parks and dual carriageways, meaning that today it’s a slightly surreal mishmash of 18th-century alleys and retail parks.