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Set in the Ceremonial County of Norfolk, the market town and seaport of King’s Lynn lies on the Great Ouse River where it meets the Wash, the great bite out of the North Sea coastline caused by erosion over the centuries. Founded during the medieval period, the town retains its seafaring links and has a charming Old Town district with period homes and winding lanes. North Norfolk with its traditional seaside towns, historic Norwich and the Sea Life Centre at Great Yarmouth are short drives away with self-drive via car rental.
Who to Book With
Thrifty and Enterprise are two of the well-known car hire firms established in King’s Lynn, complemented by several smaller local companies. Most of the firms are found on the industrial estate or in the town centre, and booking well in advance on a price-comparison site is the best way to get the car of your choice at the cheapest price.
Best Time to Go
As with most UK coastal destinations, the best times to visit are spring, summer and early autumn. England’s east coast is windy and can be chilly in the evenings but its more remote beaches under their vast expanse of sky can be deserted even in high summer.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents must be presented at the car hire pick-up point:
- A valid UK or EU photo driving license or International Driving Permit
- A secondary photo ID such as a passport
- The credit card used for your booking
- A printed rental confirmation if possible
Driving in Norfolk is straightforward, as the East Anglian county is one of the UK’s flattest and roads are generally well-maintained. Speed limits on open roads such as the A10 and A47 are set at 96kph (60mph) and in-town driving is restricted to 49kph (30mph). Parking in the town centre, a shopping hub for the region, is found at 17 pay-and-display municipal car parks and is inexpensive for an all-day stay. Petrol stations generally close at around 19:00, and most accept card payments. Seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers, and warning triangles should be carried. Mobile phone usage without a hands-free kit is illegal, and drink driving is taken very seriously and incurs large fines and driving bans.
The closest airport to King’s Lynn is at Norwich, some 71kms, (44m) away. The A10 runs from London to the town, a trip of around 156kms (97m), and local transportation is by train, bus and taxi.
Trains link the town with London’s Kings Cross Station, Cambridge and Ely, although local train services are sparse due to the controversial closure of many remote rail stations in the 1960s. Getting around the region by train is generally impractical.
Local bus services are provided by Norfolk Green, based in King’s Lynn and offering rural and urban routes across three counties, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. Its popular Coasthopper service to Cromer and other coastal resorts and villages and its King’s Lynn local services are useful for visitors, with bus travel the cheapest option for getting around.
Taxi travel in and around King’s Lynn is offered by a raft of taxi companies, a number of which have online booking sites for client convenience. TaxiRegister’s King’s Lynn page has an impressive list with links to websites and phone numbers. Payment by credit card is often offered.
Exploring the wide-open spaces of Norfolk and the East Anglian region by hire car allows you to stop off in charming villages and historic towns for a pub lunch, a wander around an ancient church or a stroll by the sea. Ely is a popular destination for its stunning cathedral and Norwich is a hub for the famous Norfolk Broads.
Norwich - This is around an hour’s drive from King’s Lynn along the A47, and is a fascinating day-trip destination for its medieval trading hall, unique in England, and for Norwich Castle, its museum and a fine cathedral. Close by are the Broads, Norfolk’s network of interlinking canals and waterways combining scenic beauty with traditional canal barges.
Ely Cathedral - The thousand-year old Ely Cathedral can be seen from afar from its approach road, the A10 south of King’s Lynn, and is one of England’s loveliest religious buildings. Perched on a chalk hill above the watery fenlands, it towers over the small city and the neighbouring home of Oliver Cromwell, now a museum to the man who overthrew England’s monarchy for a short period of time.
Great Yarmouth - One of England’s most popular seaside towns before the advent of cheap flights was Great Yarmouth, known for its breezy, ozone-rich sea air and its fine beaches. Located under two hours from King’s Lynn on the A47, it’s still a fun place to visit for its Sea Life Centre, Pleasure Beach, funfair, lively promenade and two traditional piers.