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Hungate Street in Aylsham

Top places to live in Norfolk Aylsham

In the 'middle of everywhere' – this market town offers all the benefits of country life, plus lovely independent shops and unique places to relish some of the UK's finest food.

WHY?

In central Norfolk, halfway between Norwich and the north Norfolk coast, this lovely town is thought to have been founded around 500AD. So it’s only been a fabulous life-style destination for er…two thousand years! A short city commute, weekends on the beach, pretty countryside all round and so much great stuff going on right in town too. Gotta love The Sham.

EAT

Aylsham’s own Biddy’s tearoom is the cosy local outpost of Norwich’s fabulously eccentric cake destination – a perennial Muddy favourite. Get your spice fix at The Gate of India (try the Fish Ayer Satkora). The Black Boys Hotel is great for traditional pub grub and it’s only a short drive/cycle to two of our favourite foodie pubs – The Bucks Arms next to Blicking Hall and irresistibly arty Gunton Arms. The Ironmongers is a gorgeous new boutique hotel with the downstairs space earmarked for new eating destinations, and a proud ethos of supporting fabulous fellow independents. And the newest jewel in Aylsham’s sparkling foodie crown is Hodson & Co. Chef Charlie works with Tanja, fab Independent Fine Wines merchant and the very best local producers to present an incredible intimate supper club – his Tables for Two or Four are booked months ahead. World-class cooking in a laid-back country town. Who knew? (Well, now you do…)

Aylsham Farmers Market is not to be missed on the first Saturday of the month, showcasing Norfolk’s wonderful local food and drink producers, as does May’s epic Big Sausage Bash and October’s friendly Slow Food weekend.

SHOP

If you’re a ‘wear sneakers for cocktails’ kinda gal, check out funky Amika clothing boutique for relaxed Rock ‘n’ Roll style (think Kate Moss). Fabric expert Lisa Dawson is a must if you’re redecorating and hunt for one-off collectables on Monday mornings at Keys Auctioneers – a quirky local social gathering since 1953. Creative Lincs is a brilliant gift and small print shop – perfect for fellow indie businesses. Daily sourdough doesn’t come better than at Muddy Award-winning artisan bakery Bread Source (Swedish Cardamom buns just made for indulgent Sunday mornings). Back to Hodson & Co for over 50 superb cheeses from Norfolk and beyond, and the best sausage rolls around. You’re well served for butchers – both Coxfords and Whites are superb, plus a good greengrocer Brett’s and Budgens stocked with produce from local suppliers. Candy treats guaranteed at Bon Bon’s traditional sweet shop and delectable Norfolk Truffles at Carousel Chocolates. And don’t miss lovely florist, Lavenders Blue, with its pretty Parma Violet shop front. With all that local produce on your kitchen step, you’ll need a super stylish pinny from Bishy Barnabees too.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Head to Muddy Award-winning Redwings Horse Sanctuary, an adored family favourite or Urban Clay, a lovely paint your own ceramics studio – also the location for Hodson & Co’s celebrity chef pop-up cookery school. Norwich’s brilliant indie bookstore The Book Hive hosts author talks at Aylsham Town Hall and you can catch top class touring theatre there too.

There are brilliant walks straight from town such as Weavers’ Way, named for the area’s textile history and Marriott’s Way with flat paths great for wheelchairs, riding & cycling. We love the narrow gauge steam train Bure Valley Railway – if you’re feeling active cycle/walk the nine-mile path to Wroxham, the buzzy Broads boating capital. Or head the other way to Reepham, treat yourself to lunch at groovy Muddy Award-winning boutique resto Dial House and snaffle some vintage designer treasure at Vintage Vegas. It’s only a 5 minute drive to the National Trust’s Blickling Estate with loads of family activities and annual summer rave Classic Ibiza – Norfolk In the House! The Fine City of Norwich is only 20 minutes away, as is groovy seaside town Cromer. And regular buses to both!

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

££286,345. On average, detached properties sell for £323,338, semi-detached properties £274,655 and terraced properties £247,567. Good local estate agents in the area are Arnold Keys and Stobart & Hurrell, Trett Phillips and Watsons.

HOT PROPERTY

This detached four-bed cottage in the nearby Thorpe Market boasts 2.5 acres and a fairy tale style. £795,000 from Strutt & Parker.

SCHOOLS

Closest private day school is Langley Prep and Pre-prep School or Beeston Hall near Cromer, offering day and boarding options. For an urban education Norwich High School for Girls and Norwich School have dedicated buses heading into the city. And Gresham’s is the other way in beautiful Georgian Holt – with boarding too. There are two primaries and Ofsted Good Aylsham High School with fantastic drama productions and strong community involvement.

BEST KEPT SECRET

There’s a Roman settlement hidden under the lovely Woodgate plant nursery. Annual August digs with a community archaeology group get everyone working side by side, uncovering history. And herstory for that matter…

COMMUTE

Perfectly located for a commute to Norwich – 12 miles approximately and a 25-minute drive into the centre. The fastest route to London by train is 1 hour 30 mins from Norwich.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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