Top places to live in Norfolk Diss
Built around a six-acre lake known as ‘The Mere’, this ancient market 'slow town' on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk sits at the gateway to the Waveney Valley. Good transport connections make it a great choice for countryside lovers who have to commute. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
In the 1960s Poet John Betjeman called Diss “the perfect English market town” and although there’s been some less than perfect development since then, the historic bits are charming. Unlike a lot of Norfolk, it’s accessible for commuters and all budgets, with recent Heritage Lottery Fund investment highlighting more potential. One to watch as people fall back in love with local living.
Amandines is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant with fairy lights and music events in the cosy little glass covered courtyard. Family-run Turkuaz might not be in the most beautiful building, but they do great value, seriously tasty meze winning big time customer loyalty. Diss doesn’t have the greatest selection of pubs, but we’d settle in for a pint by the fire at The Cock Inn on Fair Green, a landmark for over 500 years it does a pretty good Sunday lunch too. 20 mins drive over the border in Fressingfield Suffolk, the Fox & Goose is a great find, with fine dining and finessed pub classics in modern European style.
We love DesignerMakers21, a creative hub of studios, galleries and workshop spaces. Perfect for beautiful handmade crafts you won’t find anywhere else. Bookworms head to Muddy Award 2021 finalist Diss Publishing Bookshop, a lovely locally run place, selling art supplies, stationery and gifts. Going since 1864 – long may it continue! The Natural Foodstore Cooperative in the Heritage Triangle area provides 100% vegetarian, ethical, fairly-traded ingredients and is well on the way to becoming zero-waste. Flexitarian? 15 mins drive out of town is The Ultimate Joint Limited, a family-run smallholding raising its own animals. You can buy straight from the butchery and there’s a fine sideline in jams, chutneys, pickles plus freshly baked treats on Fridays too. Or try family-owned Goodies Food Hall (15 min drive) for fab local produce. In town, there’s a traditional market every Friday and monthly Farmers’ Market.
With 51 conservation areas in South Norfolk, the countryside and villages are lovely for family walks and cycling. All gently rolling meadows, woods, farmland and lanes brimming with seasonal wildflowers. Back in town The Corn Hall is a thriving arts venue with quality entertainment and a gallery, three times finalist in the Norfolk Arts Awards People’s Choice Best Venue. History buffs will love little Diss Museum and the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum which brings East Anglia’s wartime history into poignant focus.
Just outside town, everyone loves delightful Bressingham with gardens best seen from its magnificent narrow-gauge steam engine. We love the beautiful vintage carousel, ‘The Gallopers’. Plus it’s home to the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society. They don’t like it up ’em…
20 mins drive away, children love seeing the grazing ponies at Knettishall Heath, one of many peaceful nature reserves. So it’s not life in the fast lane, but the first time you hear a skylark’s ecstatic song spiralling high above, your tired old urban soul will rise with it. Guaranteed.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
££356,556. On average, terraced properties sell for £195,000, semi-detached £312,333 and detached £398,222. Good local estate agents in the area are Sowerbys, Musker McIntyre and Whittley Parish, all with excellent local knowledge.
Excellent private school options in Norwich (20 mins on the train) include Norwich High School for girls, Norwich School and Town Close. And Gresham’s in Holt and Langley in Taverham offer boarding. Primaries Roydon, Palgrave CofE, Scole CofE and Diss Infants are all Ofsted Good, as is Diss High aged 11 onwards.
BEST KEPT SECRET
TW Gaze is a great auction house with sales every Friday. We love specialist sales such as Architectural Salvage, Modern Design, Rural & Domestic Bygones and Vintage Fashions & Furnishings. It’s addictive. Oh, and a fact for cricketers, the founder of Lord’s, Thomas Lord (1755–1832), was born in Diss too. Howzat?
Two or three trains an hour to Norwich (20 minutes) and twice hourly to Ipswich (25 minutes), Colchester (40 minutes) and London Liverpool Street (90 minutes). It’s a 45 minute drive to Norwich, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds and an hour to the coast. Sorted.
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