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A group of small villages surrounding the River Burn which were once home to Horatio Nelson


Burnham Market
Burnham Overy Staithe
Burnham Thorpe Church
The Burnhams are a group of small villages surrounding the River Burn in the north of Norfolk.

The beautiful countryside around the Burnhams
Over the years, three of the most central villages ended up joining together into a single, larger settlement. This is Burnham Market, and even though it's the biggest of the Burnhams, it's still a small place with less than a thousand residents. Maybe this is why it has such a friendly atmosphere. There's an open green, and pretty Georgian houses. There are over 30 shops, which is quite a few for a settlement this size. Every one of them is an independent business which really helps to instil the town with a sense of character.

Burnham Market Village Sign

The centre of Burnham Market

Georgian Architecture in Burnham Market

Shopping in Burnham Market
Burnham Market isn't quite on the coast, but it's only 2 kilometres or so away. It does have its own body of water though a small stream called Goose Beck. Sometimes thanks to a combination of bad tides and bad wind, the stream can burst its banks filling Burnham Market with little pools and fords. These mini-floods are a relatively regular occurrence!

Gurneys Fish Shop
Lately, many of Burnham Market's houses have been bought as holiday homes for wealthy Londoners. This has caused the village to become known as "Chelsea-on-Sea", in comparison with the affluent London district.

Pretty Holiday Cottages in Burnham Market

The Hoste Arms

The Hoste Arms is an award winning hotel, restaurant and beauty spa in the middle of Burnham Market
The other villages in the Burnhams are usually comparatively small. Some of them, like Burnham Overy, have barely more than a few houses, and you'll be hard pushed to find even a pub or inn. Burnham Norton at least has a Grade I listed church, with a pretty circular tower.

The round tower church at Burnham Deepdale
Burnham Overy Staithe lies on the coast in the north. However, the only route to the open ocean is through the narrow gaps in the salt marshes, so only small craft can make their way through. Nevertheless, sailing is a popular pastime here. There's also a ferry, which takes people out to Scolt Head Island, and its bird and seal sanctuary. Another nautical connection in Burnham Overy Staithe is that Richard Woodget, one of Englands greatest ever sailors, once owned a farm here. He captained the famous sailing clipper, the Cutty Sark, on it's long jaunts around the globe.

Burnham Overy Staithe

Great views and walks at Burnham Overy Staithe
His achievements though, are trumped slightly by Admiral Horatio Nelson, one of Britain's historical heroes. He was the son of the local parson in Burnham Thorpe, and so he was born in the Rectory of the All Saint's Church. While the church is still there, the Rectory unfortunately isn't. However, a plaque has been placed on a nearby wall, marking out the spot. Nelson wrote in his will that he also wanted to be buried here. However, the document contained the phrase "unless the King decrees otherwise". As it turned out, the King most certainly did! George III buried Nelson's remains at St. Paul's Cathedral. Nelson does have a presence in the All Saint's Church though. Both its cross, and its lectern were made using wood from Nelson's old ship.

Burnham Thorpe Village Sign

All Saints Church, Burnham Thorpe, containing many Nelson memorabilia
Given that The Burnhams are generally quite relaxed places, you may be surprised to learn that this was the site of a location shoot for the James Bond movie, Die Another Day. A patch of land close by to Burnham Deepdale was transformed completely, so it looked like a Korean paddy field! The scene took nearly a month to set up, but only a few seconds to shoot.

Did You Know?

Burnham is one of the few places in Norfolk that still has has both a windmill and a watermill. The windmill worked in conjunction with the watermill. Both were built by Edmund Savory from 1790 to 1816. The windmill is six storeys high and is now used as a private holiday home. The watermill had a wheel that drove 3 pairs of stones which was supplemented by a steam beam engine. Both the windmill and watermill are not open to the public.
Visitor Information
Burnham Deepdale Visitor Information Centre, Deepdale Farm, Burnham Deepdale, PE31 8DD. Tel: 01485 210 256
Burnham Market car-parking is on the streets (free). There are places to pull over in the other Burnham's.

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