Between the Bure and Wensum valleys, lies the historic market town Reepham. This quaint and vibrant place has changed with the times yet kept its charming character. Its extensive and dynamic past has shaped the community and the town it is today; somewhere to find inspiration and re-energise.
It goes way back. Reepham - pronounced ‘reefum’ - was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 (property inventory*) and in 1277 it received the special ‘market town status’ making it one of the oldest market towns in Norfolk.
At the heart of the town lies the Market Place which is surrounded by a collection of attractive buildings (mostly 18th century.) This is our starting point as here you can find architectural features, your food fix, shops and serenity. We will give you a taste of Reepham with our Top 5 things to do.
These buildings have a remarkable story. At the foot of the Market Place is St Michael’s Church (pictured) which stands beautifully prominent in front of you. Right behind it is St Mary’s Church. Both are built in medieval times and are on an ancient site. The clue is in the height of the ground on which the churches are built, and what is fascinating is that there used to be three churches.
This site is only one of two sites in Europe to have had three churches. The third one belonged to Hackford parish but it burned down in 1543 leaving only a small part of a wall which is on the far right when you enter the church yard from the Market Place. So how come there were three churches here? It is understood that this spot may have been an important pagan site and there is also evidence that it was of significance in Saxon times (the oval churchyard is one and there are remains of Saxon crosses in the area). It may be unusual but the common view is simply that the three adjacent settlements established their own church over a period of time. In any case, when you stroll here you will find peace of mind making it a special place indeed.
Many cyclists and walkers stop in Reepham having done a good stretch of the Marriott’s Way - the old railway - which is a great 26 mile path running between Norwich and Aylsham (with connections to Cycle Route 1).
Of course you can also start in Reepham and on route you will spot Whitwell station (a preserved railway with museum) or Reepham station (tearoom and Kerri’s Farmhouse Pine shop) which are well worth a break in your tracks.
Eating and accommodation
Each visitor can find his or her comfort in Reepham. The 17th century coaching inn ‘the King’s Arms’ has wholesome pub food and the Dial House (pictured below). The lovingly restored Georgian country home has a special feature café/ restaurant (everything you see and sit on you can buy!), elegant dining and a boutique hotel. And if you are a keen angler or part of a group then the Reepham Fishery has accommodation to suit too.
You will be surprised, how long you can spend in Reepham because it has several gems of shops. If you are looking for presents or a treat, for sure you will find it in Very Nice Things. There is always something new that will catch your eye. Also have a smooch at vintage and antiques shop Rococo Loco on the Norwich Road (just behind Spar shop) and pre-loved quality clothes shop and dress agency the Green Room (located in the Dial House). And there is more!
The Old champagne glass company in Melton House (next to the post office) has a beautiful selection of vintage crystal.
If you are interested in more antiques and unique finds, then do check our Top 5 antiques shops in Norfolk. This also includes the lovely Reepham shop 'Butler and Castell' on the Market Place which has visitors from across the world.
Several artists live in Reepham and the surrounding villages, and each year they take part in Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios with an art trail (May and June time, see link for details).
Reepham even has a wedding dress designer, Katrine Mogenson. Have a peek at one of her gorgeous dresses which grace her window, right next to flower shop Flower Folk.
The people are welcoming and once you have visited Reepham, you will want to come back as it finds its way into your heart.
The first Reepham Food Festival was a great success last year (2017) and again this year (takes place in May).
Reepham Music Festival is on the weekend of 11 and 12 August 2018.
Reepham Festival of Classic Bikes and Cars is in September (dates TBC for 2018).
Festival of Light (for the whole family) is a celebratory fair in December (date TBC, usually from 4.30pm to approx. 7.30pm).
Images: Marriott's Way is from Norfolk Trails and others are by Lesley van Dijk
How to get here?
- By car it is just 12 miles northwest of Norwich (B1145) and about 35 minutes from the North Norfolk coast.
- Sanders Coaches go between Norwich and Holt. Find the timetable here
*Listed as Refham in the Domesday Book meaning the bailiff’s or reeve’s (senior official under the Crown) manor which is derived from gerafa (bailiff) and ham (homestead)