A handsome township of attractive red-brick and staccato Georgian houses located on the River Waveney, in the southern Norfolk Broads. This historic settlement dates back to the Saxon and Viking periods, when it was an important trading port and fishing village. During the middle ages the sea reached to the edge of town but now lies some seven miles from the coast. The ancient quay were thousands of herrings were once landed is now exclusively used for pleasure craft, and as a popular mooring point for the Broads. Boat trips along the River Waveney can be booked from the quay.
River Waveney, Beccles © Travel About Britain
The town's small shopping centre has a good mix of unique and interesting independent stores, plus restaurants, tea rooms and other dining facilities. A regular Saturday farmers market offers a range of local produce, including wines, meat and locally made crafts.
Dutch Gabled Houses © TAB
Many of the properties in the town have handsome red-brick facades and others of Dutch gable design. The best-preserved examples can be found in Ballygate and Northgate, where the gardens run down to waterside.
One of the town's most striking architectural buildings is the Grade 1 Leman House. Previously a school, it is now home to the Beccles Museum, covering local history with cultural and domestic exhibits. The Old Town Hall dates back to 1726. The Tudor gabled Roos Hall, with its fine pedimented windows, dates from 1583. Once the home of Sir John Suckling, an ancestor of Lord Nelson.
Bell Tower of St Michael © TAB
The parish church of St Michael was built in the late 14th century by the Abbot of Bury. It has a separate detached the bell tower that stands 97 ft tall, affording magnificent views across the countryside and the Broads (open for guided tours). An unusual feature of the church is an outside pulpit, where the priest once used to preach to lepers, who were not allowed inside. Lord Nelson's parents, the Reverend Edmund Nelson and Catherine Suckling, were married here.
The Tourist Information Centre (near the quay) has a selection of interesting self-guided town trials. There are a also number of beautiful wildlife walks around the marshes by the coast.
Pleasure Boats Moored at Beccles Quay © Travel About Britain
Annual local events include the Beccles Carnival and a Sailing Regatta in July and August.
This fine period property contains exhibits of 19th-c toys, costumes, farming implements and items from the old sailing wherries that once brought trading wealth to the town. There is also an exhibition on printing, for which the town was famous in the 1800s. Tours of the old works and printing presses are available (see website for details).
Opening times: March
to October, Tue to Sun, 1.45 to 4.30pm - Free
Location: Leman House, Ballygate, Beccles NR34 9ND
Tel: 01502 715722
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