Just four miles from Wells-next-the-Sea, on the banks of the River Stiffkey, is Walsingham, with a long history of religious pilgrimage and wealth of historic buildings. The history of Walsingham and its pilgrimages began in the 11th century with the visions of the Virgin Mary by the lady Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches. She requested that a replica of the Holy House at Nazareth be built at Walsingham. This became 'England's Nazareth', a place of prayer and reconciliation and one of Europe's four great pilgrim places in the Middle Ages. The pilgrimage season at Walsingham runs from Easter to the end of October.
In the village, you can see many 14th & 15th century buildings. One of these is now The Shirehall Museum, Walsingham's Georgian Courtroom where you can discover more of Walsingham’s amazing history since 1061. Through the museum is the entrance to the Priory Gardens where you'll find the impressive twin turreted 13th century arch, the remains of the medieval priory surrounded by stunning gardens with seasonal flowers. Visit the Walsingham Abbey Grounds, in February and be treated to its shower of snowdrops.
Just a short walk from the museum is Walsingham Bridewell, or House of Correction set up in 1598 (it was rebuilt in the 18th century), standing on the site of the former leper hospital. It housed beggars & vagrants and trained them in trades; it is almost completely unaltered since the last prisoners were freed!
You can find plenty of shops in the pretty village including tea rooms & cafes. Walsingham is also home to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, said to be the longest 10-and-a-quarter inch narrow-gauge steam railway in the world.
The village is well worth a visit and is ideally situated close to award winning beaches.