Settled since the Iron Age, Thetford is a historic market town on the road that links Norwich with London. Its centuries-old castle was established shortly after the Norman Conquest while its Cluniac priory was founded in 1104. Thetford was famously used as the setting for many scenes in the British sitcom “Dad’s Army”.
Things to do in Thetford
Thetford is home to the second-largest man-made mound in England, which was once a medieval motte and bailey castle. Now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, it forms part of Castle Park, a grassy recreational spot with a children’s playground. On the other side of town are the preserved ruins of the Thetford Priory, a Cluniac monastic house that was closed during the Reformation.
Occupying a former paint shop is the Charles Burrell Museum, which brings to life England’s history of steam transportation. Learn about the Charles Burrell Works that produced steam-powered engines here until the 1920s, with the museum’s collection including a vintage steam roller and a traction engine. A highlight is Jones’ butcher’s van that appeared in “Dad’s Army”.
One of Thetford’s most charismatic half-timbered Tudor buildings is home to the Ancient House Museum, which features interpretive exhibits that bring to life the town’s past. Learn about prominent local residents such as Maharajah Duleep Singh and Thomas Paine, then see artefacts from the Celtic, Roman and Viking eras. Don’t miss the replicas of the Thetford Treasure, a hoard of Roman jewellery that was discovered nearby.
Getting around Thetford
Thetford is around 45 minutes’ drive from Cambridge and two hours from London and Heathrow Airport. Regular trains connect to the Thetford railway station and the town is small enough to explore on foot. Thetford is connected to Gateley along National Cycle Route 13.