The traditional friendly market town of Harleston is in the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and is about 30 minutes south of Norwich by road. My husband and I visited it on a cold grey Thursday in January, and spent about four hours in the town, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Next time we would definitely give ourselves longer. Here are our five reasons to visit:
- Harleston is an ancient market town.There has been a market in Harleston every Wednesday for over 500 years. The town is full of character with narrow streets, pretty houses and quirky cottages and lanes around every corner. If you love period houses, you will love the architecture!
2. There are lots of independent shops. There are lots of useful and interesting stores including several butchers, bakers, ladies clothing, an excellent shoe shop, a nice gift store Daisy & Co, a large card shop, florist, a hardware store, pet shop, photography studio, independent chocolate confectionary and lots of charity shops. Everything was very reasonably priced and the staff in all the shops were very friendly and helpful. It’s worth noting that Thursday is half day closing. There is also a large Adnams store,a small Boots chemist and a very good Co-Op in the centre of the town with lots of free parking.On the edge of the town there is a factory shop outlet.
3. There are several useful interior shops.This includes a very reasonably priced bathroom store, an excellent paint shop that stocks Farrow and Ball, a lighting retailer, and another interior store that will be opening soon.
4. There is a fabulous antiques and vintage centre. Cornucopia, in the old Corn Exchange building, is a treasure chest and great fun to browse. It is also warm (unusual for an antiques centre in winter) and very welcoming. There is also a lovely vintage tearoomserving light lunches, afternoon tea and more, all served on vintage china.
5. There are lots of cosy cafes and several good pubs serving food throughout the town. We had lunch at The Egg and Easel Cafe which was a real treat. A pretty cafe serving homemade lunches, cakes, coffees and teas. Try something from the daily special board! Their lamb tagine was delicious and just what we needed to warm us up on a cold day. The café was popular with the locals, thanks to its tasty food and warm and friendly welcome. We would like to have tried all the cafes on our visit as they all looked good!