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Fakenham Sign

Sep 2017

fac(c)a (personal-name) + hām Old English homestead.

Population - 7,500.

Wetherspoon™s - The Limes : Former hotel name (3/5).

Fakenham Sign

Fakenham is the 11th most populous place in Norfolk but visiting before noon on a Sunday suggests it's the 111th.

That was a few years ago, mind, but fast forward to a present-day Monday and it's still surprisingly stark. No takers for the matinée at the Central Cinema today so it's being wondered what's showing?  Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Fakenham - Central Cinema Fakenham Gas Works

One contributing wag to the Knowhere Guide[1] describes it as 'one of the most boring places on earth.' No mention of the Museum of Gas and Local History then? It's really not understand where people get off on this sort of thing?

[1] Now no more and since anybody seemed free to post anything on there, literally none of it was taken literally, really.

Central Cinema (Market Place)

Listed, Victorian building that's been screening since just before World War II. It's now independently run following stints as a Bingo Hall, a derelict hostel for pigeons and a period as part of a national cinema chain.

Museum of Gas and Local History (Hempton Road)

This is what's thought to be called 'specialist'. It's down and just over the River Wensum along which you can stroll for one action-packed day out.

You're possibly in Fakenham if you're passing through on your way to  Pensthorpe, multiple winner of 'Norfolk's Best Large Attraction', no less. It's a family-friendly, landscaped nature park and the third of it that's off-limits today should be open by the time you visit.

Not much showing today but that's migrating birds for you so they've laid on some captive cranes and flamingos to keep you and the kiddies happy.

Pensthorpe - Balearica regulorum Pensthorpe - Phoenicopterus roseus Pensthorp - Himantopus himantopus

This pair are desperate to bag a  bearded tit but fenced-in ones don't count at least they wouldn't do if you could actually see them. Despite just two bits of shrubbery in the Wader Aviary, they're still impossible to clock so make do instead with a black-winged stilt.

Still in Pensthorpe, there's much, much more and away from the play area and the gift shop and the, quite frankly, excellent café, there's a lakeside trail with some natural looking sculptures and a handful of hides in the two-thirds of the advertised acreage.

Pensthorpe - WildRootz Pensthorpe - Nature Sculpture Pensthorpe - Millenium Garden

The Millenium Garden is blooming marvellous and you'll pass through it on your way to the, admittedly imported, ducks.

Still, it's not every day that you see a Puna teal or a white-cheeked pintail.

Pensthorpe - Spatula puna Pensthorpe - Anas bahamensis

The Puna teal was first thought to be a ruddy duck but if this isn't really your thing then they're all just ruddy ducks, and ruddy cranes, and ruddy flamingos.

Meanwhile, back in Fakenham, it's still mysteriously empty around the marketplace and a team of investigators[1] have been called in to find out why.

Fakenham - Market Place Fakenham - The Mystery Machine

They split up with the hungrier of the two groups exploring the Gas Museum at midnight where they were chased by a ghostly lamplighter in a top hat. Of the other group, the fit one was kidnapped before the smart but frumpy one figured that weren't no phantom.

Those pesky, meddling kids came to the same conclusion as we did, there are no road signs to here! Sure, there's a 'Welcome To' along the  A148 but nothing to bring you in unless you take a gamble on the industrial estate and blink left at the roundabout or you'll miss it.

The signs have been stolen by the manager of Bakers & Larners of Holt so that's why there's nobody here, everybody ends up going there.

By dressing as a Victorian apparition and looking at today's turnout, it looks like he has gotten away with it.

[1] Why, it's only our friends from Potter Heigham.

Bridge Street Car Park

If you do manage to find yourselves here, you might well end up parking in Tesco™s so your stay's already being curtailed.

Fakenham - Bridge Street Car Park

Brave the one-way system, however, and you'll find parking off Bridge Street where, rather unsurprisingly, you'll find plenty of spaces.

Gallery Bistro (Market Place)

The name hints at a little more than bacon rolls and Sky™ Sports but there is some artwork hanging inside.

Fakenham - Gallery Bistro

Outdoor seating opposite the marketplace and the live music at weekends looks to even draw people in from Holt.