Hotels and Holiday Cottages in Downham Market

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Further hotel information

Castle Hotel Address: High St, Downham Market, tel:01366 384311

Crown Hotel Address: Bridge St, Downham Market, tel:01366 382322

Tourist information

Downham Market was once a leading agricultural trading centre for produce from the fertile East Anglian Fens, and in the Middle Ages it was justly famous for both its horse fair and its butter market. The town sign continues to reflect the importance of these horse fairs in the history of Downham Market. The town developed as a Saxon settlement, at a crossing point on the river Ouse, and like many Fenland towns, was sited around the elevated ground on which its parish church was built. The medieval church, St Edmund's, is now the town's oldest building, while a beautiful wrought iron black and white Victorian Gothic clock tower provides another distinctive landmark in the main square.

During the English Civil War and following the Battle of Naseby, the beleaguered King Charles I sought refuge in Downham Market. Nowadays Downham Market is the venue for an annual carnival (St Winnold's Fair) and a water festival which features dragon boat racing. Close by, the Fen Rivers Way is a 50-mile long-distance path which runs between Cambridge and King's Lynn, along the banks of the Cam and the Great Ouse. A gateway to the Fens, the town is adjacent to a network of local waterways. At nearby Denver, the Grade II listed tower mill has been completely restored, and now offers visitors the chance to sample freshly baked produce.

To the east of the town, between Downham Market and Swaffham, sits the beautiful moated Oxburgh Hall, with its spectacular Tudor gatehouse. Often the site of open-air theatrical performances during the Summer months, this 15th-century manor house has been occupied by the Bedingfeld family for over 500 years, and is now run by the National Trust.

The 12th-century Castle Acre Priory lies north east of Downham Market, on the route of the historic Peddars Way. English Heritage offer audio tours of the Priory, and also oversees the neighbouring site of Castle Acre Castle and its Bailey Gate.

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