The Village of Old Hunstanton in Norfolk

Old Hunstanton Norfolk Holidays

A visitors guide to the seaside location of Old Hunstanton on the West Coast of Norfolk. For those looking for a quieter holiday location, yet within easy access of a lively seaside resort then the village of Old Hunstanton is the place to go.  A village of gingerbread houses, wide empty sandy beaches and an extensive championship golf course, located behind the dunes to the east of the village. 

In the village you will find the Le Strange Old Barns which have craft demonstrations including woodturning, teddy making, flower crafts, glass painting and jewellery beadwork can be seen alongside our working pottery. The antique barn offers collectable items from several dealers and a wide range of inspirational giftware and cards, all reasonably priced and catering for all ages. 

For eateries there are two hotels (Caley Hall Hotel and Le Strange Arms Hotel) and the Neptune Restaurant, all have a varied menu and some have bar meals available.

Originally a fishing village, Old Hunstanton can trace its history back to AD 855 when St. Edmund was shipwrecked here in, the ruins of a chapel said to have been built by St. Edmund as thanks for his survival, stand on the cliff top close to the 19th century white lighthouse.  

The light of the lighthouse was extinguished at the outbreak of the First World War and was never rekindled.  The lighthouse is now rented out as holiday accommodation. During the Second World War there was a very hush hush government listening post in the village. It was called the 'Hippesley Hut' though it was actually a bungalow rather than a hut. This bungalow housed a unit that used to monitor groups of German zeppelins. The bungalow was named after Commander Hippisley an early pioneer of wireless telegraphy. To this day not very much is known about the Hippesley Hut its still very hush hush.

The Le Strange family were the squires and lords of the manor of this area for over eight hundred years.   They came over from France in 1100 and it is they who put this area ‘on the map’. The man on the horse on the village sign at Old Hunstanton is probably Roger L’Estrange who built the Hall. The head of the Le Strange family is also the Hereditary Lord High Admiral of the Wash and may claim possession of anything on the beach or in the sea for ‘as far as a man can ride a horse or throw a spear’, hence the spear in the mans hand. In the 1930s the famous German long distance swimmer Fraulein Mercedes Gleitze swam from Lincolnshire to Norfolk. It is said that when she came ashore at Old Hunstanton the then Squire stepped forward and advised her of this right and claimed her as his legal property. It is not known what the Fraulein’s response to this was! There is a ghost story attached to one of the Le Strange relatives.

In 1860 with the coming of the railway, Styleman Le Strange, the then Lord of the Manor, envisaged a place where gentlefolk could stroll and relax whilst taking in the sea air and so built New Hunstanton, which is now known as Hunstanton.

The town of Hunstanton is much larger and offers a range of activities for the family with tennis courts, bowling green, indoor swimming pool, fun fair, theatre and supermarkets.

During the 1920's the writer PG Wodehouse was a frequent guest of the Le Strange family of Hunstanton in Hunstanton Hall. The Hall was said to have been the inspiration for Rudge Hall, Aunt Agathas house at Woollam Chertsey. It has even been hinted that his Jeeves character was modelled on some of the personalities at the hall during his frequent visits and that many of his books were written whilst he was punting around in a little boat on the Halls moat. Wodehouse once wrote "I spend most of my time on the moat, which is really a sizeable lake. I'm writing this in a punt with my typewriter on a bed-table wobbling on one of the seats. There is a duck close by which utters occasional quacks that sound like a man with an unpleasant voice saying nasty things in an undertone."   The Hall has now been turned into private residential flats.

The church of St. Mary the Virgin of Old Hunstanton is located slightly outside the village of Old Hunstanton. Signposted from the coastal road, it resides down a winding lane beside a duck thronged pool. Here you will find graves and memorials to the Le Strange family, squires and lords of the manor thereabouts. Also of interest in the churchyard are two graves of men who were killed by Norfolk smugglers back in 1784. 

The graves can be easily identified as they are clearly marked with white-painted boards.

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