Hunstanton (locally /ˈhʌnstən/ ( listen) HUN-stən) is a
seaside town in Norfolk, England. It had a population of 4,229 at the
2011 Census, It faces west across The Wash, making it one of the
few places on the east coast where the sun can be seen setting over
4 Notable people
6 The town today
9 Theatre, cinema and culture
9.1 Literary associations
12 External links
An electoral ward in the same name exists, belonging to the Borough
King's Lynn and West Norfolk. The population of this
ward at the 2011 Census was 5,420.
Hunstanton has a mayor and a
17-member town council that meets twice a month.
The stratified red chalk limestone and white chalk cliffs on the beach
at Old Hunstanton.
The coastal cliffs include the type section of the Hunstanton
Formation of lower reddish limestone which was laid down during the
Lower Cretaceous. This is topped by a white chalk layer from the Upper
Remains of St Edmund's Memorial Chapel in 2016
Former lighthouse in 2016
Hunstanton is a 19th-century resort town, initially known as New
Hunstanton to distinguish it from the adjacent old village from which
it took its name. The new town soon exceeded the village in scale and
The original settlement of Hunstanton, now known as Old Hunstanton,
probably gained its name from the River Hun, which runs to the coast
just to the east of Old Hunstanton. It has also been opined that the
Hunstanton originated from the word "Honeystone", a reference to
the local red carr stone. The river begins in the grounds of Old
Hunstanton Park which surrounds the old moated hall, the ancestral
home of the Le Strange family.
Old Hunstanton village is of
prehistoric origin and lies near to the head of Peddars Way. In 1970,
Neolithic settlement was found. The quiet character of the
village remains distinct from its busy sibling and complements it with
clifftop walks past a privately owned redundant lighthouse and the
ruins of St Edmund's Chapel, built in 1272.
Henry Styleman Le Strange
Henry Styleman Le Strange (1815–1862), decided to
develop the area south of
Old Hunstanton as a sea-bathing resort. He
persuaded a group of like-minded investors to fund the construction of
a railway line from
King's Lynn to the town, to bring tourists and
visitors. This was a great success – the Lynn & Hunstanton
Railway became one of the most consistently profitable railway
companies in the country. In 1861, Le Strange, as principal landowner,
became a director of the railway company and by 1862 the line had been
Hunstanton was ready to take off commercially. However, Le
Strange died in the same year at the age of 47 and it was left to his
son Hamon to reap the rewards of his efforts.
As a mark of his intentions, Le Strange had moved the ancient village
Old Hunstanton to the new site in 1846, and in 1848 the
first building was erected. This was the Royal Hotel (now the Golden
Lion), the work of the renowned Victorian architect, William
Butterfield, a friend of Le Strange. Overlooking a sloping green and
the sea, and for several years standing alone, it earned the nickname
"Le Strange's Folly". In 1850 Le Strange, an amateur architect and
painter, appointed a land agent to survey the site and prepare a plan,
while he himself drew and painted a map and a perspective of the
scheme, showing shops, a station and a church. He consulted William
Butterfield on the design of the development plan. Their shared
passion was for the "Old English" style of architecture for domestic
buildings. This owed much to medieval precedent and to the earnestness
of the Victorian Gothic Revival.
Hunstanton is the exemplar of a model
19th-century estate seaside town. Most of the fabric and character of
that original development survives.
In birth order:
Edward the Martyr
Edward the Martyr (died 869), King of East Anglia, landed here to
claim his kingdom about 855.
Roger L'Estrange (1616–1704), Royalist and pamphleteer, was born
Guy Le Strange
Guy Le Strange (1854–1933),
Middle Eastern scholar and linguist, was
George Grundy (1859–1945), first-class cricketer, died here.
Tiverton Preedy (1863–1928), Anglican cleric and sports promoter,
was born here.
Clara Dow (1883–1969), operatic soprano and actress, made her stage
debut here in 1899.
Robert Herring MC (1897–1973), a British officer in the Army and the
RAF in both World Wars, was born here.
Reis Leming (1930–2012), US airman, received the UK
George Medal for
rescuing 27 people from South Beach during the North Sea flood of
Richard Greer (born 1946), motorcycle speedway rider in the 1970s and
1980s, lives here.
Bill Alexander (born William Alexander Paterson, 1948), theatre
director, was born here.
Hunstanton Beach at dusk, August 2013
Hunstanton is a traditional family resort. Summer crowds tend to be
smaller now than in the 1980s, although the popularity of the town as
a tourist destination for day-trippers and holidaymakers has endured,
weathering the decline of the British seaside holiday. During the
1990s, businesses in villages south of
Ingoldisthorpe and Snettisham) complained of a loss in trade after
being bypassed by the A149, which carries heavy Hunstanton-bound
Looking out to the Wash from Hunstanton.
The town today
Place name sign in Hunstanton
The town contains several stately Victorian squares. Boston Square
provides a view across the Wash to Boston in Lincolnshire. On a clear
day, one can see the Boston Stump.
Hunstanton is home to a fairground, aquarium and seal sanctuary,
leisure pool, theatre, large caravan parks with amenities (Searle's
Holiday Park opened in 1936), a number of amusement arcades and a long
promenade. In good weather, boats run by Searle's carry tourists out
to view both grey and common seals that have colonised sand bars in
the Wash and to the north of Norfolk. The centrepiece of the town
remains the large sloping green, which runs from one end of High
Street to the promenade.
The town boasted a Victorian pleasure pier, with fine attractions,
including a pavilion and miniature steam railway running up and down
it. The pier pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1939, the pier was
damaged by fire again in the 1950s, before almost the entire structure
was washed away by a fierce storm in 1978. What remained of the pier
extended just fifteen feet outwards from the amusement arcade and cafe
that was built on the site of the original entrance. In 2002, the
entire building, as well as the remains of the pier, were destroyed in
a fire. As the building was so badly damaged, firemen could not
determine the cause of the fire. Today, a new arcade and bowling alley
complex occupies the site.
Hunstanton has regular markets on Wednesdays and Sundays selling fresh
fish and fresh fruit and vegetables. The markets attract greater
numbers in the summer months through to the autumn. The principal
shopping streets of the town have stone buildings, some with glazed
canopies, evoking the Victorian and Edwardian eras of their
construction and retaining a mixture of outlets including England's
largest joke shop.
The countryside surrounding
Hunstanton is hillier than most of Norfolk
and is sparsely populated, the only nearby large settlement being
King's Lynn, 12 miles (19 km) to the south.
A frequent bus service operated by Stagecoach (formerly
and Lynx connects the town to King's Lynn, with other services to
Sheringham and Cromer.
Hunstanton railway station
Hunstanton railway station offered services to
King's Lynn until 1969,
when it was closed along with the entire branch line.
Smithdon High School
Smithdon High School (formerly
Hunstanton Secondary Modern School)
is an early building designed by the architects Peter and Alison
Smithson, built in 1949–54 in a radical style of international
architectural significance. It is a Grade II* listed building.
The school epitomised the architectural experimentation of post-war
Britain, as well as the growing acceptance of modernism by the public
authorities. It caused excitement in the architectural profession, and
was widely praised for its intelligent layout and formal elegance.
The Smithsons deliberately left many of the service elements of the
school exposed, making a feature of the water tank by turning it into
a tower. The disposition, steel frames and panels of brick and glass
most obviously echoed the work of
Mies Van Der Rohe
Mies Van Der Rohe at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hunstanton is home to Glebe House School, an independent
co-educational preparatory school.
Theatre, cinema and culture
The Princess Theatre is a 472-seat venue, open all year round, hosting
a wide variety of shows from comedy to drama, music for all tastes and
children’s productions. The venue also has a six-week summer season
and an annual Christmas pantomime. Films are screened during the week.
The theatre opened as the Capitol Cinema in 1932 and is noted for its
Norfolk carr stone as it contains the largest gable
wall of carr stone in existence. It was designed as a theatre as well
as a cinema but closed in the 1960s and was sold in 1974. It changed
its name to the Kingsley Centre and provided summer seasons and films
for approximately two years but declined and eventually operated as a
bingo hall. After some time it closed again until the Borough Council
King's Lynn and West
Norfolk purchased it in 1981. In honour of
Lady Diana Spencer
Lady Diana Spencer who, on her marriage to the Prince of Wales in July
1981, became the Princess of Wales, the theatre was renamed the
Princess Theatre. It was officially re-opened on 5 July 1981.
Hunstanton Concert Band plays at events in and around Hunstanton
performing at a wide variety of venues including churches, fêtes,
concerts and the town's band-stand. The
Deaf Havana album Fools and
Worthless Liars featured a track called "
Hunstanton Pier", a nostalgic
recollection of the town where James Veck-Gilodi, the band's lead
singer, grew up.
Wreck of the Sheraton
Between the world wars
P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse frequently visited his friend
Charles Le Strange at
Hunstanton Hall and it became an influence for a
number of the locations in his comic novels. It became Aunt Agatha's
country seat Woollam Chersey and also the inspiration for the setting
for Money for Nothing (1928). The octagon in the garden also featured
in "Jeeves and the Impending Doom".
Norfolk also furnishes the names
of many of the colourful characters in the books, e.g., Lord
Snettisham and J.
L. P. Hartley
L. P. Hartley knew
Hunstanton and the surrounding area well from
childhood holidays and he used it as a setting for The Shrimp and the
Anemone (1944), the first novel in his Eustace and Hilda trilogy. It
Hunstanton Hall (fictionalised as Anchorstone Hall) that Eustace
enters the privileged world of the aristocracy and eventually inherits
a small fortune. The famous layered cliffs at
of chalk, red chalk and Carr stone) also provide the backdrop for
Eustace and Hilda's games among the rock pools.
Patrick Hamilton's novel
Hangover Square opens with George Harvey Bone
walking on the cliffs in Hunstanton. Hamilton lived for many years at
Sheringham and also spent some time in the 1930s in a
Burnham Overy Staithe
Burnham Overy Staithe living there with his first wife,
Paragliding above the cliffs in Hunstanton
Hunstanton attracts thousands of people annually, some from long
distances away, during a week in August, for the ITA
Tennis tournament (the biggest in
England after Wimbledon) inaugurated
in 1920. All ages can play from the young (Under 8 Round Robin) to the
senior veterans. Apart from the tournament, it is a big social event,
with many parties often held around the area for all involved,
spectators and players.
Hunstanton Golf Club
Hunstanton Golf Club was founded in 1891 by Hamon Le Strange and is an
18-hole championship links laid out along the sandy coast of Old
Hunstanton links is a classic 'out and back' design, on
either side of a central spine or dune ridge. The 12th, 13th and 14th
holes play across this ridge.
The town has hosted several international sporting events including
the 2005 World Water Ski Racing Championships.
^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
^ Borough site Retrieved 4 December 2016.
^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
^ Council site Retrieved 4 December 2016.
Hunstanton Formation". British Geological Survey.
Hunstanton Civic Society
^ "Coasthopper". Stagecoach in Norfolk. Retrieved 27 September
^ "Bus times from
King's Lynn to
Hunstanton from Lynxbus". Lynx.
Retrieved 27 September 2016.
^ http://www.smithdonhighschool.org.uk Archived 21 May 2013 at the
Hunstanton School - Data, Photos & Plans -
^ "Revisiting Alison and Peter Smithson's
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Hunstanton.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hunstanton.
Hunstanton Town Council
Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament - official website
Ceremonial county of Norfolk
Boroughs or districts
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Redenhall with Harleston
Thorpe St Andrew
See also: List of civil parishes in Norfolk
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Civil parishes of
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Bagthorpe with Barmer
Flitcham with Appleton
Hockwold cum Wilton
Marshland St James
Terrington St Clement
Terrington St John
Tilney All Saints
Tilney St Lawrence
Walpole Cross Keys
Wiggenhall St Germans
Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen
King's Lynn and West Norfo