The market town of Harleston has a long history. A charter to hold an eight-day fair was granted to Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk by Henry III in 1259 and Wednesday has been market day in the town from ancient times. One of the plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I was to be launched on Midsummer Day 1570 at the Harleston Fair by proclamations and the sound of trumpets and drums. The Elizabethan play Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay features this in one of its scenes. Past residents of Harleston include some of the Pilgrim Fathers who travelled on the Mayflower to settle in America. Find out more about Harleston and the Mayflower.
There are over 160 listed buildings in the town, many with some of the original features still visible. Old coaching inns, like the Swan Hotel, remain as a legacy from the days when the town was on the main coaching route from London to Great Yarmouth and an important trading centre. The town is renowned for the range of independent shops which have withstood the advances of commercial globalisation to retain unique and welcoming atmosphere.
Sitting on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, in the lovely Waveney Valley, mid-way between the cities of Ipswich and Norwich, Harleston is ideally located to act as the base for a holiday in the area. The seaside at Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Aldeburgh are all within a short drive. The beauty spots of the Norfolk Broads, Suffolk Coasts Heath and Thetford Forest are also nearby. The Town Council are promoting local nature recovery within the entire parish with the Nature Recovery Area initiative. Harleston is the perfect place for your holiday in East Anglia.