Markets Management

There are weekly Markets held throughout West Norfolk, normal opening times are from 8.00am until 5.00pm.


Exotic Fruit Picture


King's Lynn Markets

Hunstanton Markets

Downham Market Markets

Commodities available

History of Markets in West Norfolk

Present day markets

Contact details


King's Lynn Markets

Tuesdays market is held in the town centre in New Conduit Street and Saturdays held on the Saturday Market Place.
Kings Lynn Market Map

Hunstanton Markets

Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays held on the Southend Car Park, Le Strange Terrace adjacent to the sea front.
Map showing Hunstanton Markets location

Downham Market Markets

Fridays and Saturdays held on the Town Hall Car Park.

Depending on availability commodities on the markets may include:

fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and shellfish, eggs, sweets, cakes, pies, pastries, drinks, snack-bar, pet food and accessories, cut flowers, plants, shrubs, £1 lines, handbags and luggage, tools, greetings cards, books, watches, batteries and ladies, gentleman and children’s clothing.

Flower Stall

History of Markets in West Norfolk

Records suggest that there was a market taking place in King's Lynn long before proper records were kept. The oldest recorded instance of a market is to a "Sand Market" held on the Saturday Market Place in 1104. The first "Charter Market" is mentioned in a Charter from King John dated 6th September 1205. This Charter permitted the people of Lynn to tax some services and keep the revenue for themselves rather than paying it to the King. The taxes were levied in respect of the use of roads by strangers, shipping of merchandise along the river, use of bridges and, of course, a tax on the setting up of a stall at fairs and markets. It is not clear where the market would have been held although it is likely that the Saturday Market Place would have been the obvious choice.
All would have been fine until, during the reign of Henry III, a group of men from Lynn joined rebellious Barons against Henry. There was a battle at Littleport, at which the King was victorious. By way of punishment the King took away the Charter rights granted by King John, and just for good measure, burnt 22 tenant farms on the outskirts of Lynn.
In 1268 King Henry gave the Charter back to Lynn and in addition gave the town permission to elect its own Mayor as well as permitting foreign merchants to attend Lynn Fair and sell their wares. As an added inducement, the new Charter guaranteed the foreign merchants' safety and further guaranteed that any goods lost due to fighting would be paid for by the Town.
Nothing much seemed to have happened to the markets until in 1435, a licence was granted to the Town to use the piece of land next to St. Margaret's Church for a market (the present day Saturday Market). The licence runs for 999 years! It is not clear whether this licence was merely a means to formalise an existing situation.
On 7th July 1529, Henry VIII granted a further Charter to the Town. So far as markets were concerned it permitted the Town to hold two markets each week. This is likely to be the origin of the Tuesday Market.
From the medieval period both market places were marked out with rails and had semi-permanent stalls or shops which were leased out on a temporary basis to food retailers and other visiting traders. In the Saturday Market Place there were butchers' shambles crowded against the north side of St. Margaret's Church until the 19th century and in the 15th century the street front opposite was known as Butchers' Row because of the concentration of butchers' shops there. As the Saturday Market Place is a relatively small area the market gradually encroached on the adjacent street of Damgate (now High Street) until it was expelled in the late 18th century. A feature of the Tuesday Market Place towards its northern end was a market cross with shambles and shops around it. The last of the successive structures on this site was an ornate cross designed by Henry Bell and build in 1710. In 1831 on the site of the present Corn Exchange, which replaced it in 1854.
Some 322 years after Henry VIII's Charter (in 1981) the Borough Council established a Thursday Market in the Corn Exchange. This was subsequently changed to Friday because of previous bookings on Thursdays. By chance, one particular Friday the Corn Exchange was not available and the market was held outside on the Tuesday Market Place. The market proved so successful that its existence was formalised by the Council under the Food and Drugs Act of 1955.

Present Day Markets

We have therefore three weekly markets in King's Lynn, two established by Royal Charter and one by present day legislation.
There are spaces available for 82 stalls on the Tuesday Market, 37 on the Friday Market and 26 on the Saturday Market.
All stallages paid by the traders are used to off-set the Council Tax. Most of the traders come from Norfolk towns and villages, however some are from Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and places further afar such as Leicestershire, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Essex.
There are also two Hunstanton Markets one on a Sunday and one on Bank Holiday Mondays. Both are held on the Southend Car Park on the seafront. Both have been in existence for a number of years and as Hunstanton is a seaside resort larger markets operate during the summer months with about 40 stalls, leaving 24 permanent traders to work the winter months on the Sunday Market.
Our records show Downham Market has been in existence since September 1887, started by a market company, which went into liquidation in 1937. Downham Urban Town Council then took over the running of it until 1974 at which time the Borough Council looked after the market on their behalf. In 2001 the Town Council once again took over and continue to run the market now. The market operates on a Friday and Saturday and held on the Town Hall car park. There are 13 stalls on a Friday and 11 traders on the Saturday market.

Contact Details

For further information contact:
The Markets Department
The Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk
King's Court
Chapel Street
King's Lynn
PE30 1EX
Telephone: 01553 616202
Fax: 01553 819760

Interested in other markets in the area?

01366 387770
01354 654321


Last updated: 03 December 2013
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