Norfolk Links

  • Swaffham
    Portal for this Breckland market town
  • Cromer
    Gem of the Norfolk coast


Dereham is a market town in Norfolk, centre of administration for the district of Breckland, and popularly known as "The Heart of Norfolk". The Tesco car park within the town is thought to be the exact centre of the county.

Dereham, historically known as East Dereham, has grown over the last 20 years to become the fifth largest town of the county. It now houses around 20,000 inhabitants and covers an area of 8.31 square kilometres.

Dereham is the second largest town of the Breckland District. Located at the heart of Norfolk, the A47 bypass (built in 1978) is seeing improvements all the time. This helps to link Dereham with Norwich, King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth, and the Midlands, and has encouraged a number of new businesses in the area.

The town centre has expanded to keep up with new shops that serve both Dereham and the surrounding villages, as well as increasing services and schools. A number of large housing areas have also been set up to meet with the growing demand of those who work in Norwich but choose to live in Dereham.

Historically Dereham was surrounded by farmland, and business in the town was linked to agriculture, though the focus has generally shifted towards more modern industry, including technology and retail.

Local Attractions and Amenities

The town is famous for a number of local attractions, including windmills, historic buildings, malt houses and more. It is twinned with Rüthen in Germany, and Caudebec-les-Elbeuf in France.

The history of Dereham spans back before the Saxon era, with a monastery founded by the local Saint Withburga. Though most of the ancient buildings were destroyed by fire, the town is still proud of its Georgian High Street and market place. There is a local market on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a farmer's market taking place monthly at the railway station.

There are a large number of restaurants and pubs in the town, as well as shops, sports facilities and more. Due to its local links, the area is becoming more and more important for tourism. Buses can take visitors to attractions include the Broads and National Trust properties.

Dereham's Claims to Fame

The poet William Cowper is buried in Dereham, having lived there from 1796. George Borrow, the author, was born in the town in 1803, and William Hyde Wollaston, who discovered the elements rhodium and palladium, was born there in 1766. A section of the local railway was also used to film scenes from the TV programme, Dad's Army.

The Town Crest

The town crest is derived from a number of sources. The three ducal coronets (displayed on a red background) are derived from the Bishop of Ely and Saints Withburga, Sexburga and Etheldreda. The deer on the crest represents the fact that Dereham is thought to be named after a nearby deer park before the Saxon era. The crest is now used as the logo for the town council.

Dereham Accommodation

A number of the very best hotels, B&Bs and other places to stay in and around Dereham advertise in the Dereham Guide directory. If you are planning on staying overnight, please take a look at the listings in the accommodation category of our online directory. Be sure to mention Dereham Guide when contacting any of the hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday cottages or caravan and camping sites listed.