King’s Lynn has a long and illustrious maritime tradition. The extensive inland waterway system and its geographical position made it ideal for European trade from Baltic and English coastal ports. By the 13th century King’s Lynn was one of the country’s foremost ports. The town attracted traders from the Hanseatic League, a group of German cities whose ships travelled together in convoys for safety, especially against pirates. They came to Lynn with fish, furs, timber, wax and pitch and took away English wool, cloth and salt. The port today is still busy exporting grain and importing timber. King’s Lynn has the only surviving Hanseatic warehouse in England just off the Saturday Market Place. In 2005 the town became the only English member of the New Hanseatic League, whose 177 members include Hamburg and Lübeck, with the aim of developing business links and promoting culture, heritage and tourism between member towns and cities.
Discover the fascinating history of key hanseatic sites by following the self-guided Hanseatic Trail, available from the Tourist Information Centre.