Why this Norfolk village is one of the best in the UK

Aldborough VillageSally Louise Whitman, Terry Skyrne, Dave DigbyByline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Sally Louise Whitman, Terry Skyrme, Dave Digby Byline: Sonya Duncan

Arriving into Aldborough, it is not difficult to see why the village was named eighth best in the UK by the 'Sunday Times'.

With a population of approximately 600, the village is located eight miles south of Cromer, off the main road, down winding byways.

There is the open expansive village green with its cricket pitch and pond, surrounded by redbrick houses. There is the shop and post office, the community centre and doctor's surgery.

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

And, of course, the village pub, the Black Boys, run by Sandra Wright.

"The people here are lovely and friendly," she says. "There is a lovely community. When cricket is being played on the village green, people like to come here and sit outside and watch."

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Dave Digby, 78, who has lived in Aldborough for 20 years, echoes the landlady's words. "We have a fantastic community. We all care for one another," he says.


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He also mentions the shop and post office, the Aldborough players, the cricket... The list goes on.

Aldborough Village
Dave Digby
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Dave Digby Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"My only worry is because it's so fabulous, people coming from London will buy cottages as second homes and not even spend much time in the village."

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The accusation could not be levelled at Nicholas Pike, 58, and Niko Pilibosyan, 34, who moved to Aldborough in June.

Mr Pike, a retired lawyer, says: "I grew up in Norfolk and had heard of Aldborough but had never been here. If you go to Cromer you bypass it, you have to actively come here."

Aldborough VillageNicholas Pike and Niko PilibosyanByline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village, Nicholas Pike and Niko Pilibosyan Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

At the beginning of the pandemic, they decided to leave the capital and live instead in a village with a local pub, shop and post office. After seeing a property in Aldborough which interested them, they visited the village.

"We fell in love with the place and completed on the purchase in June this year," says Mr Pike.

"The thing we've noticed is that everyone here speaks to you. Everybody is very helpful."

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

He said the village is "the lynchpin of around a dozen hamlets around here."

Mr Pilibosayan says: "The doctor's surgery is a centre for all the local villages, it's quite an important hub for the local community.

Aldborough Village
Sandra Wright, landlady of the Black Boys
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Sandra Wright, landlady of the Black Boys Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"The landlady and staff at the Black Boys are a great team. They are very attentive, really friendly, genuine, welcoming people. That's the really great thing about this place."

Not far from the pub, also facing the village green, is the shop and post office, owned by Peter and Janet Davison and where Margaret Adams, 50, is the postmistress.

She says: "We've got a doctor, a school, the shop and post office, a garage. There is a voluntary care group. There is quite a nice community spirit."

Aldborough post office and shop owners Peter and Janet Davison
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough post office and shop owners Peter and Janet Davison Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The shop sells everything from locally-baked bread to locally-brewed beer, as well as fruit and veg and greeting cards.

Eve O'Connor, 55, who works behind the counter, says: "There is a lot going on in the village. There are a lot of groups at the community centre.

"There is a lot of goodwill in the village. Everybody mucks in a gives people lifts.

"But there's not enough transport for young people. Four buses a day go out of the village. It would be nice to have more. That is the one downside."

Jon Winnett, 46, a massage practitioner living in Aldborough.

Jon Winnett, 46, a massage practitioner living in Aldborough. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Jon Winnett, 46, a massage practitioner, says: "The village has a unique layout and it hasn't changed since settlement began.

"There are 40 properties surrounding the village green. It's a self-sustaining space, as opposed to villages which are sporadically laid out."

Mr Winnett runs a Thai bodywork massage parlour, North Norfolk Muscle Therapy, from his home.

"In Thailand, every village has a community healer, and that's what I'm trying to bring into this village," he says.

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A few doors down, in the community centre, some of the villagers were enjoying an art group.

Members mentioned Village Care, an organisation run by volunteers who, among other things, drive people to hospital.

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Jane Macartney said: "I've always thought that people don't interfere with other people's lives here, but if you want to get help, there's always someone you know.

"If you feel lonely, all you have to do is sit on a bench at the village green, and someone will soon come up and talk to you.

"Without being organised, everybody looks out for one another."

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

  






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