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Coordinates: 52°30′N 1°39′E / 52.5°N 1.65°E / 52.5; 1.65

Somerleyton is a village near the River Waveney in north-eastern Suffolk, about 7 miles from Lowestoft in England within The Broads National Park.

Many of the houses consist of the model village built around a green that once belonged to the Somerleyton Estate, formerly the property of Samuel Morton Peto. Somerleyton Hall is still a private residence, and is open to the public.

Shops and public houses

The village has a County Primary school and a thatched combined post office and village shop. Somerleyton railway station is nearby, on the Norwich to Lowestoft line. There is also a pub, The Dukes Head, until circa 1959 another pub, The Crown was also open in the village. The Crown was officially an 'off-licence' meaning alcoholic drinks could only be bought, not consumed there. The resident policeman, who at that time lived in the police house adjacent to Somerleyton CP School, could be relied upon to make his approach known so that drinkers could have their pints hidden under the bar in time to avoid prosecution! The village store, part of Waveney Co-operative Society and closed circa 1968, was on the opposite side of the road from The Crown adjacent to the village pond in the Street and operated a door-to-door delivery service for groceries via trade-bike and the milk delivery van. Both are now private houses as is The Reading Room, which was provided for the use of residents with snooker table etc. until being closed and converted to a dwelling circa 1968.


Somerleyton was the home of Christopher Cockerell while he invented the hovercraft using the resources of 'Ripplecraft' a business operating cabin cruisers for the boat hire trade serving holidaymakers cruising the Norfolk Broads Somerleyton Hovercraft. The River Waveney runs along the edge of Somerleyton giving access to the Broads and visitors may find the rail swing bridge which crosses the river in Somerleyton of interest. This can be viewed by taking the un-metalled road down to the River adjacent to the 'Duke's Head'.

There was a small brickworks in the village which provided bricks for the construction of Liverpool Street Station among other sites before closing circa 1947. The remains can still be seen on the track which leads from the Brickfields cottages to the railway station. The last remaining chimneys were demolished with dynamite in about 1959.

A memorial to the airmen killed when their aeroplane crashed during the Second World War (1939–1945) can be seen on Waddling Way, an un-metalled road to the East of the village which runs to Flixton, near Blundeston. The aircraft was an RAF Mosquito nightfighter being flown by two young airmen of the United States Navy. On 14 November 1944, they were chasing an air-launched V1 flying bomb but were mistakenly shot down by British anti-aircraft fire. The full story can be found in Final Flights by Ian McLachlan.

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