10 reasons to love Diss
PUBLISHED: 09:46 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 17 July 2018
Its markets, Mere and museum - Diss has a heritage to be proud of, plus a lot to offer for the future too. Whether you're a local or planning a visit to our great town, here are 10 reasons to love Diss.
1. Diss Mere
Many residents believe that Diss actually owes its name to the six-acre lake that sits prominently at its centre. The Saxon word Disce, meaning lake, is thought to have gradually mutated over the years to become Diss. It’s quite believable, as the Mere is at the very heart of the town. Its beautiful fountain runs all day, and the flocks of ducks and neighbouring park make this a perfect place to stop.
2. Twelfth century market
Every Friday (or Thursday if a holiday falls then) a traditional market is held in the town with a great diversity of wares for sale in the Market Place and Market Hill. Gone are the cattle markets of the past, but in their place are stalls selling fruit and vegetables, plants, jewellery, country clothes, underwear, tools and much more, as well as ‘probably’ the best chips either side of the border! There’s an extremely long tradition to the event, as the market was first granted its charter in the 12th century by Richard the Lionheart.
3. Delis aplenty
If eating in, rather than out, Diss can still cater for your every need. Fredricks Fine Foods at Norfolk House Yard gives Norwich and London’s delicatessens a run for their money. A great range of smoked meats and cheeses is on offer, along with fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Farmers and fleas
As well as the weekly market, each second Saturday brings the local farmers market, while the first and third Saturdays of the month are reserved for a flea market. Whether you’re searching for something in particular or just browsing, both are vibrant and fascinating places to trawl through.
5. Food and drink
Despite its relatively small size, there are restaurants in Diss to suit all tastes. From the Orient there is Singtong Thai, the subcontinent is represented by Diss Tandoori and Turkuaz offers a mix of Mediterranean, European, Turkish dishes. Les Amandines Vegetarian in Norfolk House Courtyard has been cooking vegetarian and vegan food for over 28 years. The Diss Deli & Espresso Bar on St Nicholas Street and Weavers Wine Bar and Eating House on Market Hill are also not to be missed.
6. Diss Museum
For anyone visiting the town for the first time, Diss Museum is an obvious place to start a tour. Based in a converted pair of butchers’ shops, the museum covers the long and fascinating history of the market town throughout the centuries. The frequently changed exhibits give a real sense of the tradition and heritage that have shaped the place and its residents, and volunteer staff also run a grizzly Murder Tour of the town. For more details call the museum on 01379 650618.
7. Historical tour
The Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman once described Diss as the perfect English market town. Coincidentally, another poet who held that position, John Skelton, was a rector here 500 years ago. You will learn all abouit this and more when the Friends of Diss Museum hold The Stroll Around Diss on July 24 (5pm, £5 per person), a guided tour taking in historic buildings and the town’s history. Book places on 01379 640529.
A casual stroll along Mere Street will take you past many of Diss shops, but there is even more to be found if you look closer. Four well-hidden courtyards Cobbs, Norfolk House, Hales and Wills are home to numerous boutiques and cafs. Keep a watchful eye out as you wander and you will find them and their hidden treasures.
9. Weekly auction
If you visit on a Friday or a Saturday, there is a good chance that there will be an auction on at the TW Gaze auction house. These can vary from jewellery to book auctions, as well as more general sales, but there is always a bargain to be had. Upcoming specialist sales include musical instruments, Photographica and Railwayana. Browse the catalogues ahead of time to make your visit coincide with something of interest, as they are all available online at twgaze.com
10. Sports and leisure
Diss has been home to a par 70 golf course since 1903, just a short drive from the town centre. Originally it was a nine-hole course but has since been extended to a full 18. It can be an ideal retreat for those who don’t want to join their partners exploring Diss extensive shops. Those looking for something slightly more strenuous could head to the Fit Club Diss or Diss Swim and Fitness Centre, which also boasts a pool, sauna and steam room.