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Norfolk's county town and only city is Norwich, one of the largest settlements in England during the Norman era. Norwich is home to Norfolk's only university, the University of East Anglia, and is the county's main business and culture centre. Other principal towns include the port-town of King's Lynn and the seaside resort and Broads gateway town of Great Yarmouth. There are also several market towns: Aylsham, Downham Market, Dereham, Fakenham,Diss, Holt, North Walsham, Swaffham, Thetford and Wymondham.
Norfolk is one the few counties in England that does not have a motorway. The A11 connects Norfolk to Cambridge and London and the A47 runs west to the East Midlands. The Great Eastern Main Line is a major railway from London Liverpool Street Station to Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. The only major airport in the county is Norwich International Airport, which offers flights within Europe, including a link to Amsterdam which offers onward flights throughout the world.
The Norfolk Dialect, also known as "Broad Norfolk", is the accent/dialect of people living in Norfolk, although over the modern age much of the vocabulary and phrases have died out due to a number of factors, such as radio, TV and people from other parts of the country coming to Norfolk. As a result the speech of Norfolk is more of an accent than dialect, though one part retained from the Norfolk dialect is the distinctive grammar of the region.
More cutting, perhaps, was the formerly-used pejorative medical term "Normal for Norfolk", now discredited, the use of which is banned by the profession.
Norfolk is a popular tourist destination; major attractions include beaches, the Broads, and the city of Norwich. The Queen's residence of Sandringham provides an all year round tourist attraction. Rural parts of the county, notably the area around Burnham Market, are also popular locations for city dwellers to purchase weekend homes. Arthur Conan Doyle first conceived the idea for The Hound Of The Baskervilles whilst holidaying in Cromer with Bertram Fletcher Robinson after hearing local folklore tales regarding the mysterious hound known as Black Shuck.
The low-lying section of coast between Kelling and Lowestoft Ness is currently managed by the Environment Agency to protect the Broads from sea flooding. Management policy for the North Norfolk coastline is described in the North Norfolk Shoreline Management Plan which was published in 2006 but has yet to be accepted by the local authorities. The Shoreline Management Plan states that the stretch of coast will be protected for at least another 50 years, but that in the face of sea level rise and post-glacial lowering of land levels in the South East, there is an urgent need for further research to inform future management decisions, including the possibility that the sea defences may have to be realigned to a more sustainable position. Natural England have contributed some research into the impacts on the environment of various realignment options. The draft report of their research was leaked to the press, who created great anxiety by reporting that Natural England plan to abandon a large section of the Norfolk Broads, villages and farmland face to the sea to save the rest of the Norfolk coastline from the impact of climate change.
Much of Norfolk's flat and fertile land has been drained and converted to arable land. Chief arable crops are sugar beet, wheat, barley (for brewing) and oil seed rape. Over 20% of employment in the county is in the agriculture and food industries. Agribusiness has been successful in the county, and farming is very intensive with large fields, and many formerly family-run farms have been agglomerated into large farms which are highly efficient but criticised for reducing biodiversity, employment and damaging the community[verification needed].
Well-known companies in Norfolk are Norwich Union (part of Aviva), Colman's (part of Unilever) and Bernard Matthews. The Construction Industry Training Board is based on the former airfield of RAF Bircham Newton. The BBC East region is centred on Norwich (though covers as far west as Milton Keynes).