Many towns claim to be 'historic market towns', but there has been a market in the centre of Diss, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border for well over 500 years. The town, which lies in the beautiful Waveney Valley, was established around one of the deepest natural inland lakes in the country. The 6 acre Mere is 18 feet deep, but below this is another 51 feet of mud! The water level is maintained by a number of underground springs near to the northern edge.
The town has a population approaching 7,000. However, the town also serves a recognised rural catchment area of approximately 40,000 people.
The town centre comprises some excellent examples of Georgian and Edwardian buildings, as well as a public park, the Mere and a number of thriving shopping streets and the market place. The Market operates every Friday and coincides with a local antiques and collectables auction which is held at Gazes Saleroom. Speciality markets, flea markets and farmers markets are also held regularly.
Diss is one of only two UK pilot towns chosen to trial the Italian "Cittaslow" scheme which is a project aimed at counteracting the modern ethos of fast food and the fast pace of life. Cittaslow translates as "Slow City", but Diss prefers to think of itself as a town that prides itself on a good quality of life in a relaxed environment promoting good food.
To the south-west of the town centre lies Fair Green which was first granted a Royal Charter in 1185 and such activities as bull baiting and cock fighting took place until the fair closed in 1872. The Green is now however, still the location for modern day travelling fairs and circuses.
The town has two modern industrial estates to the east of the town centre and benefits from being on the main London to Norwich main railway line.
Attractions in the area include the town's award winning museum located to the north of the Market Place, the wonderful Steam Museum and Gardens at Bressingham and the zoo at Banham.
The Mere with Diss Park beyond