The one significant settlement hereabouts, the town of Dokkum, about 12km northeast of Leeuwarden, made a name for itself when its early pagan inhabitants murdered the English missionary St Boniface and 52 of his companions here in 754. In part still walled and moated, Dokkum has kept its shape as a fortified town, and is best appreciated by the side of the Het Grootdiep canal, which cuts the town into two distinct sections. This was the commercial centre of the old town and is marked by a series of ancient gables, including that of the Admiraliteitshuis which serves as the town’s museum (Tues–Sat 1–5pm; €4; w museumdokkum.nl). There’s not much else to see beyond a couple of windmills, quiet walks along the old ramparts and all sorts of things named after St Boniface as penance for the locals’ early misdeeds. But there are a couple of nice places to stay, and it makes a good base for some wadlopen, or if you just want to experience small-town Dutch life in one of Friesland’s pleasantest provincial centres.

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