Historic and cultural days out in Norfolk

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Norfolk’s rich history and culture is evident wherever you go. Get further acquainted at the county’s stunning stately homes and castles and visit museums showcasing everything from bronze age architecture to steam trains.

Historic homes and castles

You can’t miss Norwich’s hilltop medieval castle, which looms large above the city. Not only is it a spectacular place to get a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, but you can also discover Norwich’s Anglo-Saxon and Norman heritage. The castle is currently closed for extensive restoration, but the Museum is open and contains informative displays about the building’s history, as well as galleries featuring fine art and natural history.

Dust off that National Trust membership (or pick one up!) and head to one of Norfolk’s most spectacular Jacobean buildings, Blickling Hall, for another dose of history. This is where Anne Boleyn lived – and supposedly still haunts – making it the perfect place to visit around Halloween. Explore the fantastic rooms and extensive gardens while you discover some interesting facts about life in Norfolk back in the olden days.

Immerse yourself in the rural way of life at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse near Dereham. Whatever the weather, you can learn the ways of farmers in the local countryside thanks to a historic workhouse, traditional farm and lots of indoor displays. Just off the road between King’s Lynn and Fakenham is Houghton Hall and Gardens, built in the 1720s for Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. The parkland is home to white fallow deer as well as a collection of contemporary sculptures by world-renowned artists including Rachael Whiteread, Stephen Cox and Phillip King.

Anne Boleyn lived and supposedly still haunts Blickling Hall, making it the perfect place to visit around Halloween

Museums and traditions

The Lynn Museum in King’s Lynn is home to the bronze-age timber structure Seahenge, one of Norfolk’s ancient wonders, but you’ll also find more of West Norfolk’s history here, including exhibitions on the Anglo-Saxons and the English Civil War.

Thetford might have been the filming location for Dad’s Army, but the real history comes from a day spent visiting fascinating sites such as the Castle Mound and the Thetford Priory ruins. You could even work in a visit to Thetford Forest. Either explore on foot or hire bikes from Bike Art at the High Lodge Forest Centre.

Bure Valley Railway in Norfolk

Experience a nostalgic trip by steam on the Bure Valley Railway

Whether want to spend time in the countryside or you just really love steam trains, work a trip down the Bure Valley Railway into your day. The beautiful 15-gauge steam train runs from Aylsham to Wroxham and covers nine miles in one direction. A jaunt down the line is a fantastic way to see two of Norfolk’s loveliest towns and, if you’re feeling energetic, you can walk the length of the line and get the train back.

If you want more railway action or just a stroll around picturesque countryside, make for South Norfolk and the Bressingham Gardens and Steam Museum. You can learn about Norfolk’s railways and take a trip on the museum’s four lines. The collection of working locomotives gives you an idea of the mighty power of steam engineering throughout the years.

Read more

Top 10 reasons to visit Norfolk 

History and heritage of Norfolk

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Image credits: ©Gregory Naylor/Bure Valley Railway; Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse; Norfolk Museums Service

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