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Framlingham Castle

Posted by Luci Ackers
Framlingham castle
Framlingham castle

Framlingham is a small, historic market town just a half hour's drive from the Suffolk coast, said to have originated during the Anglo-Saxon period. One of Framlingham's most distinguishing features is a large Norman castle that dominates the skyline and sits on a gentle rise above Framlingham Mere.

Framlingham Castle makes a fantastic family day out in Suffolk. It is a stunning building and full of interesting history, all waiting to be explored. There has been a fortress of some design in position here since 1086 but, following the destruction of the original wooden structure, the first stone castle was built during the 1100s by the 1st Earl of Norfolk.

The ruins we see today date from the early 13th century. Throughout its history, the castle was passed back and forth between private owners and the crown, and for over 400 years its owners were the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk. Mary Tudor inherited Framlingham in the 16th century and used the castle as a refuge, fleeing here after the death of her brother. It was here that she awaited the results of the contested accession and received the news she had been made queen. One of her first acts was to restore the castle to Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk.

The Howard family had first acquired Framlingham Castle in the 1480s and were responsible for a number of refurbishments that continued into the 16th century throughout the building and the grounds. Framlingham Castle has been a prison in its time, as well as a poorhouse, an isolation ward for patients and a defensive location for British forces. It has many stories to tell and the onsite museum and exhibition are both a great way to find out more about the long history.

These days, the castle is cared for by the English Heritage, who have turned it into a fantastic day out. The exhibition is in the old poorhouse and tells the tale of Framlingham's past residents, while the Lanman Museum is located on the first floor of the castle and focusses more on local history. There’s lots of fun interactive activities for the whole family to enjoy throughout the exhibitions, such as the ‘Who Eats What?’ game, where you can discover what each social class enjoyed for their meals, and ‘Spin the King’, where you can challenge the monarch himself!

Once you’ve had your fill of the museum, you can take the time to walk the old curtain wall. The wall has stood for more than 800 years, and is an impressive 10.5 metres high and 2.3 metres thick. If you’re brave enough to climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views of Framlingham and the countryside. Once you have seen the castle, explore the outer courts, wander the grounds and make your way to the Mere. Round off the day with a visit to the onsite shop and grab yourself a souvenir… or nip into the café for a Tudor-inspired snack (don’t worry, there’s tea and cake as well.)!

The castle also runs many events throughout the year, including falconry demonstrations and themed tours. Check the website before you go to see what’s on, and then buy your tickets on the day.

Take a look at the English Heritage website to find out more about Framlingham Castle and check prices and opening times. Click here.

Luci Ackers - author for Lantern & Larks
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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