With Norfolk’s name dating back to the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, it’s clear that the region is steeped in history, spanning from pre-Roman times right up to the present day. The county’s many stately homes are perhaps some of the more lavish testaments to the region’s history, however, charting how the upper classes lived during the past few centuries. It is not only stately homes you can find in Norfolk, however, as it is also home to a royal residence still often occupied by the monarchy today. Here’s just some of the impressive stately homes you can visit on your Norfolk breaks.
Sandringham is the Royal Family’s residence in Norfolk, and visitors can walk through all of the main ground floor rooms which are open to the public. One of the main attractions is the Ballroom, where the exhibitions change each year, and even more exhibitions and royal possessions can be discovered in the museum. Among the more unusual items to be seen in the museum are vehicles ranging from a 1900 Daimler to a half-scale Aston Martin. Surrounding the home are more than sixty acres of gardens, as well as hundreds of acres of country park and the Sandringham Church.
Holkham Hall is one of the best examples of English Palladian-style architecture around, built from striking yellow brick. Inside the hall, you can take a tour though the vast entrance hall and then into one of several rooms including a restored Victorian kitchen and a room storing a collection of art and statues. The hall itself is notable for its striking ancient Roman style, its coved and carved-out ceiling supported by columns and panels of English alabaster. Around the grounds, you can explore the surrounding parkland abundant in wildlife or even hire a boat to gently cruise around the estate’s mile-long lake.
Houghton Hall is yet another impressive example of a Palladian-style house, and was built for an important figure of England’s history, Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ever Prime Minister, between 1722 and 1735. Decorated lavishly with paintings, furniture and sculptures, among the several state rooms you can see are the Stone Hall, Cabinet Room, Marble Parlour and Salon. A huge collection of more than 20,000 model soldiers and militaria can also be found here, once owned by the Marquess of Cholmondeley. Surrounding the Hall is a walled garden as well as parkland where white fallow and deer roam freely.
Made from striking red brick, Blickling Hall is a National-Trust run mansion surrounded by hedges, narrow lanes, magnificent gardens and acres of parkland, offering a slice of the real Norfolk. Inside the house, you can see the Hall’s nationally important book collection, as well as discover how the Hall’s servants lived and worked. Across the site you’ll also discover lost buildings and an array of wildlife who have called this diverse landscape their home.
Felbrigg Hall is one of the most luxurious and elegant stately homes in the whole of East Anglia, and a winning combination of both opulence and homeliness. The Hall is decorated with a variety of extravagant delights, from stained glass windows in the Great Hall to the nodding mandarins in the Chinese-themed bedroom. Outside, you can discover the walled garden, where allotments grow fruit and vegetables and flowers bloom in the flowerbeds, as well as 520 acres of woodland, criss-crossed with trails and featuring its own lake.
Image: Rev Stan, available under Creative Common