Falling for more of East Anglia’s captivating castles with our family days out expert Sally White
- Credit: Archant
Storming the castles at Castle Rising, Castle Acre and Framlingham
My first ever column for this paper was 'An Ode to Norwich Castle' where I embarrassed myself with effusive comments about the stuffed animals and the marvels of the café's sausage rolls. I think I was getting too needy, too dependent. I needed to cool it off a bit - take some space, see other castles. And I did. And it felt good.
Buying a caravan in a rather dashing/rash/regrettable moment of excitement leads us to the first castle we cheated on Norwich with: Castle Rising.
We had lugged our caravan out to the Sandringham campsite (so pretty- v much recommend it) and the kids were up with the sun and we were nervous about waking her maj next door, so we got up and out and cycled to idyllic Castle Rising. It truly is a beautiful village and the castle itself is very atmospheric.
When you arrive, you may just want to stop and gaze at it and soak up the feelings. And then ruin the moment by bellowing at your child for weeing on the keep walls. The castle used to be a flashy pad lived in by Queen Isabella - a murderer no less! That caused quite a stir amongst our family and we had a good rootle about for any blood, bones or weapons.
Anyway, we had a great time roaring to and fro and finding small staircases or hidden walkways to hide in and we did eventually work out where the garderobes were but it was rather too late by then.
Next stop: Framlingham Castle. I always felt a curiosity about here ever since I tried to go there as a student, fresh to the area, and ended up in One Stop at Framingham Earl asking for directions to the castle. Oh the shame! It turns out it's a little further south of Poringland but well worth the pretty Sunday drive through the gorgeous Suffolk countryside.
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The boys and I were meeting my parents there for a picnic and a romp about so they were pretty much in a frenzy of excitement, sent over the edge by their deep-seated love of a castle.
A well! A bridge! A massively precarious walkway around the top! After some pretty intense hide and seek and some ill-advised rolling down the grassy embankments around the castle (I'm sure they have a swanky name but I never have time to read the info boards), we hunkered together in the sheltering arms of the castle wall to nibble our sandwiches and think about how lucky we are to live near such a rich and evocative historical building.
Although the pull to go back to our beloved Norwich Castle was strong, we managed to squeeze in one last castle: Castle Acre.
We scrambled out of the car with sturdy shoes and a football and wibbled around the edges to the bumpy field that marks where settlements once stood. It felt magical to be having a kick about over grassy remains of history and not feel like you're about to get in to trouble. These three castles are English Heritage and they always give an impression that they'd like you to perch somewhere comfy and have a slug of your Thermos and enjoy the views. National Trust always make me feel like I'm too noisy, or too clumsy or too much in need of an overpriced scone to be visiting their properties. English Heritage are like their outdoorsy ruddy face relative and that feels like a better fit for me. They even throw Castle Acre castle in for free and you don't get that very often!
Come over to the blog and find out more about what we've been up to out and about: www.wifeofawigwearer.com
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