Blickling reveals its lofty secrets

You're never quite sure what you might find there…. Attics are mysterious, spooky places with creaky floorboards and telling secrets stuffed far away from the gaze of prying eyes. Discover what's inside Blickling Hall's from September 22 to 24.

You're never quite sure what you might find there . . .

Attics are mysterious, spooky places with creaky floorboards and telling secrets stuffed far away from the gaze of prying eyes.

Hidden contents provide revealing glimpses into the personalities of past and present owners and how they lived their lives.

And every home large or small has one that tells a story.


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So imagine the excitement at being given the opportunity to nose around the birthplace of Anne Boleyn - and the tales it could tell.

A magnificent building, Blickling Hall stands proud in rolling parklands and sculpted gardens.

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The imposing exterior is matched by an imperious interior filled with grand expensive furniture centuries old.

And while visitors are allowed to wander freely around downstairs through the Jacobean great hall and long gallery there are still the 'private' signs that put paid to the voyeuristic among us.

But there is now an exclusive opportunity to nose around upstairs "where the good stuff is".

The National Trust has opened up the gigantic attic for a limited time only, where visitors can delve around to their heart's content.

Jan Brookes, house manager, said: "We decided to open up the attic mainly due to public demand. Everyone who comes here wants to get behind the closed doors, I know I'd certainly want to.

"People don't know that we have lots of items up there we have no room to display. So this gives people the chance to see things that they never would have, and have a look upstairs where the good stuff is. There's amazing history related to it, looking around the servants' quarters gives it a real feel of what it was like and not many people realise that the RAF were stationed here for quite a long time during world war two."

Steep, rickety stairs lead the way to the maze of attic rooms, which vary enormously in size from no bigger than a cardboard box to those larger than a modern day maisonette.

Dust sheets cover hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, from a Victorian high chair to cabinets and chaise-longues.

And graffiti from the RAF's time at the hall has been daubed across walls - many of which still have their original paint from when the attic was servants' quarters.

But without doubt the most mysterious part of the tour is the tiny punishment room, set out on the roof next to a steep drop to ensure no one could hear the prisoners' terrified screams for help. It is filled with scribbles, one of which reads "John Attew died here".

Mrs Brookes said: "We don't really know what you had to do to be put in there but it was a horrendous punishment. People often say they've seen or felt a ghost up here. Certainly you wouldn't want to be here at night on your own. There's always things going on when I'm locking up."

Tours of the attics take place 1.30pm and 3pm from today until Sunday and cost £3.50 as well as the hall entry. To book, call 0870 0104900.

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