It’s the Platinum Jubilee year and Norfolk is as pleased as a well-fed corgi about that. While the main celebrations are at a national level, we like to think that the Royal gems aren’t just those kept in the Tower of London.
Here’s our top ten Crown Jewels that you can see in Royal Norfolk…
Well, we have to start with Sandringham, don’t we? It’s the Royal Family’s private estate, where they traditionally spend Christmas, but otherwise much of it is open to the public, including the House itself and museum.
Blickling Hall and Estate
This National Trust property near Aylsham is a delight, not just for the fine Jacobean Hall but also the 55 acres of formal garden and thousands of acres of parkland and woodland to explore. Can you find Norfolk’s only pyramid? Blickling is where former Queen of England Anne Boleyn was born.
The fabulous ‘box on the hill’ Norman Castle is currently undergoing a £13.5m transformation to return it to the Palace of the Norman kings, rebuilding the floors and rooms to how it was in medieval times.
Still in Norwich, the Norman Cathedral has the second tallest spire in the country and the largest cloisters, which hosts events including Shakespeare plays in the Summer. Queen Elizabeth I stayed at the nearby Maid’s Head Hotel when she visited her friend Bishop Matthew Parker – the original Nosey Parker!
It was Elizabeth I who also invited The Strangers from the Continent to Norwich and helped establish the profitable textile trade that made the city so rich.
Above the West Gate is a statue of Sir Thomas Erpingham, who masterminded the defeat of the French at Agincourt for King Hentry V.
Queen Elizabeth II has visited Norwich Cathedral three times during her reign. Most recently The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited in May 2010 to officially open the new Refectory and Hostry. Her Majesty also visited the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday in April 1996 as part of the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary celebrations and in April 1975 for the opening of the Cathedral’s then visitor centre.
New statues of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were also installed in the Cloister in 2018 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Thanks to the reign of Queen Victoria we had huge improvements to infrastructure in the country, not least the railways which for the first time meant inner city workers and their families could travel to the seaside.
Cromer Pier is now the world’s last with an end-of-pier theatre – it hosts shows throughout the year, with Summer and Christmas cabaret shows.
Great Yarmouth and the Hippodrome
Smack bang in the middle of Great Yarmouth’s fabulous Golden Mile of amusements, shows and rides is The Hippodrome, the last complete circus building in the UK and still retaining its spectacular water feature – you have to see it to believe it.
King’s Lynn and its maritime heritage
With more Graded buildings than any other town in the country, King’s Lynn rightly celebrates its fantastic maritime history, and in particular its links to the Hanseatic League.
Look at that. Could pass for the Caribbean, couldn’t it? Part of Norfolk’s superb natural capital, Blakeney Spit is home to the country’s largest seal colony, best seen by taking a boat from Morston Quay.
Broads National Park
The only partly man-made National Park and the only one in England with a city in it (our wonderful City of Stories Norwich), the Broads provide 125 miles of navigable, lock-free waterways. Immerse yourself properly by hiring a boat for a holiday, a short break or a day trip.
Holkham Hall, Estate and beach
You get the full package at Holkham… beautiful Palladian Hall, deer-stocked estate, grand fountains, a newly-refurbished walled garden, boating lake, a museum, places to eat and stay and, just across the road, access to one of the best beaches in Britain. And all within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wells-next-the-Sea nearby is a must-visit too.