6 Fun Historical Outings Around West Norfolk

For a real taste of local history on your next adventure in West Norfolk with a senior, our team recommends that you stop by one of these great locations.

Getting out and about in your local area is a great way to stay engaged, active and happy in senior years. Don’t confine your days out to the present, instead take a trip to the past and discover some of the fun to be had reminiscing and learning together with curious elderly relatives.

Castle Acre & Castle Acre Priory

Castle Acre, a quiet rural village in Norfolk, boasts an extraordinary wealth of history. It is a rare and complete survival of a Norman planned settlement, including a castle, village, parish church, and one of the best-preserved monastic sites in England, Castle Acre Priory. All the work of a great Normal baronial family, the Warennes, mainly during the 11th and 12th Centuries.

Castle Acre Castle was founded soon after the Battle of Hastings by the first William de Warenne, a close associate of William the Conqueror. It is a superb and well-preserved example of a motte-and-bailey castle and remains one of the most impressive Norman earthworks in the country.

The Priory dates back to 1090, the home of the first Cluniac order of monks to England. With an interactive exhibition, incredible architecture, and plenty of places to have a picnic, it makes for a fun and educational family day out.

There are routes around the castle which are wheelchair accessible, including the lower hall of the central remains. However, much of the terrain undulates, so a trip around the priory may be more suitable for those requiring a little more assistance to move about.

Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall is a moated country house in Oxborough, Norfolk. The hall was built for Sir Edmund Bedingfield and has been home to the Bedingfield family for over 500 years, visit for guided tours or make your own way around the grounds and the exhibitions available, including a priest hole, used during the Elizabethan era.

Step inside to discover the legacy of the 6th Baronet, from the Victorian Gothic interiors to the ornate architectural additions that reflect a romantic view of Oxburgh’s medieval past. Outside, the gardens are a mixture of formal and wilderness, with the kitchen garden, orchard and herbaceous border adding colour and seasonal interest.

Oxborough St John

You can also explore the nearby church, Oxborough St John, not to be overlooked. In the autumn of 1948, the powerful tower, and it’s 150ft spire, tottered and crumbled in a morning of high winds onto the church below. The early 16th Century Bedingfield Chapel at the east end of the south aisle was lucky to survive the damage.

The former tower and nave area are now grassed over, with the north arcade and aisle walls retained as a sort of colonnade evocative of classical ruins. This creates a rather lovely overall effect, like a cluster of clerical buildings in a garden. With a lovely pub across the road and plenty of accessible access this is a truly not a trip to be missed.

Castle Rising

Located just off the A149, Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castles in England. The stone keep, built around 1140 AD, is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the country. In its time the castle has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the 18th Century, housed a mental patient.

Throughout the year the Castle is host to a number of exciting events. Bringing history alive with incredible re-enactments that include dazzling displays of Medieval swordsmanship, archery, and lots more. The castle is dressed to impress with banners and flags of all colours really bringing the Medieval feel of this incredible structure to life.

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate is positioned snugly between Dersingham and Anmer and is the much-loved country retreat of the British Royal Family, having been the private home to generations of British Monarchs since 1862.

The main eight ground floor rooms, regularly used by the Royal Family, are open for visits from April – October with the décor and contents remaining very much as they were in the Edwardian times with a wealth of history inside.

You can also explore Sandringham Gardens, home to historic trees, lakes, a rock garden, summer house known as ‘Alexandra’s Nest’ and more. With a variety of facilities for seasonal foods, souvenirs and gifts, Sandringham Estate is fully accessible and has mobility options available to hire free of charge. A fabulous day out exploring culture and history, without straying too far from home.

Grime’s Graves

Grime’s Graves, Lynford, is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. This grassy lunar landscape of 400 pits was first names Grim’s Graves by the Anglo-Saxons. It was not until one of them was excavated in 1870 that they were identified as flint mines dug over 5,000 years ago.

A small exhibition area illustrates the history of this fascinating site. Visitors can descend 9m by ladder into one excavated shaft to see the jet-black flint. Grime’s Graves is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a habitat for rare plants and fauna.

Houghton Hall & Gardens

A historic Palladian mansion built for Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in the 1720s. Houghton Hall is now home to the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley – a descendant of Sir Walpole – and his family. The Hall is set in extensive parkland, with its famous white fallow deer, award-winning Walled Garden, and Model Soldier Museum (the largest private collection of model soldiers in the world). As well as a wonderful café and gift shop in the Old Stables.

The Stables Café and the Gift Shop are both fully accessible for wheelchairs, although the stable yard is covered with cobbles. Attendants are on-site to provide direction and assistance in Gallery spaces, all on-site staff are very friendly and do everything they can to ensure everyone enjoys their trip.

Houghton Hall is located half a mile off the A148 King’s Lynn to Fakenham road, which is indicated by Brown signs. Use Satellite Navigation Post Code PE31 6TY.  This will bring you through New Houghton, to the main gates of the Hall.

There’s plenty of history to be experienced around West Norfolk and no shortage of easy to reach attractions that are as unusual as they are interesting. Don’t fall into the rut of going to the same old modern places on every outing – a little learning alongside a day out can be what really makes it shine! As well as being great for younger members of the family.

Find out more about supported living in this area and see if home care in West Norfolk could be right for your loved ones.