Norfolk has a history of wealthy landowners, meaning there are now a wide range of stately homes open to the public across the county. Norfolk's stately homes range from property of the Royal family to property of the National Trust, and whether you are looking to sample some Norfolk history or enjoy a stroll around some perfectly-maintained gardens, each of the beautiful buildings and their grounds have something different to offer you. To help you decide which of Norfolk's stately homes you should visit first, we have created a short guide to some of the county's finest!
Built in 1771, Sandringham Estate has been the home of four generations of British royalty since 1862. Sandringham Hall is set in 254 hectares of beautiful gardens just a fraction of the Estate's 8000 hectares of land. The public are free to explore the Estate's 240 hectares of woodland and heath that make up the Country Park, where there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy. It is also possible to explore some of the House Museum and the gardens at selected times of the year. Don't forget to take a look at the church of Mary Magdalene, or to stop for refreshments in the Stables Tea Room. It is recommended that visitors allow over fours hours to explore Sandringham to make sure you don't leave anything unseen!
The Earls of Leicester live in Holkham Hall to this very day, so it is very much a family home, but they still take pride in welcoming guests. Holkham Hall is a member of the Treasure Houses group, a clear marker of its magnificence. Situated on the North Norfolk coast, there is plenty to see and do at Holkham Hall, from the beautiful Marble Hall, to the statue gallery and the children's play area in the picturesque gardens. Treat yourself to a bite to eat in the Courtyard Cafe after embarking on one of the estate's wildlife walks.
Houghton Hall was built between 1722 and 1735 for Robert Walpole, the UK's first Prime Minister. Visitors can tour many different rooms in the hall, all luxuriously decorated with paintings, statues and magnificent furniture. Houghton Hall also hosts various art exhibitions throughout the year, as well as displaying its very own sculpture garden, so there is plenty to see around the Hall. The grounds are also home to a herd of white fallow deer ( as well as other exotic breeds) which will make your visit unforgettable.
Built in the 17th Century for the Felbrigg family before being handed over to the Wyndhams, Felbrigg Hall is now a National Trust property and makes for an ideal family day out. Visitors can explore most areas of the home itself, as well as being spoilt for choice when it comes to pushchair-friendly walking routes in the grounds. Children can even join in on the history, as story boxes present the facts in an easy-to-understand format. The gardens at Felbrigg Hall are also something to savour, with a variety of different unusual plants, such as the 'Headache Tree'. As with many of Norfolk's stately homes there is some delicious food to be tasted, and you can reward yourself with some refreshments at Squires Pantry after an exciting day exploring.
There are plenty more beautiful stately homes in Norfolk that are well-worth a visit, but these are some of our favourite and are guaranteed to provide a memorable family day out.