Address: Church Street, Framlingham, Suffolk, IP13 9BP
Price of Admission: 12.50 for adults. 7.50 for children.
Amount Saved through Membership: 32.50 + a previous 69.00 pounds = 101.50 pounds (133.64 dollars).
Car Park: Non-members must pay an hourly fee.
Fun Fact: Mary Tudor was staying in Framlingham when she became queen. (After Lady Jane Grey’s nine day reign.)
Make a Day: My biggest recommendation is to make an entire day out of Framlingham. The town center is right outside the gates of the castle, and on Saturdays there is a market day. A few blocks down is a cathedral, and the Saxtead Green Post Mill is two miles down the road. Definitely be sure and drive by this massive windmill. Further down the road is Orford Castle, another English Heritage Castle to explore.
Probably the most secluded English Heritage Site we have visited thus far, Framlingham Castle is located in the Suffolk region of the U.K., and takes several winding roads to reach. Don’t let the miles of farmland deter you, though. The castle remains are well preserved and nestled in a quaint English countryside.
There are two activities guests to the castle can take part of, and I recommend both. The grounds aren’t large and they are easy to cover with young children in tow.
First, make your way inside the grounds and participate in the Wall Walk. This is a circuit around the top of the castle, providing stunning views and a glimpse inside what medieval life might have been like. Many of the chimneys still rest on top of the towers, and I encourage you to take a look at them all. Some are quite unique!
If you are traveling with curious children, the wall walk also provides opportunities to point out the narrow slits in the stone that were once used for archers. Be sure and spot them from the other side of the castle so they see how difficult it would be for anything to enter from the outside!
Those with spectacular vision might be able to spot Orford Castle on the wall walk, as well. A castle situated twelve miles away, supposedly sentries at Framlingham kept their eyes peeled for lights in that direction. If they saw fires burning from Orford, it meant trouble was on its way. Unfortunately, my eyes were too weak to spot the castle, but maybe you will have better luck.
Back on the grounds, you can find the site where the kitchen and chapel used to rest. Framlingham Castle has had a long history, beginning with the Bigod family in the 12th century (Normans) and transitioning to a Tudor retreat until it eventually became a poor house in the 1700s. Although not much remains, when you’re walking around what used to be a great hall or looking into foundations of a chimney, the history of the castle comes alive inside your mind.
The second must do activity at Framlingham does not require entrance into the site. So if you are driving through the area and want a place to stop and stretch your legs, this is a great option. (So long as the weather cooperates.)
Back in the day, the castle used to be fortified with a moat, but the water has long since dried up and all that remains is the ditch. Lucky for us, the ground has evolved into a grassy pathway that visitors can walk inside and enjoy. AKA: the Moat Walk.
The tour is a nice endcap to the wall walk. You are privy to two different perspectives from the castle. One from up high, the other from down low. Personally, I liked the higher view better. There’s nothing like looking ahead and seeing the nearby lake and feeling the security of centuries-old walls beneath your feet.
My husband, who isn’t overly fond of heights, preferred the moat walk. As did the kids. Running up and down the inclines leading up to the castle walls, strolling under the entrance bridge, examining the three pillars that used to house a second bridge provide a more kinesthetic and hands-on touring experience.
Whatever you fancy, be sure and complete both walks. Then, if the day is nice, grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy the atmosphere. After all, there’s nothing like the view of a nine hundred year old castle to relax and unwind your mind.