Winter Castles and ruined Keeps

"Only the grey old castle,
Of crumbling stone and lime,
Still stands to speak of the ages,
And the iron footsteps of Time."

-Alexander Anderson-

Since my move to Linconshire last October, I mentioned that my Husband and I have spent a lot of time travelling the countryside and enjoying the freedom that living almost in the centre of the UK brings.
One of the first outings we had was to a place I recalled from childhood in Norfolk. I had fond memories of picnics on Summer days while on the way to the beach at Hunstanton. And it had become our 'quest' to visit every castle in a book my Husband had owned since he was a child... it became our 'Castle quest'.

Castle Rising
'Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castles in England. The stone keep, built in around 1140 AD, is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the country and, together with the massive surrounding earthworks, ensures that Rising is a castle of national importance. In its time Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the 18th century even housed a mental patient.
The most famous period in its history was when it came to the mother of Edward III, Queen Isabella, following her part in the murder of her husband Edward II. The castle passed to the Howard family in 1544 and it remains in their hands today, the current owner being a descendant of William D'Albini II, the norman baron who raised the castle.'
Castle Rising was a completely magical place. Much of it surprisingly intact, with beautiful atmospheric rooms to walk through and corridors reflecting the wintery afternoon sunlight.
The views from the leaded windows reveal green fields and peaceful landscapes.The castle was all ours, with not another soul to be seen.

The next stop on our Norfolk Castle tour was to be the huge earthworks and ruins of Castle Acre, which was far trickier to find, but well worth the effort.

Castle Acre
The village of Castle Acre is found in the heart of Norfolk on the River Nar. Although now, with a population of around 800, it seems like another Norfolk village, in Norman times it was very important in the affairs of State. The remains of this strong hold can be seen with Castle Acre Priory and Castle at opposite ends of the village.
The Castle was founded shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066, and was the seat of William de Warenne. It’s location was selected due to it’s proximity to the crossing point of the Peddar’s Way on the River Nar. The traditional Motte and Bailey construction can still be seen in the ruins of the site today.
Thought to have been founded in 1089, the Priory was originally constructed within the walls of the castle. The site was found to be too small for the monks, so it was moved shortly after to it’s current location. The Priory’s ruins are still in good condition and you can still see the great west front of the building and much of the footprint of the site.

We didn't get to visit the Priory in the village as it is closed during the winter, but it will be a good excuse for another trip back out that way!


  1. Great pictures Julia. There are so many fantastic places to visit here in the UK. Glad to see you are out and about enjoying them. Happy adventuring. :) x

  2. Thanks Karen, I am enjoying revisiting places not seen since I was a child.... and all the new ones that my parents never took me to! lol x


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