Seven Enchanting Castles

The East of England’s land is filled with stories and legends providing the perfect playground to let children’s imagination run wild. Discover the fun side of history with a family day out at one of these enchanting castles…

Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village

Stansted, Essex, CM24 8SP

Towering over the village, the reconstructed Castle and Norman Village offers a chance to experience what life would have been like during the Norman era. The buildings stand on land believed to have been an early Iron Age fort and Roman, Saxon and Viking settlement. History comes to life with costumed characters and events throughout the year, while rescued animals such as chickens, goats and deer roam free. Visit the extraordinary House on the Hill Toy Museum, packed with some 80,000 toys, a rock and roll exhibition, and a life sized dinosaur! www.mountfitchetcastle.com

Framlingham Castle

Church Street, Framlingham, Suffolk, IP13 9BP

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Everyone knows about the castle on the hill, thanks to local lad and superstar Ed Sheeran, and quite right too, this is a Suffolk gem. Once upon a time it was a fearsome fortress. Head behind the castle’s towering walls and discover its fascinating history with its exhibition, take in stunning views and finish with Tudor treats at the café. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/framlingham-castle

Norwich Castle

Castle Hill, Norwich, NR1 3JU

Norwich Castle provides an interesting visit featuring artefacts and exhibitions through the ages including Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Romans and The Egyptians. It was originally built as a royal palace however no Norman monarchy ever lived in it. A museum since 1894, visitors can enjoy guided tours, talks, gallery exhibitions, events and more. There’s a learning opportunity at every turn! www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/norwich-castle

Orford Castle

Orford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 2ND

Climb the small spiral staircases to be rewarded with magnificent views over Orford Ness. The castle, developed by Henry II, is remarkably well intact, and allows visitors to discover the passages and halls from the basement right up to the roof. The Upper Hall features a display of Roman artefacts. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/orford-castle

Colchester Castle

Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ

Soak up 2,000 years of history at Colchester Castle. Discover archaeological collections which have been given ‘designated status’ based on their quality and significance. You can learn more about the town’s past with its programme of talks, tours, quizzes and workshops, for both families and adults. The castle can also be hired as a wedding venue! www.cimuseums.org.uk/visit/venues/colchester-castle

Bungay Castle

Bungay, NR35 1AR

Bungay is home to the remains of a Norman Castle. Discover the history at the visitor centre, café and gift shop, where displays help you imagine what the castle would have been like in the early 12th century. Entry is free but donations are welcomed. www.bungay-suffolk.co.uk/activities/castle.asp

Hedingham Castle

Bayley Street, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ

Could anything be more romantic than saying “I do” at an enchanting castle? Hedingham Castle allows couples to feel like a real prince and princess for the day with their celebratory packages. Though predominantly a wedding venue, the castle hosts exciting family events throughout the year including medieval jousting on bank holidays, vintage fairs, outdoor theatre and more. www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk

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