Norfolk Mini-Series: Visiting Oxburgh Hall

This is the 5th post of our mini series during our visit to Norfolk in early August.  Today is little T’s first day back in school.  I can’t believe the holidays are over, it’s certainly the shortest she’s ever had.  Let me take you back a few weeks earlier, when the sun was bright and the days were warm and long … 

The next day, we had two destinations in mind.  The first was a visit to Oxburgh Hall (you’ll hear about the second one in the next post), a late medieval country home in Oxborough.  It was built during the War of the Roses, not as a castle really, but more as a family home for Sir Edmund Bedingfield.  This magnificent house is a must-visit for all, you don’t even have to be a lover of history to appreciate this grand country home. You’ll be amazed to see how well-preserved, not just the house, but as well as what you can see inside the house.

Can you imagine this as your family home?

And yes, it has a beautiful moat surrounding this grand country home.

This moat is home to a family of pike and dragonflies.  Little T and my husband crouched down to try to see as many pikes and dragonflies as they can before entering the house, although I’ve only managed to take a couple of photos, there were actually loads of them!

Front of the house is certainly one grand entrance. I can’t believe that this was actually a family home and not a castle.  It has the opulence of one!  Don’t you agree?

Little T trying to take a photo of the sundial (photo above).  As you can see, at the time we visited, the place was going through some minor renovations.

Inside one of the many grand rooms in the house.

Everything about the house was grand, even this old chess-set.  If these pieces could speak, what would they say?  Do you think they’ll tell us stories about who played with them, what the conversations were said during the game?  Any secrets?

One of the most interesting facts about Oxburgh hall is that the Bedingfields were Catholics during the time Elizabeth I first became Queen in 1558.  She was a staunch Protestant who was determined to continue with her father’s reformation of the Church of England and because of their faith, the Bedingfield family was ostracised and also suffered sanctions.  It was also around this time when they decided to have a priest hole built beneath a  bricked-top door in the garderobe (a storeroom for valuables).

As you can see, it is a tiny space,my husband could barely fit in it as he tried to slide into the priest’s hole.

And this is how small it was inside that little hole.  Can you imagine being stuck in here for days with no window and fresh air?

We were only in that hole for a few minutes since there was a long queue to get in. I was certainly glad to be out in the open once again, definitely not one for the claustrophobic!

Visiting places like these, teeming with history and magnificence, makes me and my husband happy to be members of both the National Trust and English Heritage.  It’s nice to know that our membership fees helps in restoring and taking care of all these important historical places.  If not for them, I honestly doubt these places would be well taken care of, or may not even be standing here today.  I’ve mentioned this in past posts, being members is so worth it, especially when you have kids – you’ll always find something to do especially when the weather cooperates.

What’s your favourite historical place to visit?

Click here if you’re interested in visiting and want to know exactly how to get there.


  1. Looks like you had a fantastic day. Growing up in Norfolk I have fond memories of visiting Oxburgh Hall!

    • They were indeed stunning, though wasn’t able to explore much of the garden, only inside the house.

  2. Rebecca Smith

    Oh I love places like this, lots of twists and turns, open brick and stone work. I wish the walls could talk to us. We haven’t done a castle/great house this year actually, need to put that right

  3. Wow if that was my home I would never leave. I love the pictures of the moat and enjoyed reading your post x

  4. It looks like a great day out here. I have never been before but would love too. I love to visit places like this. Beautiful photos.

  5. Sophie's Nursery

    I love visiting places like this – really enjoy history, particularly anything based around War of the Roses / Tudor era 🙂 x

    • I remember you mentioning that in another comment. You’ll find loads to visit with the National Trust and English Heritage in Norfolk 🙂

  6. wow – simply beautiful hall! I love places like this as there’s so much history to think about

  7. This place looks great. I loved learning about the medieval times at school so think this would be really interesting.

  8. Rachel - Mummahub

    We love Norfolk. We’re originally from Suffolk so not too far away to visit. The coastline is beautiful

  9. Fiona Cambouropoulos

    What a grand home to step into. It does look very castle like especially with the moat around the outside. I find the history of these old places fascinating, I don’t think I would have like to be Catholic in a country run by a Protestant King though, it must have been a difficult time for the family. A great use of your National Trust membership while away from home.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…River Camel at Coombe Bridge in SeptemberMy Profile

    • We’re Catholics! Thank goodness, those dark days are over now or else we’ll have to have our own “priest’s hole” in our house! 😉

  10. What a beautiful place to visit. I do love castles and this looks like a lovely one. Must visit when I am close by x #countrykids

  11. Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One

    What a fascinating place to explore, that priest hole looks quite large compared to some we’ve seen. Great way of teaching kids about history isn’t it #CountryKids

    • Definitely! I found the priest hole really small… you mean there are smaller ones?! Wow.

  12. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    Oxburgh Hall looks beautiful and I love the moat surrounding it. Always nice to spot dragonflies – they are such beautiful creatures. Priests holes are fascinating but I certainly wouldn’t want to be inside one for very long! #countrykids

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