Blickling Hall is a really beautiful Jacobean manor house set in over 4,500 acres of rolling parkland in the heart of Norfolk, and one of Norfolk’s stately homes that you will walk right through and past on the Weaver’s Way walking trail.
The house you see today was designed in 1616 and was constructed on top of the ruins of the original site.
Built in the early 17th century, it has a long and fascinating history with a cast of characters; originally the house belonged to Sir John Falstaff of Caister, and then changed hands to the Boleyn family (with Anne Boleyn being the most famous of them, she being one of Henry VIII's wives) to the present day owners, the National Trust.
It's said that Anne Boleyn was born at Blickling, although there's no definite proof of this.
With its magnificent architecture, beautiful gardens, and wealth of historical artifacts, it’s no wonder that Blickling Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norfolk.
From the stately grandeur of the great hall and its staircase to the intimate furnishings of the Long Room, the house and its contents tell the story of a remarkable family and of life in the 17th century.
As soon as you enter through the beautiful wrought iron gates, you are immediately immersed in the picture of grandeur, sophistication, and poise. It’s astonishing to contemplate the events that transpired here during that period.
The interior is simply breathtaking.
Ornate rooms are filled with stunning ceilings, furniture, and glimpses of the formal gardens.
Additionally, the house is filled with remarkable artifacts.
The Long Room, one of many to explore, was constructed for fun and games during inclement weather, but now is home to an important national book collection. The oldest piece is a handwritten manuscript from the 1100’s which includes the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great.
Understandably, all the books are secured behind metal grills yet it doesn't diminish the historical significance or beauty of the room.
The kitchens beneath the main floor of the house were the places that stayed with me the longest after leaving. The obvious hard labour and dedication of the servants was quite evident.
The entire setup was incredible, and really brought to life the contrast between the aristocracy and their employees. (Downton Abbey enthusiasts will be pleased!). It was so easy to get a grasp of the servants' lifestyle and work routine, from the tiny details of suspending decanters upside down to the seemingly horrendous stove!
Blickling Hall's park and grounds are expansive, providing plenty of space to explore. You can take a stroll through the estate's parkland with the convenient color-coded signs, have a picnic, or simply wander around for your own pleasure.
I was taken aback by the mausoleum, a rather austere monument that holds the remains of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and his two spouses. Made of grey stone, the mausoleum stands in the middle of the woods. It had an eerie vibe, yet I was glad I caught a glimpse of this hidden memorial! You do have to slightly go and look for it!
The formal gardens are behind the house and you can only visit these if you pay to visit the house as well.
The surroundings are stunning, the orangery brings back memories of the past and the lawns and flower beds are beautiful. There are plenty of photo opportunities - it's almost impossible not to take pictures!
Refreshments are always available, with two cafes in the courtyard, a small tea room near the car park and the nearby Bucks Arms pub.
The eerie Blickling Hall is reportedly haunted by Anne Boleyn, who is said to appear in a macabre fashion by carriage, carrying her decapitated head, and driven by a headless horseman and four headless horses - quite a horrifying sight!
It is thought that she appears each year on the date of her execution, 19th May, when most of the visitor activities occur. In fact, Blickling Hall topped the National Trust's poll for the most haunted property!
We rarely get the opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to take a step back into history, but Blickling Hall is an exception, and if you’re walking the Weaver’s Way, this would be a great opportunity to visit, or take a rest day and spend the day here. It is a wonderful journey through two centuries of history, with all its highs and lows.
It is a truly magnificent and magical place. If you love history, natural beauty, and an elegant and luxurious setting, you'll fall in love with Blickling Hall!
When I visited here, I got a real sense of how the past can impact on the present. The estate is a living and breathing testament to the sheer power of the aristocracy over their tenants. It's no wonder it was the subject of the ITV drama, Downton Abbey.