On Sunday afternoon, after we left Oxburgh Hall, we headed home by way of the town Castle Acre. It’s a place which we heard was a great day out and saw red signs on the highway, but never being there, we had no idea what to expect.
Castle Acre takes its name from the walled Castle built in the 12th-century by the Normans. In the town there is a castle ruins and the Cluniac Priory. When we got to the town, we had do drive through a gate, which later learned was the Bailey Gate, which is a survivor of the original ditched earthwork defences with stone gates.
It really is a lovely little town with a bit sense of community. It has a few shops, cute cottages and B&Bs, a tearoom & a couple pubs just outside of the big market town of Swaffham. The Ostrich Inn pub looked awesome. As it was “Traditional Sunday Roast” time, we didn’t want to go in for a beer, but it’s a lovely looking place which Nils & I would love to have a drink by the roaring fireplace, but as quaint and cozy as it is, I don’t want to sleep there, as I’m convinced this 400 year old pub is haunted!
We first parked the car at the village green and headed to what we thought was the Priory, with the kids signing and yelling ahead. But when we got closer, it was just the village church clearly in session with a full on choir signing – so we quickly got out of there.
As to not disturb, we walked back away and followed the signs towards the castle. When we got there, it was so lovely to see all the various stone structures stills standing and some signage. Truly impressive that we are standing on structures built in the 11th & 12th Centuries!!
This building in the Village Hall – amazing potential for a home with such beautiful windows and views!
When we were getting back in our car, Nils realized that we didn’t even see the Castle Acre Priory, so we drove down to that area. It is one of the largest, best preserved monastic sites in England dating back to 1090! It was the home of the first Cluniac order of monks (a Benedictine offshoot) to England.
With two tired, hungry kids in the car, only I popped out for a quick peek and some photos. Another time we’ll come back and explore more during one of their family events. It seems like a great place to have a picnic on a warm, sunny day – or the opposite, with some snow on the ground it would be a great place to take photos and run around.
Such beautiful places – we are lucky to be able to explore them as they are just on our doorstep. The photo quality isn’t the best as it’s only from my phone – but it is worth sharing.
You can find more about the village, including a map, etc on their site here.