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20.2.12

Framlingham Castle

When I think back to Primary School outings two particular places spring to mind. Framlingham Castle and Orford Castle.
I remember the days so clearly. I loved history, castles and I loved school trips, so these days were perfect for me.
Last year we were thinking of places we could take Charles that he would find fun, interesting and that would educate him. Something different from the beach, zoo or park.
I then remembered the castles.
We happened to visit Framlingham Castle when they had an event on so it was alive with energy and reenactments.
The afternoon was fantastic, and Charles loved walking along the top of the castle, holding the huge swords and wearing the big heavy helmets.
As we left we decided to sign up to English Heritage for a year. We love discovering Suffolk, and Norfolk, and thought this was ideal to encourage us to go to places. Sadly we've found it to be un-useful, with most places consisting of just one wall or our biggest waste of a visit which was to basically the outline of 3 walls, when I say outline I mean that the walls hardly existed, all that is left are the foundations in the ground. Really not worth a visit. Especially as now homed in this same area is a childs playground which was overgrown and graffiti-ed.
We won't be renewing our membership.

Nevertheless today we revisited Framlingham Castle at the request of Charles.
It was extremely quiet, which was nice in a sense but a complete contrast from our previous visit.
The boys (Charles and my husband) again walked around the top of the castle wall, as much as they could due to current building work, whilst I walked around the grounds with Harry looking for things to explore.
We found that we didn't have much to do and our visit was only short. Had the weather not been as cold, and the walk not been so muddy, we would have walked around the outside of the castle. I did try to attempt this with Charles but as it was a tiny bit muddy/damp I almost slipped and didn't want to risk a steepish hill with him. It also isn't pushchair friendly so either expect for only one of you to do the walk (whilst the other goes for a coffee or a beer as there is a pub nearby) or remember to take a sling/carrier.

The castle is beautiful and if we didn't have the children/if the children were older we would certainly take advantage of the tour equipment available. By tour equipment I mean the headpieces/handheld speakers which guide you around the castle telling you of its history.
We would revisit for a picnic/afternoon out whilst we have the free entry because of our English Heritage membership but wouldn't pay to get in unless it is an event.
This may sound rude, we understand that any money we give will go to the upkeep of the castle and to afford to put on events, but we'd also like to get a lot out of it, which at the moment, with 2 small children, we don't.

The castle is beautiful though, as our the views surrounding, and I would recommend a trip there if you are able to take advantage of the guided tour, or if you are visiting whilst an event is taking place.

There is also a £2 parking charge to be aware of when visiting the castle.