Visiting Blickling Hall, Anne Boleyn’s birthplace

In the far east of England in the county of Norfolk lies the Blickling Hall Estate, birth place of one of the most famous women in history – Anne Boleyn. Anne was born here in around 1501, along with her two siblings. The Estate is almost 5,000 acres and makes the perfect day trip destination as there is just so much to do here.


History of Blickling Hall

The original Tudor house was in the possession of John Fastolf before then being owned by Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire. The Tudor house no longer exists though, and the Blickling Hall seen today was built on the ruins of the old Boleyn property in the reign of James I. Interestingly, it was designed by Robert Lyminge, who also designed Hatfield House not too far away in Hertfordshire.

In 1698 the estate passed down toΒ Sir John Hobart, created Earl of Buckinghamshire in 1746. He was responsible for building the Doric Temple in the grounds, as well as extending the park by the purchase of adjacent land. His son remodelled the hall between 1765 and 1785. Although the estate then passed down to his youngest daughter Caroline, the couple died childless and it thus devolved to Caroline’s nephew William Kerr, the 8th Marquess of Lothian, and passed down via the Kerr family until 1940 when it was left in the Marquess’ will to The National Trust.

Interestingly, also during WW2, the house was requisitioned and served as the Officers’ mess of nearby RAF Oulton. There is a room in the house telling their stories.

The lovely hall

What to do at Blickling

C. The House & Driveway

The main entrance to the house is truly grand. You can also tour the house, entering through the front door and feeling like royalty as you do. The main stairway that greets you feels imposing, and you can visit the dining rooms, bedrooms and absolutely incredible library. There is also a working kitchen, where a cook makes cakes using the equipment available in the Jacobean era. On the day we visited it was lemon cake.

B. The formal gardens

The formal gardens at the side of the house are absolutely beautiful – well maintained lawns, incredibly pruned roses, perfect symmetry and lots of benches to sit on and take it all in. There is also a walled garden, but at the time I visited it was under renovation.

C. The Lake & Park

There are 500 acres of woodland to explore on the Estate, and a lovely way to see some of it is to take a stroll around the large lake – a full loop will be around 3km. There are lots of friendly birds, especially geese, so be careful if you choose to take a picnic!

D. The Mausoleum

Bizarrely, there is a pyramid shaped mausoleum at Blickling – built in the 1700s and modelled on a Roman magistrate’s tomb. Far from Rome, this one is nestled in the woods on this Norfolk Estate, but it makes for a fun walk trying to find it!

The very random Mausoleum

E. The Bucks Arms

There is a cafe at Blickling Hall, but if you want an amazing lunch whilst visiting, then head to The Bucks Arms pub. The menu has so much choice and the food is absolutely delicious. It is one of the nicest pub meals we’ve ever had (and we’ve had a lot!) I had the chicken tikka skewers with curried fries, mango chutney and spiced flatbread. I’m hungry again just hinking about it.

Incredible food

F. Blickling Church & Escape Room

One of the most unique things on offer at Blickling Hall is the opportunity to do the world’s first escape room in a real church, on the Blickling estate. The church itself is beautiful, and on certain days it’s closed to the public for escape rooms to be played. It’s such an incredibly unique experience to play in such a wonderful space – we play quite a lot of escape rooms and the great things about this was that the space is so big it’s not too hot (normally we come out sweating), the storyline is great (get Anne Boleyn married to Henry VIII) and the setting is so unique (puzzles involving stained glass windows, the church font and pews). I’d put it up there as one of the best rooms I’ve ever done – and if you’re interested you can book via History Mystery HERE.


So that’s it for a visit to Blickling Hall. What do you think? As I’ve been saying on the blog all year, it’s been so nice to discover all these parts of England I never even knew existed until recently, and I hope you’re enjoying the England content on here too and aren’t too bored yet! Stay safe and happy travelling everyone.

38 Comments

  1. New life goal-play the escape room at Blickling Hall! πŸ™‚ What a beautiful building and estate that is…even with the random mausoleum that just seems so out of place. It’s interesting to think of the young beginnings of such a dynamic figure as Anne Boleyn.

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    1. Haha well that’s made my morning – I hope you can get to play it one day, it’s a lot of fun. I totally agree the mausoleum is just the weirdest thing and not what you expect to find!!! Thanks for reading and have a good day πŸ™‚

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    1. I know!!! Just imagine living there…it’s crazy. And then those really, really rich people had servants to do everything for them, with those servants having such little of their own life. Part of me focuses on how amazing the house is, and part of me focuses on how unfair the world is, especially as the wealth divide is still a huge issue today.

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  2. What a unique place! Especially to have a pyramid and Escape Room within its historic walls…Blickling Hall seems to represent a changing of times to the more-modern era with such establishments within its walls, all the while preserve its royal history in its exterior. Thanks for sharing this gem of a place, Han!

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    1. Your observations are very astute Rebecca – I think they are modernising it whilst still maintaining the house and the history to appeal to a wider range of visitors and attract a new generation of ticket payers. They’ve done a great job and when I visited were also in the process of developing a new walled garden, and multiple plant/garden shops as well. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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  3. Wow, what a beautiful place to visit and explore particularly the incredible library in the Long Gallery. Just imagine living there with all the beautiful architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. I have to say that the entire Estate is extremely impressive and photogenic. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day πŸ™‚ Aiva xx

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    1. Ahh she’s one of those names I think everyone knows. She is the reason that we are no longer only Catholic in England as Henry VIII fell in love with her while married. He set up the Church of England to say divorce was OK, divorced his wife and married Anne Boleyn. But later he beheaded her for treason by adultery – she was only 35! I’m glad we’ve moved forward a bit since then!!! πŸ™‚

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  4. Absolutely gorgeous place Han, which your photography brings to life so vividly. Like others, I’m particularly fascinated by the library. Another place added to our UK to-do list, which is spinning wildly out of control.

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  5. All my reading about the Tudor era and Henry’s 6 wives has led me to want to visit Hever Castle, but Blickling looks amazing, too. A few years ago we were in the Loire Valley in France and when we were narrowing down which chateaux to visit I made sure to include Amboise because Anne Boleyn was there when she was lady in waiting to Princess Mary. I’m pretty sure I even have a book that lists all the places you can visit if you want to go everywhere Anne went! One down, a thousand to go??

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  6. What a magnificent estate! The library and ornate wooden stairwell are exquisite, and the Blickling Church architectural features look awesome. Lots of history, and square footage inside and outside. You visit the most interesting locations, Hannah! Thanks for sharing and have a splendid week ahead πŸ€—

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  7. That library !! I wonder what books they read in those times ..? Very interesting tour – thank you for showing us around Hannah! Oh yes, and as for your food – I’m glad it’s almost dinner here … by just looking at the picture, I could almost smell your food – yummy πŸ˜‹!

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    1. I knowwww, I’m totally in love with it. It’s my dream to have a house big enough for a library haha – I might be waiting a while πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and yes…now I’m thinking about it, I could eat it again too πŸ™‚

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    1. I’m so glad you like it – thank you so much for reading. Oh wow, I hope you get to visit one day and when you do I’m happy if you can use any of my recommendations πŸ™‚ I don’t blame you, especially when home for you is so beautiful…and warm!! Have a great day πŸ™‚

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