Located in the East of England, Suffolk is one of the counties of East Anglia. It is blessed with a beautiful coastline as well as several medieval towns and charming villages. You can see signs of its wealthy past in the huge Tudor homes and magnificent churches throughout the county. And of course, its castles!
There are several standing throughout the county to showcase the military, political, and cultural history. Where better to learn about the county?! In this post, we’ll show you three of the best castles in Suffolk – which one will be the first stop on your adventure?
3 Castles to visit in Suffolk
1. Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle was a home for some of the most formidable personalities in Tudor England. Mary Tudor was even proclaimed Queen of England on this site. However, it was a castle long before that, as it dates back to Norman times.
Later on, the castle was a prison in Elizabethan times and a fearsome workhouse in the 17th century. Castle visitors can enjoy a walk on the 10.5-metre-high curtain wall. If you’re afraid of heights, head to the on-site café instead which serves Tudor-inspired dishes.
When: 12th century
Open for Visit: Yes. Open from 10:00 from April to October daily. Weekends from November to March.
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2. Orford Castle
Orford Castle is not only one of the most unusual castles in Suffolk, but the whole of England. The unique polygonal tower was built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II of England. Its purpose was to curtail the East Anglian barons’ power while giving more control to the British crown.
The castle is remarkably well preserved, and visitors can explore the basement, halls, and several passages between the chapel, kitchen, and castle chambers. The highlight though is going up on the roof. From such a height, you have a fabulous view of Orford Ness and the nearby coastal town.
When: 12th century
Open for Visit: Yes. 10:00 – 18:00 during the peak season. 10:00 – 17:00 for the rest of the year.
3. Clare Castle
The medieval ruins of Clare Castle were built shortly after William the Conqueror and the Normans arrived in England in 1066. It is a motte and bailey style castle on a small hill. It was improved with stone before becoming the home of Elizabeth de Clare, who was one of the richest women in England in the 14th century.
It became royal property but by 1600 was disused and allowed to decay and fall into ruin. The construction of a railway line further damaged it. Nowadays, the castle is at the centre of Clare Castle Country Park, a popular place to visit in the area. As well as the castle’s ruins, there are old railway buildings, the River Stour, and a café in one of the old railway buildings. These are all connected by the park’s walking trails.
Where: Clare, Sudbury
When: 11th century
Open for Visit: Country park open from 09:00 – 19:00