There have been three main periods in the construction of this historic castle. The oldest part of the Castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and a walled bailey. In the early 1500s the Boleyn family bought the Castle and added a Tudor dwelling within the walls and so it became the childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn. It later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humphreys and the Meade Waldos. Finally, in 1903, William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle, building the ’Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake.
The Castle and Gardens were opened to the public in 1963 by William Waldorf Astor's grandson, Gavin. In 1983 the Castle was bought by the current owners, Broadland Properties Limited, a family-run company. The Castle has a homely atmosphere and houses historic 16th century Tudor portraits, furniture and tapestries. Other artefacts include two magnificent Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn. The Council Chamber in the thirteenth century gatehouse contains collections of historic swords, armour, instruments of execution, torture and discipline.
YOUR CASTLE VISIT
Opening time: The Castle is advertised as opening at 12pm each day as we regularly have pre-booked functions inside the Castle during the morning. However, if a function finishes early we may be able to open the Castle before 12pm. Please check at the ticket office when you arrive.
Photography and filming: We politely request that photography and filming are not permitted inside the Castle for conservation, copyright and security reasons. You are more than welcome to take photographs outside in the gardens.
If you require photographs or filming for publication or broadcast, please visit our film and broadcasting page.
Accessibility: Visitors should consider access to the Castle according to their individual needs. From the drawbridge there is one step down to the Gatehouse followed by three steps down to the Courtyard. We regret that it is not possible to install a ramp for these steps for health and safety reasons. Please visit the accessibility page for more information on Castle access.
Pushchairs: Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate pushchairs inside the Castle. Pushchairs may be parked in the Castle Courtyard at the owner's risk.
NEW Family trails: We have five exciting Garden trails and one Castle trail available to download before your visit. The Castle Tudor history trail has been created for teachers, group leaders and parents to use with young visitors whilst exploring the Castle. Please visit our children's page to download the trails.
Audio guides: Audio guides are available at a cost of £3.75 in English, French, German, Dutch, Russian and Chinese. We also have a Family audio guide available in English only (suitable for children aged 5-11 years).
Tours: We regret that guided tours are not available during day-visiting hours. To assist you on your self-guided visit there are audio guides and guidebooks available to purchase, and there are information panels to read in each room. We also have a friendly team of Visitor Experience Assistants on duty who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Private Guided Tours of the Castle are available to pre-book before the Castle is opened to the public. For more information or to make a booking call the Group Visits Coordinator on 01732 861701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org