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 Bullen 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 Humfreys 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.
Since 1983, the castle has been owned by Broadland Properties Limited and open to the public. 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. Costumed figures of Henry VIII and his six wives in the Long Gallery adds to the atmosphere and is popular with the children. The Council Chamber in the thirteenth century gatehouse contains collections of historic swords, armour, instruments of execution, torture and discipline.