Last weekend, because the weather was awful and I was going stir crazy, I decided to visit Norwich Castle. I’ve been before, but it was quite a while ago, so it seemed like a good idea.
For just £6.20 I immersed myself in history and culture for a whole four hours, which is a miracle for me!
First off I went for a mooch around the Natural History Gallery, where I saw all manner of stuffed animals, from polar bears to sparrows. I have to confess that I’m slightly creeped out by taxidermy (it’s the eyes), but it was very interesting finding out how they came to be in the Castle’s possession.
I meandered through the teapot collection, textiles, art and the Beatles to Bowie exhibition before I got my favourite section – The Egyptian Room. It is probably the smallest collection, but it’s so interesting. It has a mummy and artifacts, which are all absolutely fascinating. I love Ancient Egyptian history, so this collection ticked all boxes!
There is also a section all about the region, from pre-Roman to Norman, much of which was news to me – I didn’t realise that the remains of a Roman town are near my house. It really opened my eyes to Norfolk’s heritage.
And then, I went into the Castle keep proper. It was filled with families when I went, which meant it was a bit noisy, but it was still great. There was a demonstration about armour, the chance to use a miniature trebuchet and a scale model of the Castle as it would have looked in the thirteenth century.
If you make your way up to the mezzanine you can look out over the City and see the remainder of an original chapel (the image of two knights cut into the stone is amazing). However, I was really interested in the marks on the stone walls – some of it had been left by masons when the castle was built, while some of the graffiti dated back to the nineteenth century, when the Castle first became a museum. It’s not something that I’d normally condone or appreciate, but it fascinated me because it was so old!
It’s a great day out for kids and adults alike, because it’s interactive and informative. I could have easily have wasted more time there by going up to the battlements, but didn’t have the time.
Directions to Norwich Castle
Norwich Castle is in the centre of Norwich, with the entrance located in Castle Gardens.