Thursday, September 29, 2016

Castle Rising a romantic ruin in Norfolk

Once upon a time, a beautiful French princess married a handsome English prince and they did not live happily after. The story includes intrigue, lovers, gruesome murders and finally a power struggle that resulted in banishment from court. But there is a happy ending for the French princess who was now the Queen mother and a visit to Castle Rising in Norfolk will fill in all the missing pieces to this true and historic story.

The main players in the story are Isabella, the "She Wolf of France", her husband Edward II, King of England, her lover Roger Mortimer, his lovers Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser, and their son, the future king Edward III. Suffice it to say that this is a fascinating story and a visit to Castle Rising will make most of the characters, especially Isabella come alive for you, it certainly did for us.

Castle Rising is a magnificent ruin that is located near Kings Lynn, Norfolk. It is a Norman Keep which came into the Royal holdings in the thirteenth century and in the sixteenth century was given to the Howard family who are still the owners.

The fees to tour the castle are, £4.50 for adults, £3.80 if you are over 60 £3 for children. The price includes an audio guide. This is a very good audio tour narrated by a servant to Isabella. The visit starts at the gate where the story begins to unfold before you.

In order to enjoy your visit here to the maximum, you need to be able to climb stairs. To get into the keep there are a steep set of stones stairs and of course, you will need to come down again. Also to walk around the earthworks you will also have to climb stairs. Walking around the earthworks requires a good sense of balance as the path is narrow and there are no guardrails of any kind.

This is one of the most interesting audio tours we have ever taken. Even if you are not as familiar with English history as you should be, it will still be interesting. Isabella spent most of the last years of her life here at Castle Rising, not in confinement as is often thought but rather in exile from court. She was allowed visitors and her son the King was a frequent visitor and she visited her other properties. Castle Rising was her home however and she was happy here. 

You will be happy as well when you visit here. There are enough remnants of the former grandeur to convince you that this was a luxurious place in the days of Queen Isabella and that she would have been very comfortable here.


  1. Beautiful!! I would love to visit Castle Rising one day. Great photos to go with the words here, Isabelle!

  2. Thank you so much Christy, I am a British history buff and I loved visiting here. Thanks I had so many pics it was hard to choose.