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Six stunning Suffolk castles to visit this year, including Framlingham Castle, Bungay Castle and Clare Castle



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Suffolk is rich in history and culture and has a multitude of beautiful castles and ruins that bring people to the area from all over.

Have you visited all of the magnificent historical buildings Suffolk has to offer? Here's six of the county's most stunning castles you should visit this year:

1. Framlingham

Framlingham Castle. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography
Framlingham Castle. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography

Framlingham Castle was built by the Bigod family in the 12th century and is currently managed by English Heritage.

In more recent history, during the Second World War it was used by the British Army as part of the regional defences against a potential invasion.

Framlingham singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran put the location on the map with his song 'Castle on the Hill' which references his childhood memories living in the Suffolk village.

The castle is remarkably well maintained, with moats and surrounding parkland. The inside of the castle is open to visitors every weekend from 10am to 4pm.

Snow covering the ground on Framlingham Mere. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography
Snow covering the ground on Framlingham Mere. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography

2. Bungay Castle

Bungay Castle was originally built by Roger Bigod of Norfolk in around 1100, but was demolished later and restored in 1294.

The castle was restored further in 1934, following work by the amateur archaeologist Leonard Cane.

Bigod Castle, Bungay. Picture: Google maps (54435439)
Bigod Castle, Bungay. Picture: Google maps (54435439)

What remains of the building, which is owned by the Bungay Castle Trust, are the two towers of the gatehouse and some ruins of the keep.

The castle is open for visits from the public, free of charge.

3. Clare Castle

Clare Country Park, home to Clare Castle. Picture: Google Maps (54435446)
Clare Country Park, home to Clare Castle. Picture: Google Maps (54435446)

Built shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066, Clare Castle is located inside Clare Country Park, close to Sudbury.

The castle, owned by Clare Town Council, is now in ruins but sits upon a 60ft motte with brilliant views of the quaint town.

The inner bailey also contains the former railway station, now Platform One Cafe, which serving hot drinks and food.

The park is a popular spot for walkers and wildlife enthusiasts.

4. Orford Castle

Orford Castle. Picture: Google Maps (54435453)
Orford Castle. Picture: Google Maps (54435453)

Orford Castle, described as one of England's most complete keeps, is a popular site for tourists thanks to its incredibly unusual polygonal tower.

Visitors can explore the rooms inside the castle, including the basement, lower and upper halls, and experience stunning views from the roof towards the sea.

To book a trip to Orford Castle, check out the English Heritage website.

5. Eye Castle

Eye Castle sits on a 160ft motte and was built in the early 11th century.

The site has had many updates throughout the years, including the addition and subsequent demolition of a windmill and the building of a 1830s workhouse and school inside the castle bailey.

The mound itself and some of the ruins of the castle remain, overlooking the town of Eye and bringing visitors to the area.

Opening Hours are 9am until 7pm or dusk (whichever comes earliest).

6. Mettingham Castle

Mettingham Castle was originally a moated manor house, founded in 1342 by Sir John de Norwich.

In the late 14th century the castle served as a monastic college. Only the striking flint gateway and a part of the original wall remain on the site, but it is a stunning reminder of where it once stood.