It may have been built during the Wars of the Roses, protected by a moat and given some imposing crenellated towers, but Oxburgh Hall has always been a family home rather than a fortress.
Built around 1482 by Sir Edmund Bedingfeld it’s one of the most romantic family homes you’ll ever visit, and it’s almost impossible to believe it only attracted one purchaser when put up for sale in 1950. The family duly bought it back for £5,000 and presented it to the National Trust, who’ve cared for it ever since.
The Bedingfeld’s Catholic faith can be seen in the seven secret doors and well-known ‘priest hole’ (one of the very few in the country open to visitors) and is also home to the world-famous Oxburgh Hangings, which were made by the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick in the 16th century. Comprising over 100 panels, the exquisite needlework includes some cleverly-disguised views on the contemporary political situation. Technically part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, they’re on permanent long-term loan at Oxburgh Hall.
Apart from the fascinating history and breathtaking architecture, the hall’s 70-acre estate includes a number of formal gardens and woodland walks which are equally outstanding. Some of the oak trees in the beautiful Home Covert, for example, are almost 400 years old - and their ages were already being remarked upon in the 18th century. Centuries of careful management has also had a positive impact on local wildlife.
Recently a tree at Oxburgh was discovered to be the only home in Norfolk for a very rare species of click beetle called Procraerus tibialis.
For a literal taste of Oxburgh’s heritage, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the hall’s tearoom and choose something that contains salad vegetables, beetroot, potatoes, celeriac or rhubarb. They’re all grown in Oxburgh Hall’s working gardens, which are almost 300 years old and have provided food for its residents (and now visitors) for generations.
Admire the magnificent Tudor building, enjoy the beautifully natural surroundings, revel in the part its played in English history, or simply take in the stunning panoramic views from the tower - there’s no doubt that Oxburgh Hall is a true jewel in the National Trust’s crown and one of Norfolk’s most incredible settings.