Castle (On The Hill)
Ed Sheeran fans will be familiar with Framlingham from his 2017 single written in its honour. Described by the BBC as ‘a love letter to Suffolk’, it’s easy to see what inspired Ed to dedicate a song to his home town: the chocolate-box streets, antique shops and bustling market place hold all the charm of a bygone era, but there’s nothing fusty about this town.
You absolutely can’t visit Framlingham without taking in the castle. Framlingham Castle is run by English Heritage and surrounded by parkland and a lake, this glorious monument was once a stronghold of the powerful earls and dukes of Norfolk, as well as being home to Mary Tudor when she was proclaimed Queen of England. The castle is also home to The Lanman Museum, an independent local history museum with some fascinating artefacts.
Walk on the wild side
Don’t miss the magnificent wall walk – at 10.5 metres high and 2.3 metres thick, it has stood for more than 800 years and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Or why not take a walk around The Mere, surrounding the castle? Owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, it’s a natural haven with nearly 300 species of plants and 80 species of birds.
History the kids will love
The castle offers plenty to keep young and old entertained while being educated. There are opportunities to try on historical hats; play a game to find out what people ate in the past; take an audio tour and visit the interactive exhibition; or simply enjoy counting the oldest surviving 12th century and Tudor chimneys. You can also look inside Framlingham's workhouse, which provided works and lodging for the town’s paupers from the 17th to 19th centuries. The castle is also home to The Lanman Museum, an independent local history museum with some fascinating artefacts.
Shopping and more
Market Hill is the town’s centre, where you’ll find a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You can pick up some great local produce including cheese, fish, meat and game as well as artisanal baked goods, stoneware, jewellery and wellbeing products. The area has plenty of quirky antiques and gift shops, too, plus galleries (art lovers won’t be disappointed) and a good choice of tea shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants. The Common Room Café receives rave reviews for its breakfasts and gluten-free options, while you can’t beat The Station Hotel for a good pub lunch, or The Crown on Market Hill for a drink. Watson And Walpole in Church Street – an ‘Italian neighbourhood restaurant’ – takes food quite seriously and is perfect if you’re looking for a special treat (we love their passion and enthusiasm for what they do).
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Nearby Shawsgate Vineyard is one of East Anglia’s oldest commercial vineyards producing a range of white, red, rosé, and English sparkling wines. You can book experience days and vineyard tours, but visitors are also welcome to do a free vineyard trail – just ask for an information sheet and map so you don’t get lost! You’ll find Shawsgate on the B1120 between Framlingham and Badingham.
And another thing…
Much of the TV series Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, was shot around Framlingham. Fans will recognise Lance’s flat in Double Street; The Castle Inn as the exterior of ‘The Two Brewers’, and St Michael’s Rooms (near the castle) as the Scout hut used by the DMDC. The eagle-eyed among you might remember the Watson And Walpole venue (formerly The Lemon Tree bistro) from Season 2; while The White Horse pub made an appearance in the 2022 Christmas special.
Nearby Shawsgate Vineyard is one of East Anglia’s oldest commercial vineyards