Top 8 Norman walks

    Get out into the fresh air with our top selection of Norman walks.

    Ahead of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 we've picked some of our favourite Norman sites from across England, which are perfect to explore on foot.

    Scroll down
    Battle Abbey

    Battle Abbey

    Follow in the footsteps of William the Conqueror at Battle. The Battle of Hastings redefined England, and the Abbey was founded by William to commemorate those who fell in the battle. Explore the abbey and the battlefield to let your imagination take you back to one of the most dramatic moments in English history.

    Finally, stroll into the centre of the picturesque market town of Battle, which was founded to support the abbey to see the Norman Church of St Mary.

    Visit 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield
    Dover Castle

    Dover Castle

    Dover Castle was founded soon after the Norman invasion in 1066. Dover's strategic military importance was so high that the castle was continually garrisoned until 1958, so the castle has acted as a gateway to England for nine centuries.

    Sitting high above the town of Dover, the castle offers panoramic views over the town, countryside and sea. It is also a short walk from the castle to the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

    Visit Dover Castle
    Old Sarum

    Old Sarum

    Explore one of the first Norman castles in England, built by William the Conqueror. In 1086, when Norman rule was threatened by revolt and invasion, William held an important ceremony here, where the most powerful men of England took an oath of loyalty to him. Find out more in Spotlight on Old Sarum.  

    The castle stands on an Iron Age hill fort, and overlooks Salisbury's orginal cathedral. With 29 acres of rare grass chalkland, and panoramic views of Wiltshire, there is plenty to discover. Take one of the footpaths around the ramparts and look out for the spire of Salisbury Cathedral, or stroll along the banks of the River Avon.

    Visit Old Sarum
    Totnes Castle

    Totnes Castle

    Climb to the top of the keep to enjoy expansive views over the town of Totnes and across to the River Dart. Totnes Castle is a classic Norman motte and bailey castle, founded soon after the Conquest to stand over the Saxon town. A later stone shell-keep offers sweeping views across the town to the River Dart.

    After exploring the historic streets of Totnes town, follow the riverside path along the River Dart to the nearby village of Dartington.

    Visit Totnes Castle
    Peveril Castle

    Peveril Castle

    The imposing ruins of Peveril Castle stand high above the pretty village of Castleton in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District.  Mentioned in the Domesday survey, Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses, founded by William Peverel, one of William the Conqueror's most trusted knights. 

    Climb to the castle at the top of the hill to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Hope Valley, a highlight of any family day out in Castleton.

    Visit Peveril Castle
    Eynsford Castle

    Eynsford Castle

    Rather than having a keep or motte, like most Norman castles, Eynsford was protected by an extensive curtain wall. Explore the impressive ruins of the castle, which was abandoned in 1312 after an inheritance dispute. 

    Climb the hill above Shoreham to enjoy sweeping views over the River Darent below or take a short stroll to the nearby remains of Lullingstone Roman Villa, which dates back to the 4th century. Then follow the quiet riverside path back to Shoreham.

    Visit Eynsford Castle
    Richmond Castle

    Richmond Castle

    Richmond Castle is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in England, and was a key military stronghold in the unruly North of England.

    Begin with a walk along the banks of the River Swale. Take in the Georgian architecture and cobbled market square of the historic town, before ascending the hill to the castle. Set high above the valley, the castle offers sweeping views of the town and the North York Moors.

    Visit Richmond Castle
    Furness Abbey

    Furness Abbey

    Start at the distinctive red sandstone remains of St Mary of Furness. The abbey was founded in 1123 by Stephen, who later became the last Norman King of England. The remains of the west tower, chapter house and cloister buildings sit in a quiet valley, which is perfect to explore on a frosty winter’s day.

    Follow the beautiful Vale of Nightshade to Dalton-in-Furness, a historic town which is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

    Visit Furness Abbey
      'step into englands story