Visit the extensive ruins of Baconsthorpe Castle, a moated and fortified 15th century manor house, that are a testament to the rise and fall of a prominent Norfolk family, the Heydons. Over 200 years, successive generations of this ambitious family built, then enlarged, and finally abandoned this castle.
Sir John Heydon probably built the strong inner gatehouse during the turbulent Wars of the Roses period, and his son Sir Henry, whose memorial can be seen in Baconsthorpe Church, completed the fortified house. In more peaceful times, their descendants converted part of the property into a textile factory, and then added the turreted Elizabethan outer gateway, inhabited until 1920.
Read more about Baconsthorpe Castle’s history.
Before You Go
Parking: There is a car park at the castle with a £2 charge for non-members payable by text. Parking is free for Members with a valid English Heritage car sticker on display.
Access: Access is on gravel paths and across grass. Some surfaces are uneven and can get muddy during wet weather. Access to the inner castle area is through a rather narrow gate.
Facilities: There are no facilties at the castle but the market town of Holt is five miles away.
Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.
The Heydon Walk: There is an opportunity to learn more about the Heydon family at St Mary's Church, Baconsthorpe's village church, as it holds some family tombs and memorials, and some stained glass showing the family coat of arms. The church is a 30-minute walk from the castle with signage describing the walk at both the castle and the church.
Please be aware: There a moat containing deep water.
Climbing on the ruins is prohibited.
Drone flying: English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions. Please see our drone filming guidelines for more details, or email our Filming team.
Plan a Great Day Out
Baconsthorpe Castle is a very tranquil spot, and the perfect place for a picnic on a sunny day.
Next, why not visit the village church where you can see monuments to members of the Heydon family and windows bearing stained glass family shields? Visit the village website for more information.
Slightly further afield to the southwest, the remains of North Elmham Chapel are 16 miles away. And just under 30 miles away, you'll find the monumental remains of Castle Acre Priory, Castle and Bailey Gate.