The Priory of Our Lady of Thetford was one of the largest and most important monasteries in medieval East Anglia. Founded in the early 12th century, for 400 years it was the burial place of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk, and enjoyed their powerful protection. It was because of this that Thetford was one of the last monasteries to be suppressed when it surrendered to Henry VIII's commissioners in 1540.
The extensive surviving remains include the lower walls of the church and cloister, together with the impressive shell of the prior's lodging and an almost complete 14th century gatehouse.
Managed by Thetford Town Council.
Read more about Thetford Priory's history.
Before You Go
Parking: There is a small free car park near the site entrance (not managed by English Heritage).
Opening Times: The priory is open daily from 8am to 6pm from April to September, and from 8am to 4pm from October to March. View details.
Access: The main path into and through the site is surfaced, and is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. Access to other areas is over closely mown grass.
Facilities: There are no facilities at the priory but it is close to the centre of Thetford so there are public toilets, shops and places to eat nearby.
Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.
Please be aware: 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
Why not travel on to the fascinating Grime's Graves, seven miles to the northwest and the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain?
A 10-minute walk from the priory is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the only surviving priory of the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre in England. Just outside Thetford you can also find Thetford Warren Lodge which once protected game keepers and hunting parties against armed poachers.
For more ideas of places to visit in the area, visit the heritage-related pages on Thetford Town Council's website.