A walk at Blickling Estate, Norfolk

by Jan

A walk at Blickling Estate is one of the best ways to appreciate the splendid views looking over the magnificent Jacobean house, Blicking Hall.   Set over 4, 600 acres, Blickling Hall has extensive grounds with woodland, meadows, heathland, and pastures and is perfect for a family walk.

On our recent trip to Norfolk, we made our first visit to Blickling Hall, a stunning stately home in North Norfolk.  Although the property itself was closed, we were keen to explore the grounds and follow one of the trails that lead round the Blickling Estate.

Blickling Hall

View of the rear of Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Originally a deer park, Blickling Estate was later developed to include an old medieval-style house, Blickling Hall.  This grandiose house was to become the family residence of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.

Historians believe that Anne may have been born at Blickling Hall, rather than Hever Castle, which was her childhood home.  Legend has it that Anne still haunts Blickling Hall, on the anniversary of her death on 19th May.

Today, Blickling Hall is a National Trust property and is open to the public.

Walking at Blickling Estate

Blickling Estate Park Land for Walking

With such a varied landscape, the estate is ideal for walking and cycling. Blickling Estate has 4 signposted trails, each with different terrain.

However, they are all flat and are ideal for families.

  • Lake Walk                 3 km (1 hour)
  • Mausoleum Walk      3 km
  • Brady’s walk             7km (2 hours)
  • Multi-use trail           7km

See here for map of the 4 trails.

Looking at the map, we chose to do a combination of the trails, to take in the best points of interest.

Starting on the multi-use trail, we headed up a surfaced path through open parkland.  This is a popular trail, and we were passed by cyclists and scooters.

The Gothic Tower

View of Blickling Estate Gothic Tower through trees, Norfolk

The trail led around a field and up past a fantastic Gothic tower on the right.  Apparently, the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire had the tower built in 1758 for watching horse racing at the estate.

Shortly after, we took a sharp right and left the multi-use trail to merge with Brady’s Walk.  Although keen to explore Buck’s Common woodland, it was a scorching day and some of the kids were flagging!

We continued along the edge of Buck’s Common and downhill alongside Bunker’s Hill Plantation until we reached Woodgate Car Park.  Some artists were painting the landscape, but the children were more interested in tree climbing in the Great Wood.   Funny how quickly their energy levels resumed!

Keeping with Brady’s Walk, we continued until we reached an open area with the Mausoleum.

The Mausoleum

Blickling Estate Pyramid Mausoleum, Norfolk

The Mausoleum was one of the highlights of our walk.  This stunning pyramid is the resting place for the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, John Hobart and both his wives.

The architect Joseph Bonomi built the mausoleum in 1793, and modelled it on the Roman pyramid, Cestius.  It is an impressive structure, but somewhat out of place in a clearing on an old English country estate.

Above the door, you can see the Earl’s coat of arms, with a stag and dog either side.  On the rear side is a memorial tablet, from his second daughter.

The Lake at Blickling Estate

View of Blickling Estate across Lake, Norfolk

After our visit to the Mausoleum, we continued past farmland and crops until we merged with the Lake Walk, which led us back to Blickling Hall.

We had spectacular views across to the house, which was reminiscent of a scene from Pride and Prejudice.  Alas, there was no sign of Mr. Darcy emerging from the lake in his sodden shirt, so we carried onwards towards the house.

Blickling Hall gardens

Blickling Estate Formal Gardens, Norfolk

On our return to the house we took advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and had a pasty and drink in the shade.

Now, it was time to explore the elaborate gardens at Blickling Hall.  This really is every gardener’s dream, as there was so much to see.  Flower-filled beds, topiary hedges, and a quintessential English kitchen garden.

Additional features such as the orangery and a temple added interest to the garden and everyone was happy to explore.  Behind the house you can make a short woodland walk, which takes you towards the other side of the lake.

Keep your eyes out by the side of the house for a tunnel of trees, which looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie.

Conclusion

We all enjoyed walking at Blickling Estate, despite the heat.  There was lots to see and some breathtaking scenery.

We look forward to visiting again now Blickling Hall is open.

Practicalities

How to get to Blickling Hall

Blickling Estate is in Aylsham, Norfolk.  The postcode is NR11 6NF.

The nearest train station is Aylsham, which is about 2 miles away.

Have you tried a walk at Blickling Estate?  Please feel free to comment below.

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