Norfolk Passport

Top 5 | Norfolk Museums

Norfolk Museums are crucial for learning about and protecting Norfolk’s history, they aim to inspire everyone and this is highlighted in the range of events and exhibitions they put on throughout the year.

All 10 museums are worth a visit, and this month, we have put together a slightly deeper look at five.

Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle was built by the Norman’s as a Royal Palace. It never served as a Royal Palace but has been a Military Fort, a County Jail and now a Museum and Art Gallery. 

Spend a day exploring all that there is to see and do at the Castle including; the ever-popular Dungeon Tour! Descend into the depths of Norwich Castle and imagine being a poor soul who had to live in chains in the cold and dark. Look out for the plaster-cast heads of executed criminals and listen to stories of how prisoners might be ‘pressed’ to give a plea; examine instruments of torture and punishment like the ducking stool, scold’s bridle and gibbet iron. If you would like something a little less dramatic you can spend hours looking through the fascinating collections on display from Natural History, Social History, World collections and Archaeology to Contemporary Art and Regimental History. 

Don’t forget to stop by The Castle Cafe for a bite to eat or take your own picnic to take outside and look at the panoramic views over Norwich.

Opens Mon - Sat, 10am-4.30pm, Sun 1pm-4.30pm

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Time & Tide Museum

The Time & Tide Museum is located in a converted Victorian Herring Curing Works and opened it’s doors to the Public in 2004. The museum tells the story of Great Yarmouth and it’s herring history. The lingering aroma of the smokehouse remains today.

This is a fantastic museum to take the children with plenty of hands-on displays, games, puzzles, films, and activities to help bring the History of Great Yarmouth to life. Wander through a Victorian 'Row' and see inside a fisherman's home. Experience the atmosphere of a 1950s quayside,.Follow Great Yarmouth’s transformation from a sandbank to the present day, through times of boom and bust and of war and peace.

Take a trip to the Silver Darlings cafe to enjoy a delicious lunch or maybe just a quick piece of cake before heading home.

Open daily from 10am - 4pm. (From Nov 1 - Mar 31 the museum opens from 12pm-4pm at weekends).

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Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is based in a former Workhouse so is the perfect backdrop to explore what life was like for those who lived and worked there. A combination of projections, archives, and fascinating collections help tell the real stories of the workhouse staff and inmates. 

Take a visit to the Farm to watch and learn traditional farming techniques. Suffolk Punch Horses are one of the oldest breeds of working horses in the UK and they still work the farm at Gressenhall today. Throughout the seasons they play a central role in planting, harvesting, and ploughing.  Look out for the cart rides around the farm. 

If you are taking children with you, a day at Gressenhall is not complete without allowing time to enjoy the fantastic adventure playground. You can climb to the top of the Owl’s Lookout to marvel at the views, whizz down slides, fly through the trees on the zip wire, scamper through tunnels and much more. There is also a separate area especially designed for the Under 5’s to enjoy. 

Take a picnic and eat in one of the many picnic areas or you can treat yourselves in the Mardlers’ Rest Cafe. 

Open from Sun 10 Mar - Sun 27 Oct, 10am-5pm daily.

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Strangers Hall

Strangers Hall is one of Norwich’s most historic buildings. It has been home to many of the city’s leading citizens since the 14th Century.

Explore this fabulous Tudor home and learn about its history and who has passed through the door over the years. Start in the Great Hall which would have been the heart of the Tudor Home, a communal space for everyday activities like eating and hosting lavish events and city ceremonies. 

A door leads from the Great Hall into the beautiful garden which you should take time to enjoy. The friends of Norwich Museums have developed beds of old fashioned roses, a small ‘knot garden’ and a selection of plants with medicinal, culinary and textile-related uses. The Garden is an oasis in the middle of the City.

There is so much to see in the chambers, Georgian dining room, and the parlor but one of the best rooms is the Sotherton Room. With a chimney crane that enabled the cook to change the height of the pot over the fire, the Dutch oven, and all the other kitchen equipment from years gone by.  As you head up the stairs be sure to look out of the windows in the top of the house to get a bird's eye view of the knot garden.

Opens Wednesday’s 10am-4pm & Sunday’s 1pm-4.30pm

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Lynn Museum

Lynn Museum was founded in 1844 by members of Lynn Conversazione and Society of Arts who wanted the establishment of an institution as well as to afford a source of continued amusement and gratification to those persons who had already paid attention to scientific pursuits. In 1904 the museum moved a short distance to its present location, the Union Baptist Chapel.

West Norfolk is rich in archeological sites dating from the Iron Age, Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo Saxon periods. You can discover lots of artifacts from these periods in the invaders and settlers exhibition. 

One of the most popular exhibitions is the sea henge which was discovered at Home Beach in 1998. After the timber circle had been removed to a specialist site in Peterborough to have the mud and salt removed and experts had examined them, a complex conservation project started and in 2008 half of the timbers and the central stump were put on display in Lynn Museum. 

There are many other exhibitions from medieval and pilgrims, maritime, savages and local industry and civil war to polite society, there is lots to take in and discover. 

Opens Tue - Sat 10am-5pm. Sunday (April-September only) 12pm-4pm

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