Norfolk has some wonderful National Trust properties and we’re enjoying exploring them all with our National Trust membership. West Norfolk is home to the Oxburgh Estate, which was one of our most recent National Trust days out.
Getting to the Oxburgh Estate
The nearest train station is Downham Market, which is 10 miles away. You’ll need to get a taxi as there is no direct public transport from Downham Market.
You can get to Oxburgh Estate on the Swaffham flexibus+ which travels to/from Swaffham and villages in West Norfolk and Breckland. This service is available 7am – 7pm, Monday to Saturday and can be booked to pick you up at a time to suit you.
Details about the Swaffham flexibus+ can be found on the Norfolk County Council website.
The Oxburgh Estate is 7 miles south-west of Swaffham and 3 miles from A134 at Stoke Ferry; 17 miles south of King’s Lynn. Parking at the Oxburgh Estate is free.
Opening times and prices
Summer opening times
These are only a rough guide to opening times during the summer months. Opening times can change on a daily basis so be sure to check the National Trust website before your visit. Areas such as the hall are often closed during quieter times and winter.
|Hall||11:00 – 15:45|
|Garden||09:30 – 17:00|
|Parkland||09:30 – 17:00|
|Servants’ Hall tea-room||10:00 – 16:30|
|Second-hand book shop||09:30 – 16:30|
*Correct as of February 2023
Entrance is free for National Trust members.
|Ticket type||Gift aid||Standard|
|1 adult, 3 children||£14.10||£12.75|
The Oxburgh Estate offers free parking. The car park is quite large although can get filled up on busier days (especially when the snowdrops are out).
Don’t forget to get your passport stamped!
If you have a National Trust Passport, be sure to get it stamped at the ticket office!
I absolutely love looking around old houses and it’s one of the things I look forward to when we visit a National Trust property. Oxburgh Hall is a moated country house and maybe one of the most amazing I’ve seen so far.
Oxburgh Hall was originally built in 1482, for the Bedingfeld family. Sir Edmund Bedingfeld was able to obtain a licence to crenellate, meaning the property could be fortified. The house has been used by the Bedingfeld family as a family home since its construction however, ownership passed to the National Trust in 1952. In 1951, the house was due to be demolished however, Sybil, Lady Bedingfeld, her daughter Mrs Frances Playford, and niece Mrs Violet Hartcup managed to raise enough funds to buy back the property before handing it over to the National Trust!
Not only is Oxburgh Hall well-known for the amazing moat but also a few other things. One is the priest hole, which the Catholic Bedingfelds constructed in order to conceal Catholic priests. This was made and accessed through a lavatory! Another interesting thing to note is the Oxburgh Hangings, which are pieces of needlework hangings by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick. We got to see these during our visit and they are so impressive. Mary, worked on some pieces while she was imprisoned in England, and in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Restoration of Oxburgh Hall took place in the mid 19th century.
When visiting Oxburgh Hall, it’s important to know that there isn’t too much of the house to look around. Only a couple of rooms on the ground floor, and a couple upstairs are open to the public and walking around won’t take you very long. Our favourite room had to be the library, which is absolutely stunning. There are two secret doors hidden in the library, so this is something interesting to look out for and to try and spot if you’re visiting with children.
Not only is Oxburgh Hall well-known for the amazing moat but also a few other things. One is the priest hole, which the Catholic Bedingfields constructed in order to conceal priests. This was made and accessed through a lavatory!
Another interesting thing to note is the Oxburgh Hangings, which are pieces of needlework hangings by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick. We got to see these during our visit and they are so impressive. Mary, worked on some pieces while she was imprisoned in England, and in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury.
One area we really enjoyed was walking through the South Corridor, where you can look at different things that have been found at Oxburgh Hall. These include things like old coins and it’s a great talking point for children.
Unfortunately, some parts of Oxburgh Hall have been victims of Deathwatch beetles, meaning some parts aren’t open like the gift shop. However, there is a small room where you can learn more about these beetles and what has happened to the wood, which we found quite interesting!
The Oxburgh Estate is home to a few different gardens, including the walled garden, kitchen garden, orchard and French Parterre. All centrally located (most to the right of Oxburgh Hall as you walk through the entrance), they’re an easy area to walk around. Sadly, we ran out of time during our visit and we didn’t get to see any of the gardens which was a real shame. It does mean we have to go back to see them though.
The Oxburgh Estate is a whopping 215 acres so there is a lot to explore. Maps (available at the entrance) show various different walks as well as points of interest, which are all labelled. The map really makes visiting easy as it means not only can you find your way around but also pick out what you want to do on the day.
After visiting Oxburgh Hall, and having a walk around the moat, we decided to venture out into the estate to see what we could find. We mainly followed the orange walk but stopped when we reached the den building area. This is a fantastic area for kids to do something a bit difference, especially if they’re not really into looking at old houses. We spent ages building a den and had so much fun.
Other things to do around the estate are longer walks, wildlife spotting, a visit to The Washpit in summer (marshland dried out with wildflowers) or heading out to My Lady’s Wood and seeing the summerhouse. These are all on my list for our next visit!
During the months of February and March the Oxburgh Estate is busier than normal thanks to it being snowdrop season. You’ll find snowdrops all around the estate, from the gardens to the wider areas of the estate. We were lucky enough to visit during this time and I’m so glad we did. Snowdrops completely cover the ground in certain areas and you can get some great pictures here during this time.
Food & drink
There are a couple of option for food and drink during your visit to the Oxburgh Estate. Just at the entrance, you’ll find the Pantry Cafe, which serves snacks, drinks and ice creams. Just next to the main courtyard you’ll also find the Servants’ Hall tea-room. Serving both hot and cold food options, cakes and drinks, this is a great place to stop for a break. Seating is available in the courtyard of the hall.
The grounds of Oxburgh Hall has plenty of benches and grassy areas, which are perfect if you would rather take a picnic with you. We enjoyed our lunch outside as we luckily visited on a day with quite nice weather.
Is the Oxburgh Estate dog friendly?
In short, yes! We saw so many people with dogs while we were at the Oxburgh Estate but one thing we noticed is that they were all on leads so this must be a rule of the property. Each National Trust property has its own rules when it comes to dogs so make sure you check before you visit.