Castle Acre Priory
Published date: May 2020
An important Norfolk visitor attraction, Castle Acre Priory is one of the largest and best-preserved monastic sites in England dating back to 1090. Home to the first Cluniac order of monks in England, visitors can witness the Cluniac love of decoration, which is reflected everywhere in the extensive ruins.
Founded by the Warenne family soon after the Norman Conquest, for almost 450 years Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk was the home and workplace of monks and their servants, a refuge for pilgrims, and a stopping point for royalty and clergy. It was also part of a vast monastic network centred on the great abbey of Cluny in France.
Located on the south-east edge of Castle Acre, Castle Acre Priory is 5 miles north of Swaffham and 30 miles north-west of Norwich. There is much to see at Castle Acre Priory, such as the beautiful west end church gable, substantial remains of many of the buildings round the cloister and the stonework display in the Prior’s Lodgings. Find out how churches were made in Norman times and visit the recreated herb garden, where the monks would have grown herbs for medicinal, culinary and decorative purposes, and complete the family trail.
Discover more about this ancient priory from the interactive exhibition, display of archaeological finds, site model and audio tour featuring a 15th century chant from a Castle Acre song book. There is a large grassed area around the Priory and plenty of space to explore and spot the resident wildlife including little owls, barn owls, rabbits and grey squirrels.
Free parking is available nearby and there is also additional free parking in the village. Picnics are welcome in the grounds, and there is a shop and toilets available.
To find out more about Castle Acre Priory, including opening times, admission costs and more about the history of the Priory, please visit the English Heritage website below.
Castle Acre Priory, Castle Acre, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE32 2XD