My Mum and I have been taking our holidays in Norfolk since I was a child so we often have fond memories of places we have visited together. This time on our camping trip to Norfolk we decided to visit one of our old favourite places, Norwich Castle. Norwich Castle is home to a fantastic museum crammed with amazing artwork, interesting artefacts and hands-on demonstrations. We decided to save Norwich until the last day of our holiday and I’m so glad that we did because whilst the sun was shining brightly in Norwich, it was pouring it down with rain back at the tent.
Getting from Kings Lynn to Norwich took a little less than an hour and was very straightforward. We decided to take advantage of their Park and Ride system as the one-way systems can be a little confusing. We parked at Costessy Park and Ride which is situated directly off the roundabout of the A47 and Longwater and the bus took us right into the Bus Station which was within easy walking distance of the Castle Museum.
As you can see, Norwich Castle Museum is set up very high on a hill. If you have a pushchair, wheelchair or have difficult in getting around there is a lift which takes you straight up to the front of the Castle. Unfortunately on the day we arrived, the lift was out of order but on the opposite side there are ramps which you can walk up and then cross the bridge to the Castle. It’s a very pretty way to walk too.
One of Norwich’s most famous landmarks, Norwich Castle was built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago. Explore the Castle’s history as a palace and later as a prison, and enjoy our fabulous collections of fine art, archaeology, and natural history as well as the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum collections.
Whilst we were there, we were able to see the Jeff Koons exhibition in the Artists Rooms which the Beans were really enthralled with. I was particularly taken with the Caterpillar which looks like an inflatable hung on chains but is actually made entirely from aluminium. It even has the little air valves, it looks so realistic.
I will always be that person who is easily amused by the daftest of things but this ‘bum nut’ really tickled me. How cute is the teapot with legs?! I happen to know someone who still has one of these – love it!
The Beans were a little freaked out by the Egyptian exhibits because there was a real mummified body on show, you could see their face, hands etc and they really didn’t like it. They were very impressed when I told them that Daddy and I had been to nearly all of the places on the map when we visited Egypt many years ago. Little Bean thought all of the jewellery was beautiful.
In the Castle Keep there was a fun ‘treasure hunt’ for the Beans to do as well as other hands-on activities. They each made their own medieval helmet from paper. I tried my hardest to concentrate on how they made it and took photographs at each stage but I’m still not sure I could repeat it?!
The Beans loved getting their hands on real pieces of armour. This was actually the first time that I had held any myself too and was shocked at just how heavy the pieces were. I’m so used to seeing them on models or behind glass, I assumed they would be heavy but there is no way I could imagine having to wear it all together. Jelly Bean took a shine to the very large sword but look, it’s even bigger than he is!
I suggested the Beans might like to redecorate their bedrooms in ‘prison cell’ style but they weren’t keen. Actually, I think Jelly Bean would be quite happy judging by the look on his face. It’s also worth pointing out regarding the crocodile he is holding that in the main atrium of the Castle there is a children’s area which has large boxes of toys as well as a number of small buckets. They encourage you to allow your child to select a few small toys to take with them around the museum to play with and then return them before you leave. I thought this was a great idea because with smaller children there are bound to be aspects of the museum they don’t find interesting so that’s when they can turn to their toys. Clever thinking!
On the way back to the Bus Station we decided to have a go at some of the Norwich GoGo Dragons Trail. This was great fun for the Beans and being a fan of Dragons myself I loved it. They were so beautifully painted and it made for a fun walk through the town centre. The Beans didn’t even complain too much when Mum and I stopped off in a couple of shops because we promised them they could look for more Dragons if they were good.
GoGoDragons! 2015 was an interactive arts sculpture trail that brought 84 large dragon sculptures and 120 school dragons to the City of Norwich.
The trail ended on 5th September, when the dragons were returned to Dragons Den to be pampered and made good for the last chance to see and auction between 27th to 30th September 2015 at The Forum, Norwich.
Our day out in Norwich was perhaps the best of our first camping holiday, everyone was in good spirits, the sun was shining. What more could we ask for?!