Framlingham, Suffolk is an ancient market town nestled in the countryside. It dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Bursting with history, character and nature, there are tons of interesting things to do in Framlingham.
Framlingham is best known for its castle that majestically looks over the town. Framlingham Castle was built in the 11th century and was home to many noble families. It’s also where Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England. Throughout history, the castle has served as a prison, a workhouse and an isolation ward for plague victims. The 10.5 metre high outer walls of the castle are well preserved and you can take a walk around them, admiring the views of the Framlingham Mere. Visit the workhouse, the only remaining building inside the walls, which is filled with artefacts and information about the history of the castle. There’s plenty of entertainment for kids as well, including different games and activities. When you get hungry, pop to the Castle Cafe to try Tudor inspired dishes like Tarte Owte of Lent and Tudor staple pottage.
Framlingham Castle is the subject of the triple platinum song Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran, who grew up in the town. Following the release of the song in 2017, the castle saw visitor numbers grow. English Heritage stated that visitor numbers had increased by 15% compared to the previous year. Although the music video for Castle on the Hill wasn’t filmed at the castle, it was still shot in Suffolk and the actors that appear in it are people from Ed’s former high school, Thomas Mills in Framlingham.
Things to Do in Framlingham
Tucked away in the picturesque Suffolk countryside is Shawsgate Vineyard, a five minute drive from the centre of Framlingham. You can book onto a tour which is run by friendly experts who can take you through the whole wine making process. Take a walk around the 13 acres of vineyards, which grow Muller Thurgau, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus and Reichensteiner grapes, which are used to make white, rosé, red and sparkling wines. There are tasting sessions after the tour and you can purchase your favourite from the shop.
Framlingham is the perfect place to shop. It has been a market town since 1285 and still hosts a market every Tuesday and Saturday in Market Hill. You’ll find fresh local produce, cheeses, baked goods, traditional sweets and wines. There is also a wide range of non-food items like vintage clothing, books, accessories, beauty products and handmade stonewares. You can also stroll around the narrow winding streets and pop into the many traditional businesses and independent shops specialising in clothing, artwork, antiques, home decor and jewellery. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find a bargain here!
Saxtead Green Post Mill
A six minute drive from the centre of town takes you to Saxtead Green Post Mill, a Grade II listed restored post mill. It’s one of the many mills that were built in Suffolk as far back as the late 13th century. The mill is a fascinating example of engineering, with its three storey roundhouse and body which revolves on its base. The mill is open to the public and you can climb up inside it to see the mill machinery.
This 33 acre wetland is a great day out for all ages. Although it’s only a few minutes walk away from the hustle and bustle of the town, you’ll feel like you’re worlds away. It’s considered to be one of the best inland views in Suffolk, with tons of migrating birds flying against the ancient castle backdrop. In recent years, restoration work has been carried out to remove mud from the Mere and restore water levels and plant new trees. As a result, wildlife has thrived and there are plenty of species to see. Take the circular walk around the lake and see if you can spot otters, barn owls, egrets, water voles, great crested grebes and kingfishers.
Places to Stay in Framlingham
Colston Hall Farmhouse B&B
A 10 minute drive from Framlingham Castle is Colston Hall, a 16th century farmhouse offering self-catering and B&B accommodation. The rooms are furnished in a comfortable, traditional style, and there are on-site coarse fishing lakes and a meeting room with indoor games.
The Annexe at Framlingham B&B
Situated in the heart of Framlingham, the Annexe is a great base to explore the town and is just a three minute walk from all the amenities. It sleeps two people and has contemporary furnishings and a kitchenette with breakfast provided.
The Crown Framlingham
Just a two minute walk from Framlingham Castle, The Crown is a charming hotel full of character, complete with wonky walls and exposed Tudor beams. The rooms are individually styled and range from doubles and singles, to twins and family rooms.
Places to Eat & Drink in Framlingham
The Station Hotel
The Station Hotel is a great place for lunch or dinner, and even Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift agree, who visited in 2013. This friendly restaurant serves modern European dishes and local ales, but make sure to try one of their popular wood-fired pizzas.
The Dancing Goat Cafe
Situated in the centre of Framlingham, the Dancing Goat Cafe is popular with locals and visitors alike. They’re open for breakfast, light lunches and afternoon teas.
The Railway Inn
This friendly family pub serves lunch and evening food. The menu consists of classic dishes like burgers, steaks, baguettes and salads. There are also plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options.