The Grade I-listed Keep in Norwich city centre will take visitors back 900 years to the heyday of Norman England following a multi-million pound project. 

The Keep at Norwich Castle was built by the Normans and still stands today

Source: © Norfolk Museums Service

Groups will be able to head inside Norwich Castle from summer 2024 to experience one of the UK’s most accessible historical attractions.

Due to open this summer, the redevelopment will create an immersive sense of what it was like to live in a Norman royal castle, while providing accessible new spaces across five floor levels.

The original medieval floors and room spaces are being reinstated and fully furnished, bringing alive the sights and sounds of this palace of the Norman kings, as well as showcasing its influence and importance in 12th century England.

Following the £10 million grant from National Lottery Players, highlights include a new Gallery of Medieval Life which will display artefacts from the period, audio visual projections in the Great Hall will showcase historical artworks while virtual reality headsets in the basement’s digital zone will allow users to explore a recreation of Norman Norwich.

On the roof, a viewing platform will also be installed to offer visitors a whole new perspective of the city and beyond.

Once open, groups of ten or more qualify for discounted rates, and if you’re looking for more ideas in Norwich, why not read our handy itinerary to help plan your visit.

An impression of the new viewing are atop Norwich Castle's Keep

Source: © Feilden+Mawson Architects

A viewing platform will be created on the roof for sweeping views across the city and beyond.

What else is new?

Working with a team of academics and experts, every detail – from architecture to furnishings – has been considered and researched. Authentically-styled furnishings to be placed inside include the Norwich Friends Tapestry which will hang in the King’s Chamber.

The 18-metre-long embroidery, inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, which tells the story of two rebellions in the East of England who went against William the Conqueror, has been created by a team of dedicated volunteers.

It’s said that the Keep will be the most accessible castle in the UK, accommodating wheelchair users, pushchairs and those with SEND requirements on every floor – including the rooftop battlements.

An impression of the recreated Great Hall inside Norwich Castle

Source: © Haley Sharpe Design Limited

The Great Hall will transport visitors back to medieval England.

Artefacts to go on display range from personal items such as an exquisitely carved ivory bobbin, discovered in the Castle’s drains, to elaborate scientific objects like an astrolabe, used for reading the stars.

A new entrance to the museum site will include a light-filled atrium adjacent to the Keep, as well as a new café and gift shop, larger toilets and a Changing Places facility.

One of the city’s most famous landmarks, Norwich Castle’s Keep was built by the Normans as a royal palace over 900 years ago and spent at least 500 years as the county prison.

Today the castle site – which sits atop the largest man-made motte in England and Scheduled Ancient Monument – incorporates both the Grade I-listed medieval Keep and a museum and art gallery housed in the converted buildings of the Victorian-era prison. 

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