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Walsingham Abbey

Visited June 2017

Location Walsingham, Norfolk
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby Tourist Railway
Parking Yes- Town car parks
Facilities

Gift Shop, Toilets

Map

 

You could say the village of Walsingham in Norfolk is is used to visitors, as it has been a place of pilgramage since a Saxon noble woman Richeldis de Faveraches had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1061 and began to build a Holy House in Her honour.

 


 

 


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Approx. 100 years later years later an abbey was built on the holy site, with the pilgrims continuing to  visit the shrine in the abbey. Henry VIII made several pilgrimages here himself, before closing the abbey during the dissolution of the monasteries. The abbey land was sold off and a private house built in the grounds, incorporating the crypt of the abbey into it. The abbey buildings became features in the gardens of the house, and in the 19th century they were landscaped into the gardens that we see today.

 


 

 


 

The most impressive part of the abbey ruins is the east window arch, which is in the middle of the lawn, and pretty much the first thing you see when entering the abbey site. There are 20 acres of the site to be explored, along with the other remnants of the abbey building including the crypt, the west tower ruins and the gatehouse. 

 

The woods are delightful with many features such as the pack horse bridge across the river and the sunken road, which divides the gardens from the woodland. The path actually goes under the dell gate, which is a 19th century folly. It was built with stone from the abbey and was made to look like a ruined medieval gate. The dell gate is locked in the late afternoon, earlier than the abbey closing time so do check the times beforehand so that you leave enough time to get back in from the woods.

 


 

 


 

There are plenty of cafes in the village of Walsingham and parking is two minutes walk from the abbey at the Old Mill Car Park, which is pay and display. A popular way of getting to the abbey is on the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, which runs, as the name suggests, between Wells-Next-to-the-Sea and Walsingham. The journey takes you along the old Wells branch line which has been re-opened as a 10 1/4 inch narrow gauge steam railway. It is a busy railway so get there early to avoid disappointment.

 

If you are looking for something else to do in the area there is Bircham Windmill, Norfolk's oldest working windmill. You can climb to the top of the mill tower and make bread from the freshly milled flour. There is an entrance fee, but the cafe, which is very good, can be visited for free. See our 'Other Place of Interest' page for details.

 


 

 


 

More info:  Walsingham Abbey

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