And there was me thinking Castle Rising was some Gothic pile dreamed up in a Fanny Craddock novel. Not so at all.
Try this. Motor over to that neglected and unloved part of England, the eastern seaboard, or what a less charitable colleague calls the endless mudflats. I mean that stretch of fertile flatland between Boston and Wisbeach snatched from the sea umpteen years ago by clever Dutch water engineers, fertile and black soiled and flat as a pancake.
But forget all that.
Drive on down the A17 past King's Lynn and turn left on the A149 heading towards the north Norfolk coast and out of the blue, no more than five miles on your way and maybe a mile off the main road, in the most unlikely of spots, one of the most beautiful, well-preserved 12th century castles you could wish for.
Now this is a place you can walk round, I mean rooms, stairs, balconies, windows to peer out of - none of this stumps-in-the-ground stuff , half a dozen stones piled up and the rest depending on your imagination. This is four-square, huge embellished and decorated stone walls towering above you the colour of an old lion's skin, arcaded and turreted and with a wide entrance staircase, the overhead slots still visible where you poured your boiling oil on the neighbours when they came to call. You could live in this place. In fact people did until quite recently historically speaking.
Be warned though. The spiral staircases and walkways might be troublesome if you're unsteady on your feet. And although there's decent toilets and the inevitable gift shop you'll need your own food. But a setting like this is perfect for a picnic anyway - English weather aside that is - close-cropped grass and wild flower-decked earthworks with a well-preserved gatehouse thrown in for good measure, this is a good couple of hours visit for three or four quid.
Queen Isabella was exiled here after her part in the murder of her husband Edward II. She thought it was going to be the end of the world. And it very well might have been. But in fact she loved it.
As did we.
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