Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – England chapter Cambridge & East Anglia has to say about Blickling Hall:
Largely remodelled in the 17th century for Sir Henry Hobart, James I’s chief justice, Blickling Hall began life in the 11th century as a manor house and bishop’s palace. The grand Jacobean staterooms are stuffed with fine Georgian furniture, pictures and tapestries; the plaster ceiling in the Long Gallery is spectacular. The estate’s vast parklands are criss-crossed with cycling and walking routes.
In 1437 the isolated house was claimed by the Boleyn family and passed through
the generations to Thomas, father of Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed by her husband Henry VIII in 1533. He opted to have her beheaded. It’s said that on the anniversary of her death a coach drives up to the house, drawn by headless horses, driven by headless coachmen and containing the queen with her head on her lap.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We had a few hours on our own the second day at the Rectory, and instead of succumbing to the idea of an afternoon nap, we took Mark’s advice and drove the short distance to visit Blickling Hall. I had read about the estate in our guidebook and was intrigued by the fact that it was once the home of Ann Boleyn, and the gruesome tales of headless horses, headless coachmen and a headless queen.
The building and the grounds were more beautiful and more interesting than we had expected them to be. A guide in the gilded staterooms pointed out the fact that one of the magnificent diamonds that Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor, was previously owned by a female resident of Blickling Hall.
We were equally surprised to learn that the last private owner of Blickling Hall, Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian, was keen on India and we saw photographs of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indra Gandhi when they visited the Marquess at his stately home. There’s a display of Lord Lothian’s personal effects, and hanging above is an Indian flag side by side with the British Union Jack.
At the end of the tour, we strolled around the vast grounds and gardens, enjoying the late autumn sunshine. Anil stopped to admire an unusual stone clock, much like a sundial, but somewhat unique. We ended the visit with a cup of tea and a delicious dessert, knowing that it would carry us till dinner.