Places with a royal story to tell

Discover the tale of a warrior king, learn how to prepare for a royal visit and spot the ghost of Anne Boleyn - just by having a day out with your family or friends. A lot of our places have a royal story to tell. Here are our top ten, as nominated by our historical experts.

The Great Hall at Blickling Hall, showing a relief of Anne Boleyn

Blickling Hall, Norfolk 

The present Blickling Hall is a Jacobean house that stands on the site of a former medieval manor. This is thought to have been the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. Executed after her failure to provide a male heir, her unhappy ghost is believed to wander the grounds of Blickling in the form of the Grey Lady. Anne Boleyn isn’t the only famous lady to have been to Blickling Hall. Actress Kim Cattrall nominated this as her special place: ‘I was visiting my cousin in Norfolk and decided to visit Anne Boleyn's childhood home. It was a perfect day.’

Corfe Castle from the south seen through dawn mist

Corfe Castle, Dorset 

Dominating the village below it, the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle hold many royal stories of intrigue, treachery and treason. In 978 King Edward, known as ‘the Martyr’, was believed to have been stabbed to death here, while visiting his step mother. In later years the castle became a royal prison to King John, before being reduced to ruins during the Civil War.

The fountain and pool in the Inner Courtyard at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Dunham Massey, Cheshire 

Dunham Massey's story crosses continents. In 1936 the Emperor of Ethiopia gave a speech to the League of Nations, voicing his concerns about the rise of fascism. His warnings were ignored and shortly afterwards Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and the Emperor was exiled to Bath. During this time he received a letter. Roger Grey, Dunham’s 10th Earl, had been moved by the Emperor’s speech and decided to contact him. It was to be the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

A family having a picnic in the grounds of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire 

When Fountains Hall was completed in 1604, Sir Stephen Proctor played host to the young prince during his first royal progress from Scotland to London. The Prince was destined to become the ill fated Charles I. Fountains Hall changed hands several more times then once again played host to royalty during the 1930s when the Duke and Duchess of York - later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth - often visited the Vyners family there.

The west front of Knole, Kent

Knole, Kent 

Over the centuries, Knole has evolved from manor to palace, royal residence and country seat. In 1538 King Henry VIII was so impressed with Knole that he forced the Archbishop of Canterbury to hand it over to him. Knole remained a royal residence throughout the Tudor period, until it came into the hands of Elizabeth I. In 1561 she gave Knole first to her favourite courtier, Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester. Then in 1566 the house passed to Elizabeth's treasurer and second cousin, Thomas Sackville, whose family still own Knole today.

The King's Room at Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire

Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire 

After escaping his disastrous defeat in the Battle of Worcester, Charles II took refuge at Moseley Old Hall for two days and nights. He had to sneak out in the guise of a serving man with Jane Lane, of nearby Bentley Hall. If you visit you can see a letter of thanks from Charles II to Jane, the bed on which he slept and the priest hole in which he hid. You can delve further into the history of Moseley Old Hall with guided tours.

A view across the Spanish garden towards the nineteenth century house at Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart, County Down 

In 1903 Edward VII and Alexandra visited Mount Stewart, staying for two nights. The Marchioness of Londonderry recorded details of the visit: ‘In accordance with the old tradition the rooms set aside for the King and Queen were redecorated and upholstered. Special white and gold damask had been specially woven in Belfast for Queen Alexandra’s rooms. The linen was specially woven too, then embroidered by the women and girls on the estate.' - Marchioness of Londonderry, Retrospect, 1938

The brass bed which was ordered for the Prince of Wales when he stayed at Penrhyn Castle in 1894

Penrhyn Castle, Bangor 

Among the royal visitors to Penrhyn Castle was Princess Victoria. She stayed in 1832 and again in 1859, after she became Queen, when she refused to sleep in the one-ton slate bed that had been specially made for her. She said it would have been like sleeping in a tomb. You’ll also see a brass bed in the King’s Bedroom, which was used by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, in 1894.

An archive black and white photograph of Mrs Greville standing with a dog in her arms

Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

Mrs Greville, an ambitious Edwardian hostess, chose Polesden Lacey to entertain four generations of royalty. Her photographs feature Queen Mary, Edward VII and the Maharaja. You can see a small sample of these photos in our Facebook album. The Queen Mother and George VI honeymooned at Polesden. See photos from the royal honeymoon on our Pinterest board.The Gold Room was built to impress visiting royalty.

Visitors in the exhibition hall at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, the Anglo-Saxon royal burial site

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk 

Sutton Hoo is thought to be the final resting place of Raedwald, the Anglo-Saxon warrior king of East Anglia. Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of Raedwald and his treasured possessions.