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Places with a royal story to tell

A coronet with red velvet dome issuing from a metal crown with ball finials above an ermine band at Knole, Kent
This Earl's coronet was probably worn to the coronation of George IV in 1821 | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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 the places in our care have a royal story to tell. Here are our top stories, as nominated by our historical experts.

Blickling Hall, Norfolk
The present Blickling Hall is a Jacobean house that stands on the site of a former medieval manor, thought to have been the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, who was executed after no male heir was born. Her unhappy ghost is believed to wander the grounds of Blickling in the form of the Grey Lady.Visit Blickling Hall
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
For over three centuries the Cliveden Estate has been house and home to British royalty, from Queen Victoria to a young Queen Elizabeth II.Visit Cliveden
Corfe Castle, Dorset
These dramatic ruins hold many stories of royal intrigue, treachery and treason. In 978 King Edward, known as ‘the Martyr’, was believed to have been stabbed to death here, while visiting his stepmother. In later years the castle became a royal prison to King John, before being reduced to ruins during the Civil War.Visit Corfe Castle
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.Visit Dunham Massey
Erddig, Wales
Erddig Hall is a late 17th-century country house with a restored formal 18th-century Grade I listed walled garden. It’s also got an expansive 1,200 acre estate featuring veteran trees and woodland. In 1977, it was opened to the public by King Charles III, who rode a penny-farthing during this first visit. His Majesty returned to Erddig in 2022 to plant a rare oak sapling in memory of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. His Majesty was also presented with an acorn carved from Erddig oak by a volunteer, and a selection of apples from the orchards.Visit Erddig
Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire
When Fountains Hall was completed in 1604, Sir Stephen Proctor played host to a young prince, destined to become the ill-fated Charles I, during his first royal progress from Scotland to London. 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.Visit Fountains Abbey
Hatfield Forest, Essex
Hatfield Forest's royal connections date back to the Norman Conquest in 1066, when the forest was owned by King Harold. It then passed to William the Conqueror following his victory at the Battle of Hastings. Around 1100, Henry I created a royal hunting forest and much of that medieval history can still be seen in the forest today.Visit Hatfield Forest
The pale stone exterior of Fountains Hall which was built between 1598 and 1611, partly with stones from the ruins of Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.
Fountains Hall which was built between 1598 and 1611, partly with stones from the ruins of Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire. | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
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 live at Knole today.Visit Knole
Melford Hall, Suffolk
Melford Hall in Suffolk played host to Queen Elizabeth I in 1578 when she was a guest of Sir William Cordell during her Royal Progress from London through East Anglia. A stained glassed window in the Gallery was constructed in the 19th century to commemorate her visit.Visit Melford Hall
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.Visit Moseley Old Hall
Mount Stewart, County Down
In 1903 Edward VII and Alexandra stayed here 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 women and girls on the estate.'Visit Mount Stewart
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. The Queen Mother and George VI also honeymooned at Polesden and the Gold Room was built to impress visiting royalty.Visit Polesden Lacey
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.Visit Sutton Hoo
Small girl running between conical topiary hedges in the Cherry Garden at Ham House

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