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Norfolk's grandest homes open for new season

PUBLISHED: 09:49 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 08 July 2010

VISITORS to some of the grandest homes in the region are being invited to take a step back in time and get actively involved in exploring the history of the buildings.

VISITORS to some of the grandest homes in the region are being invited to take a step back in time and get actively involved in exploring the history of the buildings.

After months of cleaning and conservation, hundreds of the trust's staff and volunteers are making final preparations so that the county's grandest homes can welcome visitors once more.

Oxburgh Hall, a moated manor house in Oxborough, near King's Lynn, opened for the season on Saturday.

Visitors are being given the chance to explore the hall through the sense of smell, from the leather books that line the shelves in the library or the aroma of freshly cut sweet peas in the north bedroom.

Blickling Hall near Aylsham also opened on Saturday with the chance to view the internationally significant collection of books housed there, including a collection by Sir Richard Ellys who was an avid collector, antiquarian and theologian.

This year there will also be a series of book exhibitions, which will give visitors the chance to take a closer look at the books.

Visitors to Peckover House in Wisbech, will also see more of what life was like behind the scenes as the back stairs of the town house will be revealed to the public when the doors open from March 13.

A stunning mosaic floor has also been repaired at the house and the area re-decorated to look as it did in the Peckover era.

Regional director of the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds, said of the thinking behind the new visitor attractions: “The demands of conservation and public access can conflict, but shouldn't.

“So far, we are rethinking the way our built properties are presented to reduce their 'look, don't touch' atmosphere, and bring them more vividly to life.

“And we are rethinking how we use our land in a more creative way. We are experimenting with creating the look, sounds and smell of houses at crucial moments in their history.”

To learn more about the experiences on offer at National Trust properties and grounds, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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