England is famed for its many castles, which are spread throughout the country. Some of the castles are still lived in, some are ruins and some like the 2,000-year-old Milecastle 42 at Hadrian’s wall, are just foundations. With so many castles, how do you know which are the best castles in England to visit?
I have reached out to my fellow content creators for contributions of their favourite castles in England which will help you decide which ones to visit.
For now, travel is not permitted. Our content is intended as inspiration for future visits only. This article refers to a visit or visits made before the travel restrictions put in place to deal with the 2020–21 Covid-19 outbreak around the world. Please take into account the advice from your local government before planning any travel and click here to see the current UK government advice regarding Covid-19
Top Castles in England
Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
Contributed by Faith from xyuandbeyond & theworldskitchens
Kenilworth Castle is an imposing red sandstone ruin in Warwickshire famous for being the home of Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester who was in love with Queen Elizabeth. Kenilworth is a stunningly beautiful castle even though much of it has gone to ruin.
Kenilworth Village can be reached from Leamington Spa or Coventry by train and bus and it’s an easy drive from Birmingham. The Village is a really pretty place to visit and explore the old pubs and lovely shops. There are buses to the Castle and entry costs are £11.80 for an adult and £7.10 for a child’s ticket.
The Norman Keep built in the 12th century stands three stories high with 14-foot thick walls. Dudley had it modified to build the perfect love nest for a Queen. You can stand in the Queen’s private rooms and soak up the outstanding views she had.
There is a stunning Elizabethan garden that has been restored and it includes an aviary full of exotic birds, a marble fountain, and the Earl of Leicester’s emblem of a bear and staff.
In Leicester’s Gatehouse, an installation details the “romance” between Dudley and Queen Elizabeth including costumes, letters, and paintings. You can see an Elizabethan bedroom and the Oak Room, which were once Queen Elizabeth’s private rooms. There is a stunningly ornate alabaster fireplace and a four-poster bed with curtains, which was the height of luxury in its day.
Within the Tudor Stables, you can take in an exhibit that details the history of Kenilworth Castle dating back 900 years and have a coffee and a snack.
Wray Castle, Cumbria
Contributed by Demi from Around the World with Her
On the shores of England’s biggest lake, Wray Castle is a lovely place to visit. The castle sits on the edge of Windermere, framed by the rolling Lake District hills.
Built in a gothic style, with many turrets, the castle looks like it has been pulled straight from medieval times! Legend has it the castle was built by a man for his wife as a present, and when she first saw it she said she would never live in it.
The castle itself has only opened to the public in recent years. It is a great place to visit with kids, as there are activities inside such as dressing up in costume, and the Peter Rabbit adventure! The castle is now owned by the National Trust. It is well known for hosting famous Cumbrian author Beatrix Potter many years ago for a summer.
The land around Wray castle is great for a walk, and you can walk right along the shores of Windermere. The area is also well known for the diversity of flora and fauna, and the abundance of different species of trees.
To get to Wray castle, you can drive, cycle or walk from nearby Ambleside, or even take a ferry in the summer months.
Hampton Court Palace
Contributed by James from The Travel Scribes
A little way out of London, perched on the edge of Surrey and standing tall as the most beautiful building for miles around is the breathtakingly opulent complex of Hampton Court Palace. This Tudor-style castle was built back in 1515 by Cardinal Wolseley as a grand compound on the banks of the Thames, fit to host the royals but also monarchs visiting from Europe and further afield.
It is, however, more famously associated with Henry VIII, the conflicted King best-known for his many hunting jaunts and for having six (count ‘em six!) wives. Henry made Hampton Court Palace his home and the nearby Bushy Park his hunting ground, hosting glamorous events for the British elite. However, the palace does have a more sinister history too, as Henry’s third wife – Jane Seymour – died there during childbirth and Catherine Howard, his fifth wife, was arrested on the palace grounds for treason and adultery. It’s said her ghost still roams the Hampton Court halls…
Definitely add a guided tour of the palace as part of your London itinerary, before strolling through the spectacular gardens. For those on a budget, the gardens are actually free to enter every day between 9.00 and 10.00 am! While you’re in the vicinity, definitely take some time to attempt Hampton Court’s Maze, a gigantic maze made out of yew hedges which will definitely see you lost (and laughing) for a few minutes as you navigate your way out, or head to Bushy Park to see the fawn deer in action.
Not keen on tours or gardens? The Palace hosts a music festival each year as well as being home to an ever-rotating collection of the UK’s most beautiful art.
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
Contributed by Deb from The Visa Project
When I visited the UK on a business visa for a few months, I already had a bucket list of its medieval castles in my mind. I ended up visiting quite some, but very few have a history as diverse and colourful as Framlingham Castle in Suffolk county.
Starting from the 11th century when it was built, it has been destroyed and rebuilt and witnessed countless events in the history of England. But the one that stands out is for being the place where Bloody Mary’s proclaimed to be the queen of England in 1553- the same queen who had many religious dissenters burnt at stake in her quest to bring back catholicism to England.
Today, although many of its medieval buildings inside are in ruins, there are still 13 stone towers intact in the castle, connected by a ring of ‘curtain wall’, that forms a rough circle.
You can do the wall walk around a circuit of outer walls, crossing each of the 13 towers. Next to the castle, there is a wetland and a deep lake. You can also do the Framlingham Town Trail with an audio guide, to learn about many interesting anecdotes of the castle.
The entry fee to Framlingham castle is £11 per person.
The castle is only two hours or so from London. The easiest way is to take a train from London to Ipswich and then from there to the Wickham market. You can drive there as well or take a bus.
Contributed by Catherine from Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays
Ask a child to draw a castle and chances are it would look like Norwich Castle. Four square, high on a mound and topped with crenellations. William the Conqueror ordered Norwich Castle to be built soon after his victory in 1066. Ever since it has loomed over the City.
For centuries it was used as a prison but the Victorians converted it into a museum. Visitors today can see all things Norfolk from great golden torc necklaces discovered in ancient Saxon graves via Snap the Dragon who used to process through Norwich on high days and holidays through to a vast collection of teapots.
As a child, I loved the dioramas of Norfolk wildlife great glass cases stuffed full of stuffed creatures. You can visit the deep dank dungeons that every self-respecting castle should have and take in panoramic views of Norwich from the battlements.
Colchester Castle, Essex
Contributed by Kylie from Essex Explored
Colchester, Essex is the oldest recorded town in the UK. Colchester Castle dates back to 50A.D. and started life as a Roman temple. Only the foundations remain from this era, the main structure, as it looks now, is around 300 years old.
The castle houses a museum with interactive exhibits that document 2000 years of history. Entry to the museum is £10 for adults and £5.95 for a child. For an extra fee (£3 adult/£1.50 child), visitors can take a guided tour of the original Roman vaults and onto the roof of the castle.
‘Castle Park’, the grounds of the castle, are well worth a walk around and are free to enter. This is a large open space with playgrounds, a small boating lake, and a crazy golf course (additional fee). It’s a popular place to have a picnic on a nice day!
Colchester Castle is really easy to reach. It’s located at the bottom of the High Street and is close to other things to do in Colchester, including many shops, cafes, and restaurants. Colchester Town train station and bus park are 0.5 miles away (10-minute walk) and there are several ‘pay and display’ car parks also within a 10-minute walking radius.
Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
Contributed by Sophie and Adam from We Dream of Travel
Located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, this medieval castle is like something from a fairytale. Dating back to the 14th century, Bodiam Castle is surrounded by a reflective moat, magnifying its magical sandcastle-like appearance.
The impressive castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge to defend the local area against the French during the Hundred Years’ War. The exterior of the castle remains fairly intact and has undergone many repairs over the years. However, the interior has fallen into ruin. Yet, just enough remains to envisage how castle life may have once been with medieval knights wandering this quintessential English castle.
Over the centuries, it has been the property of various different families through inheritance, siege and sale. Today, it is a Grade I listed building and scheduled monument managed by the National Trust.
Bodiam Castle is also home to some rather special residents. It has one of the largest bat roosts in south-east England. Special bat walks are held during the spring to allow you to get a closer look at these protected animals.
At less than a 2 hour drive from London, it is easily one of the best castles near London. It is most easily reached by car. However, it is possible to get here by train and taxi.
The castle is open to the public daily, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, opening times vary seasonably so check their website for current times. Entrance to the castle and grounds costs £5 for an adult.
Contributed by Maartje & Sebastiaan from The Orange Backpack
Kensington Palace is one of the most famous palaces in Europe. It’s still in use as a royal residence and home to royals like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The State Rooms are open to the public and definitely worth a visit when travelling to London.
The palace is located next to the beautiful Hide Park in the city of London. It’s interesting to imagine this palace in the heart of modern London, was once built as a country house to escape the busy city. One of the most famous Kensington residents was Queen Victoria, born here in 1819. You might have heard of the Kensington System, referring to the harsh and lonely upbringing of Victoria by her mother at the palace. After ascending the throne at a young age, she moved out of the palace.
When visiting Kensington today, Victoria’s childhood is still part of the story told to visitors. Her old childhood rooms are part of the permanent exhibition and display personal items like her old doll house. Other highlights of a palace visit are the State Rooms and the fully furnished King’s and the Queen’s State Apartment.
When planning to visit Kensington Palace, book your ticket your preferred time slot online in advance. The ticket price is £17.50 when booked online and £19.50 on the day at the palace ticket office. Temporary exhibits are included in the ticket price.
Contributed by Rose from Where Goes Rose
Although royalty have never resided inside, Blenheim Palace is one of the UK’s most impressive palaces with thousands of visitors coming to explore the stately home and grounds every month. Many celebrities you will have heard of have also used the grounds of the palace as a wedding venue and who could blame them: it’s undeniably impressive!
Blenheim Palace is located in the village of Woodstock, right on the edge of the Cotswolds and just a 30-minute drive from Oxford. You can drive and access the onsite parking if you have a car, otherwise the number 7 bus travels between Oxford Rail Station and Blenheim Palace.
Built in the 18th century, Blenheim Palace was a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough who battled the French in the Battle of Blenheim. Built in English Baroque style, this iconic palace can be visited for £18.50 per person or £28.50 if you wish to explore the house as well as the grounds. If travelling on a budget there are a few public footpaths that enter the grounds from surrounding villages. You could spend a whole day walking and picnicking in the grounds. Other options include catching the miniature train to the butterfly house, browsing the gift shop or stopping for tea and cake in the cafe.
Nottingham Castle, Nottinghamshire
Contributed by Steph & Lewis from Book It Let’s Go
Nottingham Castle sits upon a sandstone cliff known as castle rock. It is one of the top attractions in Nottingham and for centuries it was a major fortress and royal residence. The first castle on the site was a wooden structure built in 1068, this was later replaced with a stone castle during the reign of Henry II. Nottingham castle has strong ties in legend and was supposedly the location of the last showdown between the outlaw Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. While the caves that lie under the castle were reportedly carved out by Sir Lancelot to hide Guinevere from King Arthur following their adulterous affair, the caves can still be visited today.
Nottingham castle is steeped in British history and was the starting point of the British Civil War in August 1642 when Charles I chose it as the rallying point for his armies. Following the execution of Charles I, the medieval Nottingham Castle was burned to the ground to prevent it being used in future uprisings.
The current Ducal Mansion was built by the 2nd Duke of Newcastle between 1674 and 1679 on the foundations of the previous Nottingham Castle. Today it is a museum housing art collections and galleries on the history and archaeology of Nottingham, there is also a bronze statue commemorating Robin Hood in the grounds. Nottingham Castle is easy to get reach by car from Junction 25 of the M1 or using public transport with a short walk from the many train, tram and bus stops nearby.
Leeds Castle, Kent
Contributed by Rob from Roam Yonder
Leeds Castle is located in the heart of Kent, near the town of Maidstone. It is very accessible as it’s only a couple of minutes away from the M20. It is free to enter the grounds but if you want to visit the castle you will have to pay £27.
The Castle is one of the most accessible in the UK. It hosts events throughout the year including a spectacular fireworks show, Christmas Market. In the summer there are a series of concerts. The castle and the grounds are also a popular wedding venue.
Since it’s construction, which started in 1119, Leeds Castle has had many different identities. In 1278 it was purchased by Eleanor of Castile. This begun it’s long royal ownership and the start of its association with six different Queens of England.
Between 1517-1523 the infamous Henry VIII transformed Leeds Castle from a fortified stronghold to a luxurious palace. In 1552, after nearly 300 years of royal ownership, Leeds Castle was given to Anthony St. Leger by King Edward VI for his service to Henry VIII.
Leeds Castle then passed through many different owners. In 1925 Leeds Castle was bought by Lady Baillie. She would become the last owner of the Castle which is now protected by the Leeds Castle Foundation.
Leeds Castle now spends it’s a time as a popular tourist spot welcoming over 600,000 visitors a year.
Hever Castle, Kent
Contributed by Ann from The Road Is Life
Hever Castle is a stunning 13th century Tudor style castle located in the beautiful countryside of Kent, only 40 minutes from London by train. The castle is surrounded by a large double-moat and a series of elaborate gardens featuring fountains, sculptures, and ponds.
Hever Castle is most famously known for being the home to the Boleyn family during the 15th and 16th centuries. During the time that King Henry VIII was courting Anne Boleyn, it is said that he would occasionally visit Hever Castle and stay in one of the rooms. Nowadays, you can enter the castle and take a tour through the beautiful interiors. Admire the lavishly decorated rooms and the well preserved Tudor portraits that line the corridors. Entrance to the castle and gardens costs £18 per adult or £10 per child.
Before hopping on the train and heading back to London, make sure to stop at the King Henry VIII pub. This lovely old pub dates back to the 16th century and is located next to Hever Castle. It’s a Tudor style pub serving traditional English food and ales. It’s the perfect place to refuel after a day of sightseeing at Hever Castle.
To get to Hever Castle from London, you can take the train that departs from Victoria Station. The journey requires switching trains at the Oxted station before reaching Hever Station. From there, you can either walk 20 minutes to the castle or take a taxi.
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
Contributed by Phoebe from Lou Messugo
Dunstanburgh castle is a striking ruin, dramatically located in splendid isolation on the Northumberland coast. It dates from the early 14th century, built between 1313 and 1319 by Thomas the Earl of Lancaster. The castle has a chequered history, passing between the Lancastrians and Yorkists several times during the War of the Roses in the 15th century. By the end of the 15th century its importance had begun to wane and it had started to deteriorate. Records show that by the late 1670s it was in a ruinous state.
Nowadays Dunstanburgh castle is managed by English Heritage: entry is free to members and members of the National Trust too. Otherwise prices for individuals are between £3.50-£6.50 with various group and family bundles available.
In terms of facilities, the castle has a shop with snacks, but no toilets. Parking is available in the villages of Embleton and Craster (where there are toilets) 1.5 miles away. Access to the castle is by foot only.
The walk from Craster car park (1.5 miles one way) is relatively flat and easy following the dramatic coast. It is gorgeous, with views of the castle the whole way guiding you in the right direction. You walk through fields of grazing livestock (keep dogs on a lead) and can access the beach at times. Much of the enjoyment of this castle is its lonely location and beautiful walk, with endless fabulous photo opportunities of it on the stunning coast. Pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery!
Location: 8 miles NE of Alnwick between Craster and Embleton. Postcode: NE66 3TT
Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland
Contributed by Phoebe from Lou Messugo
Lindisfarne castle is located on Holy Island near Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. It stands tall on the highest point of the island and was built as a defensive fort in the 16th century. Its location close to the Scottish border has meant it was in the crossfire between the Scots and the English for much of its early existence. However it is its reincarnation at the beginning of the 20thcentury that intrigues and interests most visitors nowadays.
In 1901 the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens redesigned the castle to become the holiday home of publishing magnate Edward Hudson (owner of the magazine Country Life). Using Arts and Crafts techniques he turned the fort into a homely, if quirky, space.
Lindisfarne castle is managed by the National Trust and is free for members. Prices for non-members range from £4.59-£9.00 for individuals with group tariffs available. Parking is in the village about 1 mile from the castle. Toilets are located in the village coach park and castle itself. The shop is also in the village. Access to the castle is up a steep ramp making it difficult for those with mobility issues.
Holy Island can be reached by car twice a day across a causeway at low tide. However, at high tide it’s cut off which means you absolutely must pay attention to tide times and check when it is safe to cross before visiting. This site gives you all the information you need. The drive across the causeway is beautiful and the incredible views from the castle extend along the coast, taking in another imposing Northumberland castle – Bamber castle. Lindisfarne castle’s unique position on this magical island makes is a captivating place to visit.
Location: 14 miles SE of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Postcode: TD15 2SH
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Contributed by Lucy from On the Luce
Nicknamed the ‘Windsor of the North’, Alnwick Castle is one of the most spectacular castles in Northumberland – but you might know it better as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after it featured as a location for the Harry Potter films. Located on the Northumberland coast north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Alnwick Castle has been owned by the Dukes of Northumberland for more than 700 years. The family still use it as their home, but it’s open to visitors too.
The castle was was built shortly after the Norman Conquest and you can explore its turreted medieval buildings and stone walls. Or take a tour of the castle’s staterooms, which were restored in Italian Renaissance style in the 19th century. Rooms are decorated with lavish silk fabrics, gilding and carvings, as well as an impressive collection of antique furniture and artworks. There are also museums on military history and the archaeology of the castle, as well as lots of family-friendly activities like dungeon tours, falconry, fire-eating jesters and broomstick training sessions.
Entry to Alnwick Castle and the adjacent gardens costs £26.10 for adults, £22.20 for concessions and £11.15 for children aged 5–16, with tickets valid for a year so you can go back more than one. Alnwick Garden is a beautiful place to relax with water sculptures and a giant waterfall, as well as a rose garden and bamboo maze.
Highclere Castle, Berkshire
Contributed by Justine from Wanderers of the World
For Downton Abbey fans, Highclere Castle needs little introduction. After all, it was the principal filming location throughout all six seasons and again in the 2019 movie.
But even beyond its silver screen fame, Highclere Castle is such an incredible place to visit.
The castle’s many rooms are grand and historic, but your camera will have to stay within its bag for this one as no photos are allowed inside. This is probably due to the fact that the castle is – first and foremost – the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.
The castle also sits within 5000-acre grounds, which have many landscaped gardens for you to explore. There’s even a secret garden!
But what few know about Highclere is that the castle’s cellar is also home to an Egyptian exhibition.
In 1922, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon helped Howard Carter discover the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Although the Tutankhamum displays you’ll see in Highclere are replicas, they are nestled among real Egyptian artefacts brought back from that same trip.
How’s that for a unique day out?
Highclere Castle can be found in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Berkshire, England and is less than a six mile drive from the city of Newbury. It also takes under two hours to get to from London, so it’s often a popular day trip from the capital.
But remember, because the castle is a home, it’s not open year-round. Every few months, new tours become available, which you can pay for and book online. You’ll need to be quick though as tickets sell out fast – and often at least 3-4 months ahead.
Milecastle 42, Northumberland
Contributed by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Milecastle 42 is a bit different from the rest of the UK’s castles, and unfortunately, its foundations are all that remain today. But that’s because the castle is nearly 2,000 years old! It’s part of Hadrian’s Wall, the most famous ancient Roman site in Britain.
Originally, this would have been 1 of 80 milecastles built into the wall. These were small, rectangular forts that were spaced out along the wall at intervals of one Roman mile, hence the name. Since this one is the 42nd milecastle, that means it’s near the middle of the wall, in a section that’s particularly well preserved. There are several other related sites in the vicinity that are worth visiting while you’re here, such as Chesters Fort, Housesteads Fort and the Roman Army Museum.
A great way to experience Hadrian’s wall is by hiking alongside it, on the trail known as the Hadrian’s Wall Path. Try to time your walk so that you will reach Milecastle 42 around lunchtime. That way, you can stop in for a meal at the nearby Milecastle Inn. This pub has a great atmosphere and also caters very well for vegans and vegetarians. If you really want to immerse yourself in the milecastle experience, you could even spend the night here. Alternatively, the AD 122 hop-on-hop-off bus makes it easy to reach Milecastle 42 from Hexham or Haltwhistle.
Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Contributed by Tracy from UK Travel Planning
Sudeley Castle is located in the Cotswolds near Winchcombe and 8 miles north east of Cheltenham.
If you drive to the castle you will find plenty of free parking. Alternatively catch the train to Cheltenham Spa and then take the shuttle service to the castle.
Sudeley is famous for its royal connections and is the only private castle to have a Queen buried on its property. You can visit the tomb of Catherine Parr who was Henry VIII’s sixth wife. She is buried in the 15th century St Mary’s Church on the castles grounds.
Don’t miss the magnificent gardens. There are 10 in all with the Queen’s Garden in particular famous for it’s beautiful flowers and roses. Enjoy views of the Cotswold Hills as you stroll the grounds.
To learn more about the history of Sudeley Castle take time to look at the exhibition. There are some fascinating pieces on display including a lock of Katherine Parr’s hair and autographs by Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens.
Entry to the castle costs £17.25 for adults and £7.95 for children. If you are visiting the Cotswolds do plan to include Sudeley Castle into your itinerary.
Buckingham Palace, London
Contributed by David from Delve Into Europe
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen in the centre of London. It’s where she celebrates her birthday in June each year, and where the Trooping the Colour parade culminates. It’s also where she receives visits from government ministers and foreign leaders. It’s one of the most iconic and famous buildings in London, and possibly the building most closely associated with the monarchy in the minds of most people in the UK.
Informally known as Buck House, it was originally built in the early 18thcentury as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It has been under royal ownership since 1861, and first became the monarch’s official London residence in 1837, after Queen Victoria ascended the throne. It had been remodeled and expanded, mainly by John Nash and Edward Blore, in the early 19th century – the famous East Front was added after the accession of Victoria.
Buckingham §Palace is only open to the public for around ten weeks a year, when it’s possible to visit the State Rooms, Royal Mews and Queen’s Gallery. Tickets for the State Rooms only cost £26.50 per adult, or £24.00 for over-60s, while a Royal Day Out package, including the Mews and Gallery, comes to £49.00 per adult, or £44.00 for over-60s.
The Palace manages to draw the crowds throughout the year as it’s one of two London locations where the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place. It starts at 1045 but crowds congregate early, so it’s best to get there before then. It takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between August and May, and daily in June and July.
The area around Buckingham Palace has no public transport. The nearest Tube stations are Green Park (Victoria Line, 10 minutes’ walk) and St James’s Park (Circle and District lines, similar distance).
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Contributed by Stephanie from Explore More Cleanless
Warwick Castle is located in central England, along the River Avon in the city of Warwick. To get to the castle, you can take the train (but be prepared for a 1 mile walk from the station), private car, or one of many organized group tours. Day tickets are £28 but you can save by buying online before you come and there are more expensive packages with more amenities to choose from as well.
Originally built in 1068, the castle has had several different family owners and is now managed by an entertainment company. While there is an inside tour of the castle, the focus is more on family fun than focusing on educating history buffs. Visitors can expect live action falconry shows, jousting, storytime plays, and interactive history exhibits.
There is the opportunity for all ages to try archery, archery shows, a Horrible Histories hedge maze & scavenger hunt, in addition to the largest working siege machine in the world: a reproduction trebuchet that is put on display. There are several dining options within the castle, making it easy to spend a full day without leaving the grounds, and several lodging options so you can extend your visit easily.
Read more about a day’s visit and how you can sleep in one of its towers in this blog post about visiting Warwick Castle with kids.
Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex
Contributed by Suzanne from Sussex Bloggers
Beautiful Herstmonceux Castle sits amid formal gardens and woodland in the East Sussex countryside near Hailsham and not far from the English Channel. The semi-moated 15th-century castle is unusual in that it’s the oldest brick-built structure of any significance in the UK. The castle is set in 550 acres of parkland and has seven beautiful themed gardens.
The glorious walled garden dates back to before 1570 and you’ll find the Shakespeare garden, a apothecary garden, woodlands sculptures and a lily filled moat. The avenue of 350 year-old Spanish Chestnuts by the tea room and gift shop is impressive.
The grounds and gardens make a lovely half day out. There are tours of the inside of the castle at an extra cost of £2 but as the castle is actually an International Study Centre the inside tours are not always available. It’s best to check on the castle website before you visit.
Entry price is £7 for adults and £3.50 for children aged 4-17 years. Under 4’s go free. There are also family tickets and senior concessions available.
By car – Wartling Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2RN. Ensure your SatNav uses the Wartling Road entrance and follow the signs as the postcode may not lead you to the correct entrance.
By train – Take the train from London Victoria station to Polegate station. From there, you’ll need to take a taxi to Herstmonceux Castle which will take around 18 minutes. There’s a rank outside the station.
Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Contributed by Mark from Vogatech
The medieval castle of Arundel is located in Arundel, West Sussex. The castle has been refurbished and restored and is open to the public. It was founded in 1067 on Christmas Day by Roger de Montgomery. Now, the owner is the Duke of Norfolk.
Most of the castle is open to visitors from March to October. Ticket prices start at £11. The price is essentially different variations of which you want to visit. If you want to see the whole castle, then at a price of £22.
You can reach this beautiful castle by car or train. There are special lines that lead to castles. It takes about 2 hours to tour the castle.
The castle was found and placed next to small screens because of its authenticity. In 1988, he filmed Dr. Who is, in 1994, was screened in the film ” The Madness of King George “, in 2009 in the film ” The Young Victoria “.
In addition to interesting, authentic interiors, there are also breathtaking gardens. Awarded for their uniqueness and beauty there are the English and Tropical Gardens. There is also a Kitchen Garden, as well as a greenhouse where it is grown by exotic species for this base, such as chilli, lemon, and grapefruit. The rose garden will enchant you not only with its appearance but also with its scent.
A visit to this beautiful place full of history can also be done in groups. With such species, it is necessary to make a reservation, and there is a possibility of getting a guide.
Also, the castle offers a restaurant where you can relax and take a break from visiting for lunch, or simply have a coffee and a refreshing drink.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex
Contributed by Kathryn from Travel with Kat
In the shadow of the rolling hills of the South Downs in West Sussex, a small castle once stood overlooking the village of Amberley.
The castle started life as a 12th century hunting lodge. Over the next 400 years various fortifications were added transforming it into a castle. In the 17th century it was attacked by Oliver Cromwell who left it in ruins. The current manor house was built inside the ruined walls from the remnants of the castle’s great hall. Despite its ruinous state Amberley Castle is still an impressive sight as you turn the corner and walk or drive via the sweeping lawns to the castle’s portcullis.
Amberley Castle lies a few miles east of the A29 road between London and the coastal town of Bognor Regis. At Whiteways roundabout, (a couple of miles north of Arundel) head east along the B2139. Turn down Castle Lane which is about half a mile after Amberley Station and drive a further half mile to the castle. Amberley can also be reached by train from London Victoria in about an hour and a half. From the station it is a 20-minute walk to the castle.
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Contributed by Stephanie from History Fan Girl
Windsor Castle is the longest continually inhabited palace or castle in Europe. It was built by the Normans and has been an important fortification for the British Royal Family for almost one thousand years.
It is currently one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth II. When you visit, you can tell if the queen is home by looking at the positioning of the flags outside. Lucky you if she’s there during your tour! Though it’s doubtful, of course, that you will get to see her.
On a tour, you will get to see the gorgeous staterooms and amazing artwork on the walls. Many of the most famous pictures of the English Royals are on display in the rooms you will see during your visit!
If you come to Windsor for the day, you’ll have time to do a bit of sightseeing beyond the castle. The town of Windsor grew up around the castle, and many of the homes are occupied by people who either work in the castle currently or whose family worked at the castle throughout the centuries. There are cozy historic pubs here to rest your feet after your tour, and you can walk over to the village of Eaton to see a bit of the famous school.
Tickets for adults are close to thirty pounds, so it’s not a budget-friendly tour, but it’s one you will remember for ever!
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Contributed by Tracey from PackThePJs
Bamburgh Castle is located along the beautiful east Northumbrian coast. The 11thCentury castle is close to the village of Bamburgh and was used as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films, as Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey and was also a location for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It is obvious why it appeals to film makers – the castle and its setting are absolutely beautiful. It has become a popular wedding venue too.
Entry costs approximately £33 for a family of two adults and two children, with an additional £3 for parking. We loved that the castle grounds are dog-friendly; we could all attend while taking it in turns to look after the dogs while the other viewed the rooms.
There’s lots to see, from an aviation museum and archaeological museum to the battlements and cannons to the 14 staterooms that include an armoury, dungeon and the most incredible King’s Hall – standing in the Hall is it clear why people want to book the venue for their wedding!
There is a lovely tearoom on site. For those with dogs, the Victorian stables has been converted into booths for sitting in – you can bring your pets with you into here while you enjoy the tea, cakes and sandwiches on offer.
You can easily spend the best part of the day at Bamburgh Castle. They often run themed events and workshops too, which are worth looking out for.
St Michael’s Mount & Castle, Marazion, Cornwall
Contributed by Vanessa from Long Term House Sitters
Steeped in history and legend, St Michael’s Mount was originally home to Benedictine monks when gifted by Edward the Confessor back in the 11th Century. The earliest buildings, including the original castle, date back to the 12th century. It later became a convent and was eventually bought by a local Baron in 1659. Unusually it has remained a family home ever since. In 1954 most of St Michael’s Mount was given to the National Trust, with the St Aubyn family retaining a 999 year lease to inhabit the castle.
The mount and castle are unique in accessibility. Take either a short walk across the cobbled causeway at low or mid tide, or take the small boat that provides access to the island’s tiny harbour at high tide.
Explore the waterside, village, the barge house museum and the castle with its outstanding terraced gardens. Discover the island’s religious roots, immersed in times of siege and conflict. Once a thriving community and home to over 300 islanders with 53 cottages over 4 streets, it is now much smaller. But you can still see much of what shaped this island’s past, from the blacksmith forge, to the laundry (now the Island Café).
You can easily spend a morning or afternoon exploring the island and castle, but the historical village of Marazion on the Cornish coast, or nearby Penzance, provide additional options for eating, drinking, and shopping. From either you can experience some easy sections of the South West Coastal Path, with the island setting always providing a stunning backdrop.
There is a large car park in Marazion, from where you can access both the causeway and boats to the island.
Entry fees – Access to the causeway and island are free to National Trust members (car-parking and boats are extra). Non members pay 8.50 adult, 4.00 child or 21.00 for a family.
Covid Update – Tickets must be booked online in advance and the castle interior is currently closed but the gardens alone are worth the visit.
You can plan your visit here: https://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/
Highcliffe Castle, Dorset
Contributed by Alex from Alex on the Map
There are so many castles to visit in England, but Highcliffe Castle might be one of the most intriguing. Built in-between the years 1831 and 1835, it features a Gothic Revival style and includes Medieval stones from Normandy. Built as an estate for the wealthy Lord Stuart de Rothesay, he gained his wealth as a diplomat before retiring early and building his new castle home on the land owned by his ancestors. After his death, his widow received the estate, which was then passed down to his daughter. From there, it was given to a distant cousin and fell into disarray.
After it had caught on fire, it was purchased by a number of organizations meant to save Britain’s national heritage. From 1977 to 1998 it was restored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is available to the general public all year long. Now, you can visit the attached restaurant after a tour and plan to have your wedding or private even there as well. While it is currently closed, an adult can visit for seven pounds once it reopens. One of the best parts? You can also visit online for free with a virtual tour. Head over to the castle’s website and check it out!
Map of the Best Castles in England
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Larch lives a semi-nomadic life. Her life changed 20 years ago when a silly accident left her with restricted use of her right arm and neck and was told she would never work again. She turned her life around, retrained herself and set up as a self-employed website designer. This allowed her to work wherever she was in the world. Her passion for travel led her to start up her travel blog The Silver Nomad, to inspire over 40s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons. In 2019 Larch qualified as a CAA Drone Pilot which she combines with her travels.