Who doesn’t love a good castle? In the UK, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to historical places to visit, so here’s our guide to some of the best, and most fun, to kickstart your adventure.
1. Bamburgh Castle
This castle in Northumberland has history dating back to 420AD, being one of the world’s top 10 Anglo-Saxon archaeological sites, and it’s right next to the beach! Explore its grand staterooms, beautiful grounds and find out all about the mysterious Bamburgh beast.
2. Arundel Castle
At the bottom of the South Downs National Park, Arundel castle is the perfect place to go to pretend to be a knight for the day. Don’t miss the regular historical re-enactments, Tulip Festival or the impressively high ceiling in the Baron’s Hall. Fun fact: Arundel Castle is possibly the only castle in the world to be established on Christmas day!
3. Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle can be dated all the way back to 914AD, which makes it older than a lot of countries! There’s so much to do here, whether you want to watch some jousting, get lost in the Horrible Histories maze, or enjoy a medieval feast in the evening, it makes for the perfect family day out.
4. St Michael’s Mount
Set on a picturesque hill by the sea in Cornwall, St Michael’s Mount is one of the most stunning castles in the UK. You can see for miles from the castle, which meant it was the first place to spot the Spanish Armada in 1588. Don’t forget to keep your eye out for the local giant that supposedly lives nearby!
5. Craigievar Castle
Set in the foothills of the Cairngorms, this castle may be small compared to some, but once you drive down the single-track road, you’ll be transported into a magical world that is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s famous castle. On the inside, everything above the ground floor has been kept exactly as it was in 1800s, so that means no electricity or lights!
6. Alnwick Castle
Take a trip to the North East if you’re a fan of the big screen. You might recognise Alnwick Castle from the Harry Potter series, as well various Robin Hood films, and Star Trek. There’s lots to do here for families, whether it’s taking Quidditch lessons or exploring the castle’s infamous Poison Garden… Be careful!
7. Caerphilly Castle
Drive to Caerphilly Castle and see the Welsh answer to the leaning tower of Pisa. The south-east tower, slanting at 10°, actually leans further than its wonky Italian counterpart. If fire-breathing dragons, stargazing and epic medieval battles are your thing, then you won’t be disappointed at the UK’s second biggest castle.
8. Castle Howard
There’s so much to explore at Castle Howard. Go in search of nature and take a picnic with over 1,000 acres of woodland, lakes and trails, or step inside and discover the fascinating history of one of Yorkshire’s grandest homes. Don’t miss their famous hot air balloon shows, and if that’s not enough, Castle Howard is only 30 minutes in the car from the historic city of York, so you can learn all about the Vikings!
9. Eilean Donan Castle
If you fancy a real adventure, head for the Scottish Highlands and take the stone footbridge to Eilean Donan Castle. Probably Scotland’s most widely recognised castle, it’s the perfect place to learn all about the Scottish clans, and take in the three beautiful surrounding lochs.
10. Dover Castle
Dover Castle has been the gateway to Britain for over nine centuries. It’s a fortress steeped in history, with fascinating wartime tunnels, iron-age archaeology, and one of the three remaining Roman lighthouses in the world – which is believed to be Britain’s oldest still standing structure! You can check out the white cliffs while you’re at it too.
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