Visiting a castle is a journey into a world of enchantment, where history comes alive, and the echoes of bygone eras resonate through towering stone walls. For both adults and children, exploring these majestic fortresses is a delightful blend of education and entertainment. Castles captivate the imagination, inviting visitors to step into the shoes of knights, kings, and queens who once walked the same halls. Hence I have compiled a list of some of the best castles to visit in the UK (not just England for any international readers)
The experience of visiting a castle is always a feast for the senses, from the grandeur of opulent state rooms to the thrill of climbing spiral staircases that lead to panoramic battlements. For children, in particular, a castle visit is not just a day out—it’s a captivating adventure that seamlessly weaves learning and play. These ancient strongholds become immersive classrooms where history lessons become vivid tales, and the architectural wonders serve as a backdrop for fostering curiosity and a lifelong love for exploration. From secret passageways to towering turrets, the enchanting world of castles opens the door to a realm where education and amusement go hand in hand, creating lasting memories and igniting a passion for the past.
- Windsor Castle (England)Windsor Castle, located in Berkshire, is a magnificent royal residence and perhaps on of the most famous castles due to its Royal connection to British History. It is also the oldest continuously inhabited castle in the world. Visitors can explore the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, and the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a popular attraction. Fun Fact: During World War II, the castle housed the Royal Library and the royal family took refuge in the dungeon.
- Edinburgh Castle (Scotland):Perched atop Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can see the Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, and the Royal Palace. The castle also hosts military history exhibitions. Fun Fact: The castle’s One O’Clock Gun has been fired daily since 1861 to help ships set their clocks.
- Caernarfon Castle (Wales):A UNESCO World Heritage site, Caernarfon Castle in North Wales is known for its imposing walls and towers. Visitors can explore the Eagle Tower, Queen’s Gate, and the Castle Museum. The castle was built to symbolize Edward I’s dominance over Wales. Fun Fact: Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.
- Tower of London (England):The Tower of London has a rich history as a royal castle, palace, prison, and fortress. Visitors can see the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, and the medieval White Tower. The ravens at the tower are said to protect the monarchy, and legend has it that if they leave, the kingdom will fall.
- Stirling Castle (Scotland):Stirling Castle, situated on Castle Hill, has played a pivotal role in Scotland’s history. Visitors can explore the Great Hall, the Royal Palace, and the Castle Exhibition. The castle sits on the site of an ancient volcano and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
- Dover Castle (England):Overlooking the English Channel, Dover Castle has medieval tunnels, a Roman lighthouse, and a medieval royal palace. Visitors can explore the Secret Wartime Tunnels used during World War II. Fun Fact: During the Napoleonic Wars, a network of tunnels was excavated to create barracks for soldiers.
- Conwy Castle (Wales):Conwy Castle is a medieval fortress with well-preserved walls and towers. Visitors can climb the battlements, explore the Great Hall, and enjoy panoramic views of Conwy. The castle was built as part of Edward I’s “iron ring” of fortresses in Wales. Fun Fact: The castle’s construction was completed in just four years, an impressive feat for the time.
- Warwick Castle (England):Warwick Castle, located on the River Avon, features a mix of medieval and Victorian architecture, another of the most famous English Castles. Visitors can explore the castle’s dungeons, the Great Hall, and the beautiful gardens. The castle hosts interactive shows, including jousting tournaments highlighting the medieval period of the castles history.. Fun Fact: Warwick Castle has been used as a film location for various movies and television series.
- Bamburgh Castle (England):Bamburgh Castle, perched on a rocky plateau, boasts stunning views of the Northumberland coast. Visitors can explore the State Rooms, the medieval kitchen, and the Armstrong and Aviation Artefacts Museums. The castle has a history dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Fun Fact: The castle was once owned by Victorian industrialist Lord Armstrong, who conducted early experiments in aviation on its grounds.
- Dunrobin Castle (Scotland):Dunrobin Castle, the largest castle in the northern Highlands, resembles a French château. Visitors can explore the castle’s beautiful gardens, the museum, and the stunning rooms. The castle has been the ancestral home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. Fun Fact: The castle’s architecture was inspired by the French Renaissance, and it is often referred to as the “Highland Castle.”
- Alnwick Castle (England): Alnwick Castle, a medieval fortress in Northumberland, stands as a testament to England’s rich history. The castle, dating back to the 11th century, boasts an array of architectural styles and has served various roles, from a medieval stronghold to a family home. Notably featured in the Harry Potter films as Hogwarts, Alnwick Castle draws visitors with its enchanting castle grounds, medieval grandeur, and an intriguing Poison Garden filled with deadly plants. Fun Fact: The castle’s current owners, the Percy family, have resided here for over 700 years, making it one of the oldest inhabited castles in England.
- Bodiam Castle (England): Nestled in East Sussex, Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle, exemplifying the classic image of a medieval fortress. Built during the Hundred Years’ War, its well-preserved structure includes a great tower, a drawbridge, and battlements that showcase the defensive ingenuity of the time. The castle, surrounded by a picturesque moat, has become one of Great Britain’s most beautiful castles and a popular tourist destination. Fun Fact: Bodiam Castle’s moat is not only a defensive structure but also contributes to the castle’s reflection, creating a stunning visual spectacle.
- Arundel Castle (England): Arundel Castle, situated in West Sussex, has a rich history dating back to the 11th century. This Norman castle, expanded over subsequent centuries, played a role in the English Civil War and has been the family home of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years. With its medieval architecture, the castle offers a fascinating glimpse into English history and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Fun Fact: Arundel Castle has been featured in numerous films and television series, adding to its allure as a historic and cinematic treasure.
- Leeds Castle (England): Located in Kent, Leeds Castle is often referred to as the “loveliest castle in the world.” Originally built in the 12th century, the castle evolved over the centuries into a stately home and a popular tourist attraction. Set on an island surrounded by a lake, Leeds Castle offers picturesque views and beautifully landscaped grounds. Fun Fact: Henry VIII visited Leeds Castle with Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, and it later became a residence for six of his queens.
- Corfe Castle (England): Perched atop a hill in Dorset, Corfe Castle has a history dating back to the 11th century and played a role in the English Civil War. The castle’s ruins stand as a testament to its former glory, and visitors can explore its grounds and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Fun Fact: Corfe Castle was partially demolished by Parliamentarians after the English Civil War to prevent it from being used again.
- Kenilworth Castle (England): Kenilworth Castle, located in Warwickshire, has a rich history spanning from the 11th to the 17th century. Originally a Norman keep, it evolved into a medieval fortress and later a Tudor palace. The castle grounds showcase the ruins of various structures, including the Elizabethan Garden. Fun Fact: During the reign of Elizabeth I, Kenilworth Castle hosted an extravagant 19-day party thrown by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to win the queen’s favor.
- Cardiff Castle (Wales): Situated in the heart of Cardiff, this Norman castle has origins dating back to the 11th century. Cardiff Castle underwent extensive renovations in the 19th century, incorporating a Gothic revival style. Visitors can explore the Castle Apartments, the Norman Keep, and wartime shelters, gaining insight into Welsh and English history. Fun Fact: The castle’s Clock Tower contains a 10-foot statue of the Roman soldier, originally placed there by the Third Marquess of Bute.
- Hever Castle (England): Hever Castle in Kent holds historical significance as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. The castle, dating back to the 13th century, showcases Tudor architecture, beautiful gardens, and a Yew Maze. Fun Fact: Anne Boleyn’s prayer books and personal items are on display in the castle’s Long Gallery, providing a glimpse into her life.These magnificent castles span centuries of history, offering visitors a unique journey through England and Wales, with each fortress revealing tales of royalty, battles, and architectural splendor.
These castles offer a fascinating glimpse into the history and heritage of the United Kingdom, each with its own unique features and stories to tell.
Last Updated on 2 months by Lavania Oluban