One of the vital identifiable issues in regards to the UK is its long-standing Royal Household. Due to this fact, it isn’t stunning that throughout the nation, there are greater than 4000 castles in numerous states of restore, a lot of which had been, at one time, house to Royalty. Of these, a few of the finest castles within the UK might be present in England.
Castles have been dominating the panorama in England for hundreds of years, with every one forming a part of the historical past, whether or not constructed particularly as Royal residences or as a former strategic stronghold, every distinctive not directly, making it laborious to slim down which one of many many scattered across the nation is one of the best to go to. Due to this fact, beneath is a information to a few of the coolest English castles, a lot of that are UNESCO World Heritage Websites.
Plan your journey to England
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Simply 40 minutes west of London, Windsor Fort has been a Royal residence for over 950 years and stays the most important citadel in England, with round 5 hectares of land. Additionally it is the oldest citadel in England and the longest-running palace in Europe, having housed 40 monarchs because it was constructed within the eleventh century.
A favorite of Queen Elizabeth II, Windsor Fort stays open all 12 months to guests, permitting you to get a glimpse into the lifetime of the British Monarchy. As soon as contained in the citadel, you possibly can wander round historic rooms constructed for Charles II and George IV and discover grandiose rooms just like the Waterloo Chamber, the Crimson Drawing Room, and the Grand Reception room, embellished in actual good plus catch sight of the Grand Staircase. Additionally, you will get to see some real masterpieces, vases, and sculptures created by a few of the most famous artists ever to reside and see Queen Mary’s very personal dollhouse, which was made in 1924.
The skin isn’t any much less spectacular with the Spherical Tower, which sits above the oldest a part of the citadel, gracing the skyline from afar. To actually grasp the splendor of Windsor Fort, although, it’s best seen from the Lengthy Stroll, a 3-mile tree-lined stretch by the Nice Park with a formidable statue of King George III on horseback on the far finish.
Lastly, no go to to the citadel can be full with no tour of St. George’s Chapel, one of many best examples of Gothic structure, based in the course of the 14th century after which enlarged in the course of the fifteenth. Since then, many ceremonies have taken place there, together with, most not too long ago, Prince Harry’s marriage ceremony and Queen Elizabeth II’s burial.
Travelling by prepare is straightforward, with a number of prepare traces feeding into Windsor station. On the similar time, by automobile, it’s accessible by way of the motorway, though be warned that parking is at a premium.
Lodging close to Windsor Fort
Many are simply confused by the title of Leeds Fort as a result of it’s located not in Leeds as you would possibly anticipate however additional south in Kent. This citadel, constructed greater than 900 years in the past, is also known as one of the crucial romantic castles in England to go to and was as soon as the Tudor Palace of Henry VIII.
Initially a picket citadel constructed in the course of the Saxon age and located in the course of the River Len, the present construction and its 500 acres of parkland have been standing since 1119. Over time, not solely has it been house to arguably probably the most well-known monarch in British historical past and a Norman stronghold, however seven queens had been fortunate sufficient to name this citadel house. It was then bought by American Heiress Woman Baillie, who turned it into a sublime retreat for the wealthy and well-known.
Right this moment, as you step by the gates of Leeds Fort and straight into the in depth grounds bursting with wildlife and fantastically manicured gardens, you’ll get your first sightings of among the finest castles in England.
Enter the citadel and be transported again into the Nineteen Thirties to a time when Hollywood stars and society’s elite would have partied earlier than heading again exterior to deal with the difficult maze and its underground grotto with legendary beasts. There are additionally Spectacular Fowl of Prey shows to observe, mini golf to play, and prepare and ferry rides to take.
In the summertime months, households descend for picnics within the park and to observe the jousting tournaments that happen, whereas in the course of the winter months, one can find homicide mysteries enjoying out right here and festive events going down.
The closest prepare station to Leeds Fort might be discovered at Bearsted, which runs a shuttle service on to the gate in the course of the summer season months, whereas in the course of the winter, you possibly can decide up a personal switch from the identical location. By automobile, it’s simply 7 miles from Maidstone, and parking is included within the value of your entrance ticket.
Lodging close to Leeds Fort
Maybe the best-preserved citadel within the Midlands, Warwick Fort, might be discovered on a bend on the River Avon. It was initially a picket citadel rebuilt in stone in the course of the Twelfth century and was refortified in the course of the Hundred Years Battle. Initially based by William the Conqueror, the citadel has had many various guests over time, together with Royalty, knights, nobles, politicians, and, if some are to be believed, ghosts.
Throughout the seventeenth century, Warwick Fort was gifted by King James I to the Greville household and was concerned within the gunpowder plot involving Man Fawkes to overthrow the identical king. Throughout this time, the citadel grew in measurement, including state eating rooms, a conservatory, and the 64 acres of backyard that may nonetheless be explored as we speak. The final of the Grenville household, Charles Man, additionally a Hollywood film star, offered Warwick in 1978 to the Tussauds Group, who restored it and opened it for the general public to discover.
After in depth restoration, contained in the citadel, you possibly can wander across the Nice Corridor, the staterooms, the bedrooms, and the library experiencing centuries of historical past as you go. Then climb the 600 steps to the citadel partitions and stroll alongside the slim ramparts to discover the towers.
Not like some, what stands out at Warwick Fort is the entire immersion you’ll expertise, which maybe makes it one of the best citadel to go to in England. Visiting may see your day crammed stuffed with exhibits, together with one which relives the Battle of the Roses and a falconry present, earlier than heading off to be taught extra about bowmanship and jousting.
Keep in mind to additionally head right down to the citadel dungeons, the place actors recreate what life would have been like had they been sentenced to incarceration there. Lastly, don’t overlook to tackle the Horrible Histories Journey Maze, the place you’ll face a collection of challenges, together with invading a Viking ship, surviving the trenches, and uncovering treacherous plots.
If driving, the citadel is properly signposted and is lower than two miles from junction 15 on the M40, the place there are three automobile parks to select from. For these with mobility points, it’s important to notice that the automobile parks are a good distance away, and subsequently it might be worthwhile utilizing the drop-off zone. The prepare station is roughly a mile away, the place you possibly can decide up a bus that may cross near the doorway.
Lodging close to Warwick Fort
Downton Abbey followers will recognise Highclere Fort as it’s a favorite filming location for the favored present. Situated in Berkshire and designed in the course of the nineteenth century by Sir Charles Barry, the identical architect behind the Homes of Parliament, this citadel is house to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, whose household have lived right here since 1679.
Not like different castles, you must e-book prematurely as a result of it’s nonetheless inhabited. Nevertheless, don’t let that put you off. Throughout your go to, you’ll nonetheless get to discover most of the 250-300 rooms, a few of which had been used in the course of the filming of Downtown Abbey, in addition to the cellars and the employees quarters. There’s additionally an Egyptian exhibition that celebrates the truth that the fifth Earl of Carnarvon performed a job within the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Outdoors there are a 1000 acres of backyard courting again to the thirteenth century, with some designed by Functionality Brown. There are numerous monuments to go to, together with Jackdaw’s Fort, an Etruscan Temple, and the Temple of Diana, set throughout the parkland. On the similar time, it’s also possible to discover the unique monks’ backyard, the wooden of goodwill, the rose arbour, and the wildflower meadow.
On prime of that, earlier than visiting, why not hearken to one in all Woman Carnarvon’s podcasts, learn one in all her books or discover her weblog to be taught much more about Highclere. What number of different castles within the UK can boast about having their very personal in-house narrator?
If driving to Highclere Fort, it’s best to keep away from utilizing your sat nav and as a substitute comply with the brown vacationer indicators to the primary entrance, whereas the closest prepare station is at Newbury, which is round a 15-minute taxi experience away.
Lodging close to Highclere Fort
Situated on the Northumberland coast overlooking the seaside and the North Sea, Bamburgh Fort was as soon as an Anglo-Saxon citadel that additionally acted as a royal palace and stays to this present day, one of many largest inhabited castles in England.
Wanting on the historical past books, Bamburgh can be one of many oldest castles in England, courting again to 420 AD. Nevertheless, the one standing as we speak dates again to the Victorian Period, the unique falling in the course of the Battle of the Roses, making it the primary citadel on the planet to fall to gunpowder.
There’s nonetheless lots to see inside, with 14 rooms, an 18th-century whinstone windmill, a Twelfth-century preserve, and a constable’s tower. After getting strolled across the construction, head to the Artifacts museum, house to an unlimited show of weapons, armour, furnishings, and art work from throughout the ages. You can too take part within the archeological dig, which remains to be underway, hoping they’ll uncover extra in regards to the wealthy historical past of such an previous web site.
You may additionally recognise the skin of the citadel with its placing silhouette of turrets rising up upon what was as soon as a Celtic Fort, because it was featured in ‘The Final Kingdom,’ with filming going down on Bamburgh seaside with the citadel within the background.
One of the simplest ways to strategy Bamburgh Fort if travelling by way of street is alongside the coastal street (B1340) to maximise the beautiful views of the citadel overlooking the seaside. There’s a good bus service for these utilizing public transport in each summer season and winter.
Lodging close to Bamburgh Fort
Arundel Fort in West Sussex, in-built 1067, is one other one nonetheless inhabited as we speak. Sadly, the unique construction was severely broken in the course of the first civil battle and subsequently has undergone in depth restoration. Nevertheless, the Norman Hold, medieval Gatehouse, and Barbican stay, making it one of the crucial spectacular castles in England to take a look at from the skin.
As soon as owned by the Dukes of Norfolk and below the management of the Crown for a few years, Arundel Fort was one of many first to get each electrical energy and heating. Right this moment it’s nonetheless house to many commissioned items of furnishings and art work designed in honour of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who visited in 1846.
Set on 40 acres overlooking the River Arun, now you can discover the great walled gardens with its quirky stumpery, glasshouses, and natural kitchen backyard. Its staterooms are richly embellished and stuffed with artwork, china, sculptures, carvings, the in depth Regency library, the Baron’s Corridor, and the Drawing room. You even have the liberty to go to the Fitzalan Chapel, the place the Parliamentarians preserve their horses in the course of the civil battle, or take a tour of the moat with a medieval crusader.
If travelling by street, head for the Mill Highway automobile park instantly reverse the citadel gates, whereas Arundel prepare station is only a 10-minute stroll away and has common service all through the day.
Lodging close to Arundel Fort
Situated in Northumberland, Alnwick Fort is the second largest inhabited citadel within the UK. Will probably be recognised by anybody aware of the Harry Potter movies, in addition to Transformers: The Final Knight, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and Black Adder.
Owned by the Percy Household for practically 700 years, initially erected to protect the River Aln and enjoying a big function within the border wars between Scotland and England, this citadel has been a navy outpost and a instructing faculty. It stays to this present day, somebody’s house.
What was as soon as a motte-and-bailey citadel is now a mighty border fortress with towers and shelters for troopers on guard, not one however two gatehouses entrance and rear, two colossal towers all encased in well-preserved partitions. Inside isn’t any much less spectacular, with palatial rooms embellished within the best supplies – silk wall hangings, work from the Previous Masters, and one of the best Italian carvings. There’s additionally a Fusiliers Museum exploring the regiment’s historical past in Northumberland and a citadel museum specializing in the collections of the Percy household.
Nevertheless, one of many actual attracts lately has been the broomstick classes on provide within the citadel grounds for any budding wizards eager to comply with within the footsteps of Harry Potter. It was at Alnwick Fort the place Harry learnt how you can fly his broomstick and later went on to play the now-famous sport of Quidditch.
Simply accessible from the A1 for anybody driving, the automobile park is shared between Alnwick Fort and Alnwick Gardens. On the similar time, the prepare stops at Alnmouth Station, about ten minutes away, in a taxi, and buses ceaselessly run into the city, which takes roughly 5 minutes to stroll to the doorway.
Lodging close to Alnwick Fort
Rising up from the white cliffs on the English Channel, Dover Fort was constructed shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Known as the Key to England, it is among the most well-known castles in England and has performed an important half in supporting and defending the nation for hundreds of years.
Holding the title as the most important citadel in England, 50 % greater than Windsor, Dover Fort has withstood many sieges, grew to become a strategic navy headquarters throughout World Battle I, housed an underground hospital for injured troopers, and is house to a number of secret tunnels designed for escape if wanted. Shifting ahead to World Battle II and as soon as once more, it grew to become operational, this time as an evacuation centre for the hundreds rescued from the seashores of Dunkirk.
Dover Fort sits imposingly on the hills overlooking the city and throughout the water. The partitions and towers are nonetheless totally intact, surrounded by large earthworks, ditches, and piles. Visiting as we speak, you possibly can nonetheless climb the Nice Tower, stuffed with vibrant color and wealthy furnishings, and discover the underground tunnels, the previous working rooms, and what would have been the restoration wards.
Whether or not travelling by way of bus or prepare, each ceaselessly arrive within the city a few mile away. In distinction, for these travelling by street, one can find a big, free automobile park, though when you’ve got a bigger automobile, you need to park on the town and wander as much as the doorway.
Lodging close to Dover Fort
Whereas Bodiam Fort in East Sussex is smaller than some, this 14th-century moated constructing is among the prettiest castles within the UK. Constructed by Edward III, a former soldier, this Quadrangular citadel, with its imposing towers and portcullis, nonetheless has a drawbridge to stroll throughout to the primary gatehouse stuffed with homicide holes.
Sadly, though the outside stays intact, a lot of the inside is now in ruins. Nevertheless, you possibly can nonetheless climb spiral staircases to the highest of the towers, sit on the dais or have a look at the iron-clad oak portcullis, thought of the oldest in England. You can too nonetheless see the floorplans for the Nice Corridor, the courtyard, the kitchen, the non-public flats, and the chapel.
After getting completed exploring, Bodiam Fort additionally has its personal tearoom, cafe, and second-hand bookshop.
So as to add to the romance of this citadel, in case you are travelling within the excessive of season, you possibly can journey on a steam prepare from Tenterden to Bodiam Station, whereas there’s a bus cease proper exterior the doorway subsequent to the automobile park for these travelling by automobile.
Lodging close to Bodiam Fort
Sitting excessive above the village of Corfe, Corfe Fort is unfortunately now largely in ruins. Surrounded by Bronze Age burial grounds, the doorway to what would have been the primary citadel is throughout a stone drawbridge that now spans a dry moat.
One other citadel established by William the Conqueror, Corfe Fort on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, was at one time the place King John stored his crown jewels and remained within the Crown’s management till 1572 when Elizabeth I offered it to Sir Christopher Hatton.
Later it was offered to Sir John Bankes, who owned it in the course of the civil battle, and it was throughout this time that the citadel misplaced its personal battle. By order of Parliament in 1646, Corfe Fort was destroyed to stop it from ever getting used additional as a navy stronghold. Because of this, we’re left with a crumbling monument, and legend has it that if the ravens that nestle on the citadel had been ever to go away, the constructing would fully crumble.
In the summertime months, the roads get extraordinarily busy, and parking is restricted, so it might be finest to journey by prepare to Wareham, the place you possibly can decide up a bus, or to Swanage, the place you possibly can journey by steam on the Heritage Railway. If you must journey by way of automobile, think about using the Park and Journey at Purbeck and catch the bus that runs proper by the village.
Lodging close to Corfe Fort
Situated within the Suffolk city of the identical title, Framlingham Fort has a few of the highest defence partitions of any citadel within the UK. Earlier than the masterpiece that you simply see as we speak, a easy motte-and-bailey construction as soon as stood on the identical web site, however Henry II destroyed that.
Throughout the Twelfth century, Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, created a formidable fort of 13 towers, which is the citadel that is still as we speak. After this era, it swapped arms a number of occasions till 1552, when Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, inherited it. It was at Framlingham Fort the place Mary was proclaimed Queen of England. Sadly after her demise, her sister Elizabeth I turned the citadel into a jail and was later used as a workhouse for the poor.
Right this moment you possibly can wander across the parklands, go to the historic workhouse or take within the breathtaking wall stroll, which sits 10.5 metres excessive and is identical wall Queen Mary herself walked.
Should you resolve to go to, keep in mind that the onsite automobile park will solely maintain round 30 automobiles, and subsequently you might want to search out parking in Framlingham itself; a quaint little market city additionally price exploring. The closest prepare station is Wickham Market, which is about 6 miles away, though a frequent bus service will take you into the city.
Lodging close to Framlingham Fort
Bolsover Fort in Derbyshire, this Stuart Mansion, sitting excessive on the hill overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale, is a formidable sight. Newer than some castles in England, Bolsover Fort was constructed within the seventeenth century as a modern retreat for these of affect.
Right this moment you possibly can wander across the lavish rooms with their carved marble fireplaces and ornately painted ceilings, sit on the copy furnishings, open the cupboards to find extra of Bolsover’s secrets and techniques, and benefit from the areas the place the wealthy would have as soon as relaxed and partied.
Outdoors now you can stroll the restored partitions, searching over the panorama or down into the fountain backyard house to the statue of Venus rising out of the bottom and discover the in depth gardens which can be house to greater than 5,000 vegetation, flowers, and fruit timber.
Parking at Bolsover Fort is free, as are all of the automobile parks on the town, whereas the closest prepare station is at Chesterfield, 6 miles away, however all buses cross near the doorway.
Lodging close to Bolsover Fort
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