If you’re planning a trip to the UK, you’ll need to plan in some time to visit the beautiful castles that litter the country. They’re a fascinating trip into the history of the UK, especially that of their royal family. Here are the 10 beautiful England castles you should visit.
1. The Tower Of London
The Tower Of London isn’t the castle’s official name, despite what you may think. In fact, it’s called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace And Fortress. Despite the name though, no royal has stayed there since the Tudor period. If you want to see the grislier side of English history, then this is the place to go. Several notable Brits were locked up here, including Richard II, Henry VI, Edward V, and Elizabeth I. As well as this, two of Henry VIII’s six wives were beheaded here.
2. Warwick Castle
This castle was constructed by William The Conqueror in 1068. It was actually a wooden structure until the 12th century, when it was rebuilt in stone. When the castle was fortified during the Hundred Years War, it became one of the best examples of 14th century wartime architecture. The castle is now owned by a leisure company, and you can visit and enjoy different activities and shows when you visit.
3. Windsor Castle
This castle is located about an hour out of London, and it’s currently known as the oldest, inhabited castle in the UK. Currently, it serves as the Queen’s weekend home. She’s known to host many events here, both public and private. The oldest buildings on the site date back to the reign of Henry II.
4. Hampton Court
Hampton Court was the primary residence of Henry VIII during his reign. One of the most famous aspects of this castle is the gardens, which span 60 acres and boast beautiful foliage that you really must see. There’s also the hedge maze, which has famously confused visitors for over 300 years. History expert Francesca Jones from Top Canadian Writers says ‘If you’re in the mood for some ghost hunting, check out the Haunted Gallery. When Henry VIII’s wife Katherine Howard was imprisoned, she escaped briefly. She was dragged back through the gallery, and now she’s reputed to haunt it.’
5. Bodiam Castle
If you want to find the real fairytale castle you’ve imagined, then Bodiam Castle is it. There’ the forbidding moat, the numerous battlements, and the portcullis keeping any unwanted visitors out. Sadly, the interior of the castle hasn’t fared well, as it was dismantled in the 1600’s. In fact, in 1829 the castle had to be purchased by art philanthropist John Fuller to stop it being demolished.
This castle sits on the rocky Northumberland, giving it a dramatic air before you even step inside. It today is in the possession of the Armstrong family, and 16 rooms are open to the public. You can check out exhibitions on medieval armour and more.
7. Arundel Castle
High on a hill sits Arundel Castle.
This castle is located in West Sussex, and is in possession of the Dukes of Norfolk. Recently a lot of work has been put into a restoration project for the castle, and now you can visit and see parts of the building, like the 14th century chapel that still sits on the grounds today.
8. Leeds Castle
This castle is another example of the quintessential English castle. It was built during the reign of Henry I, and was home to royalty for almost 900 years. ‘In fact, it was home to six English queens’ says history writer James Keller from Huffington Post. ‘That’s why it earned the nickname “The Ladies’ Castle”‘. Surrounded by a wide moat, you can actually go punting on the water around the castle.
9. Alnwick Castle
This castle is still inhabited today, but a good amount of the building is open to the public. There’s a collection of some of the most important paintings in the UK, a must for any art buff visiting. As well as this, the castle was used as one of the shooting locations for the Harry Potter movies.
10. St. Michael’s Mount
This castle is unique as it’s connected to the mainland by a causeway, that gets cut off at high tide. No matter the time of day though, you can visit either by land or by boat. The castle sits at the top of a hill, and it’s said that the archangel Michael appeared to a group of people on the mount in the 12th century.
This is only a small selection of the castles in England that you really must visit. Many are kept up by the families who own them or charitable institutions, so you can see them all for very little cost. If you’re going to the UK, you can’t miss these destinations.