Yes, yes, I know, it’s another castle article, but you know me and my castles, right?
You can never have enough castles in your life, and as the weather starts to warm up, and we finally find ourselves able to enjoy more time outdoors, what better way to pass the time than by visiting one of the UK’s most popular castles, as soon as permitted to do so?
For some, castles are associated with fairy tales and fantasy epics, whereas for others, castles are commonly associated with pivotal points in history. Whatever you choose to associate castles with, if you’re a fan of them and are looking for some fun ideas for days out, the UK has plenty on offer.
To help make your next day out more exciting, here’s a look at another se7en of the most awesome castles in the UK.
The first castle on my list for you today is the historical Bolsover Castle, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Derbyshire.
Bolsover Castle, or Bowser Castle, as the locals call it, is situated on a ridge above Scarsdale, on the site of a medieval fortress of all places.
The castle can be traced way back to the 11th century when it was discovered by one of William the Conqueror’s Knights – William Peveril. Sadly, from the 14th century, it was neglected and was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.
The Stuart mansion was created to impress and up until it was allowed to deteriorate, it most certainly did that.
Nowadays, it is a popular tourist attraction offering spectacular views across the Derbyshire countryside, and it makes for a wonderful day out.
Just to make life confusing, whereas you might expect Leeds Castle to be in, well, Leeds, it is in fact located several hundred miles south of Yorkshire, in Kent of all places.
Leeds Castle was constructed back in 1119 and was initially designed solely to intimidate others, as it was designed to demonstrate the strength and power of the Normans.
Located on a lake, between two islands, the castle was taken over by King Edward I in 1278 and was expanded upon massively.
In 1519, the castle was transformed by Henry VIII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Now, the castle is open to the general public and sees thousands of tourists every single year.
Now, we’re going back to Derbyshire, though this time I’m taking you to the village of Castleton, in the stunning Peak District National Park.
Peveril Castle is not much to look at, it has to be said, as the castle itself is small and fairly unimpressive, especially as it is now in ruins.
However, this does not mean that visiting the site of this castle’s ruins is not fun or exciting. Peveril Castle was mentioned in the Domesday Survey and is one of the earliest Norman fortresses in all of the UK.
It was constructed between 1066 and 1086 and was named after William Peveril, yes that same William Peveril that I mentioned earlier on.
Far be it for me to start rumours or to gossip, but many historians believe that William Peveril was the illegitimate son of William the Conqueror, due to the special treatment he received at the time.
All I can say is, if he wasn’t the illegitimate son, he must’ve been a pretty awesome knight.
Tower of London
London, the capital of England, is commonly associated with the monarchy and whereas Buckingham Palace gets much of the headlines, the Tower of London is actually a castle that I suggest you check out when in the capital.
The Tower of London was used as a prison for many years, with the White Tower located in the centre of the complex, which was constructed by none other than William the Conqueror (yes, him again!)
Each year the Tower of London attracts upwards of 3 million visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
Rochester Castle is the next treat I have in store for you today.
Rochester Castle is one of the most finely persevered castles in all of Europe, on the outside at least, and if you want the type of castle synonymous with fairy tales and children’s cartoons, Rochester is about as close as you can get to the real thing.
Located in Kent, this 12th century Norman construction features a stunning keep that many consider being the icing on the cake of this fabulous castle.
Glance at the castle from the exterior, and you’d swear it was barely a century old. Take a walk “inside”, though, and you’ll notice a distinct lack of a roof and much of the flooring.
Considering this castle was one of the primary strongholds in the rebellion against King John, it hasn’t done too badly at all.
Just don’t forget your brolly if rain is forecast.
Now I’m going to take you to Northumberland, to the rugged Dunstanburgh Castle.
The castle was constructed around 1313 and 1322, by none other than Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. If you’re familiar with Thomas, you’ll know that he owned a lot of land in Yorkshire and the Midlands, and he was always looking to add to his collection.
So then, why would he choose a remote coastal location in Northumberland? What was his reasoning? Did he fear invasion, was he looking to expand further north? Or was he simply looking for a nice coastal retreat to escape to at the weekend?
Well, many believe that it was a holiday home of sorts, or rather, a safe haven to retreat to, to avoid his cousin, King Edward II, whom he wasn’t best buddies with, shall we say.
Finally, I have Corfe Castle, Dorset.
Before it became a medieval castle, historians believe it served as a fort.
The castle was constructed between 1066 and 1087, when William the Conquer (yes, him again) ordered that 36 castles be constructed across the UK. Corfe was one of the more unique stone castles built at the time.
The castle remained unchanged up until around 1572 when Elizabeth I put it up for sale, where it changed hands multiple times and was sieged during the English Civil War.
It found itself owned by the Banks family in 1660, up until the 1980s, when Ralph Banks left the entire Banks estate, including the castle, to the National Trust, who are the current owners.
I hope I have given you some reasons to stay closer to home this summer. Fingers crossed, we’ll bump into each other in the gardens of one of these se7en beauties this summer. Until then, stay safe and plan your wanderings!