Britain’s Best Castles
Whether you’re a history buff or you’re just looking to explore a different side of Great Britain on your next holiday, one thing is for certain: Britain is filled with a host of castles that offer unique insight into its history, battles, murders and even possible ghosts that still haunt its stone walls. So if you’re scramming for ideas for your next day out, check out our picks for Britain’s best castles below.
1. Windsor Castle (Berkshire)
The world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle promises to fulfil every history buff’s desire. This impressive 13 acre estate contains more than 1,000 rooms and visitors can tour a number of sites including St. George’s Chapel (which contains the tombs of Henry VIII and Charles I), the state apartments furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection, and the famous Queen Mary’s Dolls House. The Drawings Gallery also regularly features an exhibition.
Best for: History buffs.
2. Warwick Castle (Warwickshire)
Originally built in 1068 by William the Conqueror, this majestic castle was renovated several times in the following centuries until becoming the magnificent stone structure that it is today. Its purpose also shifted with the times – first it served as a fort, then it became a significant stronghold in the English Civil War and later it housed prisoners taken by the Parliamentarians. It has been opened to the public since the 1970s and since then has catered its entertainment especially to the little ones. Every year, it hosts a number of shows and activities and special events throughout the summer season and Halloween.
Best for: Families.
3. Glamis Castle (Angus)
With a reputation as Scotland’s most haunted castle, Glamis Castle can’t be missed if you’re looking for a unique experience. Set in a majestic 14,000 acre estate filled with beautiful landscaped gardens and parks, this incredible 14th century structure is also filled with mysterious legends and tales. The most famous legend that is connected with the castle is that of Monster Glamis, a deformed child born to the family, as told by singer and composer Virginia Gabriel who stayed in the castle in the late 19th century. The tale may have been inspired by the true story of the Ogilvies, who sought protection from an enemy family in the castle and were walled up to die of starvation in a room that is now known as the room of skulls. Shiver.
Best for: A haunted experience.
4. Thornbury Castle (South Gloucestershire)
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night like a King, Thornbury Castle should be your next destination. This 16th century structure was initially designed to serve as a fortress and later was transformed into a country house for the Tudor dynasty. Today, the castle is open for visitors looking to spend a relaxing break. With beautiful landscaped gardens, extraordinarily restored architecture, relaxing massage services and an award-winning restaurant – what more could you need to experience a countryside escape like royalty?
Best for: Spending the night.
5. Dunstanburgh Castle (Northumberland)
So you’ve been everywhere and seen everything. Maybe – or maybe not. The dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle are ideally set on a remote cliff on England’s Northumberland coastline providing visitors with a splendid sea view and the perfect quiet escape. Originally built in the 14th century, this castle rivalled any of its kind in its day. Today, visitors can tour the spectacular gatehouse and the impressive Lilburn Tower.
Best for: Travellers off the beaten path.
Of course, besides these five spectacular castles there are plenty more that are 100% worth your time: the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle, Leeds Castle, Bodiam Castle… The list is practically endless! So tell us in the comments below which castle you think we’ve missed!