10 of the best castles and palaces in Britain
Britain is home to some of the most impressive Castles and Palaces in the world. Here’s a rundown of our top ten favourites to visit.
1. Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
When you think of a classic Castle structure you are probably picturing Bodiam Castle. Straight out of a medieval storybook, this 14th century building is a plethora of traditional Castle towers and turrets surrounded by an impressive moat. To add a little more authenticity to your visit you will find several medieval characters wandering the halls, ready to answer any questions you have.
Situated in East Sussex, Bodiam Castle is easily accessible by car or, to make your visit a little more interesting, can be accessed by ferry from the nearby Newenden village.
2. Windsor Castle, Berkshire
For a true royal experience Windsor Castle, one of the biggest inhabited Castles in the world, is the perfect way to immerse yourself in a world of glamour and history. This sprawling building dates back to the 11th century and has housed the Royal Family throughout its life.
Part of the Royal Castle Collection, this impressive Castle is easily accessible by train and coach but best leave the car at home as there is no parking allowed on the premises.
3. Warkworth Castle, Northumberland
Set in the North east of England, Warkworth Castle is an impressive example of a Castle fortress. Dating back to the 12th century, this majestic building is a must for a family day out with plenty of activities and open space for the grandchildren to enjoy. Settle in for an audio tour that will lead you through the Castle and its history, or simply take your time and spend the day marvelling at this impressive structure. There is parking available at the site for a small charge.
4. Stirling Castle, Stirling
Looking out over its namesake city, Stirling Castle is a picturesque structure that dominates the Stirling skyline. Many famous scots stayed here including Mary, Queen of Scots, Robert Burns and James the VI, it is a perfect place to soak up some Scottish history. There is so much to learn about this place that a guided or audio tour is highly recommended. The Castle is easily accessible by rail or car.
5. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
This Palace is steeped in history and is famed as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Hailed as a masterpiece of 18th Century Baroque architecture a day out here won’t leave you disappointed.
Take a leisurely wander around or book yourself on one of their daily tours to get the most out of your visit. There are plenty of activities and exhibitions held throughout the year at Blenheim Palace so it’s a great option for a family day out, just make sure you check out the opening times in advance as the Palace is usually closed during the winter months.
6. Eilean Donan Castle, Western Highlands
For a true Scottish Castle experience a visit to Eilean Donan Castle is a must. This iconic Mid-13th Century abode has a tumultuous history, partially destroyed during the Jacobite uprising; it has had four major restorations in its lifetime. Now open to the public it boasts a visitors centre, gift and coffee shop, not to mention the scenic surrounding Scottish highlands. A little of the beaten path Eilean Donan Castle is a must see for keen history buffs, try joining a guided bus tour for an in-depth look into this fascinated part of Scottish history.
7. St Michael’s Mount Castle, Cornwall
St Michael’s Mount is a Castle with a difference. The official residence of Lord St Leven, St Michael’s Mount Castle is situated on the West Cornish coast and is famed for lighting the first warning beacon during the arrival of the Spanish Armada. Set on the small tidal island, this special Castle also boasts a secret underground railway system and beautiful views over the North Atlantic Ocean.
There are plenty of parking spaces available for visitors at St Michael’s Mount, but you will need to cross the causeway on foot at low tide, or hop on a boat to take you across the water.
8. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
For a true spectacle the famous Edinburgh Castle is a definite crowd pleaser. Majestically sitting atop Castle rock this 11th century dwelling is situated in the heart of Edinburgh city, at the top of the famous Royal Mile. This Castle is a perfect visit for history enthusiasts who don’t want to stray too far from city life and is easily accessible by foot.
9. Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Set in beautiful West Sussex, Arundel Castle has a rich history dating back to the 11th century. After several rebuilds and restorations throughout the years it now has some of the best examples of Victorian architecture that can be found in the UK. The castle is also home to a beautiful walled garden, so a great choice for budding horticulturists and historians alike.
Arundel Castle is very accessible to visitors by rail or car; make sure you check opening times before you visit as this Castle is closed during the winter months.
10. Kensington Palace, London
From humble beginnings as a stately home for Sir William Cope, Kensington Palace has expanded throughout the years into a glorious Palace fit for royalty. It’s seen its fair share of Monarchs cross its path including Queen Victoria, who spent her childhood here. The surrounding Park is also home to the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, so perfect for family outings. The Palace is now open to the public and invites visitors to marvel at its beauty and rich history.
Kensington Palace is easily accessible via the London underground and a limited coach service can be available by request.
So tell us: what’s your favourite palace or castle in Britain?
Silversurfers Features Editor
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