If you love castles, and who doesn’t, Europe is the place to go. Our favorite castles are in England. England has a long history and culture of castle warfare, so there are castles nestled everywhere. They are some of the most amazing structures you will see. To look at them and understand how they were built without modern machinery and cranes almost boggles the mind. Here are a few English castles that you should see.
The Tower of London
Of course, this is one of the most famous castles and it is also in the middle of London. It was built in 1066 on the bank of the River Thames. It is one of the premier tourist attractions of London. At one point in the history the royal family actively lived there. You can see the crown jewels as well as the largest diamond and the most expensive diamond in the world. There are tour guides there that will fill you in on all the culture and history. When you visit, be sure to ask about the ravens.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Situated in the center of Edinburgh on a large volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle is the national symbol of Scotland. It is the number one tourist attraction in the country. It is a huge castle with restaurants and shops, and tours that will tell you about the culture of olden times. Although not exactly part of the castle visit, make sure you do the whiskey tour. Edinburgh Castle is one of the most well-preserved castles on our list. In some ways, it almost looks like it was built yesterday. Make sure you go on a tour, there is so much to learn here.
Corfe Castle, Dorset
The ruins of this castle are near a village of the same name. If you go to the museum in the village, you can see a model the castle as it was at its height. It’s amazing to think sometimes that a big castle built out of solid Stone could fall to ruins like this. But nothing is permanent. It is a lovely village to visit, and lovely ruins to walk around. It is definitely worth a day to spend there.
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
This castle has been turned into a tourist attraction, so it lost a little bit of its quaintness. But it’s still definitely a fun place to go. It has archery stalls and demonstrations including a large catapult that fires fireballs. There are some lovely cafes, and the food is good. You can even make arrangements for a picnic basket and have a picnic out on the greens of the castle. Another fun thing to see at Warwick Castle is where the prisoners from ancient times have carved graffiti into the walls. It just goes to show nothing changes.
Leeds Castle, Kent
A large moat surrounds this intact castle, making it look like what people imagine an English Castle to be. The castle is over 900 years old and was the home to royalty for most of that period. You will need more than one day to explore Leeds Castle, it has over 500 Acres. You can take a boat out onto the moat, which is actually a lake. You can explore many things in Leeds Castle, there’s a little bit of something for everybody. Make sure you take some of the tours to give you an idea of what you would like to do.
One of the largest and oldest castles in the world that people still live in. This is still one of the residences of the queen who will spend quite a few weekends of the year at this castle. Much of the castle is open to the public today, but other parts are closed off, as the Queen might not take kindly to you interrupting her breakfast.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
If you ever had a hankering to stay at a castle, Ashford Castle might be the place. It has a 5-star rating and 80 rooms for guests. You can pretend you’re royalty and walk down to the lake and play some tennis, or have a go on a 9-hole golf course. There is also a game section in the lobby, where you can play chess and other board games. Although we have never stayed here yet, it is on our bucket list.
There are many castles across England, from large to small. Many of them still have families that live there. It has become quite common for royalty to open their home to the public. This often offsets the expenses of upkeep of these castles, which can be quite expensive. So it is not uncommon if you are on a tour to suddenly have a Duke walk by and say hello. Castles are unique in history, taking us back to times that were more violent and simpler. Although castles these days are not built for protection, they are still one of the most beautiful and amazing things you can see. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.