In Britain, we are spoilt by the number of wonderful historic castles we have to visit, each one steeped in its own unique and fascinating past that stretches back over the centuries. 

With so many to see and explore, we’re rounding up eight of our favourite castles to visit…

Belvoir Castle

Location: Grantham, Leicestershire NG32 1PE

Dating back to the eleventh century, Belvoir Castle is the Duke of Rutland’s ancestral home. Since 1067, there have been a total of four castle standing on the spot, with the panoramic views on offer making it perfectly situated for a fortification – in fact, on clear days, you should be able to make out Lincoln Cathedral, even though it is 30 miles away. Despite being in ruins three times during its lifespan, the current castle is considered to be “one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the country”.

Find out more here.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Location: Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NQ

You may recognise Alnwick Castle from the Harry Potter films, but it will be of little surprise to learn it was famous long before that. Dating back to the Norman period, the Castle has been owned by the Percy family since 1309. In the centuries the family have owned it, the historic site has undergone several facelifts, transforming from a garrison fortress to palace.

Find out more here.

Edinburgh Castle

Location: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Once a hill fort, Edinburgh Castle has been the site of many battles – in fact, it is the most besieged place in Britain. The castle has also been the residence of numerous kings and queens over the years, including Mary Queen of Scots. However, following the ‘Union of the Crowns’ it became more of a military base. Nowadays, a trip to Edinburgh Castle will let you see the Honours of Scotland – the oldest Crown jewels in Britain.

Find out more here.

Tamworth Castle

Location: Lady Bank, Holloway, Tamworth B79 7NA

With a history that dates back to Anglo Saxon times, there’s plenty to discover at Tamworth Castle. Originally, Tamworth was the beating heart of Mercia, and by 913, Aethelflaed, the daughter of King Aldred, had fortified the spot. Over the next 1000 years, it transformed, from a ‘motte and Bailey castle’ to Tudor home, before undergoing extensive repairs in the 18th century, 

Find out more here.

Leeds Castle

Location: Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL

This Kent-based Castle has a long history and transformed several times during its lifespan. Once a Norman stronghold, it subsequently became a royal castle. During the Tudor period, Henry VIII stayed there when he was married to Catherine of Aragon, and the castle also hosted ‘The Field of Cloth of Gold’ – an event used to strengthen the friendship between the Tudor monarch and François I, King of France.

Find out more here.

Colchester Castle

An exterior shot of Colchester Castle

Location: Colchester, Essex CO1 1TJ

Situated in Britain’s oldest recorded town, the building of Colchester Castle began in 1076, on top of the ruins of the Roman Temple of Claudius. The base of the temple was actually incorporated into the great tower’s foundations. During the 13th century, the castle became a prison, a trend that continued until the 17th century, despite large parts of it being in ruin by the 16th century. It was restored in the 18th century, becoming a museum in 1860. 

Find out more here.

Dover Castle

Location: Castle Hill Rd, Dover CT16 1HU

Dover Castle has a steeped past, with a trip there allowing you to take in recreated rooms complete with vibrant furnishings that are sure to transform you back to the period of intrigue that was the reign of Henry II, when the present castle was constructed. At the time, it was considered the most advanced castle design in Europe, with the monarch wanting an awe-inspiring sight to capture attention as people took to the new pilgrimage route leading to Canterbury and Thomas Becket’s shrine. Since then, the castle has survived sieges, declined and been restored. During the 20th century, troops were stationed there during both the First and Second World Wars, and it was only decommissioned in the 1980s.

Find out more here.

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