Top 16 Best Castles in England With Beautiful Pictures – Top English Castles

When I think of England, I think castles. The first thing a lot of people think about England is castles and medieval fortresses. Despite England’s fame for castles, there aren’t actually that many that have survived intact.

I’ve always dreamed of owning a castle. Who hasn’t? But I know that’s very unlikely with the way the British jealously protect their heritage. Not to mention the fact that a castle would cost millions upon millions of dollars to purchase!

I’ve decided to put together a list of my favorite castles in England (lists for Scotland and Wales are forthcoming). The list is completely arbitrary based on my tastes. I’ve only been to two of them myself (Windsor and Tower of London).

I must give credit where credit is due and I’d like to thank the Wikipedia for providing such fantastically interesting trivia! Save for two, all the pictures are from wonderful photographers on Flickr who were willing to share their pictures. It was a ton of fun to do the research for this post. I hope you guys enjoy it! Feel free to tell me about your favorite castles in the comments!

The Top 16 Best Castles in England

Warwick Castle

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Photo From Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle in Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire, England. It sits on a cliff overlooking a bend in the River Avon. Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 within or adjacent to Anglo-Saxon burh of Warwick. It was used as a fortification until the early 17th century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted it to a country house. It was owned by the Greville family, who became earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978.

From 1088, the castle traditionally belonged to the Earl of Warwick, and it served as a symbol of his power. The castle was taken in 1153 by Henry of Anjou, later Henry II. It has been used to hold prisoners, including some from the Battle of Poitiers in the 14th century. Under the ownership of Richard Neville – also known as “Warwick the Kingmaker” – Warwick Castle was used in the 15th century to imprison the English king, Edward IV. Warwick Castle has been compared with Windsor Castle in terms of scale, cost, and status.

Since its construction in the 11th century, the castle has undergone structural changes with additions of towers and redesigned residential buildings. Originally a wooden motte-and-bailey, it was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th century military architecture.

In the 17th century the grounds were turned into a garden. Warwick Castle was purchased by The Tussauds Group in 1978 and opened as a tourist attraction. It is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.

Castle Location: Warwick
Castle Website: Warwick Castle Website

Tower of London

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Tower of London


Wikipedia Description:

Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London (and historically as The Tower), is a historic monument in central London, England, on the north bank of the River Thames. It is located within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.

The Tower of London is often identified with the White Tower, the original stark square fortress built by William the Conqueror in 1078. However, the tower as a whole is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.

The tower’s primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I). This last use has led to the phrase “sent to the Tower” (meaning “imprisoned”). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Castle Location: London
Castle Website: Tower of London Website

Bodiam Castle

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Photo From Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Bodiam Castle is a quadrangular castle located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It is said to be a perfect example of a late medieval moated castle. While not large enough to garrison many soldiers, the castle was ideally suited for defense against a militant rural populace after the English Peasants’ Revolt and for the entertainment of foreign merchants or dignitaries.

It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, supposedly at the request of Richard II in order to defend the surrounding area from French invasion. By 1434 Sir Edward Dalyngrigge’s nephew Richard was living in the castle.[1] Recent research suggests that the castle was built more for show than as an effective defence. There is evidence supporting that research, as the walls of Bodiam Castle are only a couple of feet thick.

Castle Location: East Sussex
Castle Website: Bodiam Castle Website

Windsor Castle

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Windsor Castle


Wikipedia Description:

Windsor Castle, in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, is the oldest in continuous occupation. The castle’s floor area is approximately 484,000 square feet (44,965 square metres).

Together with Buckingham Palace in London and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, it is one of the principal official residences of the British monarch. Queen Elizabeth II spends many weekends of the year at the castle, using it for both state and private entertaining. Her other two residences, Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle, are the Royal Family’s private homes.

Most of the Kings and Queens of England, later Kings and Queens of Great Britain, and later still kings and queens of the Commonwealth realms, have had a direct influence on the construction and evolution of the castle, which has been their garrison fortress, home, official palace, and sometimes their prison. The castle’s history and that of the British monarchy are inextricably linked. Chronologically the history of the castle can be traced through the reigns of the monarchs who have occupied it. When the country has been at peace, the castle has been expanded by the additions of large and grand apartments; when the country has been at war, the castle has been more heavily fortified. This pattern has continued to the present day.

Castle Location: Berkshire
Castle Website: Windsor Castle Website

St. Michael’s Mount

557031968_06c2f47cd1 Photo From Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island located 366 m (400 yd) off the Mount’s Bay coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is united with Marazion by a man-made causeway, passable only at mid to low tide, made of granite setts. The island exhibits a combination of slate and granite.

Its Cornish language name — literally, “the grey rock in the wood” — may represent a folk memory of a time before Mount’s Bay was flooded. Certainly, the Cornish name would be an accurate description of the Mount set in woodland. Remains of trees have been seen at low tides following storms on the beach at Perranuthnoe. The Cornish legend of Lyonesse, an ancient kingdom said to have extended from Penwith toward the Isles of Scilly, also talks of land being inundated by the sea.

Historically, St Michael’s Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France.

St Michael’s Mount is known colloquially by locals as simply the Mount.

The chapel is extra-diocesan, and the castle is the official residence of Lord St Levan. Many relics, chiefly armour and antique furniture, are preserved in the castle. The chapel of St Michael, a fifteenth century building, has an embattled tower, in one angle of which is a small turret, which served for the guidance of ships. Chapel Rock, on the beach, marks the site of a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, where pilgrims paused to worship before ascending the Mount. A few houses are built on the hillside facing Marazion, and a spring supplies them with water.

Castle Location: Cornwall
Castle Website: St. Michael’s Mount Website

Stokesay Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Stokesay Castle, located at Stokesay, a mile south of the town of Craven Arms, in South Shropshire, is the oldest fortified manor house in England, dating to the 12th century. It is currently in the hands of English Heritage. It is a Grade I listed building.

The origins of this Stoke, or “dairy farm”, go back to the Conquest, when the manor was part of the vast holdings in the West of England granted to the family of Lacy. By 1115, it had been regranted to Theodoric de Say, of Sai in Normandy, and Stoke Lacy became Stokesay, but the main construction was undertaken by Laurence of Ludlow, based in Shrewsbury, the richest local wool merchant of his generation, who acquired Stokesay in 1281.

Castle Location: South Shropshire
Castle Website: Stokesay Castle Website

Skipton Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Skipton Castle is situated within the town of Skipton, North Yorkshire, England. The castle has been preserved for over 900 years, built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron.

The castle has stood for 900 years, first built as a Motte and Bailey castle in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. The castle was soon replaced with a stone keep as the old Motte and Bailey constructed was not enough to withstand the attacks from the Scots to the north.
In 1310, Edward II granted the property of the castle to Robert Clifford who was appointed Lord Clifford of Skipton and Guardian of Craven. Robert Clifford ordered many improvements to the fortifications of the castle but died in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when the improvements were barely complete.

During the English Civil War it was the only remaining Royalist stronghold in the north of England until December 1645. After a 3 year siege, a surrender was negotiated in 1645 between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Oliver Cromwell ordered the removal of the castle roofs.
Skipton remained the Cliffords’ principal seat until 1676. Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676) was the last Clifford to own Skipton castle. After the 3 year siege, she ordered repairs and as a commemoration she planted a yew tree in the central courtyard to mark the Castle’s repair from the English Civil War.

Today it stands as one of the most preserved medieval castles in England and is both a tourist attraction and a private residence.

Castle Location: North Yorkshire
Castle Website: Skipton Castle Website

Carlisle Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Carlisle Castle is situated in Carlisle, Cumbria, England. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. Today the castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. The castle until recently was the administrative headquarters of the former King’s Own Royal Border Regiment now county headquarters to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and a museum to the regiment is within the castle walls.

Castle Location: Cumbria
Castle Website: Carlisle Castle Website

Castle Howard

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) north of York. One of the grandest private residences in Britain, most of it was built between 1699 and 1712 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, to a design by Sir John Vanbrugh. It is not a true castle: The word is often used for English country houses constructed after the castle-building era (c.1500) and not intended for a military function.

Castle Howard has been the home of part of the Howard family for more than 300 years. It is familiar to television and movie audiences as the fictional “Brideshead”, both in Granada Television’s 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and a two-hour 2008 remake for theatres. Today, it is part of the Treasure Houses of England heritage group.

Castle Location: North Yorkshire
Castle Website: Castle Howard Official Website

Lincoln Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Lincoln Castle is a major castle constructed in Lincoln, England during the late 11th century by William the Conqueror on the site of a pre-existing Roman fortress. It remained in use as a prison and law court into modern times, and is one of the better preserved castles in England; the Crown Courts continue to this day. It is open to the public as a museum.

Lincoln Castle remains one of the most impressive Norman castles in the United Kingdom. It is still possible to walk around the immense 12th century walls with its ramparts providing a magnificent view of the Castle complex, together with panoramic views of the Cathedral, the City of Lincoln and the surrounding countryside.

Another attraction is the opportunity to see one of the four surviving originals of the Magna Carta, sealed by King John after his meeting with the Barons at Runnymede in 1215, a document which is now housed within Lincoln Castle. There is also an accompanying exhibition, explaining the origin of the Magna Carta and its far reaching effects. Parts of the prison are also open as a museum, including the 19th century chapel, which is the only original chapel designed for the ‘Separate System’ (every seat is enclosed) left in the world today. The women’s wing of the prison opened to visitors in 2005.

Castle Location: Lincoln, England
Castle Website: Lincoln Castle Website

Leeds Castle

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Photo From Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Leeds Castle, four miles south east of Maidstone, Kent, England, dates back to 1119, though a manor house stood on the same site from the ninth century. The castle and grounds lie to the east of the village of Leeds, Kent, which should not be confused with the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire.

Castle Location: Kent
Castle Website: Lincoln Castle Website

Arundel Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England is a restored medieval castle. The castle dates from the reign of Edward the Confessor (r. 1042-1066) and was completed by Roger de Montgomery, who became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel by the graces of William the Conqueror. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the 11th century onward, the castle has served as a hereditary stately home to several families (with a few and brief reversions to the Crown) and is currently the principal seat of the Duke of Norfolk and his family. It is a Grade I listed building.

Castle Location: West Sussex
Castle Website: Arundel Castle Website

Alnwick Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Alnwick Castle is a castle and stately home in Alnwick, Northumberland, England and the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, built immediately following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building.

Since the Second World War, parts of the castle have been used by various educational establishments: Firstly, by the Newcastle Church High School for Girls then, from 1945 to 1975, as a teacher training college and, since 1981, by St. Cloud State University as a branch campus forming part of their International Study Programme.

The castle is used as a stand in for the exterior and interior of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter (film)|Harry Potter films (though the wide angle images are computer generated). It has previously been a location used in Becket, Blackadder; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and many others listed in the Location section of the Alnwick Castle website.

Castle Location: Northumberland
Castle Website: Alnwick Castle Website

Dover Castle

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Wikipedia Description:

Dover Castle is situated at Dover, Kent and has been described as the “Key to England” due to its defensive significance throughout history.

The castle, secret tunnels and surrounding land are now owned by English Heritage and the site is a major tourist attraction. The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is officially head of the castle, in his conjoint position of Constable of Dover Castle, and the Deputy Constable has his residence in Constable’s Gate.

Castle Location: Kent
Castle Website: Dover Castle Website

Hever Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Hever Castle, in Kent, England (in the village of Hever), was the seat of the Boleyn, originally ‘Bullen’ family. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century and converted into a manor in 1462 by Geoffrey Boleyn, who served as Lord Mayor of the City of London. The remains of the timber dwelling can still be seen within the stone walls of the fortification. Some time after 1505, the Boleyn family moved in, and Anne Boleyn (and her siblings, Mary Boleyn and George Boleyn), although probably not born here, did grow up here for a time, before she was sent to the Netherlands and then to the French court for her education from 1513 to 1521. After Anne married King Henry VIII of England secretly in 1533; she and her brother George were executed in 1536 and her father Thomas Boleyn died in 1539, the property came into the possession of Henry VIII. He bestowed it on Anne of Cleves upon the annulment of their marriage (1540), but she probably spent little time there. Hever Castle still has one of Henry’s private locks, taken with him on his various visits to noblemen’s houses and fitted to every door for his security.

The building subsequently passed through various owners, including the Waldegrave family in 1557, and the Meade Waldo family from 1749-1903. During this latter period of ownership, the castle fell into a poor state of repair, during which time it was leased to various private tenants, until it was acquired, in 1906 and completely restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who used it as a family residence. The estate is now run as a conference centre, but the castle is open to the public and is particularly well known for its mazes. The only original part of Hever Castle is the gatehouse. In the castle there are exhibits from differing historical eras, including instruments of torture and a museum of the Kent Yeomanry.

There is a yew maze, planted in 1904, as well as a more recent addition, a water maze, which opened in 1987.

The garden is large has a wide range of features including an Italianate garden, rose gardens and a lake.

It was used for the filming of the The Other Boleyn Girl, along with nearby Knole House in Sevenoaks.

Castle Location: Kent
Castle Website: Hever Castle Website

Rochester Castle

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Photo from Flickr


Wikipedia Description:

Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway, in Rochester, Kent. It is one of the best-preserved castles of its kind in the UK. There has been a fortification on this site since Roman times (c AD43), though it is the keep of 1127 and the Norman castle which can be seen today. With the invention of gunpowder other types of defence became more appropriate, and the military centre of the Medway Towns moved to Chatham.

The castle is now maintained by English Heritage and is open to the public. The wooden flooring in the centre of the keep is gone, but many of the passageways and spiral staircases within the thickness of the walls are still usable. Decorative chevrons ornament the archways and the water well in the cross-wall is clearly visible. Visitors with a head for heights can climb 111 ft (34 m) to the battlements and enjoy a commanding view of the river and surrounding area.

Since Victorian times, Rochester Castle Gardens have been an important leisure area for Rochester. They were a popular promenade, they have hosted a bandstand, and have become a centre point for festivals and summer concerts.

Castle Location: Kent
Castle Website: Rochester Castle Website

What’s your Favorite Castle in England?

Comments

  1. avatartracey says

    I’ve seen quite a few castles, and this is the one nearest me, more a ruin really.

    Is your interest in England mainly cultural, historical or political?

    Like most Britons, why anyone in America would envy us is bizarre. My bro emigrated to Canada and would only return at gunpoint!

    • avatar says

      In answer to your question, All of the Above. Traveled there many times and it’s such a pleasant place. Anglophilia is a strange and unexplainable condition. But there you go. Whether it’s your awesome TV, interesting politics, fascinating history, rich literature or beautiful scenery, we love it all!

    • avatarMonica Coleman says

      Tracie:
      Good morning to you, well just to tell you that you people don’t know how lucky you are to have all of this marvel history at your finger tips!! I live in colorado and my husband and I love every thing about England, Ireland, and the likes. So be proud of where you live my dear, Your county and heritage are beautiful. write to me if you wish. God Speed to you and take care
      Monica Coleman {staveroula 1c@yahoo,com

    • avatarChris says

      Tracie:
      ‘Most Britons’? Since when were you appointed to speak on our behalf?

      My mother keeps trying to get me to move out to Australia, and be a traitorous ex-pat like her. It won’t happen. Why would I want to abandon a land of castles and cathedrals for a new-world wasteland? Maybe if people were a little more aware of how much blood and sweat their ancestors shed for this island, they wouldn’t be so quick to abandon it.

      • avatarIzzy says

        I think it is horrible that you call Australia a new world wasteland it is a beautiful country and maybe you should visit before you knock it. I have been in England for a while now and think it is beautiful too so many lovely things to see and wouldnt think of writing anything bad about it when I return home.

    • avatarYoda Mann says

      Anglophiles, such as I may be, don’t necessarily envy you as much as appreciate. Sumfin’ to think about, I would say.

  2. avatar says

    How many of these are still inhabited as private residences? I discovered one down near Malvern that was still an ancestral home. Forget the name, but it remains one of my favorites.

    To the first commenter: although many English feel the way you describe given the rapid changes to have taken place in recent times, I’ve yet to meet a single expat Englishman who does not miss his green and pleasant land.

    • avatar says

      I am Northern English and live in the south, well more like the middle because London likes to forget that there is anything south of it. Anyway, the north of England is littered with castles and although I have not left England I still feel like an ex pat. It does not matter how far away your home land is if your not in it.

  3. avatar says

    Great post, amazing photos. I haven’t visited all the castles, but they all look worthy of the list! I lived in Alnwick Castle for six months. Besides a film location another money maker for the Percy’s is to rent out a large section of former servants quarters to the university I attended for a Study Abroad experience. It was during this time that I met an Englishman… and 19 years later I’m still in the UK! Different Englishman and different part of the UK, but still like being a tourist so thanks for the list, I shall look out for the one’s I haven’t seen yet!

  4. avatarAndy Hill says

    Worrabout Dudley Castle? It’s got a zoo too! Loads of great ghost stories, a ghost walk, and it’s a lot cheaper than Warwick and Edinburgh.

  5. avatarkizza says

    Hi loved the post i dont know if you visted berry pomeroy castle in devon but i fell its a hidden gem as when ive been there (4 or 5 times) theres never been more than five people there but check it out if your ever in devon its pretty much a ruin now but still got alot to look at also has a special feel about it when you walk around but great place to go so try and get down there.

  6. avatarPaulene says

    Anyone tell me which is as pretty as Leeds? I have been to a few, but found Leeds to have the greenest, prettiest areas. Seems the others were more stone and hard surfaces. Was born in Folkestone, have been back often but not much sightseeing of castles until last few years. Husband loves all British history. Any suggestions on where to take him, besides stonehenge, that is.

    • avatarAndy says

      Have you tried the Rollright Stones in the Costwolds? Not as spectacular as Stonehenge, but far older (2500 – 5000BC) and with some eerie myths and legends attached. They are delineated by a ‘B’ road, and I wouldn’t advise going to the Cotswolds specifically to visit them, but if you are in the area (Long Compton – longest village in the Costwolds I believe) then do stop by. There is a nominal fee, but no-one checks for those of a more dishonest disposition and I think it was about £1 if I remember rightly! For a more recent history tour, may I suggest Churchill’s old residence? Chartwell is a fabulous family home with spectacular views. The greatest Englishman that ever lived deserves a magnificent legacy and this provides him with such. Also, with it being recent history then the house is relatively untouched and you do really get the impression of what it must have been like with him clattering around. Hope this helps!

    • avatarBetty Chan says

      How about the Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire
      It was a really spectacular one, with castle and garden…. I agree with you that the Leeds is gorgeous and it seems nothing to compare, but Blenheim, Warwick, Hever, Edinburge …. and some of those ruin ones are not to miss…. love them all!!

  7. avatarChloe says

    wow i love the castle howard it is so my type of castle….its a grat picture for nature i will tell you that….plus i just love all of them but my fave is the castle howard!

  8. avatar says

    Love the castle post – I have been fortunate not only to have visited them all but I used to manage Stokesay Castle and loads of others – look out for my next blog under Explore England’s England here on Anglotopia which is going to be on Kirby Muxloe Castle a little forgotten castle in the Heart of England.

  9. avatarFred Sauberman says

    A wonderful collection of pictures with great explanations right below them!

    Thanks for doing this wonderful expo.

  10. avatarBetty Chan says

    I am a castle maniac and am living in HK…. I love all the castle pictures and lucky enough, I have been to over half of them over the past five years…. In fact, I love England so very much cas’ it is filled with castles and abbeys, I have been to over 40 castles so far and have made up an album in my facebook… Anyway, like to share these photos here, some of them look so familiar to me and they brought back my memories…. Stokesay, Leeds, Warwick, Dover, Bodiam, Tower of England, Windsor….. love them all, dying for my next castle trip again… Cheerio..

    • avatarMarsha Westmoreland, May says

      I’ve been told that I had 2 great++++++ uncles that had a castle in England. They couldn’t pay the taxes on it so it was lost. They went to U.S. I can’t find this castle, can you tell me something about it?????? Thank you, Marsha

  11. avatardave says

    Shame few know about Corfe Castle in Dorset, now a ruin (due to its stand against Cromwell) certainly Britian’s strongest castle in its day, and one of the 5 royal castles. Even in its current state itis immense.

    • avatarxing says

      have just returned from Corfe- the castle is spectacular and should be on any list.

      yes Corfe should be on all lists- spectacular

    • avatarKez says

      Yep, gotta agree with you – Corfe Castle in Dorset would be another to add to the list – its dramatic setting and the surrounding scenery is wonderful! The village of Corfe is lovely too.

    • avatarLeo says

      Yes, Corfe Castle is one of my favorites, a surprisingly unknown place. Packed full of history, going back father than almost any of these places, save for the ones that are suspected to have been Roman forts, perhaps.

      It is the place where Anglo Saxon King Edward the Martry was murdered by attendants of his step mother, who were in favor of his half-brother, the notorious Ethelred the Unready.

      So amazing to go to a place like that and just imagine what actually might have happened on that ground so long ago…it almost feels like it’s just a story, but it’s incredible to think such things really happened. That Edward, Ethelred, and the like were all living, seeing, breathing people like you and I, not just names and dates so blandly mentioned in classes and so frequently passed over in the history books. Incredible to think that the people and events were real, not just myths and tales eroded by the winds of time.

  12. avatarEdith says

    Hi, i like castles a lot. I need very big pictures so that i can do the cross stitching.The larger the pictures the better i can do the cross stitching.Pleace write me back.Thank you.

  13. avatarKristna says

    I haven’t been to england before.
    I would like to go.
    I would like to see all the castles.

  14. avatarChris says

    Castle Howard isn’t a castle. Not even remotely. The use of the word ‘castle’ in its name is entirely pretentious. As a general rule, anything built after about 1450 isn’t a proper castle, regardless of how it’s built. As for Windsor, it may have been a castle once, but these days it’s little more than a palace and a folly.

    Also, Hedingham Castle is England’s best castle by a mile.

    • avatar says

      I’ve been to Hedingham and to Warwick – Warwick is better. Warwick is just like every boy’s dream of Castle and the dungeons are terrific !

  15. avatarDarren J says

    Although there isn’t much of a castle left there, Tintagel castle in Cornwall has hands down the most amazing setting of any I’ve ever been to. It really is like something out of legend. If you do go, pick a nice day (wouldn’t want to be up there in bad weather!) and don’t forget to go down to the beach and have a look at the caves. Truly breathtaking.

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=tintagel

  16. avatarGavpic says

    What about Bamburgh Castle – incredibly imposing as you drive up the Northumbrian coastal road towards it

    • avataranne.walton says

      I agree with you Bamburgh Castle is very imposing either viewed from the village ,the beach or on approach to Bamburgh.I live in the n.e and when I first sighted it on a school trip many years ago, it took my breath away. We have many breathtaking castles is Britain and though they all take my breath away ,none as much as Bamburgh

  17. avatareddy says

    list doesnt include bamborough. and therefore is wholly incomplete.imo. see views, beautiful beach and set atop sheer cliff at some points. by far the most impressive castle of north england. imo

    • avatarKez says

      I AGREE! I scrolled down the list, eagerly anticipating a picture of the very dramatic Bamburgh Castle with its fabulous beach in the foreground and was disappointed not to find it. But there being so many castles, you can’t include them all I suppose. Still, another time, perhaps.

  18. avatarshane hepworth says

    Glad to see carlisle castle in there i live in carlisle and i don’t think many people realise how old and what a historic city it is second or third oldest inthe country i thinlk. Probably the most fought over city in england or quite possibly the uk. the castle has a long history over 900 years is a great visit and a proper milatary castle

  19. avatarBIll says

    For sheer amount of history in one place (Romans, Normans, Tudors, the Napoleonic Wars, the Second World War), you can’t beat Dover Castle. On the one site you have the 2000-year-old Roman lighthouse, a 7th century church, the secret tunnel complex, and the castle itself.

    Also, if castles are your thing, Deal and Walmer castles are just a few miles up the coast.

  20. avatarMary Poppins says

    Hi there
    Any of you anglophiles want to consider a home exchange holiday 2011-2012?
    We have a nicely apointed 2 bedroomed apartment in Glastonbury Somerset- Glastonbury is the suposed resting place of King Arthur… We have a historic Abbey and are well located for visiting Dorset, Devon and Cornwall- ( you have to go past Stonehenge to get to us from London..etc.)

  21. avatarFiona Horan says

    I enjoyed your list – reminded me of a lot of my favourite castles – but, as other people have pointed out, you missed one of the best! Bamburgh Castle! A wonderfully evocative castle beside a windswept Northumbrian beach.
    Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire is a good one, too – you can see the pit where Edward II was murdered. And Dunster Castle is a lovely little castle surrounded by trees on the edge of Exmoor.

    … Hmmm… Skipton Castle looks good. Must visit it.

  22. avatarSolène says

    Hi! I’m French so excuse me for my english!
    Thank you Jonathan to make this list of your favorite castles in england, it helps me so much because I have to do a talk in english about a castle of the 11th-13th century in England ! And I think I will choose Arundel Castle. Then I’m sur that my classmates will not choose the same! Arundel castle is totaly unknowing in France! ;)

  23. avatarMary Jane Rance says

    .Ive love it.. Im from the philippines and ever since i was i child i dreamt of seeing one of the beautiful castle in uk. but i dont have enough money to do so. but nothing is impossible God will provide… hmf! i even memorized the history of every castle in England and visit this website everyday…

  24. avatar says

    Hello Johnathan, I am a first generation Canadian, all my family & heritage is in Great Britian. I’ve been once before, 3 years ago. I stayed with my cousin ( more like a brother) and we wandered on an English adventure for 9 days. We visited Buck house & toured inside Windsor castle, among other things. While Windsor was absolutly fascinating and extremely elegant, it’s not my idea of England. However upon seeing the picture of Bodaim Castle now when i come home in October this year, it’ll for sure be on the list of things to see. Large, raw, untouched by time and protected by by the moat that surrounds it, that is the England i”ve always imagined as a kid, that is the England my father told me stories about. The only thing that would complete the picture in my childish imagination would be an enormous dragon flying freely in the sunsetted sky. but that’s what i see! lol England has always been a land of magic and mystery, strengh and pure british pride, and place so rich in culture and history it would take a life time to just scratch the surface. I love my heritage, and my history and i can’t wait to wrap my roots around my son in October. Thanks for listening to my rantings!

    Stephanie Davison, Ontario, Canada

  25. avatarMaggie says

    Have seen just a few of these castles on my numerous trips over the pond to my beloved England. Yes, I am one of those crazy Anglophiles that just can’t get enough. We are heading back for 2 glorious weeks in May. We had planned to go to Warwick but the website looks a little Disneyland-ish. Should I bother or should we head to Corfe or to Berkeley since we are spending our time in the Cornwall/Devon/Cotswold corridor????

  26. avatarWendy says

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks so much for this list – it is just what I need to get my round trip of the UK started! I love this list – it incorporates the good Tudor stuff & Arundel Castle which is where I need to go to find some long lost ancestors!
    Cheers

    Wendy

  27. avatarRhea McMane says

    Thank you for posting those pictures. My husband and I have visited alot of them. One our favourites is Bamburgh Castle which I thought might be on the list. We have made 7 trips to England, Wales and Scotland. The culture and history is fantastic. We rent a car and away we go. Nothing planned for 5 weeks. We rarely take main roads but tend to stick with “B” roads. Have seen many fantastic things on them.

  28. avatarOlivia says

    My Nan was born in England and I have watched BBC shows all my life, so I’m glad to have found your website. Next time you go over, send back some nice English men with accents for us girls :)

  29. avatarDenise Greathouse says

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and short descriptions of the castles. I’m planning to take my 8-year old grandson, who is fascinated with the King Arthur legend, knights and castles in general, and believes that he is descended from William the conquerer (through my mother who is English), to visit England next year. I want to take him to visit one or two castles, and I’m trying to decide where to go. We will be traveling by train mostly (I don’t want to drive) so this will limit our access. I have family in Manchester and also in Cornwall, so these two areas are of interest. I’ve been to Tintagel, but I’m worried that these ‘ruins’ may not be impressive enough to him, since there’s not much left of the original castle. St. Michael’s mount is a possibility, but I can’t tell how much of the castle is available to tourists. I’ve been told that there is a Viking village worth seeing in York.Several of your photos look very interesting. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear from you.

    • avatarLorna says

      It is likely that your grandson is correct—-William the conquerer had many” bastard”children and population at the time was tiny—-so many English people are likely to be his ancestor,most of us are also likely to be related to Charlamagne also–it’s to do with the no of ancestors we each have——by counting 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents etc—–we each have 2 million ancestors when we count back to him—there was less than 2million people on earth then

      York is a wonderful city .The Yorvic museum has a reconstructed Viking settlement,with all the smells and sounds of a real village.York has other museums, you can walk round the medieval walls, there is Clifford’s tower, York Minster where you can climb the tower,you can go on boat trips to the bishop’s palace. York is less than 2 hours away from London on the East coast railway line–you could go on a day trip.

      • avatarLorna says

        Apologies I should have said decendants ( not ancestors) in relation to William the Conqurer.

  30. avatarPeter Davies says

    You might want to take a look at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful castle in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In my view Wensleydale is one of the most beautiful places in England. The castle has been owned by same family since it was built towards the end of the 14th Century. Mary Queen of Scots was held here for a while in ‘protective custody’ after she fled to England.

  31. avatarPhil Knight says

    It might be nice to do a couple of similar articles about castles in Wales, and in Scotland.

    also, if you’ll forgive the reference to a commercial group (that I have no connection to), there’s an organisation called the Landmark Trust that has a whole bunch of small castles, follies and the like that can be rented for a very enjoyable short stay – not cheap, but not ruinously expensive either.

  32. avatarMaslina Yusoff says

    I just watched SKY VIEW: FORTRESS BRITAIN in Discovery channel. It brings the viewer closer to the midieval era with breathtaking images of old historical castles. The best part is you get to see the architectural and its area from sky view! I am intrigue with the design of the fortresses in each and every castles. Next time around when i visit UK I will make trips to castles…
    By the way, I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

  33. avatarReena B says

    Wat about Kenilworth Castle? Or Hampton Court Palace which I think is unbelievably gorgeous especially when the sun is about to set. I went to Hastings once, there’s a castle ruins on top of the hill, nothing much is left.. But somehow I got goosebumps, to think that this was the place where William the Conqueror once trodden.

    • avatar says

      Bolton Castle (not far from Skipton) gave me a feeling of evil. Especially the rooms which were inhabited by Mary Queen of Scots for a while !

  34. avatarLittle Old Me says

    Been to most of those castles on the list and they’re nearly all great with the one exception of Skipton. Sure it may look pretty on the outside and once you’ve seen the conduit court and yew tree there’s really nothing else. It’s an awful place with no features and is boring as hell! Oh and the staff are rude and it costs a bomb to go round! Avoid.

  35. avatarDEBBIE says

    there are to many castles to mention in uk most are unihabited and just ruins but try pickering castle in yorkshire, and of course york castle, in lincolnshire where i live as well as lincoln castle nearby we have belvour castle and even nearer tattershell castle.

  36. avatarAnn says

    You forgot Rockingham Castle. It is one of the oldest and purest Norman Castles, and may even have King John’s baggage that was lost in the wash hidden in the grounds!!!

  37. avatarTim says

    Thank you for putting together this website it’s funny that you lot know more about english castles than me a 26 year old english man! I’m so grateful for our rich cultural heritage and I really don’t take it for granted that I can walk down the street in any town or city in britain and see such beautiful old buildings or even just to hear the church bells at night I’m instantly transported back to another time. It isn’t just the U.K though there are some absolutely gorgeous castles in France in fact much grander than we ever had in britain however I’m partial to the castles of my childhood espacially Ludlow castle as I remember being taken round that particular one at a very young age.

  38. avatarmartyn notman says

    Warkworth Castle in Northumbria is wonderful- slightly ruined but you can still walk through most of it- also Norham Castle next door to Flodden Field which is a total ruin but rather spooky. There is also Raby Castle in Durham which is a private home but open on some days- spectacular entrance hall. I must echo Bamborough Castle though- one of the most beautiful places i have ever been, especially if you visit Lindisfarne as well (go in summer its very pretty but insanely cold in winter). Durham Castle is part of the university now but can still be viewed if you check opening times- and is right next to the brooding Cathedral.

  39. avatarvirginia L.barnhart says

    Hello, I am trying to find info on a castle with the name Eaton or Gamble connected to it. I believe mother said “in the north very near Scotland, maybe 20 miles or so south. If there is information to be found ,I would be very gratfull. Thank-you

  40. avatarJennifer tregennis says

    I’m an avid lover of medieval Britain’s history and I love Britain’s history of castles. I’m amazed at the vast collection of medieval castle pics.I’ve decided to go to OXFORD UNIVERSITY and would live there to be an ‘I LUV BRITAIN’ till I breathe. My friends say they luv the scenic beauties there.I just request Jonathan to find out the Lowenburg castle for me.

  41. avatar says

    I love England and anything English, and it was really great to run upon your site here. I was in search of some fresh pictures of castles for my personal desktop screensaver, so I hope you don’t mind if I use a few of the pics as a desktop because seeing them, allows my mind to relax a bit under stress at work. Anyway, I too am a very strong Anglophile and if I had my way, I would be working for King Henry and not living in this blasted 21st century. I have been to England a few times, mainly to London, but I have been out in the English countryside and stayed in some of the inns and so forth. Wish I had more time (one of these days) to go back again. In the mean time, I watch things like The Tudors which I feel very comfortable with (I think I was born in the wrong time period). Thanks for letting me chip in here.

  42. avatarFrances Langhorne says

    I would like to find a picture of Langhorne Casle and any other information that you may have.

  43. avatarLynn says

    this says it all about how I feel about England, And I don’t live there.

    A Dream

    Through the mist
    A wee cottage
    Rainbows of primrose
    With sweet nectar
    Takes my breath away
    Arising a lite breeze
    A soft gentle rain
    A white picket gate
    Welcoming you, enter
    The windows glow of crimson
    Inviting warmth
    Inside a warm crackling
    Fire stirs in the hearth
    Waiting with love abound
    Enter my home England

    Lynn Welcome

  44. avatarSharon from TX says

    I am working out details for a trip to the UK in late April early May. All things castle are a most see for me. My quandry is, how does one go about seeing these remote castles without the use of a car? Do trains get you close? Or, is there bus service? I would like to avoid the usual coach led tours and pick my own sites to visit. I suppose I could rent a car, but I rather fear driving on the opposite side of the road. i’m not sure if I would need a special license for that anyway. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • avatarmartyn notman says

      You cant really get to most of the castles on this list by public transport- unless you want to spend the whole day changing buses! You can get trains to places near London like Windsor fairly easily but there are virtually no train services to remote rural location that run more than a few times a day. You will need to be VERY organised if you are going to use public transport in the countryside.
      There are bus tours to some of them available- especially the better known ones like Leeds Castle, Kenilworth, etc- but you wont be able to get to most of them unless you hire a car. An American driving licence is accepted usually without problems- as long as you are over 25 normally, and you will have to specifically request a non stick shift car- most of them over here are stick shift as standard.
      England is also a lot bigger than most Americans think (even though its tiny compared even to Texas)- so you may be able to do the south and midlands or north and midlands but probably not both unless youre here for a long time.

    • avatar says

      I agree with Martyn, it really depends where you are going to be based. Don’t be afraid of driving on the “wrong side” of the road, you will have a right hand drive car and I think that British drivers are probably the most courteous in the World. I live for most of the year in Thailand so I know !

  45. avatarBill Cockayne says

    How could you leave the mighty Bamburgh Castle out of your 16?? Perhaps it’s number 17. That amazed me. I have visited it twice and will go a third time in a couple of months.

  46. avatar says

    Thanks for an educational website. I’ve been looking up castles that date
    back to William the Conqueror because while searching on Ancestry.com
    for a Mayflower ancestor, I was blown away to discover that old William
    of Normandy was my 27th great grandfather! Like you, Jonathan, I’m a bit
    batty over English history.

    • avatarJudith Pearson says

      Hi Jan Wax, I guess that means we are related since I am the 30th great grand daughter of William !! Also research has been done to indicate I have a relative who fought in the Revolutionary War! Proud of my English heritage!!

    • avatarSus says

      I would recommend Dover Castle as a great example of a Norman Keep. I grew up very close and in the 60s it was free to play the grounds. There is also a Roman lighthouse, Saxon church, wartime tunnels and also a nuclear bunker built supposedly secretly in the 60s during the cold war – now no longer secret, but we kids knew about them at the time! There are also other Norman churches in the town.

      • avatarSus says

        Sorry Bill, (January 8th 2011), I’ve just realised I’ve almost repeated your post verbatim.

  47. avatarAnonymous says

    > cas·tle – /ˈkasəl/ noun; A large building or group of buildings fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements and towers. <

    …so why is Castle Howard and Hever Castle on the list? Just because it looks like a castle or has "castle" in its name, doesn't mean it's a castle.

  48. avatarLord Doovay says

    Greetings all, I would give my right arm to have or live in anyone of the castles pictured what a blessed country. Kind regards, …Lord Doovay.

  49. avatarAnthonette says

    Nice Photos…nice castles…Hope I can visit all those castles with the man I love. :)

  50. avatarSammy says

    If anyone is planning on going to Warwick castle (probably the best castle in terms of a day out if you want some side attractions with falconry, a huge trebuchet and dungeon tour always available), then you should consider going to Kenilworth as well. The atmosphere is very different and it is probably a more interesting castle in itself but not as much to do. It’s only a 15 min drive from Warwick too.

  51. avatarKatherine says

    I visited most of these as a kid but when you’re little you don’t really appreciate how pretty England can be. I live in a shit area and so we spent most of out holidays visiting these places.
    To be honest, it’s nice to know that there are people appreciating the UK as growing up in a place tend to make it seem pretty shit when it’s not shit at all.

  52. avatar says

    Wonderful website – this is helping me focus our upcoming trip to ensure we make th emost of the time we have. We may not be able to see all 16, but sure are going to try! Perhaps our one-month trip isn’t long enough; maybe we just won’t come home at all!

  53. avatar says

    I enjoyed your list and have visited most of them. There are so many great castles in the UK. I hope you will look at the castles I have visited and see my experiences.

    Thanks. I love the website!

  54. avatarDenise says

    Warwick is really nice. If you go around the back of it as it sits next to the river, you can get some awesome photos of it’s backside. From there it looks HUGE. The tower in the corner is so high. Don’t do it unless you have the stamina. I’m also not a big fan of the wax figures in the rooms.
    The Tower is a MUST SEE & is always changing. Also the food in the cafeteria is really good. Try to do the ceremony of the keys if you can.
    Windsor is very interesting. Lots to see & feels like a real castle. Don’t miss the Chapel where Henry the VIII’s remains exploded onto the floor LOL!.
    Castle Howard is more impressive from the outside than in. (there was a big fire & lots of repairs) But worth the trip.
    Leeds is also more impressive from the outside than in. Seems small by comparison. Great photo op for exterior views of the perfect dream castle.
    Next on my castle must see list is Hever, Durham & St. Michael’s Mount. (can i do that in one trip????? :/

  55. avatarHoward Kingsbury says

    Difficult to say but three particular omissions I find somewhat surprising. They are: (1) Conisbrough, (2) Ludlow and (3) Kenilworth. The first I only know from illustrations but the other two have left abiding impressions.

  56. avatarCraig says

    Conisborough castle is very interesting. It lies in a far from picturesque area (former mining country) and most of the walls and battlements have gone. But it has a fantastic, central Keep that towers above the surroundings. Particularly striking as it is made of light sandstone and is in really good condition – looks like it was constructed yesterday.

    It’s one of the few castles that made it through the Civil War relatively unscathed. Other local castles such as Sheffield and Pontefract weren’t so fortunate!

    Btw, great website!!

    Craig

  57. avatarlisette says

    hi,
    great site. any advice…we may go to london in december and are thinking of going out of town for new year’s eve to escape the high hotel prices and see something else. it may be an overnight trip or just for the day–my friend has never seen a castle and we both have never been to england; can you suggest a town, accesible by trian, preferably not more than 1-1.5 hours away that we could see a castle and have a good time in town seeing sights. food, beer, culture :) ? thanks!

  58. avatarVictoria-Louise says

    As im hometaught this website is amazing to find out facts for history. Thanks Johnathan and Jackie :D bIG SMILIES

  59. avatarSravya says

    Oh God!!! such a beautiful structures in those days and still existing are some of the most amazing things in the world. I belong to India, and we have too these kind of structures but they are no longer buildings or castles just left monuments. But have to accept our ancestors ideas for the way they build them.

  60. avatarchristopher says

    i’m trying to find lee’s castle in England where my mother used to work!! nothing is coming up..

  61. avatarLivvy Gibb says

    The photos are exquisite. I lived in the UK 27 years and retired back to the States 3 years ago. Most of the castles listed, I have visited. England stole my heart, my soul and mind. The beauty, the culture, the people, the history make America bland. Yes, the west is beautiful but the walks in the UK surrounded by villages (owned a cottage in long Compton) and lived in London…….a perfect balance in life where memories are stored forever. Yes, I am also British and treasure these overwhelmingly beautiful castles.

  62. avatarDave says

    Have you ever visited Thornbury Castle. It’s on the west coast of England. I stayed there on a business trip a few years ago. At the time it was run by a young man named Justin Taylor who was the son of The Baron of Portlethen the owner. (Not sure of the spelling)I believe it was built by the Duke of Buckingham who was Henry VIII’s first cousin. It was under construction when the Duke was put to death by Henry so it never had a army and was not a threat to the crown when Cromwell destryed most of the powerful castle’s in England.It’s a wonderful place.

  63. avatarMeadow says

    I ADORE England. I’m from America, and I love my home, but England will always own a piece of my heart. <3

  64. avatarAndrew Wilson says

    Hi,

    Great list, except for Castle Howard which is a stately home with a pretentious name (not a castle). In its place, I would promote Scotney Castle (in Kent) to your list. Not the new one, the old one in the middle of a lake. If you ever visit, you have to go down into the gardens to find it. The new(er) Scotney Castle is another stately home.

  65. avatarBill says

    The Tower Of London is historically interesting but architecturally quite average in my opinion. You must visit Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.