Castles are brilliant to visit, and now that Game of Thrones is coming to a close, more people than ever are taking the time to check out some real-life examples of some of the most spectacular buildings in the world. The UK has some amazing castles to explore, and from fortresses to elegant stately homes, right up to the castle ruins that are dotted around the country, you’re spoiled for choice. No matter what kind of castle you’re interested in checking out, there’s one out there for you. Here are some of the best castles to visit in the UK, and what you can do in the immediate surroundings.
The Tower of London
Built at the end of 1066 at the tail end of the Norman Conquest, the Tower of London has a long and sometimes bloody history. It certainly looks imposing, and the fact that it has been used as a prison only adds to the history. It’s not all ancient history either, because even the Kray twins were held there for a while! If you want to walk in the footsteps of William Wallace, Guy Fawkes, and Anne Boleyn, then the Tower of London is a must-visit.
Elegant and stately doesn’t quite convey just how stunning the Queen's favourite weekend retreat really is. It had a bit of an update by Edward III, and the changes he made only add to the striking appearance of this stately abode. There’s plenty to do there too. Surrounded by parks, you can take a casual stroll and check out the roaming deer, before heading off to the amazing thecornerhousepub.co.uk to fill up on great food and unique craft ales, ciders, and even gin! Windsor Castle has been dominating the landscape of Windsor since the 11th Century, so don’t put it off.
If you're after something a little ruined, then Kenilworth is something really special. Built in the 1120s, it was home to one of the greatest sieges in British history, when Simon de Montfort used the now ruined castle to lead the Second Barons War against the then king. It may have fallen apart since those long ago days, but now that it’s owned by English Heritage there have been some restoration changes. It still looks like it’s recovering from that long siege, but it’s an amazing site to explore and experience.
Dominating the skyline of the Scottish capital, it’s hard to imagine a more imposing castle to visit. Not only does it look spectacular, the fact that it’s built on top of an extinct volcano simply adds to its brilliance. One of the coolest things about the castle in Edinburgh is that nobody is quite sure how old it is. The first mention of it as a castle is way back in records from 1093! Of course, being in Edinburgh means that you’ll also find plenty to do in the immediate area, and you could spend weeks exploring in and around the castle without running out of new sights to see.
Whether you want to embrace the history of Britain or you simply want to check out some of the most iconic buildings in the world, the castles in the UK have something for everyone. From ruins to stately homes, you’re bound to find the castle of your dreams.