Best Castles to Visit in the UK

For a country rich in history, it is unsurprising the UK has a multitude to castles to explore. This week we asked what are your favourite castles to explore.

Hannah Ross
16th May 2022
Photo by Ian Murphy on Unsplash
Dover Castle 

Dover Castle is one of my favourite castles to visit in the UK. It has the benefit of being well-maintained, meaning the structure is still very much how it was when it was first built (well when the last parts were added!). It also makes it a huge place to explore, with English Heritage putting on events throughout the day to recreate what life would have been like and the important figures who might have lived there. Whilst being founded in the 11th century, Dover Castle has been active part of history well into the Cold War. A day at Dover goes far beyond the history of the medieval keep. There is also a Roman Lighthouse, areas refitted for protection from nuclear attack, and a lengthy World War II bunker which acted as a naval headquarters. Many aspects of Dover Castle offer a very immersive experience and I heartily recommend a visit! 

Hever Castle 

Hever Castle was a bizarre but enjoyable experience, having been converted into a tourist attraction. Whilst originally built as a defensive castle in 1270, not much remains of this as the Boleyn family added a Tudor 'keep' there and has since been owned by a number of families including William Astor who created a picturesque 'Tudor village' and extensive gardens. It certainly would not function as a defensive castle anymore. The keep itself is full of paintings of various Tudor Lords, Ladies, Kings and Queens as well as many objects from Anne Boleyn's childhood. The gardens are also worth going round as they are beautiful. There is a huge lake to walk around with some kind of pavilion built at the end to complete the perfect image – Astor took his time in the appearance of everything, to the point that the grounds and castle look like a fairy tale. 

Photo by Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash
Caernarfon Castle 

Caernarfon Castle in Wales is described as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages and it doesn’t take much to agree with that opinion for it is gigantic! Commissioned by Edward I in 1283, Caernarfon is one of several castles built in Wales to help the king control his newly conquered lands. The castle is situated by the water and has 12 towers and two separate bailey courtyards. With this in mind, it is easy to see how one can walk around the structure with the impression that 'yes, this is a proper castle!' 

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