November 09, 2011

5 of the Biggest and Best Castles in Great Britain

Some of Great Britain's most beautiful, historical and traditional settings are that of its castles. From fairytales to fables, historical fiction to fact, Britain's castles have been at the heart of many a story told to children across the world.

Below, we look at 5 of the biggest and best castles found in the Great Britain:


Tower of London by James.Stringer
Tower of London, a photo by James.Stringer on Flickr.

Tower of London

Firstly, we head to the UK's capital and to the most famous castle in England, the Tower of London. It is here that Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, was confined until her execution, following proven allegations of adultery.

It is also the place that features on a famous painting of the 1666 Great Fire of London, in which all the surrounding buildings were destroyed, but it remained standing.

Nowadays, a holiday in the capital isn’t complete without a visit to the Tower of London to see the Royal Crown Jewels and meet the Beefeater Guards who guard the castle.

Built in around 1066, following the Battle of Hastings, the Tower of London has had many guises - as a public records office, a jail, a treasury and an armoury.

Tickets are available at around £19.80 for adults and £10.00 for children.


Windsor Castle by david.bank (www.david-bank.com)
Windsor Castle, a photo by david.bank (www.david-bank.com) on Flickr.
Windsor Castle

Secondly, we head to the other side of London and go to Windsor Castle. Home of the Windsor family (the UK's royal family), Windsor castle has long been a famous castle around the world. It is said to be the oldest, largest castle to have continuous residence for over 900 years.

Windsor Castle has changed dramatically since its formation around 1066, from a wooden fortress to the stone building we see today. During those 1000 years, it has been restored and refurbished through the English Civil War and, more recently, following a fire that threatened to destroy the whole castle.

Apparently, in the 17th century, a Bill in parliament to destroy Windsor Castle was narrowly defeated - by only one vote. Tickets are available from £16.50 for adults and £9.90 for children.
Warwick Castle

Next, we head up to the Midlands and to Warwick Castle. Known for its daunting architecture and size, Warwick has had a transitional history, moving from wood to stone. It survived siege warfare during the Medieval Era, replaced by a stone building in 1260 and extensions such as a chapel and hall were later additions to the building.

Known for being a haunted castle, Warwick is an enchanting and mysterious castle that is a fantastic place to visit around Halloween. The curators of the castle put on various events, such as visits to the castle dungeons and the jail.

Experience truly heroic opportunities within the castle, where history comes alive with knights of the realm and battles for the children to take part in - including dressing up! Tickets are available from £91.80 for a family.

Leeds Castle by HerryLawford
Leeds Castle, a photo by HerryLawford on Flickr.

Leeds Castle

Fourth, we visit a castle called Leeds Castle. Be warned - it is not located in Leeds, West Yorkshire, but Leeds in Kent. It is set in picturesque grounds and often is the location for many concerts due to its open spaces. It is a very beautiful castle and is sometimes referred to as "the loveliest castle in the World".

Again, built in the 11th century from wood, it has had many transformations over the years. William the Conqueror used Anglo-Saxon slaves to build the castle originally. The original wood was replaced by stone in 1119.

Priced at £18.50 for adults and £11.00 for children, Leeds castle runs a special offer, where if you pay once in a year, you can return for free. There are so many different activities to try at the castle, including the railway, steam boat, aviary, segway tours and a large hedge maze to navigate around.

Conwy by rethought
Conwy, a photo by rethought on Flickr.
Conwy Castle

Finally, we head to Conwy castle in Wales. With good transport links throughout North Wales to the North West of England, a visit to Conwy should not be missed.

Situated on the coastline, Conwy castle is a great day out. You can walk the city walls, discover exciting ruins, climb turrets and find places to sit and watch the world go by.

In terms of prices, it is much cheaper than the other castles but that’s because there is less to do there. However, the town of Conwy also has many amenities to offer, including a traditional Welsh tea shop and because of the various other towns you in and around Conwy it is well worth including a short break in Conwy in your travel itinerary.

3 comments:

  1. Great overview of the top five! Thanks for posting.

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  2. This post was awesome Abby!
    About a month ago I bought a magazine called "The Ultimate Guide To Historic Britain." It had several articles on the different castles you mentioned. They are truly amazing and are on the top of my list of things to see when the day comes that I can visit! (sigh)
    Thanks for posting this, I loved it!

    Devin

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you both for commenting!

    Ooooh, the "Ultimate Guide" sounds fascinating, Devin. I hope that you get to visit the top five castles and more :)

    ReplyDelete

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