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List of Castles in England

Welcome to Historic UK's interactive map of castles in England. From the smaller motte and bailey earthworks to the world famous Leeds Castle, all have been geotagged onto the Google Map below. We have also included a short synopsis of each of the castles, including the history behind them and who they are now owned by.

To get the most out of our interactive map, please select the 'Satellite' option below; which in our opinion, allows you to more fully appreciate the castle and its defences from above.

Although we have attempted to create the most comprehensive listing on the internet, there is a small chance that a few castles may have slipped through our net. If you've noticed any ommissions, please do not hesitate to fill out the form at the bottom of the map.



Full list of Castles in England

Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell, Shropshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Extensive remains of a fortified tower house. Built between 1284-1293 by Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, friend and advisor to King Edward I, the location of the manor house was important, close to the old Roman road of Watling Street. The influence of Bishop Burnell was such that this little Shropshire village twice hosted the English Parliament, first in 1283 and again in 1285. All that remains open to the public is the shell of the former private residence. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland
Owned by: Duke of Northumberland
Medieval castle and stately home. Built following the Norman conquest and renovated and remodelled many times since then, it is the great northern fortress of the powerful Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland. Insid, the rooms have also been remodelled over the centuries, most notably by the famous Robert Adam in the 18th century. Most famously in recent years, Alnwick Castle featured as 'Hogwarts' in the first two Harry Potter films. Entrance charges apply to both castle and gardens.

Appleby Castle, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria
Owned by: Privately owned
Intact Norman Castle and mansion house. Standing guard over the Eden Valley since Norman times, the castle was once owned by the Kings of England. Built when King William II took Westmorland from the Scots, the great castle keep, known as Caesar's Tower dates from around 1170. Now a private residence it is not open to the public.

 

Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex
Owned by: Arundel Castle Trust
Restored medieval castle. Founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1067, the castle was damaged during the English Civil War and restored throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The castle has been the hereditary stately home of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years, and remains the principal seat of the Norfolk family. Most of the castle and grounds are open to the public; entrance charges apply to both the castle and gardens.

Ashby-de-la-zouch Castle, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of fortified manor house. Founded by the Norman noble Alain de Parrhoet, la Zouch, this fortified manor house dates from the 12th century and was extended by his descendants over the next three centuries. During the English Civil War the castle was subject to a prolonged siege between September 1645 and its surrender in March 1646. The surrender terms demanded that the castle be slighted (demolished). Visitors can still climb the tower and discover the underground passage from the kitchen to the tower. Entrance charges apply.

Askerton Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Askerton Castle Estate
Complete medieval fortified manor house, now part of organic and rare breeds farm. Built around 1300 originally as an unfortified manor house, the two crenellated towers were added at either end of the hall in the early 16th century in order to strengthen its defences. These latter defences are thought to be the work of Thomas Lord Dacre (1467-1535). Now operating as an organic and rare breeds farm.

 

Aydon Castle, Aydon, Nr Corbridge, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact 13th century English manor house. Originally built as an undefended manor house, it was fortified on the outbreak of Anglo-Scottish Wars. It was captured by the Scots in 1315, seized by English rebels two years later, and again occupied by Scots in 1346. Recently restored to its medieval appearance, entrance charges apply.

Baconsthorpe Castle, Nr Holt, Norfolk
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined moated and fortified 15th century manor house. Built by the ambitious Heydon family between 1460-1486 as a simple manor house, it was later fortified and enlarged as the family's wealth grew. After the English Civil War the house fell into ruin. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh, Northumberland
Owned by: Armstrong family
Intact and inhabited Norman castle. Once the Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria, the first written reference to the castle dates from AD 547, when it was captured by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia. Vikings destroyed the original fortification in AD 993. The Normans built a new castle on the site, which forms the core of the current structure. Open to the public, entrance charges apply.

 

Barnard Castle, Barnard Castle, County Durham
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Founded by the Normans shortly after the conquest, the castle enjoyed its heyday under Bernard de Bailliol during the latter half of the 12th century. The castle passed into the possession of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and then to King Richard III, falling into ruins in the century after his death. Entrance charges apply.

Bedford Castle, Bedford, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of medieval castle. Built sometime after 1100 by King Henry I, the castle played a significant role in both the civil war known as The Anarchy, and the First Barons' War. Henry III besieged the castle in 1224, which lasted eight weeks. Following its surrender, the king ordered the castle's destruction. Today only part of the motte can be seen, forming part of an archaeological park.

 

Beeston Castle, Beeston, Tarporley, Cheshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined remains of a 13th century castle. Standing on a rocky crag high above the Cheshire Plain, Beeston Castle was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, on his return from the Crusades. The castle remained in good repair until the 16th century, when it was considered to be of no further strategic importance. It was partly demolished in 1646, in accordance with Cromwell's destruction order, to prevent its further use as a stronghold. Treasure belonging to Richard II is rumoured to be hidden in the castle grounds. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Bellister Castle, Haltwhistle, Northumberland
Owned by: National Trust
Remains of a 19th century mansion house attached to the ruins of a 14th century tower house. This ruined castellated 19th century mansion house and remains of a 14th century tower house stand on what may have been an earlier motte and bailey castle. The mansion house suffered serious fire damage in 1901, whilst the older remains were allowed to fall into decay. Although owned by the National Trust, the structures are not open to the public; the castle exterior however, can be viewed from adjacent properties.

 

Belsay Castle, Belsay, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. This substantial, three story rectangular pele tower with turrets and battlements was constructed around 1370. Home to the Middleton family, a new manor house was added to the tower in 1614. The castle was abandoned by the family in the early 19th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Gloucestershire
Owned by: Berkeley Castle Charitable Trust
The oldest continuously-occupied castle in England after the royal residences. The first castle at Berkeley was a Norman motte-and-bailey structure, built around 1067, shortly after the Conquest. The present castle has remained within the Berkeley family since they reconstructed it in the 12th century. It is believed to be the scene of the murder of King Edward II in 1327. Restricted opening times from Easter to October, entrance charges apply.

Berkhamsted Castle, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of an 11th - 13th century motte and bailey stronghold. Built during the Norman Conquest of England to control a key route between London and the Midlands, the motte and bailey castle was surrounded by protective earthworks. Extended in the mid-12th century, the castle was besieged in 1216 during the civil war between King John and rebel barons. Subsequently used to hold royal prisoners, it was described as being in ruins by the middle of the 16th century. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Berry Pomeroy Castle, Totnes, Devon
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a Tudor mansion within the walls of an earlier castle. Within the 15th century defences of the Pomeroy family castle stands the ruined shell of a great Elizabethan mansion. Intended to become the most spectacular house in Devon, Sir Edward Seymour started building his new four-storey house in 1560. Enlarged by his son from 1600, it was never completed and abandoned by 1700. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted castles in Britain. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Berwick Castle, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a medieval castle and the most complete bastioned town defences in England. Built in the 12th century by the Scottish King David I, the English King Edward I had the castle rebuilt and added the substantial town walls of Berwick. Both the town and castle changed hands several times over the centuries that followed, as a result of the Anglo-Scottish conflicts. The construction of modern ramparts around the town in the 16th century rendered the castle obsolete and much of the remaining structure was demolished when the town's railway station was built. Some of the 13th century castle and the extensive town walls survive. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Bewcastle Castle, Cumbria
Ruined 11th / 14th century castle. Built on the site of a Roman fort, this was once owned by King Edward IV who gifted it to his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, in the early 1400's. Much of the castle was destroyed by Cromwell in 1641, with the following years seeing the local community pilfering the remaining stonework for nearby buildings. Most of the original gatehouse still remains.

Bewley Castle, Cumbria
Once the medieval home of the bishops of Carlisle, Bewley is believed to have been built by Bishop Hugh sometime before 1223. Rebuilt around 1325, the castle was refurbished by Bishop Strickland in 1402. Later converted into a family residence, it remained occupied until 1857. With sections still standing up to 10 metres high, the substantial remains lie next to farm on private land.

 

Biggleswade Castle, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Slight earthwork evidence of motte and bailey castle. Only discovered in 1954, when an aerial photography revealed the shape of this motte and bailey castle dating from around 1144. Little visible evidence remains.

Blenkinsop Castle, Greenhead, Northumberland
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of a 14th century pele tower. Remains of a 14th century pele tower within a demolished 19th-century country mansion. Originally home to the Blenkinsop family, the White Lady spectre is said to still wander the ruins. Open access at any time.

 

Boarstall Tower, Boarstall, Buckinghamshire
Owned by: National Trust
Remains of fortified manor house. Originally a large fortified manor house, all that remains of Boarstall Castle today is its moated gatehouse dating back to 1312. The tower also features some beautiful gardens. Limited opening arrangements.

 

Bodiam Castle, Robertsbridge, East Sussex
Owned by: National Trust
Almost complete exterior of 14th century moated castle. One of Britain's most romantic and picturesque castles, Bodiam was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of King Edward III. Said to have been built to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years' War. Intriguing, sometimes grizzly tales can be heard from colourful characters. Open 363 days of the year (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Entrance charges apply.

Bolingbroke Castle, Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a 13th century hexagonal castle. The castle was built around 1220 to a hexagonal design by Randulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester and Lincoln, following his return from the Fifth Crusade. Birthplace of the future King Henry IV in 1366. During the English Civil War, the castle was "slighted", with the towers and walls being torn down and dumped into the moat to prevent further military use. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Bolsover Castle, Bolsover, Derbyshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact, mix of Norman stronghold, Jacobean manor and country house. Built by the Peverel family in the 12th century, the castle became Crown property when the family line died out. Following a siege in 1217, it deteriorated into a ruin. The manor and castle were purchased by Sir George Talbot in 1553, who set about re-building it for elegant living rather than defence. Slighted during the Civil War, it again fell into a ruinous state. William Cavendish had the castle restored to good order by the time of his death in 1676. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Bolton Castle, Leyburn, Yorkshire
Owned by: Scrope family
Largely intact 14th century castle. A courtyard castle built between 1378 and 1399 by Sir Richard le Scrope, Chancellor to Richard II. Mary, Queen of Scots was held at the castle following her defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568. Mary, along with her retinue of 51 knights, servants and ladies-in-waiting stayed in apartments in the South-West tower. Free to wander the grounds, she often went hunting. She also learned to speak English, as she previously only spoke French and Latin. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Bowes Castle, Bowes, County Durham
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 12th century keep, on the site of a Roman fort. Bowes Castle was built on the site of a former Roman fort known as Lavatrae which had guarded the Stainforth Pass, one of the few upland passes to link England and Scotland. Originally built from timber around 1136, royal concerns over border security led to the English King Henry II investing heavily in a new stone structure on the site between 1171 and 1174. As a result of the continuing Anglo-Scottish Wars, the castle and surrounding manor were abandoned, and by 1340 the castle was in ruins. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Bramber Castle, Bramber, West Sussex
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. This early Norman motte and bailey castle was built by William de Braose around 1075, and remained in the ownership of the de Braose family for over 250 years. Subject to a siege by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War; cannons set-up in the nearby church fired down onto the castle. Today, only the ruins of the gatehouse survive. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Brinklow Castle, Brinklow, Warwickshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthworks of an 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle. Extensive earthworks of a grand 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle. Possibly on the site of an earlier prehistoric barrow, it sits directly on the line of the Roman Fosse Way, almost equidistant between the major castles and strategic centres of Warwick and Leicester. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Brough Castle, Church Brough, Cumbria
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Standing on a ridge commanding the strategic Stainmore Pass, a key route though the Pennine mountains, William Rufus first constructed a wooden motte and bailey castle around 1092 within the old Roman fort of Verterae. Attacked and destroyed by the Scots in 1174, it was later rebuilt using stone with the addition of a square keep. The castle perimeter walls still stand to a good height in several places, whilst Clifford's Tower and the keep are both in evidence. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Brougham Castle, Nr Penrith, Cumbria
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Built by Robert de Vieuxpont in the early 13th century on the site of an earlier Roman fort, the castle sits on the banks of the River Eamont. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Scottish Wars in 1296, Brougham became an important military base and the castles wooden defences were replaced with stone walls and a large stone gatehouse added. Such was the importance of Brougham that Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, visited in 1300. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Buckden Palace, Buckden, Cambridgeshire
Owned by: Claretian Missionary
Remains of fortified manor house. All that remains of the original moated palace are the great tower (built in 1475), the inner gatehouse and part of a battlemented wall. The rest of the complex is a much newer 19th century house, now used as a Christian conference centre. The grounds of the tower are regularly open to visitors however.

 

Bungay Castle, Bungay, Suffolk
Owned by: Bungay Castle Trust
Remains of a late 12th century castle. Originally built by Roger Bigod around 1100, the castle takes advantage of the protection offered by the sweep of the River Waveney. Roger's son, Hugh, was a prominent player in the civil war years known as The Anarchy but backed the losing side, and as a result Bungay was besieged, mined and destroyed on the orders of Henry II. The castle was further developed in 1294 when the massive gate towers were added. Some year later the castle reverted to the Crown, eventually falling into disrepair and ruin. Admission to the castle keep is free, but donations are welcomed.

 

Bywell Castle, Bywell, Northumberland
Owned by: Privately owned, Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of a late 14th & 15th century castle incorporated into a 19th century house. Set on the north bank of the River Tyne, the original Norman fortification built by Guy de Balliol around 1094 was restored and strengthened in the 14th and 15th centuries by the Neville family, who added a tower, curtain wall and gatehouse. The curtain wall and tower have been incorporated into the 19th century house, which is privately owned and not normally open to visitors.

 

Cainhoe Castle, Clophill, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthworks of an 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle. This 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle was built by Nigel d'Aubigny, sometime after the Norman Invasion of 1066. The castle remained occupied until the time of the Black Death in 1348, when all the inhabitants died of the plague. The castle was in ruins by 1374. Free open access via footpath from Cainhoe village.

Caister Castle, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk
Owned by: Caister Castle Trust
Remains of a 15th century brick built castle surrounded by a moat. This brick castle was built by Sir John Fastolf (Shakespeare's Falstaff), between 1432 and 1446, including a 100ft tower. The castle suffered major damage in 1469, when it was besieged and captured by the Duke of Norfolk. The castle fell into fell into disrepair in the 17th century, when a new house was built nearby. The castle's tower remains intact and can be climbed by visitors. Restricted summer opening times and entrance charges apply, to both the castle and adjacent motor museum.

 

Calshot Castle, Calshot, Hampshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact coastal artillery fort, built by Henry VIII. Built by Henry VIII to guard the entrance to Southampton Water, Calshot was built as part of a chain of coastal defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Roman Catholic Church. This circular blockhouse was built in 1540 re-using stone, with a twist of irony, from Beaulieu Abbey. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Camber Castle, Rye, East Sussx
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruin of an artillery fort, built by Henry VIII. Built by Henry VIII to guard the port of Rye, Camber was built as part of a chain of coastal defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Roman Catholic Church. The circular tower was built between 1512-1514 and expanded between 1539-1544. By the end of the 16th century the silting of the Camber made the castle obsolete. The castle is in need of repair and for safety reasons may only be open by guided tour.

 

Canterbury Castle, Canterbury, Kent
Owned by: Canterbury City Council
Remains of a Norman castle. Shortly after Canterbury submitted to William the Conqueror in October 1066, a simple motte and bailey structure was erected. One of the three Royal castles of Kent, the motte is still visible as the mound in Dane John Gardens, a corruption of the French word 'donjon' or keep. Construction of the great stone keep took place between 1086-1120. After Henry II built his new castle at Dover, Canterbury Castle declined in importance and became the county gaol. By the 17th century it had fallen into ruin. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Carisbrooke Castle and Museum, Nr Newport, Isle of Wight
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Although there has been a fortress on this site since at least Saxon times AD 544, the present stone castle was started around 1100. Carisbrooke experienced its only serious action in 1377, when it was unsuccessfully attacked by a French raiding force. Following his defeat in the English Civil War, King Charles I was imprisoned at the castle for fourteen months before his execution in 1649. His attempt to escape failed after he became wedged in the window bars. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, Cumbria
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a Norman castle. Given its strategic location on the English border with Scotland, it is not surprising that Carlisle Castle is the most besieged place in the British Isles. The castle was started during the reign of William II of England, the son of the Conqueror, at which time Cumberland was considered a part of Scotland. William II arrived and duly drove the Scots out, claiming the region for England. A wooden Norman motte and bailey castle was started in 1093 on the site of an earlier Roman fort. In 1122, Henry I ordered a stone keep to be constructed; the city walls also date from this time. Carlisle and her castle changed hands many times over the next 700 years. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Cartington Castle, Cartington, Northumberland
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of 14th century castle, originally built as a pele tower. Originally built as a pele tower in the 14th century, it was extended to include a great hall and courtyard in 1442. The castle hosted a visit by Margaret, Queen of Scots in November 1515. During the English Civil War Cartington was held by royalist troops; as a result it was besieged by Parliamentary forces in 1648. The royalist defenders offered only brief resistance and the castle was slighted to make it unusable for future defence. Now on private land, it can be seen from the surrounding fields or road.

 

Castle Acre Castle, Nr Swaffham, Norfolk
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Built soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066 by William de Warenne, the first Earl of Surrey, the castle was of motte-and-bailey construction. On the summit of the motte was the owner's residence, the last refuge in the event of an attack. A strong curtain wall with wall walks protected the motte summit, and a lesser wall topped the banks of the bailey. The Bailey Gate is a survivor of the original ditched earthwork defences with its stone towers. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Castle Howe, Kendal, Cumbria
Owned by: South Lakeland District Council
Earthwork remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. One of two castles in Kendal, Castle Howe was built shortly after the Norman conquest of England. Of a motte and bailey design, the castle was abandoned in the 12th century. The remaining earthworks consist mainly of the motte. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Castle Rising, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Owned by: Lord Howard of Rising (English Heritage listed)
Well preserved 12th century castle and earthwork defences. Built in around 1138 by William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence and a royal mint. Between 1330 - 1358, it was the residence of the exiled former queen Isabella of France, widow of the murdered Edward II, who died here. One of the most famous 12th century castles in England, the well preserved stone keep is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind and is surrounded by 12 acres of earthwork defences. Its current owner is Lord Howard of Rising, a descendant of William d'Aubigny. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Chalgrave Castle , Toddington, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Leveled site of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Built during the 11th century, this timber motte and bailey castle had been abandoned by the 13th century. Excavated by Bedfordshire Archaeology Council, the site is now all but leveled.

 

Chester Castle: Agricola Tower, Chester, Cheshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Surviving part of the medieval Chester Castle. This 12th century tower is the only surviving part of medieval Chester Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1070, the castle became the administrative centre of the Earldom of Chester. The original wooden motte and bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century along with the outer bailey. The stone gateway to the inner bailey was also added, this is now known as the Agricola Tower. The remainder of the castle was destroyed by fire in the late 18th century. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland
Owned by: Sir Humphry Wakefield
Intact medieval castle. Built in the 12th century as a monastery, Chillingham has been home to the Grey family and their descendants since 1246. Kind Edward I visited the castle in 1298, on his way north to battle William Wallace. Chillingham became a fully fortified castle in 1344, complete with dungeons and torture chambers. At its centre is the Great Hall, an Elizabethan chamber overlooked by a medieval minstrel's gallery. Open to the public from Easter and through October, restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Christchurch Castle, Christchurch, Dorset
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 12th century castle and lords house. Standing on the site of an earlier Saxon fort dating from around AD 924, the original Norman wooden motte and bailey castle was replaced with a stone keep in 1160. Also dating from this time is the nearby domestic Norman dwelling known as the Constable's House, which was built inside the original castle bailey. Containing the lord's private apartments, it is the only building that has survived. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Clare Castle, Clare, Suffolk
Owned by: Suffolk County Council
Remains of medieval castle and motte and bailey. A motte and bailey castle was built shortly after the Norman Conquest by Richard Fitz Gilbert, cousin of William the Conqueror. It was the de Clare family that replaced that first wooden structure with a stone keep in the 13th century; later the castle became the home of Elizabeth de Clare, one of the richest women in England. It is the remains of the 13th century fortress that can be seen today atop its 100 foot high motte. Set within Clare Castle Country Park, there is free open access at any reasonable time.

Clifford Castle, Clifford, Herefordshire
Owned by: Paul Rumph
Remains of gatehouse, hall, and round towers. Constructed in 1070 on a cliff overlooking a ford on the River Wye, the early wooden motte and bailey castle was built to provide protection for a planned Norman settlement. The stone castle dates from around 1162, and was the home of Rosamund Clifford, also known as Fair Rosamund, mistress of Henry II. During the Owain Glyndwr rebellion of 1402, the castle was destroyed by Welsh forces. Now privately owned, visits to view the castle are occasionally allowed: please contact the website manager for details.

 

Clitheroe Castle, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Owned by: Ribble Valley Borough Council
Remains of three-storeys-high castle keep and modern museum. Built in 1186 by Robert de Lacy, the Norman keep of the castle is reputed to be the second smallest in England. The stone keep is enclosed within a curtain wall, only part of which remains. Standing almost three storeys high but now roofless, the keep was damaged by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War. Within the castle grounds is a museum which explains the castle's history. There is free open access to the castle and a small admission fee to the museum.

Clun Castle, Clun, Shropshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins and earthworks of a 13th century Welsh Border castle. Built to defend the unsettled border country between Wales and England shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066, the first motte and bailey castle at Clun was constructed of wood. Attacked and burned down by the Welsh in 1196, it was completely rebuilt in the late 13th century in stone by the Fitzallan family. The castle was converted into a hunting lodge sometime in the 14th century, but by the 16th century it was largely ruined. Today, the remains include the grand four-storey stone keep and a curtain wall with free open access at any reasonable time.

Cockermouth Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Privately owned
Ruins of a Norman castle with some Roman stonework visible. Built in 1134 (and using a great deal of stone from a nearby Roman settlement) and expanded in the 14th century, Cockermouth Castle stands high above the town overlooking the River Derwent. Privately owned and only open to the public occasionally.

Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester, Essex
Owned by: Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service
William the Conqueror's first stone castle, largely intact. The first of William the Conqueror's great keeps and the largest built by the Normans in Europe. Building began around 1069 but halted in 1080 due to the threat of Viking invasion, the castle was completed by 1100. Re-cycled materials from the former Roman town can clearly be seen in the building structure. The castle was besieged and eventually captured by King John in 1215, following his altercation with rebellious barons. Much of the castle was in ruins by the 16th century, although in 1645 it was serving as the county prison and the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins interrogated and imprisoned suspected witches here. In 1922, the Castle and parkland were gifted to the town and now serves as a public museum. Closed for renovation work until spring 2014.

Conisbrough Castle, Conisbrough, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Well-preserved 12th century keep. Set on a natural slope above the Don Valley, this 13th century castle is said to have been the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Ivanhoe'. Fortified by earthworks, the first castle on the site would have been little more than a wooden palisade, built soon after the Norman Conquest by William of Warenne. This was replaced by the current stone structure by Hamelin Plantagenet, King Henry II's half-brother, sometime in the late 11th century. Considered to be the first example of a circular stone keep in England; previously keeps were either square or rectangular in design. Shortly after the four storey keep was finished, a stone curtain wall was added. The castle gradually fell out of use during the 15th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Corby Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Edward Haughey
Intact 13th century Pele Tower, remodelled in the early 19th century. Originally built in the 13th century as a red sandstone Pele Tower by the Salkeld family, the fortified tower was sold to Lord William Howard in 1611, who added a 2 storey house. The ancestral home of the Howard family since then, the castle as it it currently appears was built for Henry Howard between 1812-17. No access details available.

 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset
Owned by: National Trust
Impressive remains of early Norman castle. Perched high above Corfe village, the remains of this early Norman castle cannot fail to impress. Built during the reign of William the Conqueror, it controls a strategic passage through the Purbeck Hills. There had been a fortress on this site long before the Norman arrived, possibly Roman but certainly Saxon from the 9th century. In 1635, the castle was sold to Sir John Bankes, who owned it during the English Civil War. His wife, Lady Mary Bankes, led the defence of the castle when it was twice besieged by Parliamentarian troops. The first siege was unsuccessful, but in 1645 the castle finally succumbed and was demolished later that year by order of Parliament. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Dacre Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Hasell Estate
Built during the 14th century to offer protection against marauding Scots, this 20 metre tall moated pele tower has 2 metre thick walls. The 5th Lord Dacre had the castle converted into a more comfortable family home during the 1670’s, as law and order was gradually introduced to this previously troubled border region. Renovated again in the 1960’s, the castle is now a comfortable private residence

 

Dalton Castle, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria
Owned by: National Trust
Intact 14th century peel tower. Built in the early 14th century by the monks of the powerful Furness Abbey, this type of structure known as a Peel Tower was common in northern England, offering protection from raiding Scots. Still standing three storeys high, the castle continued to serve as a courthouse and a prison as border tensions decreased over the centuries. Restricted opening times.

 

Dane John Mound, Canterbury, Kent
Owned by: Canterbury City Council
Earthworks of an early Norman motte and bailey castle. The site of one of the first Norman motte and bailey castles to be erected by William the Conqueror following his invasion of 1066. The mound was a former Roman burial site; the Normans simply utilised the existing earthwork to erect their wooden fortification. This early structure was later superceded by the stone fortress of Canterbury Castle, located a short distance away. Set within the city's Dane John Gardens, there is free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Dartmouth Castle, Dartmouth, Devon
Owned by: English Heritage
Mainly intact small fortalice, or coastal fort. Guarding the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary and the strategic port of Dartmouth, the castle defences were started in 1388 by John Hawley, the enterprising Mayor of Dartmouth. Almost a century later the imposing Gun-tower was added, making it the first English coastal fortress specifically built to mount the heavy artillery required to sink shipping. During the Civil War the castle was besieged and subsequently taken by the Royalists, who held on to it for three years before it was re-taken by the Parliamentarians in 1646. The castle battery remained in military use throughout World War I & II. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Deal Castle, Deal, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
One of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Catholic Church. Whether by design or coincidence, the Tudor rose shaped fortress was built between 1539 - 1540 re-using stone, with a twist of irony, from nearby religious houses following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Deddington Castle, Deddington, Oxfordshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Earthworks of an 11th century motte and bailey castle. Extensive earthworks mark the site of this 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle. Built on an earlier Saxon site, the castle was founded by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, half-brother to William the Conqueror. In the late 12th century it was involved in the struggle between King Richard and his brother Prince John, but by the end of the 13th century there appears to have been little left. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Devizes Castle, Devizes, Wiltshire
Owned by: Julia Dempster
Site of a Medieval fortification, now occupied by a Victorian-era castle. First built as a Norman motte and bailey castle in 1080 by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, it was rebuilt in stone in 1120 after the wooden structure burned down. The castle was at the heart of the 12th century civil war known as The Anarchy, when Queen Matilda and King Stephen vied for control of the English throne. Five centuries on, the castle was again at the centre of the struggle during the English Civil War. Parliament ordered the castle destroyed, and all that remains today is the mound. The present castellated Victorian era 'castle' is in private ownership and not open to the public.

 

Donnington Castle, Donnington, Berkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle and gatehouse. Originally built during the reign of Richard II, all that remains of Donnington Castle today is its gatehouse and scattered earthworks. Before it was demolished in 1646, both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Dover Castle, Dover, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact medieval castle. Situated above the White Cliffs of Dover, commanding the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent, this grand medieval castle, the largest in England, has a long and fascinating history. Centuries before Henry II founded his great stone castle here in the 1160s the site hosted an Iron Age hill fort and still includes a Roman lighthouse. The adjacent Anglo-Saxon church was once part of a Saxon fortified settlement that was converted by William the Conqueror into a Norman earthwork and timber motte and bailey castle. In the 13th century King John ordered the construction of underground tunnels to quickly deploy troops in order to surprise attacking forces. These tunnels were later used as a military command HQ during WWII. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster, Northumberland
Owned by: National Trust
Ruin of a huge medieval castle. Once one of the largest fortifications in Northern England, this iconic castle ruin stands on a spectacular headland on the Northumberland coastline. Although the site shows evidence of much earlier occupation, the current remains date from the 14th century, when Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of King Edward II began construction of this massive fortress in 1313. A Lancastrian stronghold during the Wars of the Roses, the castle suffered major damage and gradually fell into ruin. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Durham Castle, Durham, County Durham
Owned by: Univeristy of Durham
Intact early Norman castle. One of the first fortified castles built by William the Conqueror in 1072, part of his plan to subjugate the northern part of his new kingdom. It is a good example of the early Norman motte and bailey style of fortification. In the Middle Ages the castle served as a fortress to counter the threat from the Scots and then became the main residence of the Prince Bishops of Durham. In 1837, the castle became part of the new University of Durham and now serves as a residence for students and dons. Public access is restricted to guided tours.

Edlingham Castle, Edlingham, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined 14th century fortified manor house. The castle ruins, perhaps more accurately described as a fortified manor, guard the few approaches to the strategic stronghold of Alnwick. Its fortifications were increased in response to the warfare which raged between England and Scotland in the period between 1300 - 1600. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Egremont Castle, Egremont, Cumbria
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Ruins of a 12th century castle. Built on the site of an earlier Danish fort, the present motte and bailey castle was built by William de Meschines between 1120 and 1135. Although extended in the 13th century, it fell into disuse shorty after this and with the local towns folk choosing to recycle much of its stonework, it quickly became the ruin it is today. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Elsdon Castle, Elsdon, Northumberland
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Well preserved earthwork defences of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Built by Robert de Umfraville shortly after the Norman Conquest, this motte and bailey castle is said to be one of the best preserved in Northumberland. Although little in the way of foundations is in evidence, the impressive earthworks remain. Elsdon is thought to have been abandoned after it was superceded by nearby Harbottle Castle. Also in the village is Elsdon Tower, a late 14th or early 15th century pele or tower house. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Elton Hall, Elton, Cambridgeshire
Owned by: Proby family
Intact part Gothic house. Set in a 3,800 acre estate, Elton Hall has been the ancestral home of the Proby family since 1660, with parts of the estate dating back to the 1400s. Parts of the house and the gardens are open to the public. Restricted opening hours and entrance fee applies.

 

Etal Castle, Etal, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of a 14th century castle. Built by Robert Manners in the mid-14th century, the castle guards a strategic crossing of the River Till. Primarily constructed as a dwelling house, its location in the troubled England - Scotland border region meant that shortly after building it was fortified and strengthened. The castle fell to James IV's invading Scots army in 1513, just prior to their crushing defeat at the Battle of Flodden. The remains of the impressive central keep still stand. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Eye Castle, Eye, Suffolk
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle with Victorian addition. Originally built by William Malet in 1186, this 11th century motte and bailey castle was further fortified with the addition of a 12th century curtain wall. Attacked and sacked in 1265 during the Second Barons War, it was largely abandoned after this. In the 16th century a windmill was built on top of the motte which was demolished in 1844 to make way for a domestic house. The house was built by Sir Edward Kerrison for his batman, who had saved his life at the Battle of Waterloo. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Eynsford Castle, Eynsford, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of an early Norman enclosure castle . Built around 1088 by William de Eynsford, Sheriff of Kent, the castle was constructed to an enclosure type design, with an encircling curtain wall protecting the inner cluster of buildings. The structure differed from other early Norman castles that followed a motte and bailey plan, which included a central keep. Enlarged a century later, a great hall and gatehouse were added. Broken into and ransacked in the 14th century, the castle was abandoned and fell in to ruin. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Hungerford, Somerset
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 14th century castle. Built by Sir Thomas Hungerford between 1377 and 1383, the castle was constructed as a simple rectangular building with curtain wall. At the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, the castle was held by Sir Edward Hungerford, a leader of Parliamentary forces in Wiltshire. The castle escaped slighting as a consequence of this. The last of the Hungerfords to hold the castle, another Sir Edward, was forced to sell the property in 1686 in order to settle his gambling debts. By the 18th century the uninhabited castle had fallen into disrepair. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Farnham Castle Keep, Farnham, Surrey
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 12th century castle. Built by Henry de Blois in 1138, Farnham served as the seat of the powerful Bishops of Winchester for over 800 years. Following The Anarchy, the original motte and bailey castle was demolished by Henry II in 1155 and rebuilt again in the late 12th century. The castle was slighted again after the English Civil War in 1648 and the keep abandoned, but much-altered parts of the medieval bishops' residence remain. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Flamborough Castle, Flamborough, Yorkshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of 14th fortified manor house. Built by the powerful Constable family around 1351, the castle was perhaps more of a fortified manor house, originally with clay wall defences. At the centre of these defences stood a chalk pele tower. The tower still stands to first floor level on three sides, the only surviving visible reminder of the castle. Although there is no public access to the ruins, it can be viewed from the nearby road.

 

Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
The remains of the Motte and Bailey plus some masonry remains from the exterior wall. Founded in the early 12th century, Fotheringhay Castle was the site of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. King Richard III was also born here in 1452. Open to the public during daylight hours. This castle entry was submitted by Eleanor Greig

Framlingham Castle, Framlingham, Suffolk
Owned by: English Heritage
Externally intact, majestic 12th century fortress. An early motte and bailey Norman castle occupied the site by 1148, but this was destroyed by King Henry II following the revolt of 1173-4. Its replacement, built by Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk with no central keep, used a curtain wall with thirteen strong towers to defend the castle. Despite these new defences, the castle was taken by King John in 1216 after a two day siege. By the end of the century, Framlingham had become a luxurious country retreat. The castle was home to Mary Tudor before she became Queen in 1553. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Goodrich Castle, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved ruins of 13th century castle. Built by Godric of Mappestone following the Norman conquest of England, initially as a motte and bailey fortification. In the middle of the 12th century the original wooden castle was replaced with a stone keep, and was then expanded significantly during the late 13th century. Gifted to the famous William 'Knight's Tale' Marshal, each of his four sons inherited the castle in turn, the last dying childless in 1245. The site of heavy action during the English Civil War, the castle was bombarded into submission by Parliamentary troops using "Roaring Meg". The huge mortar is also on display. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Greystoke Castle, near Penrith, Cumbria
Owned by: Howard Family
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, the local Saxon chieftain Llyulph de Greystoke was not only permitted to keep his lands, he was also allowed to construct a wooden tower to protect them. The wooden structure was rebuilt in stone in 1129, and further extended in the 14th century when King Edward III granted permission to castellate the tower. The castle became an important defensive fortification against marauding Scots. In 1567 the castle passed into the ownership of Thomas Howard, Earl Marshal of England, through his marriage into the Dacre family. As both Catholics and Royalists, the Howards supported the king during the English Civil War; as a consequence the castle was destroyed by Parliamentarians in 1648. During the mid-1800’s the castle was completely re-built and the estate developed into a modern farm. Not open to the public, the castle is currently used as a venue for corporate events and civil weddings.

Hadleigh Castle, Hadleigh, Essex
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a 13th century castle. Overlooking the Thames estuary, the castle was built after 1215 during the reign of Henry III by Hubert de Burgh. Greatly expanded by Edward III, the king recognised the strategic importance of Hadleigh in defending London against French attacks. Edward also built Queenborough Castle on the opposite Kent shore. Built on unstable London clay and subject to subsidence, the castle was eventually sold for building materials in the 16th century. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Halton Castle, Runcorn
Owned by: Norton Priory Museum Trust
Remains of an 11th century castle. Once the seat of the Barons of Halton, Halton castle was badly damaged during the Civil War although parts of the structure (mainly the gatehouse) was used up until 1737. In 1737 a courthouse was built on the site which also operated as a prison. The castle's interior is periodically opened to the public.

Hapton Castle, Lancashire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scant remains of medieval castle. Occupied between the 14th and 17th centuries, what remains of Hapton Castle stands on a small (30m x 40m) oval platform surrounded on two sides by a substantial moat. The castle is thought to have comprised a stone tower keep surrounded by either a stone or wooden wall. Possibly built by Sir Edmund Talbot sometime before 1328, when it was sold to Gilbert de la Leigh. The castle remained the seat of the Lords of Hapton until 1510, although it was still inhabited in 1667. Hapton was in ruins by 1725, with most of the stone structure robbed out by 1800. Usually free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Hartshill Castle, Warwickshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of 12th century motte with ruins of 14th century curtain wall. An earth and timber Norman motte and bailey castle was built on this site by Hugh de Hardreshull in 1125. After Robert de Hartshill was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, the castle fell into disuse. It was rebuilt in stone by John de Hardreshull in 1330. Henry Tudor, soon to be King Henry VII, is said to have stayed at Hartshill before the Battle of Bosworth during which he took the Crown of England. A more comfortable timber-framed Tudor manor house was added within the castle walls by the Parker family during the 16th century. On privately owned land with no public access, although can be viewed from nearby footpath and road.

 

Hastings Castle, Sussex
Owned by: Hastings Corporation
The first new fortification that William of Normandy ordered to be built immediately after landing in England in 1066, Hastings was originally a timber and earth, motte and bailey castle. Built close to the shoreline, William ordered that it should be rebuilt in stone in 1070. Less than half a century after King Henry III has refortified it in 1220, violent storms eroded much of the soft sandstone cliffs that the castle had been built upon. Centuries of continued erosion has seen large section of the castle lost to the sea. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Hedingham Castle, Hedingham, Essex
Owned by: Jason Lindsay
Intact Norman motte and bailey castle, and family home. Built in the late 11th or early 12th century by Aubrey de Vere, this Norman motte and bailey castle was the stronghold of the de Vere family for 550 years. The castle was besieged twice, in 1216 and 1217, during the dispute between King John and the rebel barons. While Hedingham remains a family home, the keep and grounds are open to the public. It also operates as a venue for a range of events. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Helmsley Castle, Helmsley, Yorkshire
Owned by: Feversham family & English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Originally constructed in wood around 1120 by Walter Espec, who was also responsible for the founding of nearby Rievaulx Abbey, the castle was rebuilt in stone by Robert de Roos at the beginning of the 13th century. Helmsley was again remodelled into a more comfortable residence by the Manners family during the 16th century. Besieged by Parliamentary troops for three months in 1644, the garrison finally surrendered and so it became home to the Duke of Buckingham and his wife, the daughter of Thomas Fairfax, the Parliamentary commander. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, East Sussex
Owned by: Bader International Study Centre
Intact brick-built Tudor castle. Built by Sir Roger Fiennes following his appointment as Treasurer to the Household of King Henry VI, construction of this red brick moated castle started in 1441. More of a palatial residence rather than a defensive structure, it cost £3,000 to build. Sold to George Naylor a London lawyer in 1708, it was Naylor's grandson who reduced the castle to a picturesque ruin by demolishing its interior. Restored in the early 1900s, it is now home to the Bader International Study Centre, Canada, and whilst the castle is not open to the public, guided tours can be arranged. Restricted opening times to the castle grounds and entrance charges apply.

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent
Owned by: Broadland Properties Limited
Intact, mainly Tudor castle. With parts dating back to 1270, it was in the early 1500s that the Bullen family bought the castle and added a Tudor dwelling within its walls. The childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn, it later passed to Henry's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Now offering luxury B&B accommodation in 21 individually styled en-suite bedrooms. Guests have the opportunity to visit the historic Castle and award winning gardens. There is also a 27-hole championship golf course.

Hurst Castle, Lyminghurst, Hampshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact Tudor coastal artillery castle. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Catholic Church. The circular stone tower strengthened by semi-circular bastions was completed by the end of 1544 to guard the narrow entrance to the Solent and the approaches to Southampton. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Hylton Castle, Hylton Dene, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of gatehouse-tower of medieval castle. Originally constructed from wood by the Hylton (Hilton) family shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066, this fortified manor house was rebuilt in stone around 1400. The castle remained the principal seat of the Hylton family until the death of the last baron in 1746. The only remaining part of the castle is the gatehouse tower, which is richly decorated with coats of arms and other heraldic devices. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Kendal Castle, Kendal, Cumbria
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Ruins of an early 13th century castle. Built around 1200 as the home of the barons of Kendal, the castle later became home to Parr family. Although the Parrs occupied Kendal for four centuries, the family had long since deserted the castle by the time Catherine Parr, the sixth and final queen of Henry VIII, was born. The building was already a ruin in Tudor times; however some imposing stonework still remains. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined remains of a medieval castle / palace fortress. Perhaps best known as the home of Robert Dudley, the love of Queen Elizabeth I, who in 1575 created this semi-royal palace in order to impress his Queen. Kenilworth was actually founded around 1120 by Geoffrey de Clinton, Chamberlain to Henry I, who constructed the strong central keep. By damming and diverting local streams, huge water defences were added. In the centuries that followed, vast sums of money were spent to transform the medieval castle into a palace fortress. In 1649, Kenilworth was partly destroyed and the moat drained by Parliamentary forces to prevent it being used as a military stronghold again. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire
Owned by: Kimbolton School
Medieval castle converted into 18th century palace. Although parts of the original Tudor manor house can still be seen, the majority of the castle was built between 1690 and 1720. The most famous resident was Katherine of Aragon who was detained here after her divorce from Henry VIII. Today the castle houses Kimbolton School, and has a limited number of public opening dates.

 

Kinnersley Castle, Kinnersley, Herefordshire
Owned by: Caius & Kate Hawkins
Intact Tudor manor house and family home. Originally built during the reign of Henry I between 1100 and 1135, the Tudor manor house that now occupies the site was home to the powerful Vaughan family. It was Roger Vaughan who rebuilt the Norman castle between 1585 and 1601. The castle is open for guided tours on certain days during the summer months.

 

Kirby Muxloe Castle, Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a moated 15th century mansion. The remains of this moated 15th century castle were left unfinished when its owner was executed for treason. The owner was William, 1st Baron Hastings, who began building the castle in 1480 during the Wars of the Roses. Building work stopped abruptly in 1483 when William was executed for treason by Richard III and it was never completed. Parts of the castle were occupied by remaining members of the Hastings family, but by the 16th century the site lay in ruin. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Kirkoswald Castle, Cumbria
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In 1210 King John granted permission to Hugh de Morvile to fortify his manor house at Kirkoswald. The resulting castle was all but destroyed by the Scots in 1314 led by Robert the Bruce, but was rebuilt just 3 years later. Completely remodelled and extended during the late 15th century, the site extended to 3-acres surrounded by a massive curtain wall, complete with drawbridge and moat. Although the castle was partially dismantled during 17th century, the northern tower still stands some 20 metres tall enclosed by the moat. The castle is now in a ruined and dangerous state, and is best viewed from the safety of the public footpath that runs adjacent to the site.

Kirtling Tower, Kirtling, Cambridgeshire
Owned by: Lord & Lady Fairhaven
Medieval castle and Tudor Gatehouse. The gatehouse is all that remains of the once sprawling Kirtling Hall, a converted castle set in the Cambridgeshire countryside. The history of the original castle dates back to 1219, and over the centuries numerous additions were added. By the mid 17th century the castle had become the largest country house in the county, although this wasn't to last. By 1735 the castle had fallen into decline. The surviving gatehouse is surrounded by a moat, formal gardens and parkland. Restricted opening times and admission fees apply.

 

Knaresborough Castle, North Yorkshire
Owned by: Duchy of Lancaster
Remains of medieval fortress. Strategically set at the top of a large cliff offering commanding views of the River Nidd, the first castle was erected shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. This was later reinforced by King Henry I, and following the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170, Hugh de Moreville and his fellow assassins took refuge in his Knaresborough Castle. Viewed as an important northern fortress by English royalty King John, Edward I and Edward II all lavished funds on strengthening and improving its defences. Like most other castles across the country, Knaresborough met its end following the Civil War, when in 1648 it was blown up, or slighted, on the orders of Parliament to prevent any future use as a military structure. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Lancaster Castle, Lancaster, Lancashire
Owned by: Lancashire County Council
Intact medieval castle and former prison. Occupying the site of a former Roman fort overlooking a crossing of the River Lune, a wooden Saxon fort was demolished in order to make way for this Norman castle, built around 1088 by Roger de Poitou. In 1322, and again in 1389, invading Scots attacked and burned Lancaster, damaging but not taking the castle. The castle did not see military action again until the English Civil War when it changed hands several times before being slighted. Parts of the castle used for the gaol and courts were spared. Still used as a Crown Court, guided tours of the building take place on a daily basis. Admission fees apply.

 

Launceston Castle, Launceston, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of an early 13th century castle. Set on a large natural mound controlling the strategic crossing of the River Tamar, a wooden motte and bailey castle was erected shortly after the Norman Conquest, possibly as early as 1067. During the 13th century, Richard Earl of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III began to rebuild the castle in stone. The castle was used for many years as an assizes and gaol. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent
Owned by: Leeds Castle Foundation
One of the most beautifully intact medieval castles in England, Leeds dates back to 1119 when it was built as a Norman stronghold. It was in 1278 however when the castle became the property of King Edward I, that it saw significant investment. As his favoured residence, Edward greatly enhanced its defences and created the lake which surrounds the castle. Henry VIII was also a great fan of Leeds, and made many Tudor additions. Guests at the Stable Courtyard have 900 years of history and 500 acres of beautiful parkland on their doorstep. There are 16 bright, traditional bedrooms each with a Freeview TV, free Wi-Fi, and a full private bathroom.

Lewes Castle, Lewes, East Sussex
Owned by: Sussex Past
Remains of a Norman castle. Built by William de Warenne around 1069, the first fortification on the site was a wooden keep which was later converted to stone. Extremely unusual for a Norman motte and bailey castle, it was built with two mottes. Standing at the highest point of Lewes, the castle comprises a keep with octagonal towers and a particulary fine example of a 14th century barbican. A museum in Barbican House relays the history of the castle and town. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Lilbourne Castle, Lilbourne, Northamptonshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthworks of a small Norman motte and bailey castle. Visible from the M1 / M6 interchange, the remains of this Norman motte and bailey castle lie to the east of the local All Saints Church. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Lincoln Castle, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Owned by: Lincolnshire County Council
One of the better preserved castles in England. Constructed by order of William the Conqueror on the site of a pre-existing Roman fortress, the castle was started in 1068, just two years after the Norman Conquest. One of the first structures on the site was the Lucy Tower motte and bailey, to which another motte and stone walls were added early in the 12th century. The outer bailey stretched around the entire medieval city of Lincoln. For 900 years it operated as a court and prison, it's early prisoners suffering execution on the castle ramparts. Still home to the Crown Courts, the castle is open to the public as a museum and displays an original copy of the Magna Carta. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland
Owned by: National Trust
Tudor fort, converted into an Edwardian holiday home. Converted by Arts and Crafts architect Edward Lutyens in 1903, this former holiday home began life as a Tudor fort. Fearing a possible Scottish invasion, Henry VIII ordered the construction of the fort in 1542. Between 1570 and 1571, Elizabeth I updated and strengthened the defences by adding new gun platforms. The need for a castle declined when James I came to power and combined the Scottish and English thrones. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Longthorpe Tower, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Owned by: English Heritage
14th-century tower famous for its medieval murals. This 14th century, three storey tower was built by Robert Thorpe as an extension to an existing fortified manor house. Famous for its set of medieval wall paintings, dating from around 1330, which depict religious, secular and moral themes. Whitewashed over at the time of the Reformation they remained hidden until being rediscovered in the 1940s. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Longtown Castle, Longtown, Herefordshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Originally constructed from wood around 1175 by Hugh de Lacy, the castle was perched on top of a man-made motte, or mound, possibly Iron Age in origin. The Laceys, like many other powerful families in the Welsh Marches, were medieval warlords. Early in the following century they rebuilt the castle in stone, with a circular keep erected on the motte for the grand sum of £37. In 1403, Henry IV refortified the defences following attacks led by the Welsh chieftain Owain Glyndwr; however by the 1450s it seems to have fallen out of use altogether. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Ludgershall Castle, Ludgershall, Wiltshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 12th-century fortified royal residence. Just 10 miles from prehistoric Stonehenge, this medieval fortress was built in the late 11th century by Edward of Salisbury, Sheriff of Wiltshire. Set within two adjacent enclosures, the castle is surrounded by earthwork banks and ditches. In 1210 King John strengthened the castle and improved the living quarters. John's son, Henry III, completed the transformation into a comfortable royal residence and hunting lodge. The castle gradually fell out of use, and by 1540 many of the buildings had been pulled down, the crumbling tower kept as a garden feature. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Ludlow Castle, Ludlow, Shropshire
Owned by: Earl of Powis
Largely ruined, substantial medieval castle. Originally built to control the troubled Welsh Borders, the first fortress was built shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. Passing down through generations of the influential de Lacy family, it was transformed into a magnificent palace for Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, then the most powerful man in England. Ludlow became Crown property in 1461, and under the ownership of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, it became a major base in the Wars of the Roses. It later became a royal palace and brief home to the Princes in the Tower before they were taken to the Tower of London. In 1669 when the seat of administration for Wales and the Marches moved to London, the castle was abandoned and quickly fell into ruin. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Lydford Castle, near Okehampton, Devon
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 13th century square tower keep. The medieval castle was actually a courtroom and prison, and was originally built about 1195 taking the form of a freestanding tower at least two storeys high. Totally rebuilt in the 13th century, this involved digging a ditch around the tower and piling up the soil to the level of the ground floor. The upper storeys were completely rebuilt to form a small keep and the interior of the old prison was filled in. Mention must also be made to the Saxon town defences to the north of the village. Free open access at any reasonable time.

 

Meppershall Castle, Meppershall, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthwork remains of Norman motte and bailey castle.

Middleham Castle, Middleham, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Extensive remains of medieval fortified palace. Built by Robert Fitzrandolph around 1190, this early motte and bailey castle came into the hands of the powerful Neville family in 1270. Following the Battle of Barnett in 1471, it was seized by the crown. The childhood home of King Richard III, the castle remained in royal hands until the reign of James I, when it was sold. The castle was finally slighted (made unusable) during the English Civil War. Only the keep and castle walls survive as testament to how imposing this mighty royal fortress must have been. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Mitford Castle, Northumberland
Owned by: Bruce Shepherd family
Intact medieval castle. Set on the banks of the River Exe, Powderham was started around 1400 by Sir Philip Courtenay, son of Hugh Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon. Badly damaged during the Civil War, the castle was altered extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries, transforming it into a more comfortable family residence. Restricted summer opening times and entrance charges apply.

Morpeth Castle, Morpeth, Northumberland
Owned by: Landmark Trust
Remains of 14th century castle and restored gatehouse. The first Norman motte and bailey castle in Morpeth was built in the 11th century, in an attempt to control England's northern borders. That early structure was demolished in 1215, and a second castle was built on the same site in the early 14th century. The one great military event in the castle's history appears to have been in 1644, when a garrison of 500 Lowland Scots held it for Parliament for 20 days against 2,700 Royalists. Today, sections of the curtain wall remain intact as well as the restored gatehouse. The Landmark Trust also opens the gatehouse to the public on certain days each year. The remainder of the castle is free and open access.

Mount Bures Castle Motte, Mount Bures, Essex
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthwork remains of Norman motte and bailey castle. Built by Roger de Poitou shortly after the Norman conquest of England, initially this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic crossings and approaches, this castle enjoys excellent views over the valley to the River Stour. Modern wooden stairs now enable visitors to access to the motte, which is free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria
Owned by: Pennington family
Intact medieval castle and home to the Pennington family. The oldest part of the castle is the pele tower, which dates from the early 1300s. Pele towers were fortified homes, built as a refuge from attack, commonly found along the troubled border region between England and Scotland. The tower was gradually added to and altered over the years, becoming the comfortable family home that it is now. The castle's tapestry room is reported to be haunted by a wicked jester. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply to the castle, gardens and Owl Centre.

Naworth Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Howard family
Intact medieval castle. Also known as Naward, the castle was the seat of the Barons Dacre, now Earls of Carlisle. Dating from the 13th century, the fortified castle has been transformed and adapted over centuries to residential use. Now a private family home, the castle is only available to hire for exclusive events and is not open to the public.

 

Nether Stowey Castle (Stowey), Somerset
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Thought to have been built by Alfred of Spain, the Norman Lord Stowey, sometime in the 11th century, the earthwork remains of this motte and bailey castle once boasted a 10 m square stone and timber keep atop its substantial earthen defences. Possibly as act of revenge following the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497, where thousands of West Country rebels marched on London, the castle was laid waste.  Free and open access.

 

Newark Castle, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire
Owned by: Newark Corporation
Remains of medieval royal castle. Founded in the mid-12th century by Alexander Bishop of Lincoln, the original timber castle was rebuilt in stone towards the end of the century. The castle belonged to King John, and it was here that he died in 1216 following his infamous "surfeit of peaches". Following the English Civil War the castle was slighted and left derelict. Some restoration of the buildings began in the 1840s.

Newcastle Castle Keep, Tyne & Wear
Owned by: Newcastle City Council
On a site occupied since Roman times, an earth and timber motte and bailey castle was erected by Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror, in 1080. Built to defend his newly found kingdom from the Scots, this ‘New Castle upon Tyne’ guarded a strategic crossing of the river. Re-built in stone by King Henry II around 1175, the Black Gate was added by Henry III between 1247 and 1250. Refortified in 1643 during the English Civil War, the castles 1,500 strong Royalist garrison was besieged for three months before finally surrendering to a Scottish army comprising 40,000 troops, under the command of General Leslie, Lord Leven. Restricted opening hours and entrance charges apply.

Norham Castle, Norham, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Partly ruined medieval border castle. Commanding a vital ford over the River Tweed, the castle was founded by Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who gave orders for its construction in 1121 to protect his property from Scottish raids. In the centuries that followed Norham was transformed into one of the most powerful border castles; it was besieged at least 13 times, once for nearly a year by Robert Bruce. It withstood all that was thrown against it except the last; in 1513 King James IV of Scotland battered the castle into submission using heavy cannon, shortly before his defeat at Flodden. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

Norwich Castle, Norwich, Norfolk
Owned by: City of Norwich
Intact Norman castle keep, now a museum. Intent on subjugating East Anglia, William the Conqueror ordered the first motte and bailey castle built in 1067. The stone keep which stands today, was built some 60 years later. Used as a gaol between 1220 and 1887, the castle was bought by the city of Norwich to be used as a museum. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Nunney Castle, Nunney, Somerset
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of late 14th century moated castle. Built in the late 14th century by Sir John Delamare using the fortune he made as a soldier fighting in the Hundred Years War with France. Ironically, the architectural style that he adopted for Nunney appears to have been borrowed from the French castles he had undoubtedly besieged and destroyed. Damaged by cannon fire during the English Civil War the castle fell into ruins, although it is still considered by many as "aesthetically the most impressive castle in Somerset." Free and open access at any reasonable time.

Oakham Castle, Oakham, Rutland
Owned by: Rutland County Council
Intact great hall of 12th century castle. Constructed between 1180 and 1190, by Walchelin de Ferriers, Lord of the Manor of Oakham who left shortly afterwards to go on Crusade with Richard the Lionheart. The Great Hall is all that remains of the early medieval fortified manor house, although in its heyday it did feature a curtain wall, gatehouse with drawbridge, towers and a moat. Now recognised as one of the best examples of domestic Norman architecture in England, it is also famous for its huge collection of horseshoes. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Okehampton Castle, Okehampton, Devon
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of the largest medieval castle in Devon. Built by Baldwin FitzGilbert shortly after the Norman conquest of England, this early motte and bailey type fortification was constructed to control strategic crossings and approaches; the castle guards a crossing point across the West Okement River. Used as a fortification until the late 13th century, when its owners the de Courtenays became the Earls of Devon and redeveloped the castle as a luxurious hunting lodge. Although heavily involved in the 15th century Wars of the Roses, the castle remained in good condition until Henry VII had Henry Courtenay executed in 1538. Thereafter it was abandoned and gradually fell into ruin, although the central keep still sits proudly atop its motte. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Old Sarum, Old Sarum, Wiltshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Might Iron Age hill fort, plus, plus,plus! Showing evidence of human habitation dating back to 3000BC, Old Sarum was originally a huge oval shaped Iron Age hill fort protected by equally massive banks and ditches. Then occupied by the Romans, it became the town of Sorviodunum. The Saxons used the site for protection against Vikings raiders, and the Normans added a stone curtain wall and built a castle atop. King Henry I added a royal palace and a Norman cathedral was constructed toward western end of the mound. In 1219, the cathedral was demolished in favour of a new one built closer to the river, then called New Salisbury or New Sarum. The castle fell out of use some years later and was sold for materials by Henry VIII. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Old Wardour Castle, Tisbury, Wiltshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of 14th century as a lightly fortified castle. Built in the 14th century by John, Lord Lovel as a lightly fortified luxury residence with lavish entertainment in mind. The castle comprises a five-sided tower around a central courtyard and in its day was one of the grandest, most innovative homes in England. The castle was later remodelled as an Elizabethan manor by the Arundell family. Wardour suffered badly during the English Civil War, blown up by both sides. The Arundell family ended up building New Wardour Castle to replace it in 1776. The remains of the Old Castle were integrated into the surrounding parkland as a romantic ruin feature.

 

Orford Castle, Orford, Suffolk
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved Norman keep. With views over Orford Ness, the castle was built between 1165 and 1173 by King Henry II to consolidate royal power in the region and to act as a coastal defence. Not an easy time to be the king of England, powerful nobles were challenging the authority of the crown. Orford is built to a keep and bailey plan, with a strong central keep surrounded by a curtain wall. The outer curtain wall has all but disappeared; the central tower keep however, is very much intact and stands tall beside the pretty town and former port which Henry II also developed here. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Oxford Castle, Oxford, Oxfordshire
Owned by: Oxfordshire County Council
Large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle. Built by Robert d'Oilly in 1071, the original wooden motte and bailey castle was rebuilt in stone during the 11th century. During The Anarchy in 1147, Empress Maud occupied the castle against the forces of her cousin, King Stephen; Maud escaped by being lowered from the tower and fleeing across the frozen Thames, Much of the castle was destroyed by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War, with the remaining buildings used as Oxford's local gaol. The medieval remains of the castle, including the motte and St George's Tower have been preserved. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact Tudor coastal artillery castle. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Catholic Church. The circular stone tower enclosed by a lower curtain wall was completed in 1539, to guard the entrance to the River Fal. In 1646, during the English Civil War, the castle withstood a five-month siege before finally surrendering to Parliamentary forces, the last Royalist position in the west of England to fall. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Pendragon Castle, Outhgill, Cumbria
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Ruins of 12th century castle. According to local legend the castle was built by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, although there appears to be no evidence of any pre-Norman use of the site. Indeed the castle was built in the 12th century by Ranulph de Meschines, as a fortified pele or tower house. Later it passed into the ownership of Sir Hugh de Morville, one of the four knights who murdered St Thomas Becket in 1170. Attacked by Scottish raiding parties on at least two occasions between 1342 and 1541, the latter raid rendering it uninhabitable. Rebuilt in 1660 by Lady Anne Clifford, it quickly fell back into ruin after she died. Although located on private land, the castle is accessible at any reasonable time.

Penrith Castle, Penrith, Cumbria
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of 14th century sandstone castle. The oldest part of the castle is the pele tower, which dates from the late 1300s. Pele towers were fortified homes, built as a refuge from attack, commonly found along the troubled border region between England and Scotland. It was subsequently strengthened and transformed into a luxurious residence by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III). However by the late 1500s, the castle was in a sad state of repair and was dismantled after the English Civil War. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

Pevensey Castle, Pevensey, East Sussex
Owned by: English Heritage
Substantial remains of a 3rd century Roman and 11th century Norman fortress. The Roman fort of Anderitum was built during the 3rd century to protect the southern coastline of Britain from Saxon raiders. And it was a descendant of those Saxon raiders, Harold Godwinson, King Harold II, who in the summer of 1066 waited in the fort with his English army for the impending invasion of Duke William of Normandy. Later at the ensuing Battle of Hastings, Duke William defeated the English army led by Harold. Shortly after the Conquest a full-scale Norman castle, with a great square keep and a powerful gatehouse, was built within the Roman fort. The castle was besieged in the Rebellion of 1088 and again later during a period of civil war known as The Anarchy. It survived yet another siege in 1264 and remained in use throughout the Late Middle Ages, before falling into disrepair in the centuries that followed. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Peveril Castle, Castleton, Derbyshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined late medieval castle. Set high on a hill above the village of Castleton the stronghold, formerly known as Peak Castle, was built by William Peveril around 1080, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. The original wooden fortress was soon rebuilt in stone and was used in 1157 for a meeting between Henry I and King Malcolm of Scotland. The castle gradually fell into disuse after the 14th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Pickering Castle, Pickering, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved remains of 13th century castle. First constructed as a Norman timber and earth motte and bailey castle around 1070, this was rebuilt in stone between 1180 and 1187, with later fortifications added in the 11th and 12th centuries. The castle remains are particularly well-preserved as it was one of only a few fortifications which were largely unaffected by the 13th century Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War of the 17th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Piel Castle, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Piel Castle, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Ruins of a 14th-century castle. Replacing an earlier wooden tower, the Abbot of Furness constructed his stone motte and bailey castle on the south-eastern point of Piel Island around 1327, to guard the deep-water harbour of Barrow-in-Furness against pirates and Scottish raiders. The castle also allowed the monks to monitor the traffic passing through Piel Harbour on its way to their holdings in Ireland and the Isle of Man. In 1537 when Furness Abbey was dissolved, the castle became the property of Henry VIII and was left to fall into ruins. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

Pontefract Castle, Pontefract, Yorkshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of medieval fortress. First constructed as a Norman timber and earth motte and bailey castle by Ilbert de Lacy around 1070, this was rebuilt in stone shortly after. In the 12th century, the de Lacy family failed to support King Henry I during his power struggle with his brother and as a result the castle passed to the crown. Pontefract is best known as the place where Richard II died, probably murdered, in 1399. One of the most important fortresses in the north, the castle housed a royalist garrison in the English Civil War and was eventually destroyed by Parliamentarians after 1649. Normally free admission to the castle grounds and visitors centre.

 

Portchester Castle, Portsmouth, Hampshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Best-preserved of the Roman Saxon Shore forts. The original Roman fort was built between AD 285 and AD 290 to protect the southern coastline of Britain from Saxon raiders. Possibly home to the Roman fleet that defended Britain, when the fort was abandoned it eventually found use as a high-status Saxon residence. In the medieval period King Henry I added to the defences, and Richard II built a series of domestic quarters, including a great hall and kitchens. The castle passed out of royal control in 1632 when Charles I sold it and was last used in the 19th century as a gaol for over 7,000 French prisoners. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Portland Castle, Weymouth, Dorset
Owned by: English Heritage
Intact Tudor coastal artillery castle. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Catholic Church. The low-profile fortress, built of white Portland stone was completed in 1539 to guard Portland and Weymouth Harbour. The castle experienced its only real action during the English Civil War 1642-1649; as a Royalist stronghold it was captured and recaptured several times. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Powderham Castle, near Exeter
Owned by: Hugh Courtenay, 18th Earl of Devon
Fortified Manor House. Built in the late 14th century and early 15th century, Powderham Castle was badly damaged during the Civil War although it was repaired in the early 18th century by Sir William Courtenay. Further additions to the castle were made in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1952 it was classified as a Grade I listed building. Open to visitors during the summer months, entrance fees apply.

Prudhoe Castle, Prudhoe, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved remains of medieval castle and Georgian mansion. Constructed shortly after the Norman Conquest of England, the original motte and bailey fortification was started sometime in the mid-11th century, to guard a ford across the River Tyne. Originally built to protect England's northern borders with Scotland, it was later rebuilt and strengthened using local stone, with a curtain wall and gatehouse added. In 1173, and again in 1174, William the Lion of Scotland invaded to claim the earldom of Northumberland; on both occasions the castle withstood his attacks. Unlike many similar medieval castles which fell into ruin when their defensive use faded, Prudhoe was continuously occupied and even refurbished to provide a comfortable stately home. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Raby Castle, Darlington, County Durham
Owned by: John Vane, Lord Barnard
Intact 14th century castle, home of the Vane family. Built by the powerful Nevill family in the 14th Century, this imposing fortress comprised a curtain wall with eight substantial towers surrounding a central keep, all accessed by a narrow path over the moat. Raby remained in the Nevill family until 1569 when following the failure of the Rising of the North, the castle and its lands were forfeited to the Crown. In 1626, Sir Henry Vane the Elder, Treasurer to Charles I, purchased Raby and the castle has remained home to the Vane family ever since. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply to the castle, park and gardens.

Rayleigh Mount, Rayleigh, Essex
Owned by: National Trust
Earthwork remains of Norman motte and bailey castle. Built by Swein, son of Robert FitzWimarc shortly after the Norman conquest of England, this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. One of only 48Â castles mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 and the only one in the county of Essex, it remained in use until the 13th century. Free open access at any reasonable time.

Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved remains of 13th century circular shell-keep. Built shortly after the Norman conquest of England, initially this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic crossings and approaches, this castle overlooks the River Fowey. Later rebuilt in stone, Restormel is unusual in that it has a perfectly circular shell keep. Once a luxurious residence of the Earl of Cornwall, it became ruined in the years after the English Civil War. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Richmond Castle, Richmond, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Extensive remains of great Norman fortress. Built shortly after the Norman Conquest, the original castle was started around 1071. Built to control strategic crossings and approaches, this castle commands extensive views over the Yorkshire Dales and the River Swale. Originally built to subdue the unruly Saxon North of England, it was rebuilt and strengthened over the century that followed using honey-coloured sandstone, and grew to become one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain. As a castle however, Richmond had fallen out of use by the end of the 14th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Rochester Castle, Rochester-upon-Medway, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
One of the best preserved Norman keeps in England. Strategically placed alongside the London Road and guarding an important crossing of the River Medway, this imposing Norman castle was built on the site of an earlier Roman fort. Using local Kentish ragstone, the tower-keep was built around 1127 by William of Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury, and still stands 113 feet high. Held by rebel barons, the castle endured an epic siege by King John in 1215. John's engineers used the fat of 40 pigs to fire a mine under the keep, bringing a corner crashing down. The desperate defenders held on for another two months before being starved out. Rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I, the castle remained as a viable fortress until the 16th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Rockingham Castle, Market Harborough, Northamptonshire
Owned by: Watson family
Intact medieval castle and family home. Standing on high ground with clear views of the Welland Valley, the highly defensible site on which the castle stands has been used from the Iron Age, through Roman times and all the way through to the Medieval Period. The first wooden motte and bailey structure built shortly after the Norman Invasion of England was quickly replaced with a stone castle. The castle was used as a Royal retreat for over 450 years before Henry VIII granted it to Edward Watson, and since then it has remained the Watson family home. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply to both the house and garden.

 

Rose Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Privately owned
Fortified house. Thought to have been built on a much earlier motte and bailey, some parts of Rose Castle still date back to the 14th century although most of structure is from the 1800s and 1900s. The castle was also the home of the bishops of Carlisle from 1230 to 2009. Closed to the public.

Rufus Castle, Portland, Dorset
Owned by: Mark Watson
Remains of 15th century castle with Norman keep. Built on a rocky promontory on the Isle of Portland, it is possible that the first castle on this site was built for William II, who was called Rufus due to his red hair. In 1142 during the civil war known as The Anarchy, Robert Earl of Gloucester captured the castle from King Stephen on behalf of Empress Maud. Rebuilt in the 15th century, much of what remains today dates from this time. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Rye Castle, Sussex
Scheduled Ancient Monumen
Built around 1249, during the reign of King Henry III, Rye Castle formed part of his defences against frequent attacks from the warring French. As one of England’s five historic Cinque Ports, the town of Rye has traditionally provided one of the main coastal defences for the realm in exchange for certain trading privileges. The Ypres Tower was erected to provide such support. Although the sea has long since retreated, Rye was once one of the largest and most important harbours in the country. Ypres Tower now houses one of the two sites of Rye Castle Museum. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

St Briavels Castle, St Briavels, Gloucestershire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Built by William Fitz Baderon around 1086, the first earth and wooden motte and bailey fortress was replaced by a 100 foot tall stone keep sometime in the late 12th century. Throughout the medieval period, St Briavel's served as a royal administrative centre for the Forest of Dean. Further extended and strengthened throughout the 13th century, the castle became a favourite hunting lodge of King John. The castle appears to have fallen from royal favour in the centuries that followed and by 1775 was being used as a debtors' prison. Transformed in the 20th century, it was turned into a Youth Hostel. Free and open access at any reasonable time during summer months.

 

St Catherines Castle, Fowey, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of small Tudor Device fort. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following Henry's decision to break from the Catholic Church. One of a pair, this small two-storey Device fort was completed in 1540 to guard Fowey Harbour. Garrisoned by Royalist troops during the first part of the English Civil War (1642-6), it was in ruins by 1684. Pressed into service yet again during the 1800s, it was abandoned by the end of that century. Free and open access at any reasonable time during summer months.

 

St Mawes Castle, St Mawes, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved Tudor coastal artillery fortress. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following his decision to break from the Catholic Church, the clover leaf design represented the most advanced military architecture of the time. Built between 1539 and 1545, it guarded the important anchorage of Carrick Roads. Not designed to defend against a land attack, it was easily taken by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War in 1646. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

St. Michaels Mount, Marazion, Cornwall
Owned by: National Trust
Island site housing religious retreat and fortified castle. The site of a monastery between the 8th and early 11th centuries, it became a destination for pilgrims. Following the Norman Conquest, the abbey was granted to the Benedictine monks of Mont St Michel in France, who built the church on the island's summit. In 1473 during the War of the Roses, the Earl of Oxford held the island under siege for 23 weeks. During the English Civil War, Royalists held the Mount against the Parliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell until 1646. The island can be visited by boat, or at low tide via a long causeway from the mainland. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Sandal Castle, Wakefield, Yorkshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of the 13th century stone castle. Built shortly after the Norman Conquest, the original castle was started around 1107. Sited to control strategic crossings and approaches, the castle commands extensive views over the River Calder. Originally built to subdue the unruly Saxon North of England, it was rebuilt and strengthened during the 13th century using local stone. The castle is best known for the famous Battle of Wakefield which was fought nearby during the Wars of the Roses in 1460. Richard, Duke of York was killed in the battle. In the 1640s during the English Civil War, the castle was besieged twice by Parliamentary forces and later stripped of its defences. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Scaleby Castle, Cumbria
Owned by: Privately owned
Built in 1307 and extended a century later, Scaleby Castle was once enclosed by a double moat (although only the outer moat remains). As with many of the English castles, Scaleby was badly damaged during the Civil War and was set on fire by Parliamentary forces. Since then it has been restored twice and is now a grade I listed building under private ownership. Closed to the public.

Scarborough Castle, Scarborough, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval Royal fortress. On a site previously fortified by the Romans, Saxons, and Vikings, the original Norman wooden castle was built in the 1130s. Sited to control strategic crossings and approaches, the castle commands extensive views over the North Sea. Originally built to subdue the unruly Saxon North of England, it was rebuilt and strengthened from 1150 onwards using local stone. Over the centuries, structures were added and reinforced with medieval monarchs investing heavily in order to guard the Yorkshire coastline from the threat of Scottish and overseas invasion. Peace with Scotland and the end of the continental wars led to the decline of the fortress in the 17th century. The castle has been a ruin since the sieges of the English Civil War, between 1642 and 1648. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Owned by: National Trust
Ruins of 14th century moated castle. Construction of the castle began around 1380. Originally built as a fortified house with towers in each corner, it was rebuilt in Elizabethan style in 1580 and again in 1630. The Catholic Darrell family, who owned the estate for some 350 years, hid Jesuit priests who were preaching at a time when Catholicism was illegal in England. When the new country house was built in 1843, the old castle was left ruined as a romantic garden feature. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Sherborne Old Castle, Sherborne, Dorset
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruined 12th-century castle in the grounds of Tudor mansion. The old castle, now in the grounds of the Tudor mansion, was built as the fortified palace of Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury, in the 12th century. During the English Civil War Sherborne was a Royalist stronghold, and following an eleven day siege in 1645, the old castle was left in ruins by Parliamentary forces under the command of General Fairfax. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Shrewsbury Castle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Owned by: Shropshire Council
Intact sandstone medieval castle. The oldest parts of the castle were built by the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montgomery, shortly after the Norman Conquest. Montgomery was also responsible for founding the great Benedictine Abbey across the River Severn. In 1138 the castle was involved in the civil war known as The Anarchy, between King Stephen and Empress Maud. In 1215, The Welsh Prince Llewellyn seized both the town and castle, and later it was held by enemies of Edward III during the Baron's War. Around 1300 during his conflicts with the Welsh, Edward I greatly enlarged the castle, but it gradually fell into disuse following his invasion of Wales. In the 18th century, the eminent engineer Thomas Telford remodelled the castle interiors to serve as a private house, and in 1924 it was acquired by the Corporation of Shrewsbury. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Skipsea Castle, Skipsea, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Earthwork remains of a Norman motte or castle. Built shortly after the Norman conquest of England by Drogo de la Bouerer, this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic crossings and approaches, it is likely that the castle commanded a route across the marshy ground. Originally built to subdue the unruly Saxon North of England, it also served to protect the coastline from Viking raids. Henry III ordered Skipsea destroyed in 1221 after its then owner, Count William de Forz II, rebelled against the crown. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

Skipton Castle, Skipton, Yorkshire
Owned by: Fattorini family
One of the most complete medieval castles in England. The original earth and wood motte and bailey fortification built in 1090 by Robert de Romille was rebuilt in stone shortly after to withstand attacks from raiding Scots. In 1310, Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford who ordered many improvements to the fortifications. During the English Civil War the castle was a Royalist stronghold, and following a three-year siege in 1645, it surrendered to Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians. After the siege, Lady Anne Clifford ordered the necessary repairs to the castle. Local legend has it that during the siege the castle walls were draped with sheep fleeces to deaden the impact from incoming cannon fire. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Someries Castle, Hyde, Bedfordshire, England
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Ruined remains of fortified manor house. Building started in 1430, on the orders of Sir John Wenlock. This castle is strictly speaking a fortified manor house, and is regarded as one of the first brick buildings in England. Partially demolished in the 1700s, much of the original brickwork can still be seen in the gatehouse. All that remains of the original house is a set of earthworks. Open all year, free entrance.

 

Somerton Castle, Nr Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthworks and limited remains of 13th century castle. After inheriting it, Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, rebuilt Somerton in the latter part of the 13th century and gifted the castle to King Edward II some time later. King John II of France was imprisoned in the castle between 1359 and 1360 after being taken prisoner at the Battle of Poitiers. Some prominent earthworks still enclose the site, including parts of the moat and parts of the castle walls have been incorporated into the present farmhouse. Access in unclear.

 

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, Yorkshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of a fortified manor house. Built by Henry de Percy in the early 14th century, it was further expanded later in the 14th and 15th centuries to the layout that exists today. The castle was damaged during the Wars of the Roses, but was later rebuilt in 1559. Suffering further damage during the English Civil War of 1642-46, it lapsed into ruin. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Sutton Valence Castle, Sutton Valence, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of 12th century Norman castle. Built by Odo Fitzhubert, Bishop of Bayeux shortly after the Norman conquest of England, the first fortification on the site was a wooden keep which was later converted to stone. Normally constructed to control strategic crossings and approaches, this castle stands atop a tall mound controlling the Roman road that runs from Maidstone to the coast. In 1401, the estate was sold to provide a ransom for the release of Baron Grey of Ruthin who had been captured by Owain Glyndŵr. Free and open access at any reasonable time during summer months.

 

Tamworth Castle, Tamworth, Staffordshire
Owned by: Tamworth Borough Council
Well preserved Norman motte and bailey castle. Although the site has been fortified since Anglo-Saxon times, the current Norman motte and bailey castle dates from the 11th century. Added to and extended over the centuries, it includes a keep with a 12th century gate tower, a 13th century three storey residential north range, a 17th century Jacobean south range, all linked by an oak timbered Great Hall dating from the 15th century. During the English Civil War, the castle was captured by parliamentary forces after a brief siege. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the castle had several different owners before being bought at auction by Tamworth Corporation. It opened as a museum in 1899. Restricted summer opening times and entrance charges apply.

Thetford Castle, Thetford, Norfolk
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Extensive earthwork remains of a Norman motte and bailey. Erected on top of an earlier Iron Age hillfort, the first castle on the site was built around 1067, immediately following the Norman Conquest of England. The second much larger motte and bailey castle was built during the turbulent civil war between followers of King Stephen and Queen Matilda during the mid-12th century. This castle was destroyed in 1174 by Henry II, although the huge motte, the second largest man-made mound in England, remained intact. Now part of a local park, there is free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Thirlwall Castle, Greenhead, Northumberland
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Remains of 12th century stone castle. Built in the 12th century using stones from nearby Hadrian's Wall, the castle overlooks the River Tipalt. The home of the Thirlwall family, it was further fortified around 1330 by John Thirlwall. Sir Percival Thirlwall of Thirlwall Castle was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Sources claim that as King Richard III's standard-bearer, he held the colours high even after his legs had been cut from under him. The castle fell into disrepair in the 17th century. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Thurleigh Castle, Thurleigh, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthwork remains of a motte and bailey castle. Although the site appears to have been occupied during the Iron Age, Roman and Saxon periods, the current motte and bailey fortification may have been built by King Stephen during his 12th century civil war with Empress Maud, known as The Anarchy. The motte or mound is unusual in that it has a top platform on two levels.

 

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel, Cornwall
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of medieval castle. Although surrounded by more ancient remains, it is thought that the current castle was the work of Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother to King Henry III). Richard owned the site from about 1234, which ties in with the age of the structure. It appears that the castle was not in use for long as the hall was roofless by the mid-14th century. The site was in use long before the castle was erected with evidence of mining from Roman times; by the 5th century Tintagel was a stronghold of Cornish kings. The association with the legends of King Arthur stem from the 10th century tales of Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose 'History of Britain' suggests it as the birthplace of Arthur. Other legends claim that Tintagel is the site of Arthur's Camelot. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Toddington Castle, Toddington, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthwork remains of a motte and bailey castle. The early earth and timber motte and bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 13th century, when it was listed as the stronghold of Sir Paulinus Pegure. Records from 1597 refer to the site as Conger Hill, a likely reference to the motte being used as a rabbit warren.

 

Tonbridge Castle, Tonbridge, Kent
Owned by: Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.
Well preserved remains of motte and bailey gatehouse. Built by Richard Fitz Gilbert shortly after the Norman Conquest of England, initially this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic points and approaches, the castle guards the crossing of the River Medway. In 1088 the castle was besieged by King William II. After holding out for two days it fell; the king retaliated by burning both the castle and the town to the ground. Rebuilt in stone some years later by the de Clare family, the castle was further reinforced during the 13th century, and in 1295 a stone wall was built around the town. The castle stood empty between the 16th and the late 18th century. The site was purchased by the local council in 1900, who have carried out an extensive programme of restoration. Restricted summer opening times and entrance charges apply.

Totnes Castle, Totnes, Devon
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved remains of motte and bailey circular stone keep. Built by the Breton, Juhel of Totnes, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England, this early motte and bailey type fortification included an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic crossings and sites, the castle occupies a commanding position guarding the approach to three valleys. Extensive remodelling in the 13th and 14th centuries created a circular stone keep atop the motte, surrounded by a curtain wall. Following the Wars of the Roses the castle fell into disrepair. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Totternhoe Castle, Nr Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Motte and bailey castle earthworks. This castle unusually features two baileys rather than the more traditional single bailey design. As with most motte and bailey castles, all that remains today is a set of earthworks. The earliest written reference to Totternhoe Castle is from between 1170 and 1176, although recent evidence suggests that a much older Roman camp and Iron Age fort may have existed on the site.

 

Tower of London, London, Greater London
Owned by: Historic Royal Palaces
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress. Victorious at the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066, the invading William the Conqueror spent the rest of the year fortifying key strategic positions across southern England. At the time, London was the largest town in England and centre of governance with a prosperous port. The Normans needed to establish control over the settlement and demonstrate their dominance; hence the Tower of London was begun. Integrating the existing Roman town walls into its structure, the earliest phase would have been enclosed by a ditch and defended by a timber palisade, with accommodation for William. Most of the early Norman castles were constructed in wood, but by the end of the 11th century many had been rebuilt using stone. Started in 1087, the White Tower was the earliest stone keep to be built in England. Around 1240, Henry III made the Tower his home, whitewashing the walls, extending the grounds and adding a great hall; the Normans called it La Tour Blanche, or the White Tower. Since then the tower has been used as a home for kings and queens, a royal mint, treasury, prison and royal zoo. Today it houses the Crown Jewels and the Royal Ravens. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Triermain Castle, Cumbria
Fragmentary remains of a 14th century castle. Built in around 1350 using stone from Hadrian's Wall, not much remains of Triermain Castle except for the moat and the south east corner of the old gatehouse. Surprisingly this exposed piece of gatehouse masonry is still almost at its original height!

Tutbury Castle, Tutbury, Staffordshire
Owned by: Duchy of Lancaster
Largely ruinous 15th century fortress. Seat of the de Ferrers family, the early motte and bailey castle was first recorded in 1071, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. The castle was destroyed by Prince Edward in 1264 after the rebellion of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby. Apart from the 12th century chapel, today's ruins date from the 14th and 15th centuries when the castle was rebuilt. Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at Tutbury during the 16th century. Destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it suffered further damage during the English Civil War of 1642-46, and lapsed into ruin. Open for private bookings and events. Restricted opening times to the public during summer months. Visit the castle's website.

Tynemouth Castle and Priory, Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of one of the largest fortified areas in England. The burial place of three kings, the moated castle-towers, gatehouse and keep are integrated within the ruins of a Benedictine priory. Little is known of the early history of the site, however the priory was founded early in the 7th century. In 651, Oswin, king of Deira was murdered and his body was brought to Tynemouth for burial, the first of three kings to be buried at Tynemouth. In 1074 Waltheof II, Earl of Northumbria, last of the Anglo-Saxon earls granted the church to the monks of Jarrow together with the body of St Oswin. Destroyed in a Danish raid, a new monastery based on the Benedictine discipline was established in about 1090, which lasted until it was dissolved by Henry VIII. In 1539, the site was transformed into a royal castle with gun emplacements built to counter the threat of Spanish invasion. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Upnor Castle, Upnor, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved Elizabethan artillery fort. This rare example of an Elizabethan artillery fort was begun in 1559 to protect the Royal Navy warships being built and repaired at Chatham dockyards on the River Medway. After the Dutch sailed right past it and destroyed much of the English fleet at anchor, the defences of Chatham were revised in 1668. The castles defences were further updated in the decades that followed and it continued in service until 1945, when it was declared a museum. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Walmer Castle, Deal, Kent
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved Tudor coastal artillery fortress. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following his decision to break from the Catholic Church, the fortress' defences represented the most advanced military architecture of the time. Built between 1539 and 1540, it was one of three forts constructed to protect the Downs, an area of safe anchorage off the Kent coast. Walmer's only taste of action was during the English Civil War, when in 1648 it surrendered to Parliamentary forces after a three week siege. Inhabited by the Duke of Wellington in his role as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, it was here that the hero of Waterloo died in 1852. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Warkworth Castle, Warkworth, Northumberland
Owned by: English Heritage
Impressive remains of large medieval castle. Built sometime after the Norman Conquest of England initially as a motte and bailey type fortification, an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. These castles were normally constructed to control strategic points and approaches, and this castle occupies a loop of the River Coquet, less than a mile from England's north-east coast. The initial wooden castle was rebuilt in stone with the onset of the Anglo-Scottish Wars, and in 1332 it ended up in the hands of the influential Percy family, eventually becoming one of their chief baronial castles. Although supporting Parliament during the English Civil War, the castle did suffer damage during the conflict. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire
Owned by: Tussauds Group
Impressive remains of large medieval castle. Built shortly after after the Norman Conquest of England in 1068, initially as a motte and bailey type fortification, an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic points and approaches, this castle occupies a loop of the River Avon. The original wooden castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century and fortified further during the Hundred Years War. In 1604 James I granted the castle to Sir Fulke Greville, who lavished vast sums of money on modernising the castle and to create a comfortable country house from the crumbling ruins of the medieval fortress. It was owned by the Greville family until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply. You can now stay at Warwick Castle!

Weeting Castle, Weeting, Norfolk
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of early medieval moated manor house. Despite the name, Weeting is not a castle but a manor house built in the 12th century by the De Plaiz family. Rather than for defence, the rectangular moat that surrounds the building was added in the mid-13th century to demonstrate the wealth and power of the family. It is believed to have been abandoned from 1390. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Westenhanger Castle, Hythe, Kent
Owned by: Forge Family
Partially renovated fortified manor house. The de Criol family were responsible for building the fortified manor house on the site in 1343, and it remained with the family until the War of the Roses when Sir Thomas de Criol was beheaded. Strengthened in response to threats of attack from France during the 14th century, in 1588 Queen Elizabeth used the castle as the command centre for troops who were to defend the south coast from the Spanish Armada. By the mid-17th century it was one of the largest houses in Kent, however shortly after this it started to fall in to disrepair. Recent renovation work is attempting to reverse the decades of neglect. Opened for pre-booked group visits only.

 

Whittington Castle, Whittington, Shropshire
Owned by: Whittington Castle Preservation Fund
Remains of extensive Medieval Marches castle . The original Norman motte-and-bailey fortification was rebuilt in the 13th century, including the stone curtain wall, inner bailey and outer gatehouse with its 42 foot long drawbridge. As a castle of the Welsh Marches, it was built on the border of Wales and England and provided excellent views towards Offa's Dyke over which Welsh raiders frequently invaded. Although added to and improved in the mid-14th century, the castle gradually fell into disrepair so that by 1392 it was declared to be 'utterly in ruins'. Whittington Castle is currently owned by the Whittington Castle Preservation Trust, a local rural community. Free and open access at restricted times and dates. There is free and open access all year round to the castle grounds.

Wigmore Castle, Wigmore, Herefordshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Remains of extensive Medieval Marches castle. Built shortly after the Norman Conquest of England around 1070, initially as a motte and bailey type fortification, an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic points and approaches, the castle lies almost halfway between the rivers Teme and Lugg, commanding the wide area between them. Under the ownership of the powerful Mortimer family the original wooden castle was rebuilt in stone in the late 12th century and further added to throughout the 13th century, thus creating one of the most important and striking medieval fortresses in the Welsh Marches. In the years that followed, conflict in the troubled border areas calmed, eventually rendering such fortresses obsolete and when the Mortimer family moved their administrative centre from Wigmore to Ludlow, the castle was effectively redundant. Slighted during the English Civil War, the castle fell into decay and eventual ruin. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Wilton Castle, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Owned by: Mr and Mrs Parslow
Remains of 12th century castle and 16th century manor house. Built shortly after the Norman Conquest of England, initially as a motte and bailey type fortification, an earthen mound topped by a wooden palisade. Normally constructed to control strategic points and approaches, the castle guards the point at which the road between England and Wales crosses the River Wye. During the 12th century, under the ownership of the powerful de Longchamps family, the original wooden castle was rebuilt using local sandstone. By the 16th century the military importance of Wilton had diminished, and when a more comfortable residence was required, a new manor house was built into the fabric of the castle recycling stone from the old walls. In 1645 during the English Civil War, the then owner Sir John Brydges refused to support either side; this so outraged local Royalists that one Sunday morning whilst he was attending church, they burned the house down. A more modern manor was built in the 19th century, which remains a residence today. Restricted summer open days and entrance charges apply.

 

Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire
Owned by: Hampshire County Council
Intact medieval hall and castle remains. Built in 1067 just a year after the Norman Conquest of England, it was one of the grandest fortresses in England and initially served as the main seat of government before that was transferred to London. Rebuilt in stone and flint by Henry III, the royal apartments were further extended by Edward II. Little remains from that early period, as after the English Civil War in 1646 Oliver Cromwell ordered its destruction. Today, only Henry III's Great Hall survives intact, attached to which is a small museum detailing the history of Winchester. Free and open access at any reasonable time.

 

Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire
Owned by: Royal Collection Trust
Intact and occupied Royal Palace. Now the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation, Windsor was originally built by William the Conqueror to secure Norman dominance around London, and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames. The typical earth and wood motte and bailey structure was gradually replaced with stone fortifications. In 1175 Henry II strengthened the defences and added the first royal apartments; he even planted a vineyard. Over the centuries, almost every king and queen of England has lavished funds on Windsor, adding to and rebuilding this now luxurious royal palace. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Wolvesey Castle, Winchester, Hampshire
Owned by: English Heritage
Ruins of 12th-century bishops palace. Built by the Bishop of Winchester Henry of Blois between 1130 and 1140, the early Norman keep and bailey castle was quickly extended and further fortified during the Civil War between Queen Matilda and King Stephen, known as The Anarchy. Once a very important building, in July 1554 it hosted the wedding breakfast of Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain before they left for the wedding ceremony at nearby Winchester Cathedral. Destroyed by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War in 1646, the chapel is the only considerable remnant of the original castle. The chapel and castle remains were incorporated into the 'new' bishop's palace which was built in 1684. Free and open access at any reasonable time during summer months.

Yarmouth Castle, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Owned by: English Heritage
Well preserved Tudor coastal artillery fortress. Built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect England's coast from foreign invasion, following his decision to break from the Catholic Church, the fortress' defences represented the most advanced military architecture of the time. Constructed to guard the entrance to Yarmouth's harbour from the Solent, it was finished in 1547, one of the last castles to be built in Henry's ambitious plan and the first to adopt the new 'arrowhead' artillery bastion design. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

 

Yielden Castle, Yielden, Bedfordshire
Owned by: Scheduled Ancient Monument
Earthwork and remains of a motte and bailey castle. Built sometime after the Norman Conquest of England, as an earth and timber motte and bailey type fortification with two baileys. First recorded in 1173, it was the stronghold of the Trailly family until the 13th century, who may have been responsible for adding the stone curtain wall and round stone tower that once stood atop the motte. The castle appears to have fallen into ruin by 1360, possibly after suffering a siege. Only an earthwork mound and some remains are visible.

 

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