There are so many castles that I have visited in the past, and there are so many that I still have left to visit. It’s been a long time since I visited a castle though, I think the last one was Bolsover Castle with Luke and I miss exploring these marvellous creations. So I think it’s time for a trip down memory lane, and delve into my top 5 favourite castles!
Picking my top five castles was not an easy decision – there are so many that I have loved exploring. But after much thought I have managed to narrow it down to five (and one bonus castle, because this was an impossible thing)! I hope you all enjoy this little trip down memory lane. I can’t wait to be able to visit all of these castles again (and then some new ones as well).
What castle list wouldn’t be complete without Kenilworth Castle. I have visited this castle several times with my family. It is near to where my grandparents live and is truly spectacular.
This castle is situated in Warwickshire. Now many people always seem to go to Warwick Castle if they are in this area and although this is a great castle, Kenilworth (in my mind) is a lot better.
Warwick Castle is a huge tourist spot, so it is always full of people and although it is still a fantastic place to visit, Kenilworth just has that little something else which makes it so much better.
I don’t know what it is, but I just feel like there is a lot more history at Kenilworth Castle.
From medieval fortress to an Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England’s affairs for much of its 900-year history.
You can easily spend the day exploring this castle and its extensive grounds, and I strongly suggest that you visit Kenilworth if you are in the area.
2. Warkworth Castle
If you are planning a fun family day out, then this ruined medieval castle is the one to visit! You can pretend to be King or Queen for the day in this mighty Northumberland fortress crowning the hilltop above the River Coquet.
Northumberland has so many castles that you can visit, but Warkworth Castle is one of my favourites.
I’ve only ever been to this castle once with a friend back in 2015 but we instantly fell in love with it. I also know that this is one of my dad’s favourite castle as well!
You can explore all the way up the cross-shaped keep, which is basically complete and you should make sure to look out for the lion badge carved throughout the castle as you explore.
For anyone who loves castles and wants to get instantly lost back in time then this is the castle for you!
3. Bolsover Castle
This was a huge surprise when Luke and I visited Bolsover Castle. We had no idea what to expect, but this place is full of secrets and amazing rooms. Bolsover Castle was certainly designed to entertain and impress.
If you time your visit right, then you might be lucky enough to experience the Cavalier Horsemanship displays set to evocative Baroque music. This is a MUST if you are visiting, you’ll easily be able to see how William Cavendish trained his horses back in his day.
There’s a lot of unexpected things at this place, and the views you get are absolutely stunning. There are plenty of rooms for you to explore and exhibitions for you to see as well. You can easily spend a day here, so make sure to take your time.
Just a little side note – there’s not a lot of parking near the castle, but they do have an overflow parking about 5 minutes walk away (which isn’t really too bad).
4. Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle is recognised around the world as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages. You would be silly to not visit this place if you find yourself nearby.
Of course if you are going to visit Caernarfon, then you should also visit Edward I’s other castles such as Harlech and Beaumaris. Depending on if you have the time, but these are all really impressive castles (these castles indicate the pinnacle of castle building and defenses in Britain).
The impressive thing about Caernarfon though, is that this was intended as a show of the English’s dominance over the Welsh. It was a symbol of power.
Much still remains, so you can spend your afternoon running up and down all the corridors and towers (please note there are a lot of steps)!
Once you feel like you’ve had enough, you should make sure to head over to the ice cream store opposite and try out their Jaffa cake ice cream – it’s delicious!
5. Alnwick Castle
Anyone recognise this castle? If you can’t place the reason why then I’ll tell you. This is where they filmed some of the Harry Potter scenes. Remember in the first film with the flying lesson? This is where it happened.
Alnwick Castle is an amazing place, they even filmed some scenes from Downtown Abbey here as well.
Even if you’re not a film buff, there are many reasons why you need to visit this castle. For starters, this is an incredibly iconic castle, one where you can let your imagination run free.
This castle holds magnificent medieval architecture with sumptuous Italianate State Rooms, so there is something for everyone.
The best part is that you can also buy a year long ticket (for the same price as a day pass), and you can also explore the gardens as well. The gardens are stunning, and you can easily spend all day here.
If you book well enough in advance, then you might also be able to treat yourself to a meal in Alnwick’s treehouse! How amazing would that be?
So I might have lied when I said 5, but what’s wrong with a bonus castle?
Carreg Cennen is probably the best castle that I have visited. I remember going there with my parents and we thought we were lost, but all of a sudden we turned a corner and there it was, sat on top of a hill, looking so incredible.
This is a little hidden gem and it’s so perfect!
This isn’t just an ordinary castle though, there’s also a cave that you can explore as well. But I must warn you, please make sure that you have a torch that is fully charged and bright. My dad and I went down in this cave with our own torch and it basically died when we got to the bottom!
Luckily, we had someone come up behind us, but for a second we were a bit worried. Obviously we laugh about it now. If you don’t have a torch, then don’t worry – you can borrow one from the ticket office.
So there you have it, my top 5 favourite castles (plus an extra bonus one). It was so hard to narrow it down to such a small number… I mean just in Europe there is an estimated number of 25,000 castles. Obviously I’ve not visited all of these, but maybe one day.
And don’t worry I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I do!