Castle Facts · Castles · Travel

My Top 5 Favourite Castles: A Trip Down Memory Lane

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).

1.Kenilworth Castle 

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?

Bonus:

Carreg Cennen

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!

60 thoughts on “My Top 5 Favourite Castles: A Trip Down Memory Lane

    1. I hope you do get to visit them at some point – they’re absolutely amazing to explore and you can easily spend a few hours at some of them. Perfect for anyone wanting a day out when everything is all safe and back to normal!

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  1. Wow, just wow, all of those castles look so beautiful, I really loved Kenilworth and Bolsover, I really want to visit the other castles, you will have to take me to them soon when it’s safe, this is a fantastic post especially that it’s going to help people to decided where to go for a family day out. Brilliant post, thank you so much for sharing and I’m really looking forward to the day for when we can go exploring again xx

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  2. What a great post! Castles have so much to offer – architecturally they are stunning to look at but they also carry with them all that history. Stepping foot and wandering around a place that contains so much history, love, loss, war, secrets and legacy is something really special and can transport you back through time. Oh, all the ghosts of yesterday that reside there too (if you are inclined to believe). The grandeur and opulence of Castles always made me want to get married in one!! I may still – now where’s my Prince Charming hehehe! Thank you. We really enjoyed this post. Its written with wonder and beauty and we felt your passion through it x

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    1. Yes I completely agree with you! They are just the perfect way to step back in time and learn about how the world use to be, and of course, even without the history, they are just stunning buildings! Getting married in a castle is also one of my dreams – always fancied getting married at Carreg Cennen or Leeds Castle because they both have such a romantic setting but they’re not in the right location to where all my family and friends live – oh well! Glad you enjoyed the post 😁 x

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  3. I love a castle too! I was thinking as this loaded that Kenilworth would be top of my list!

    I totally get what you mean about the history of the place, you can really feel it. I’ve been going since I was a child and still love it.

    Brilliant post x x

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    1. Yes they both are lovely places to visit! I haven’t been to Alnwick castle in a long time though but I’m looking forward to when I can go back again 🙂 If you enjoyed visiting those two castles, then you’ll definitely love the rest of them (if you get the chance to visit)!

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  4. My parents used to always take me to places like this when I was younger and I never appreciated it! I remember them taking me to Bolsover! Now i’m older and appreciate architecture a lot more me and my mum visited Caernarfon a few years ago. Alnwick is on my bucket list (which I write about myself) So I cannot wait to visit it!

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    1. Ohhh I hope you get to go to Alnwick soon it’s absolutely amazing and you should make sure to book a table at the treehouse there for an extra special treat. It was booked up for 2 weeks when I was planning on going though, it was very popular when I went.

      If you’re in the area, you might want to visit Dunstanburgh Castle as well (not sure if you’ve been), but the views from that castle are just spectacular and you can have a great day out visiting both castles (they’re only about a 20 minutes drive away from one another)!

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    1. Yes Leeds Castle is stunning! I’ve been a couple of times when I used to live in London as I got the ticket for a year. Shame I’ve moved too far away from it now.

      Suprisingly, I’ve never been to Hever Castle though, so looks like I’ll be planning a trip there at some point! Thank you for suggesting it 😀

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    1. Whenever I visit Wales, my family and I always seem to visit it. Doesn’t matter that we’ve been several times it’s still a truly impressive castle! We also like getting the jaffa cake ice cream as a treat from one of the shops opposite, even if it’s cold on some days haha! Glad you enjoyed it when you visited though 🙂

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  5. Great list! I’ve barely been to any castles (there aren’t many options here in the states) but we visited a few in Ireland. I would love to visit these! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It’s a shame there aren’t many in the states! But at least you got to visit a few in Ireland – I’ve never visited a castle in Ireland but I know that there are some impressive ones. I really want to visit Dunluce Castle and Cahir Castle (plus many more)!

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    1. If I had a time machine I’d know exactly what I would be doing haha! Even though some are classed as “ruins” they’re still pretty incredible even now to be fair though, just would be good to see them in their prime!

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      1. Goth weddings or castles? It’s been a decade since I last went to a wedding, but I was thinking more of when I have mine. As for castles, the last three I remember visiting are the Tower of London, Belvoir Castle, and the Disney castle.

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      2. A goth wedding at a castle sorry! That would certainly be an experience. I’ve never been to Belvoir Castle before, adding that to my list of places I need to visit (thanks for that suggestion)!

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  6. Theres castles are beautiful! I haven’t been to any of these myself but I do love exploring a castle when I find one. The few I have been to are Helmsley Castle, Warwick Castle and Harlech castle. I’d really like to visit some others in the future though so I’ll be bookmarking this post for future reference. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    1. If you’ve been to Harlech, then you’ll love Caernarfon (you should also go to Beaumaris and Conwy, if you haven’t already), they were all built by Edward I and are incredible! I’ve not been to Helmsley Castle before though, so I’ll be adding that to my list of castles I need to visit – thanks!

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  7. Amazing! I imagine it was hard to narrow down to 5 as I’d love to visit them all! I wish there were some castles close to us in Canada!

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    1. I have so many castles that I love, so it was tough – that’s why I had to give a bonus castle haha! It’s a shame that Canada doesn’t have castles really, but at least it’s a place of natural beauty! I would love to visit Canada one day 🙂

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    1. Yes that’s one reason why I love them too! There are some that look like they have just come out of a fairy tale, Bodiam and St. Michael’s Mount are great examples of fairy tale castles in the UK. I hope you do get to visit these ones though, they are absolutely fantastic!

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    1. Isn’t it just marvellous that they managed to build castles like this? The architecture is just incredible in these castles, would be great to be able to go back in time and see what these castles looked like back in their prime (but looks like my imagination will have to do for now)!

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    1. It’s brilliant! You can even take “flying lessons” there as well – which are very entertaining. Totally recommend going if you ever get the chance, particularly if you are a Harry Potter fan!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you do get to visit these castles at some point – they’re so incredible. The UK has a load of great castles to explore though, so no matter where you are, or where you are visiting in the UK, you should be able to find one nearby!

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