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Great Britain is home to a plethora of impressive castles – many of which were built around the time of the Norman Conquest. Below are a few classic favourites which provide beautiful views of the landscape these once powerful strongholds dominated. Wandering the castle grounds and exploring the turrets and gardens are pleasures every tourist must take advantage of!
Originally a Norman fortress, Ludlow Castle was built by Walter de Lacy in 1086. Surrounded by the rivers Teme and Corve, the castle was positioned to defend against a Welsh invasion, which kept them at bay for centuries. In 1461 it was acquired by the Crown and remained a royal castle for 350 years.
Admission costs £5 for adults and £2.50 for children over 6. Ludlow Castle also runs tours and events- take a look at what’s on so you don’t miss out!
One of the most popular historic sites in Yorkshire, Clifford’s Tower is all that remains of York Castle. After a huge explosion at the castle in 1684, it was abandoned for military purposes, becoming primarily used as a jailhouse until 1929. The panoramic views of the city are breath-taking – and the Tower itself has a unique quatrefoil design – making it a must-see for tourists after a great view of York city.
Clifford’s tower is open 10am-4pm every day and costs £4.20 for adults and £2.50 for children over 5.
Another Norman stronghold, Leeds Castle in Kent was inhabited regularly by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. The castle makes for a great family day out with plenty of attractions to keep the kids entertained. The spiralling maze, made from 2,400 yew trees is immaculately maintained, and once you’ve found your way to the middle, see if you can spot the shape of a queen’s crown in its design!
Leeds castle is a spectacular day out for all but is a little on the pricier side. Admission for adults costs £21 and £13.50 for children aged 4-15.
Caernarfon Castle is a recognised world heritage site, sprawling across a massive area in Gwynedd, Wales. It must have been a truly intimidating site for any would-be invader. In 1283 King Edward I replaced the motte-and bailey castle that had stood on the site since the 11th century with the massive stone structure, which you can still see today. Caernarfon Castle has a lot to take in, and being on the banks of the River Seiont, it makes a great day out for those who like to wander close to the ocean.
Admission costs £6 for adults and £4.50 for children.
One of the most intact fortresses in England, Hedingham Castle is a magnificent Norman castle in Essex built over 900 years ago. The castle and surrounding lands are still lived in by descendants of Lord Aubrey de Vere, the original owner. Hedingham Castle is truly a site to behold and well worth a visit, especially during the summer months, to walk in the castle’s picturesque gardens.
Admission costs £7.50 for adults and £5 for children.