Top 20 most beautiful castles in the United Kingdom
England, Scotland, and Wales have a great history. That is why the first thing a lot of people think about Great Britain is castles and medieval fortresses. Explore the mysteries and secrets of Britain's most famous castles.
Pendennis Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth, Cornwall, between 1540 and 1542. It formed part of the King's Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, and defended the Carrick Roads waterway at the mouth of the River Fal.
The castle saw service during both the First and Second World Wars, but in 1956, by now obsolete, it was decommissioned. In the 21st century, the castle is managed by English Heritage as a tourist attraction, receiving about 75.000 visitors a year.
The heritage agency Historic England considers Pendennis to be "one of the finest examples of a post-medieval defensive promontory fort in the country".... view details
Herstmonceux Castle is one of the oldest significant brick buildings still standing in England; brick was an unusual material for the time in Britain. The builders of Herstmonceux Castle concentrated more on grandeur and comfort than on defence.
Herstmonceux Castle is home to events throughout the year, including the annual England's Medieval Festival on August Bank Holiday weekend.... view details
Orford Castle was built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II of England to consolidate royal power in the region.
The well-preserved keep, described by historian R. Allen Brown as "one of the most remarkable keeps in England", is of a unique design and probably based on Byzantine architecture. The keep still stands among the earth-covered remains of the outer fortifications.... view details
Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland, about 3 kilometres south of Stonehaven.
The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the Early Middle Ages. Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century, because of its strategic location and defensive strength. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century.
The ruins of the castle are spread over 1.4 hectares, surrounded by steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea, 50 metres below. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to ...... view details
Balmoral Castle has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria.
They remain as the private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown. Soon after the estate was purchased by the royal family, the existing house was found to be too small and the current Balmoral Castle was commissioned.
The castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture, and is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building. The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.... view details
Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland.
The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position.
Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification from the earliest times. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century.
Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of ...... view details
Arundel Castle is a restored and remodeled medieval castle, established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067. Roger became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel by the graces of William the Conqueror.
The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. From the 11th century, the castle has served as a home and has been in the ownership of the family of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years. It is the principal seat of the Norfolk family. It is a Grade I listed building.... view details
Dover Castle is a medieval castle founded in the 11th century and described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history. It is the largest castle in England.
The castle is a Grade I listed building, and recognised as an internationally important structure. The castle, secret tunnels, and surrounding land are now owned by English Heritage and the site is a major tourist attraction.... view details
Durham Castle is a Norman castle in the city of Durham, which has been wholly occupied since 1840 by University College, Durham.
The castle stands on top of a hill above the River Wear on Durham's peninsula, opposite Durham Cathedral. It is open to the general public to visit, but only through guided tours, since it is in use as a working building and is home to over 100 students. ... view details
Alnwick Castle is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building and as of 2012 received over 800,000 visitors per year.
An increase in public interest in the castle was generated by its use as a stand-in for the exterior and interior of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Its appearance in the films has helped shape the public imagination regarding what castles should look like.... view details
Castle Stalker is a four-story tower house or keep picturesquely set on a tidal islet on Loch Laich, an inlet off Loch Linnhe. The islet is accessible (with difficulty) from the shore at low tide. The name "Stalker" comes from the Gaelic Stalcaire, meaning "hunter" or "falconer".
The island castle's picturesque appearance, with its bewitching island setting against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, has made it a favourite subject for postcards and calendars, and something of a cliche image of Scottish Highland scenery. Castle Stalker is entirely authentic; it is one of the best-preserved medieval tower-houses surviving in western Scotland.
In recent times, the castle was brought to fame by the Monty Python team, appearing in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.... view details
Lincoln Castle is a major castle constructed in Lincoln, during the late 11th century by William the Conqueror on the site of a pre-existing Roman fortress.
The castle is unusual in that it has two mottes. It is only one of two such castles in the country, the other being at Lewes in Sussex. Lincoln Castle remained in use as a prison and law court into modern times, and is one of the better preserved castles in England; the Crown Courts continue to this day. It is open to the public as a museum.
Lincoln Castle remains one of the most impressive Norman castles in the United Kingdom. It is still possible to walk around the immense Norman walls which provide a magnificent view of the castle complex, ...... view details
There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure.
The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. During the English Civil War, Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war.
Caernarfon Castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs. In 1911, Caernarfon Castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and again in 1969. It is part of the World Heritage Sites.... view details
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th century military architecture.
In 2001, Warwick Castle was named one of Britain's "Top 10 historic houses and monuments" by the British Tourist Authority; the list included Tower of London, Stonehenge, and Edinburgh Castle. Warwick Castle was recognised as Britain's best castle by the Good Britain Guide 2003.
Around this time it was getting in excess of half a million visitors a year.... view details
Built on a dolerite outcrop, the location was previously home to a fort of the native Britons. The Normans built a new castle on the site, which forms the core of the present one.
As an important English outpost, the castle was the target of occasional raids from Scotland. In 1464 during the Wars of the Roses, it became the first castle in England to be defeated by artillery.
The castle still belongs to the Armstrong family, and is opened to the public. It also hosts weddings and corporate events. It has been used as a film location since the 1920s, featuring in films such as Ivanhoe (1982), El Cid (1961), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Elizabeth (1998) and both the 1971 and 2015 adaptions of Macbeth.... view details
Eilean Donan Castle is a picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television; it dominates the small tidal island of Eilean Donan, which lies about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the village of Dornie.
The castle was founded in the thirteenth century, and became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae. Since the castle's restoration in the early 20th century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland.... view details
Bodiam Castle is one of the most picturesque and beloved castles in Great Britain. Many historians consider that Bodiam represents the popular ideal of a medieval castle.
Often portrayed as "the perfect English castle", Bodiam's pictures have been embellished on numerous books, chocolate boxes, wallpapers which are shipped all around the world.
Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, apparently to defend the area against French invasions during the Hundred Years' War. There is a constant debate among historians whether the castle was built for military strength or as a romantic country home designed to evoke the ideas of grandeur ...... view details
Windsor Castle is a royal residence, notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror.
Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle State Apartments are considered by many historians as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste.
It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II. Today, more than 500 people live and work in Windsor Castle - the largest inhabited castle in the world.... view details
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England.
The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose.
A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century ...... view details
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, from its position on the Castle Rock. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633.
As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".
The castle, in the care of Historic Scotland, ...... view details
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