Although they were originally meant to keep enemies out while protecting the safety and comfort of those within, England’s castles have now become the object of admiration of visitors who travel to the country.
They first appeared in Britain during the 11th century during the Norman Conquest and continued to be constructed well into the 18th century. Obviously, since there are hundreds of them in England, some were stored others are in various states of decay.
But they’re all worth the attention, which is why I’ve compiled this list of the 10 most incredible ones in England. Check it out!
10. Corfe Castle | Best Castles in England
The ruins of Corfe Castle is all that remains on a hill, in the southern county of Dorset. It was built in the 11th and 12th century with the purpose of intimidating would-be attackers with a limestone keep that stood 20 meters (70 feet) tall. The castle became famous after being defended for three years during the English Civil War by Lady Bankes. Those days are long gone, but arrow slits and murder holes are still visible within the ruins today.
9. Alnwick Castle
The seat of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick is the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle. Alnwick Castle has been home to the Percy family for the last 700 years; as a matter of fact, the present Duke and Duchess still live in a section of the castle. However, the rest is open to the public, with the castle having been revamped, renovated and refurbished many times over the last seven centuries. Hell, even Harry Potter was caught on tape here.
8. Framlingham Castle
Framlingham castle is located in the east of England in Suffolk, featuring those classic “motte and bailey” fortifications. The stockade and 13 towers attract visitors who come to walk along the top of the castle wall. Visitors can explore the castle’s history at the “From Powerhouse to Poorhouse” exhibition and can view the Howard family tombs at the nearby Saint Michael Church. It looks beautiful.
7. Leeds Castle
Surrounded by a wide moat, Leeds Castle has remained intact offering people a glimpse of what a proper English castle looks like. Located in Kent, southeast England, the impressive property was constructed during the reign of Henry I and served as residence for royalty. There’s way too much history to talk about, and the vast 500-acre estate has more attractions than can be experienced in a single visit. Feel free to try, though.
6. Arundel Castle
The seat of the Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle is located in West Sussex, England. Arundel Castle features a well-preserved interior filled with rare paintings, tapestries and furnishings, especially since it’s constantly inhabited. The moat is gone, but that only makes the mound that lifts the castle 30 meters (100 feet) high more impressive. The estate’s 14th-century chapel, its exquisite gardens and many of the breathtaking rooms are open to the public.
5. Bamburgh Castle
Situated on the shore of Northumberland, Bamburgh Castle stands on an outcrop of volcanic stone. Dating back to 3rd or 4th century, the core of present castle was built by the Normans in the 11th century, and it’s believed that Henry II ordered the construction of the castle keep. In 1894, the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong purchased the property and restored it. But the Armstrong family was gracious enough to have 16 rooms open for visiting.
4. Tower of London
Construction for the Tower of London began in 1066; although originally meant as a fortified castle and royal residence, it was mostly used as a prison from 1100 to 1952. The castle has long been a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors who come to see the menagerie, its amazing armory and the nation’s Crown Jewels.
3. Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. The castle has undergone structural changes over time, with additions of towers and redesigned residential buildings. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, thus the 14th century military architecture. During the 17th century, Sir Fulke Greville had it converted to a country house and in 1978 it was bought by a leisure company.
2. Bodiam Castle
Located to the southeast of London in East Sussex, Bodiam Castle is a Medieval fortress – although it was mostly built for the show. Although looking like something out of a fairytale, the interior of the castle lies in ruin. That’s a damn shame,
1. Windsor Castle | Best Castles in England
Windsor Castle is often called the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. It is one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II, who uses it for state and private entertaining. Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, Windsor was built as a motte and bailey castle, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Today, much of the castle, including the magnificent State Apartments and St Georges Chapel can be visited. Marvelous!