Everyone loves a good castle, right? If it’s a princess castle or a military fortress, castles are pretty exciting for most types of people – young or old. They’re hugely grand buildings that remind us of our past, and just how “Game of Thrones” British history actually is. Although there are some spectacular castles around Europe, you’ll find some equally spectacular ones closer to home. Here’s a list of the best ones, which has been partly inspired by English Heritage.
1. Tintagel. This is one of the most famous places connected to King Arthur – many people argue that Tintagel was where King Arthur was born. It sits on the dramatic Cornish cliffs, but it’s not for the faint of heart – there are hundreds of steps up and down to the castle! It’s right by the sea, too, so the ocean really gives it that mythical feel. Tintagel is closer to Devon than it is to Land’s End, so it’s a little less difficult to reach.
2. Dover Castle. This one’s pretty small, but has been hugely important in defending Britain from foreign invaders over the centuries. It’s around 900 years old, and stands above the town of Dover. If you look across the waters, you’ll see France! Close by are also some underground World War 2 operations tunnels, which are really fascinating to explore, especially as you can see how defence systems changed from the Middle Ages to the last century. You’ll need at least a day to spend exploring all that Dover has to offer!
3. Arundel. Think “Arendelle”, but better! Drive past the town on the bypass and the landscape is dominated by this restored 11th Century castle, as well as the spectacular Cathedral there. Built on a hill, this really is one of the best places to see in the South East. Though it’s privately owned, you can still go inside in the summer, for a fee of course! Arundel is about 18 miles from Brighton, and about 10 from the town of Chichester, and it’s pretty easy to reach by car or by train.
4. Corfe. Corfe Castle is a ruined castle in Dorset, destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s forces in the English Civil War. Its history is very interesting, but that’s not the only great thing about it – it’s set in one of the most beautiful places in England. The castle dominates the pretty, traditional stone village of Corfe, as it sits on a man-made hill. Running past the village and castle is a cool steam railway, which takes you on a blast from the past through the Dorset countryside.
Britain’s history is very rich in defence and military-related buildings, and although you can call a grand palace or a stately home (like many of those in France or Germany) a castle, technically that’s not what it is. Not to be a history bore, but a castle is built for defence purposes. Even if something is designed to look like a castle, with turrets, walls and ramparts, it cannot be called on unless it’s been designed to fend off the enemy. So now you know what the difference is! In the second part, we’ll have a look at some castles further afield than the South of England.
Image from: http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/top-16-best-castles-in-england/