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Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritageThis is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse.  It is a growing directory – over 780 entries as of June 2020.  Most entries have links for further information.

Castles and forts

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Alnwick Castle dates from the 11th century and has been in the hands of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, since 14th century.  The castle is one of the most visited in England, steeped in the Percy family history with gruesome discoveries to be made as well as magnificent state rooms.  It is often used for filming and has starred in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey, for example.  The castle also houses a number of special exhibitions, including the Regimental Museum of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Adjacent to the castle is the Alnwick Garden, a formal garden built around a huge cascading fountain and featuring one of the most astonishing tree houses you will ever see.

Location/Address: Alnwick
County: Northumberland
Post Code: NE66 1NQ
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Alnwick Castle website
Tip/Nearby: Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh
Primary Management: Independent – Historic Houses member
ARBEIA Roman fort and museum

Arbeia Roman Fort stood guard on the south bank of the Tyne, guarding the sea route to Hadrian's Wall. The fort is situated in what is now a residential area, with a primary school opposite. It was originally built in the 2nd century AD and, with variations and rebuilding (the fort was destroyed in the late 3rd/early 4th century, for example), was occupied until the Anglo-Saxon period. There is a good museum, reconstructed gateway and living quarters (which are a bit tatty) and the excavated outline of the fort.

Location/Address: Baring Street
South Shields
County: Tyne and Wear
Post Code: NE33 2BB
Main Historic Period: Roman
Link to featured article: Arbeia upon Tyne
Useful Website Address: Arbeia's website
Tip/Nearby: Wallsend is just across the river
Primary Management: Local Authority
Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle, dating from 1068, has been the seat of the Duke of Norfolk, head of the powerful Howard family, for over 850 years. The Howards have been soldiers, sailors, poets - and plotters. The Duke of Norfolk is considered the premier duke of England and has the hereditary title of Earl Marshal of England, responsible for major state occasions - such as coronations. The castle was besieged twice in the Civil War (once by each side) and was greatly restored in Victorian times and looks like something from a Hollywood movie. It is famous for its artwork, furnishings, armoury and includes attractive gardens. Not to be missed is the medieval Fitzalan Chapel, the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk.

Location/Address: Arundel
County: West Sussex
Post Code: BN18 9AB
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Arundel Castle's website
Tip/Nearby: Chichester, Bosham
Primary Management: Independent – Historic Houses member

Bamburgh Castle is one of the dramatic icons of Northumberland's coast.  There has been a fortress on the rocky crag poking out into the North Sea since before the Anglo-Saxons invaded. The Normans built a new castle, and its bloody history continued.  But the present building owes much to Victorian restoration and idealism. And thanks for that goes to wealthy arms manufacturer and dealer William Armstrong, whose family still live there.  Bamburgh is a popular visitor attraction, is 'bursting with history and has also featured in several film/TV productions.

Location/Address: Bamburgh
County: Northumberland
Post Code: NE69 7DF
Main Historic Period: All
Useful Website Address: Bamburgh Castle's website
Tip/Nearby: Holy Island is just to the north
Primary Management: Independent – Historic Houses member

Barnard Castle was founded by Bernard de Balliol in the 12th century and the ruins of this once mighty fortress dominate both the town named for it and the river Tees. Balliol College, Oxford, was named after Bernard's ancestor, John, and John's son (another John) was briefly King of Scotland. Afterwards, the castle came into the possession of the powerful Earls of Warwick - the Neville family - and subsequently, through marriage to Anne Neville, it then came into the hands of the Duke of Gloucester - Richard III. Later, it fell into disrepair and is now a spectacular ruin in an impressive setting.

Location/Address: Scar Top
Barnard Castle
County: Co Durham
Post Code: DL12 8PR
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Tip/Nearby: The Bowes Museum, Egglestone Abbey
Primary Management: English Heritage

Beaumaris was the last and largest of the massive castles constructed by English King Edward I to keep the Welsh subjugated.  Construction began in 1295, but Beaumaris was never finished.  Even so, it is often regarded as the most technically perfect medieval castle in Britain.  And it is a World Heritage Site.

Location/Address: Castle Street, Beaumaris
County: Isle of Anglesey
Post Code: LL58 8AP
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Cadw listing for Beaumaris Castle
Tip/Nearby: Conwy Castle
Primary Management: Cadw

Ruined remains of motte and bailey castle dating from 11th to 15th centuries. Berkhamsted was home to kings, besieged by the French and scene of the Saxon surrender to William the Conqueror in 1066. Great place for a picnic.

Location/Address: Berkhamsted
County: Hertfordshire
Post Code: HP4 1HH
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: Why visit Berkhamsted Castle?
Primary Management: English Heritage

A brooding, ruined, medieval castle located atop a dramatic wooded cliff and with the remains of an unfinished Jacobean house inside its walls, which was intended to be the grand home of the Seymour family. Berry Pomeroy Castle has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Britain.

Location/Address: Berry Pomeroy
Nr Totnes
County: Devon
Post Code: TQ9 6LJ
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: A bit more about Berry Pomeroy Castle
Tip/Nearby: Totnes, Dartmouth
Primary Management: English Heritage

Fairy-tale like ruined castle, originally built to help defend Southern England against French attack. One of the most photogenic castles in the country, it almost looks as though it could come alive.  But it is a shell - with plenty of stairs to clamber up, crumbling battlements to fall off - and wonderful views from the top.

Location/Address: Bodiam, near Robertsbridge
County: East Sussex
Post Code: TN32 5UA
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: Beautiful Bodiam Castle
Tip/Nearby: Bateman's, Scotney Castle, Battle
Primary Management: National Trust

Astonishing Stuart mansion, mid-way between a castle and a country house, built to entertain and impress by the staunchly Royalist Charles Cavendish. The place is full of surprises, including some intriguing and lavish decoration, a beautiful garden, wall walk and an unusual riding house. There is an informative exhibition which puts things in perspective before you tour - and a great childrens' playground!

Location/Address: Castle Street
County: Derbyshire
Post Code: S44 6PR
Main Historic Period: Stuart
Tip/Nearby: Hardwick Hall, Chatsworth
Primary Management: English Heritage
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