Castles and forts

Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritage
Find places to visit in Britain by name, location, type of attraction, or other keyword.

This listings directory of over 950 entries is being phased out.
It now excludes places and things of interest in North East  and North West England.
These can be found in ABAB’s Places.
Places to visit in Yorkshire  are currently being moved to ABAB’s Places.

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CADBURY CASTLE

South Cadbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, overrun by the Romans in the 1st century and subsequently used by them, but then reoccupied and its defences restored in the sub-Roman period and in occasional use up to at least the 10th century. It is one of several places associated with the legendary King Arthur and suggested as a possible location for the mythical Camelot. The walls and defences are now wooded, but the size of them can be appreciated, and there is a wonderful view of Glastonbury Tor, on the mystical Isle of Avalon, from the top.

Take the pathway, Castle Lane, from the village; it is invariably muddy.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
South Cadbury
County
Somerset
Post Code
BA22 7HA
Main Historic Period
Dark Ages
Tip/Nearby
Glastonbury, Wells
Primary Management
Unknown
CAERLAVEROCK CASTLE

A 17th century residence (possibly the original Maxwell House?!), built inside a forbidding triangular medieval fortress, surrounded by a romantic moat, besieged by the English, ruined by religion. Plus a colony of Natterjack toads AND the site of an earlier castle.

What more could you ask?

It is about 6 miles south of Dumfries off the B725.  Follow the A75 west from the M6/M74.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Glencaple
County
Dumfries and Galloway
Post Code
DG1 4RU
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Link to featured article
Tip/Nearby
Sweetheart Abbey
Primary Management
Historic Scotland
CAERNARFON CASTLE

Enormous medieval castle, with iconic polygonal towers, constructed from the late 13th century on the orders of Edward I as part of his strategy to subjugate the Welsh. It was built on the site of an earlier Norman castle and close to where a Roman fortress had once stood. The castle and town then became the English administrative HQ for North Wales and was besieged many times - and captured too.

Caernarfon Castle is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Ditch
Caernarfon
County
Gwynedd
Post Code
LL55 2AY
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Tip/Nearby
Harlech, Conwy and Beaumaris castles are part of the same World Heritage Site.
Primary Management
Cadw
Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is simply enormous. Huge. It is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest in Britain, after Windsor. It covers a 30-acre site and is a mass of concentric defensive walls, surrounded by moats and artificial lakes. It was built by the Norman Gilbert de Clare, known as Gilbert the Red for his red hair, mainly between 1268 and 1271, in order to subdue the Welsh - and it still dominates the area. The castle declined as it became redundant and it was rescued from total ruin by the Bute family in the 19th century.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Street
Caerphilly
County
Glamorgan
Post Code
CF83 1JD
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Castel Coch
Primary Management
Cadw
Cardiff Castle

First a Roman fort, then a late 11th century Norman castle, Cardiff Castle became a medieval fortress involved in the Anglo-Norman wars against the native Welsh. It was held by both Royalist and Parliamentary forces during the Civil War and managed to escape the destruction meted out on many of its contemporaries. Eventually, in 1766, it passed by marriage to the Bute family. The 2nd Marquess of Bute turned Cardiff into the world’s greatest coal exporting port and his son John, the 3rd Marquess, was reputed to be the richest man in the world. The 3rd Marquess employed the architect William Burges to create a Victorian Gothic revival mansion, transforming the castle with astonishingly opulent interiors, brimming with murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. After the death of the 4th Marquess of Bute, in 1947 the family gave the Castle and much of its parkland to the city of Cardiff and it is now one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Street
Cardiff
County
Cardiff
Post Code
CF10 3RB
Main Historic Period
Victorian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
City centre
Primary Management
Local Authority
CARDIGAN CASTLE

Cardigan Castle (Castell Aberteifi) began as an earth and timber Norman fortress in the early 12th century. It was captured by The Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1171 and rebuilt in stone – the first stone castle built by a Welshman.  To mark the achievement, he held the first national Eisteddfod there in 1176.  The castle changed hands various times through the years.  It was slighted by the Parliamentary Forces during the Civil War of the 17th century and converted to peaceful use in the 18th, when large parts of it were demolished to build an elegant house and garden inside its walls.  A pillbox was added in the Second World War.

Sadly, the last owner of Cardigan Castle, Barbara Wood, could not afford the upkeep and ended up living in a caravan in the grounds. The property crumbled, decayed and became overgrown.  A successful public campaign saw Cardigan Castle purchased by Ceredigion Council, be gradually restored and, finally, opened to the public in 2015.  What little remains of the medieval building is incorporated into the mansion, where there are temporary and permanent exhibitions.  To be fair, it's not much of a castle, but the small, attractive, gardens are nicely tended, it is pleasant to walk round the walls, there is a decent café and regular events and functions are held there.

Sometimes events necessitate closure of the castle to the public, so check before making a special journey

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Green Street
Cardigan
County
Ceredigion
Post Code
SA43 1JA
Main Historic Period
Georgian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Cilgerran Castle, Welsh Coastal Path, Pentre Ifan
Primary Management
Local Authority
Carew Castle

Carew Castle was built by the Norman Gerald de Windsor, constable of Pembroke Castle, on the site of an Iron Age fortification. Gerald had married the renowned beauty, Princess Ness, and the manor of Carew was part of her dowry. Gerald's son assumed the name de Carew and he and his descendants enlarged the castle. By the 15th century, it was in the hands of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, a supporter of Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth (1485). However, Sir Rys' grandson was executed for treason and the castle came into the hands of Sir John Perrot, who undertook extensive modernisation. Perrot, in turn, fell from favour and the castle returned to the de Carew family, changing hands three times during the Civil War, only to be abandoned in 1686. It is leased to the National Park Authority, which has undertaken extensive restoration work.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Lane
Carew
County
Pembrokeshire
Post Code
SA70 8SL
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Tip/Nearby
Carew Tidal Mill is on the same site
Primary Management
National Park
CARISBROOKE CASTLE

There has been a fortress at Carisbrooke since Saxon times, at least, though the present castle dates from the 12th century. Carisbrooke Castle was besieged once, by the French, but is probably best known as the place where Charles I was imprisoned, as well as for the donkeys that turn the treadmill to pull water from the castle's well. It was also home to Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The castle is largely ruined, but there is loads to see, inside and outside, including a fascinating museum, beautiful chapel, battlement walks - and, of course, the donkeys.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Hill
Newport
County
Isle of Wight
Post Code
PO30 1XY
Main Historic Period
Stuart
Tip/Nearby
Osborne House, Ryde, Cowes
Primary Management
English Heritage
CASTLE ACRE CASTLE and BAILEY GATE

Atmospheric ruin of the castle of the de Warrene's, the Earls of Surrey, at Castle Acre in Norfolk.  The entire village was once protected by its defences.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Acre
County
Norfolk
Post Code
PE32 2XB
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Link to featured article
Tip/Nearby
Castle Acre Priory
Primary Management
English Heritage
CASTLE MENZIES

Castle Menzies was the ancestral stronghold of the Menzies clan from the 16th - 19th centuries. It was occupied by Jacobite rebels in 1715 and 1745 and, in 1746, Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - the Young Pretender - stayed at Castle Menzies on his way to defeat at Culloden. 4 days later, the Duke of Cumberland, commander of the Government forces in hot pursuit of the rebels, stopped by too.

In 1957, the castle was purchased as a ruin for just £300 by the Menzies Clan Society who have proceeded to, very gradually, restore it. It is somewhere between a mansion and a fortress. It has a walled garden too, though the website suggests this may not be particularly well kept. It is also possible to visit the Old Kirk of Weem - the Menzies Mausoleum - in the nearby village of Weem.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Weem
Nr Aberfeldy
County
Perthshire
Post Code
PH15 2JD
Main Historic Period
Georgian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Aberfeldy
Primary Management
Private - open to the public

If your favourite attraction is not listed yet, and you have a good quality digital photograph of it that you are able to freely send, please get in touch

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