Castles and forts

Castles, forts, hillforts, fortifications and other similar attractions and places in Britain.  They may have been primarily built for defence – but may also be symbols of power.

Cilgerran Castle and the Princess Nest

Cilgerran Castle and Princess Nest

Once upon a whenever, Wales is said to have had more than 640 castles.  We may have mentioned that before.  Of those 640, at least 100 have survived.  Some, such as Caernarfon or Conwy, are recognisably mighty fortresses; others are little more than remote ruined forts; and then there are the ones in between, like

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A walk round Montgomery

Montgomery, Powys

We went to the small town of Montgomery, in Powys, for some much-needed peace and quiet – and found it.  Girdled by lush landscape, the old county market town of Montgomeryshire has a Georgian appearance and is a peach, a place to mentally recharge.  There is little to attract the seeker of brash entertainment, or

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Rutupiae, gateway to Britain

Rutupiae, Richborough Roman Fort

Richborough has always fascinated me.  Caesar may have landed near Deal but it was at Richborough, a century later, that the story of Roman Britain really began.  It was in this corner of Kent that part of Emperor Claudius’ 40,000 strong invasion force landed in 43 AD.  They quickly established a beachhead, throwing up defensive

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Walmer and the Warden of the Cinque Ports

Walmer, Warden of the Cinque Ports

We strolled to Walmer Castle from Deal in September sunshine.  Infamous as the place where the Duke of Wellington died, Walmer Castle was one of Henry VIII’s so-called ‘device forts’, a network of artillery strongholds built to protect England against possible French invasion.  Naturally, we have retained a few of these, just in case.  Walmer

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World Heritage Sites in Britain

World Heritage Sites in Britain

Britain has 29 World Heritage Sites.  The United Kingdom has 30, including the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland but excluding overseas territories.  It would have been 31, but Liverpool’s maritime mercantile city was, sadly, stripped of its status in 2021.  Don’t let that put you off; Liverpool is more than worth spending

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Stumbling round old forts on Strumble Head

Dinas Mawr from Garn Fawr

Clearly, something serious went on at Strumble Head.  Pembrokeshire’s Strumble Head, aka The Pencaer Peninsula, is known for its stunning scenery and the Strumble Lighthouse.  It was also the location, at Carregwastad Point, of a minor, unsuccessful, French invasion in 1797.  Long before that, however, our distant ancestors seemed to be particularly busy over on

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Rough on the frontier

Rough Castle, Roman fort

Near the little town of Bonnybridge, west of Falkirk, you will find the largely buried remains of Rough Castle.  This was no fairy-tale fortress, with stone battlements and banners fluttering from romantic-looking towers.  The lumps and ditches in the ground mark the location of a business-like frontier fort, built almost 1900 years ago on the

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English Heritage or the National Trust?

English Heritage or National Trust

People often compare the relative merits of Britain’s two largest membership heritage organisations, the National Trust and English Heritage.  In fact, there are several heritage organisations in the United Kingdom that offer membership, the main ones being Cadw, Historic Houses, Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland – as well as English Heritage and

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Fotheringhay

Fotheringhay

Some places inspire a sense of curious awe.  Though the past is ubiquitous, shaping who and what we all are, there are particular spots on earth where the shades of great events and people gather, jostling for attention.  Visiting them is like walking across the hallowed pages of a giant book, catching tantalising glimpses of

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Ten of the best places to visit in North East England

Bamburgh Castle

Frankly, you’ll be spoiled for choice if you’re looking for things to see and do in North East England.  From dramatic, wild coast and countryside, to wildlife, castles, Roman remains, the simple grandeur of Durham and the culture and vibrancy of Newcastle upon Tyne, there is something for everyone.  To start you off, here is

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Ten of the best in the west

Polperro, Cornwall

South West England has two main draw-backs: it is popular and, as it’s on the west, it can suffer from wetness – particularly at its extremities.  Other than that, it has pretty much everything, including mystery, prehistory, history, cuteness, grand vistas, impressive buildings and plenty of things to do.  For an introduction, see A Bit

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Ten things you really should do in Britain

Tiger Inn, East Dean

There’s no shortage of things to do and see in Britain.  But if you were visiting for the first time, what would you recommend?  Here are a few arbitrary suggestions, in no particular order, just to get the ball rolling: Get out of London Many visitors to Britain head straight for London.  It is one

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