The United Kingdom is also famous in the world for stunning palaces and castles. It’s a dream for every girl to become a princess. If you are one of them, you may unquestionably be excited to learn about and explore the fascinating palaces and castles in the UK.
These stunning castles in the UK were mainly built to present supremacy and power to other nations and are engineered to perfection. These castles are known to have giant thick walls to protect their people in events of the siege.
From magnificent fortresses on the hilltop to short relics covered around the countryside, explore some of these castles to visit in the UK. We have picked some of our favorites thanks to their distinctive features. There are many secrets and mysteries hidden in the stone walls of these castles to explore. Learn about the battles, rich history and dark stories of these monuments.
Here are some of the best castles in the UK to take you back to their past.
Table of Contents
- 1 Here’s the list of the top castles in the UK
- 1.1 Warkworth Castle, England
- 1.2 Leeds Castle, England
- 1.3 Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
- 1.4 Corfe Castle, England
- 1.5 Stirling Castle, Scotland
- 1.6 Caernarfon Castle, North West Wales
- 1.7 Windsor Castle, Berkshire
- 1.8 Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
- 1.9 Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
- 1.10 Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
- 1.11 Lindisfarne Castle
- 1.12 Berkeley Castle
- 1.13 Ludlow Castle
- 1.14 Cardiff Castle
- 1.15 Colchester Castle
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin this for later read!
Here’s the list of the top castles in the UK
Warkworth Castle, England
Warkworth Castle has been preserved so well that you wouldn’t believe that its pictures are not a computer-generated renovation of a ruin. It is a magnificent cross-shaped castle at its core which is almost intact, despite being 600 years old and its secured ring of giant walls is practically untouched.
The home to the Earls of Northumberland (the powerful Percy family), the castle played a vital role during the long-running war of England and Scotland. It was occupied by Harry Hotspur, who was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Henry IV as a rebel god. Also, visit a private chapel, hermitage, carved out of a rock and have a boat trip for a half-mile downstream.
Read also: Top 10 Pretty Islands in England to Visit
Leeds Castle, England
Leeds Castle is located 30 miles off Central London. Henry VIII owned this 900 years old palace. Even though it is one of the best castles in Britain, Leeds Castle has a lot of connections to the US. Two families who owned large parts of land in Fairfax and Culpepper, VA also held this castle. It is still associated with the US.
Leeds Castle is undoubtedly one of the stunning castles near London. William Randolph Hearst almost bought it until he found the lack of electricity, missing bathrooms, and the fact that servants’ quarters had been used as dungeons. However, another American owned the castle.
In 1926, Lady Olive Baillie held the palace and refurbished it and added all of the essential items.
Read also: Top 10 Pretty Islands in Wales to Visit
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland is located around 400m north of London, which is one of the most sought-after cities in Europe. It has survived the test of time through invasions, sieges, murders, imprisonment, and power battles.
Now the castle secures and protects the Scottish crown jewels. The kings and queens of Scotland were used to utilize the 500-year-old sword, crown, and scepter at the coronations.
Apart from crown jewels, the castle also kept the clock. For 150 years, every day at 1 pm, a loud gun fired, signaling the right time to the locals and sailors at sea as a lot of people couldn’t own a watch.
By getting around Edinburgh Castle, you can explore the dungeons used to keep thousands of prisoners over the years. Wax models are placed across the cell to present the actual condition in the past.
Read also: Top 10 Stunning Castles in Scotland to Visit
Corfe Castle, England
Looms around the rolling hills of Purbeck, Corfe Castle has towering ruins touching the sky since around 1000 years ago. This romantic castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. Turned into ruin by the gunpowder of Parliamentarians during the English Civil War, this Royalist stronghold tells the story of siege which lasted six weeks.
You can get the beautiful views of the castle when you climb up the hill next door and also explore the Swanage steam train passing through the landscape behind the castle. You can further avail the discount by taking public transport.
Stirling Castle, Scotland
Located around 450 miles from London, Stirling Castle is a prominent symbol of Scotland. There is a monument of a great national hero of Scotland, William Wallace just off the walls of Stirling, who led a battalion to fight against Edward I, an English king, at the Stirling Bridge battle fought in 1297. After around 700 years, Wallace memorial still reminds us of Stirling’s victory.
After long-haul murders and battles at Stirling for over eight centuries, something very enlightening and positive took place at this castle, which was one of the initial attempts to fly on air.
During the reign of Scotland’s King James IV, around 500 years ago, a scientist named James Damian declared to fly to France from Stirling Castle. He assembled chicken feathers, strips of wood, and glue to conduct his short flight. He jumped off a stone wall and flew smoothly but dropped like a stone.
Caernarfon Castle, North West Wales
Located on the Welsh coast, i.e., around 250 miles from London, Caernarfon Castle was built around 800 years ago in North West Wales when King Edward I conquered it. He became the Prince of Wales by the Welsh.
Since then, King or Queen of England’s eldest son has been the Prince of Wales. During a Caernarfon ceremony in 1969, Queen Elizabeth II made Prince Charles 21st Prince of Wales.
Read also: Top 10 Beautiful Castles in Wales to Visit
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied royal castle in the world. This 900 years old castle has something beyond the palace. Its grounds have a large church, several homes, and a royal palace. It also serves as a weekend retreat to Queen Elizabeth II and is located 20 miles west of London.
The Knights of Garter, one of the oldest traditions of the monastery, have kept being honored in this castle. Garter knighthood’s history dated back to the Middle Ages. It housed the monarch, 24 knights and the Prince of Wales (who is automatically qualified as the Knight of the Garter).
This castle is visited by millions of people every year. The queen has greeted Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton at the palace.
Read also: Top 10 Day Trips from London
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Located only 100 miles from London in Warwickshire, Warwick Castle is famed for its stunning architecture, interior, and re-enactments that took place here. This castle has been the home to generations of Earls of Warwick until 25 years ago.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Countess of Warwick, Frances or Daisy was known for her luxurious, high-class parties in England. Prince of Wales, Winston Churchill, Edward, and future King Edward VII were some of her guests. The most popular jousting champion of Europe was Earl of Warwick around 600 years ago.
Thousands of people gather at Warwick Castle to explore the re-enacted competitions of jousting every year.
Read also: Top 11 Beautiful Islands in Ireland to Visit
Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
It is a medieval ruined fortress that sits atop a hilly headland on the northeast of Scotland and is accessible around 3km south of Stonehaven. The old buildings of Dunnottar Castle are mostly dated back to the 15th to 16th century, but the site is supposed to have been forfeited at the beginning of the Middle Ages.
In Scottish history, this castle has played a vital role in the 18th century because of its defensive power and strategic position.
The Scottish crown jewels, Honors of Scotland were hidden in Dunnottar from the invading army of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.
The castle ruins are stretched around 1.4 hectares, covered by steep valleys drop to 50m below the North Sea. The headland is connected to the mainland through a narrow strip of land, apart from the steep way that takes visitors to the gatehouse.
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
At the turn of the 12th century, Framlingham Castle was built in Suffolk when its land was given to the Earl of Norfolk, Roger Bigod. Estates and parkland cover the castle since the 12th century. It has had a very intriguing and long back history.
Framlingham Castle was once at the center of the vast network of influence and power, and it housed the Earls of Norfolk for some time before being a private royal home to host aristocratic parties. The castle sadly fell into disrepair and turned into prison before being bought to be used as a workhouse for the poor.
This frightening castle became the land of the crisis of massive proportions eventually, in which the first official queen of England was crowned. Explore the interior of the castle, discover more stories of siege in Framlingham and royal tension in the exhibition of the castle, where you can walk through the ramparts to see its beautiful views of the countryside.
Don’t forget to try some Tudor-worthy delights in the café of the castle. Unleash your inner adventurer or historian by visiting some of the stunning castles in South England and learn ancient secrets of them and capture breathtaking views.
Built in the 16th century, Lindisfarne Castle rises atop a high outcrop made of basalt rock as a Tudor fort and stands on Holy Island. From an older fort to a holiday retreat of a wealthy bachelor from the Edwardian era looking for a quiet home in London, Lindisfarne has gone through different changes over hundreds of years.
King of Northumbria, Oswald allowed the island in 634 AD to become the church’s island and established a monastic community on the site.
It was left abandoned due to Viking raids in the late 8th century, but it was re-founded later. Until the Wars of Scottish Independence, the community flourished, through which estates were damaged, even though the monastery was fortified to avoid any significant damage on attack.
Read also: Top 15 Places to Visit in Ireland
It served as a residence for the Berkeley family for around 800 years. For nine centuries, the best thing about the castle is that the Berkeley family, the building, the contents, the archives (dated back to 12th century), the town and the estate survived as one.
It is known to have a great place in history, not only because it still stands tall, but also because the family and their home played a vital role in centuries-old battles. Built to avoid the Welsh, the castle is among the beautiful March Castles.
It is a gorgeous fairytale castle with a warm pink stone that glows well in the soft light of the sunset. The battlements outside drop 60’ to Great Lawn, but the building on the Inner Courtyard is on the human scale.
Ludlow Castle is one of the best ruins in England of the medieval era, and it is located in the beautiful countryside of Shropshire at the heart of bustling, excellent B&W market town of Ludlow. You can explore the ancient houses of queens, kings, judges, princes and the nobility when you walk through the grounds of the castle.
It was initially a Norman Fortress, and it was extended to become a well-developed Royal Palace over the centuries, and it has great importance in English history. It was mainly built to hold unconquered Welsh back, passing over the generations of Mortimer families and de Lacy to Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet.
In 1461, it turned into Crown property and had been the royal castle for the upcoming 350 years. The Earls of Powis has owned the palace since 1811 who have prevented more decline and let this beautiful monument to be opened to the public.
Cardiff Castle is one of the richly and most beautiful complex sites of all castles in the UK with a story dated back to 2000 years. Located in the heart of the capital, the existing form of castle was once the Roman fort. It is a beautiful Norman castle and a Victorian Gothic palace created for one of the wealthiest men in the world.
For the ultimate medieval Victorian fantasy world, you can visit the stunning apartments that are blended with murals, elaborate and gliding wooden carvings, stained marble and glass, created by William Burges, an architect for 3rd Marquess of Bute. With the Roman Wall to explore, the Wartime Shelters and medieval Keep are some of the attractions.
Colchester Castle is the biggest ever castle in the UK and is the largest across Europe. It is sized one and a half times of White Tower.
Its original height has always been a matter of debate in history. It now has a beautiful museum that exhibits a rich history of the castle. Many old and young visitors come here.