There’s no doubt that our country has some of the best castles in England. Now, it’s no surprise that I’m slightly biased here, but we’ve got hundreds of incredible castles that are just too beautiful to ignore.
That being said, with so many castles in England, it can actually be hard to pinpoint just a handful to visit; especially when they’re dotted all over the country. That’s why I wanted to share some of my very favourite and best castles in England that I think you shouldn’t miss. It doesn’t matter what part, or beautiful places in England you’re heading to, I’m almost certain you’ll find one or two stunning castles along the way.
After all, this is what makes exploring England so amazing!
It’s always so incredible to see castles that have stood for, in some cases, millennia, especially. To be honest, England has a history spans many thousands of years, with the castles being one stunning example of this.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best castles in England to explore on your next trip.
Take a look, below, at the best castles in England. Have the best trip!
1.) Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle might be smaller than most, but it’s certainly one of the best castles in England to visit on your next trip.
Perched in East Sussex, this 14th Century castle has hundreds of years of history and can be easily explored. Built by a former Knight of Edward III, it was created to protect against the French during the hundred year way.
Take a wander around the castle, head across the moat and explore the long history of this stunning place.
2.) Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle has a written history dating back to 420AD, making it one of the older castles in England to exploring.
Situated on the Northumberland coast, it became the first castle to be ever defeated by artillery during the ‘War of The Roses’ in the 15th Century. Nowadays, you don’t need to worry about the War of the Roses and can easily head inside to explore the staterooms, grounds and the magnificent beach it looks over.
The whole area is totally stunning and it’s easily one of the best castles in England to exploring when in the north.
3.) Warwick Castle
There is so much history to explore around Warwickshire, with Warwick Castle being no exception.
It’s easily one of the most preserved and best castles in England to visit if you want a day trip from London or Birmingham. After all, it’s under an hour by train from London so you have no reason not to visit.
4.) Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle is definitely one of my favourites and easily, one of the best castles in England – perhaps especially as it sits on the holy island in Northumberland, which gets cut off from the rest of the UK several times a day when the tide rolls in and the road to the island disappears.
Once a defensive castle between Scotland and England, this castle and the island itself has a long history that dates back thousands of years. In fact, it’s said that the Viking Age truly began here when the Vikings invaded.
After exploring the Holy Island and exploring Lindisfarne Castle, make sure to stop off for some of the famous mead (made from honey).
5.) Lancaster Castle
Founded in the 11th Century, Lancaster Castle has a much older history than it lets on, especially at first sight.
Now, you might think that Lancaster Castle is pretty old when it already dates back to the 11th Century. That being said, underneath the foundations of the castle itself is a much older Roman fortress that was used by (you guessed it), the Romans.
Take a wander around the grounds and explore one of the best castles in England to visit.
6.) Cawdray Castle
Visited by Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry VII, Cowdray Castle has a long history that dates way back to the 16th Century.
Nestled within the countryside of West Sussex, Cowdray Castle is a gem to see when exploring the South Downs National Park.
Plus, you can quite easily pair this up with a visit to Arundel Castle and a stay at Amberley Castle whilst you’re here. It really is a gorgeous area that’s filled with some of the best castles in England.
7.) Totnes and Berry Pomeroy Castle
One of the best examples of a Norman Motte, Totnes (and Berry Pomeroy) Castles is a stunning place to explore for a few hours.
Situated on the River Dart, it’s easily one of the best castles in England to see if you love Norman history. Plus, you can easily partner this up with a visit to the South Devon coast and the beautiful fishing village of Salcombe.
8.) Tattershall Castle
Tattershall Castle is one of a kind and a totally beautiful place to visit for a little day trip.
This 15th Century castle is one of the best castles in England if you want to see a redbrick example of a castle.
Oh, and don’t forget to take your walking shoes and enjoy the spectacular grounds that surround the castle. It’s a gorgeous area.
9.) Dover Castle
The 11th Century Dover Castle is commonly referred to as the key to England due to its significant location in protecting the southeastern shores from continental Europe.
Nowadays, we obviously don’t need that protection and it’s been opened up for us all to enjoy.
Take a wander around the castle grounds, see the beautiful architecture and partner it up with a little trip to the coast.
10.) Framlingham Castle
The totally dramatic castle of Framlingham has some of the highest defence walls in the UK and easily one of the best castles in England to visit.
Once here, make sure to see the historic workhouse, see the Tudor chimneys and learn more about the history of this place. Afterwards, head for a stroll across the top of the walls (as long as you’re not scared of heights).
11.) Windsor Castle
Let’s be honest, Windsor Castle needs little introduction.
Home to the Royal Family, it’s easily one of the most iconic and best castles in England. Especially when travelling around the London region.
Hop on a train from central London (about 30-minutes) and you’ll arrive right at the gates of the castle itself. It really is a stunning place to visit.
Just make sure to book your tickets before you go (to avoid disappointment). Plus, make sure no special events are planned as certain areas will be closed depending on the day.
12.) St Michael’s Mount
Just off the stunning Cornwall coast, St. Michael’s Mount is picturesque and easily one of the best castles in England to see. This is especially true if you’re already visiting some of the pretty places in Cornwall or the west coast generally.
Take a wander around St Michael’s Mount, learn more about the history and see if you spot the resident giant that apparently lived close by.
13.) Leeds Castle
First off, don’t get confused, Leeds Castle isn’t in Leeds (in Yorkshire) but actually much further south (in Kent).
Interestingly, a castle (in one form or the other) has been present on this site for a whopping 800 years. Nowadays, the castle is filled with much less military and many more parties, picnics and live music.
It’s a great place to enjoy a sunny afternoon and take in the culture of Leeds while exploring the castle grounds.
Now, entry costs can be a little more expensive than some other castles, but it’s really beautiful and well worth it for a day trip.
14.) Arundel Castle
Established on Christmas day, way back in 1067, Arundel Castle is one of the most iconic and best castles in England to visit.
Still a family home, you can head inside to explore some of the staterooms, see some accommodation quarters and explore the magnificent beauty of the grounds.
15.) Highcliffe Castle
Nestled within Dorset, Highcliffe Castle is a relatively new castle that was built within the 19th Century.
Interestingly, the castle might seem relatively new (as the best castles in England go). Though don’t be fooled, there is so much history here.
You see, the stones that Highcliffe Castle are built with are from Medieval Benedictine Abbey of St Peter in Normandy (France). There’s a whole wealth of history to explore.
16.) Highclere Castle
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you will recognise this castle immediately!
Perched within the countryside of Berkshire, it’s totally stunning and easily one of the best castles in England to see.
Now, unlike the fiction home of the Crawleys in Downton Abbey (set in Yorkshire), Highclere Castle is actually not too far from London. This all makes it easy to visit on a trip around southern England.
17.) Tower of London
Although technically considered a palace in London, the Tower of London is one of the most iconic and oldest structures to see when in London.
The history of this place is absolutely fascinating, so much so that you could easily spend hours here. Once inside, you can also check out the Crown Jewels, see the famous ravens and explore the turrets and history.