View of ruined castle on sunny hillside with high fells in background

Medieval Castles

England’s castles are theatres of history. During the medieval period they set the stage for political dramas, wartime stand-offs and family feuds. Once symbols of power and prestige, they now stand as monuments to hundreds of years of history. Discover the stories held within the walls of England’s greatest fortifications and learn about the rise and fall of the medieval castle.

A Mini Guide to Medieval Castles

Medieval castles were designed to be both defensive structures and the residences of noblemen. From the very first earthwork enclosures built by the Normans after the invasion of 1066, castles were as much about status as they were about war. 

Watch this short animation to discover how castles developed throughout the Middle Ages and why some valued style over substance.

Stories and People

Find a Castle to Visit

View of Dover Castle, with the Great Tower visible beyond the enclosing walls

English Heritage has over a hundred castles and forts which are open to the public. Use our interactive map to find a property and plan your visit.

Find a Castle
View of Clifford

Discover more with membership

With English Heritage membership, you can enjoy a full year of free entry to over 400 historic sites, including our stunning medieval castles.

12 months unlimited access from only £3.75 per month.

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