Things to see and do

 
View through the gates of the Little Castle at Bolsover Castle

Little Castle

The Little Castle was created as an extravagant retreat by playboy, poet and courtier, Sir William Cavendish. With medieval-style turrets and towers it was a building designed to surprise and delight.

Even royalty came here, in 1634, when Sir William spent a staggering £15,000 on banquets and entertainment for King Charles I, and his Queen Henrietta Maria.

Brilliantly preserved and beautifully restored, the labyrinth of sumptuous rooms will treat your senses with richly coloured wall art, carved marble fireplaces and stunning painted ceilings. 

A Stuart lady standing in front of the ruined Terrace Range at Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Terrace Range

The vast Terrace Range overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale was also created by Sir William. Now a dramatic roofless shell this was once a range of stately rooms that formed the entrance to Bolsover Castle.

Use your multi media guide to fire your imagination and see once more the grand dining room, long gallery and basement kitchen that stood here.

View down to the Fountain Garden from Little Castle at Bolsover Castle

Fountain Garden

The Fountain Garden was designed around the statue of Venus - goddess of love and pleasure - emerging from her bath. It included a secluded chamber for intimate banquets set into the garden wall.  With re-glazed original windows and new hand-carved doors, we have opened this room to the public for the first time.

Wander the gardens and enjoy the 5,000 plants and flowers we have planted to capture the spirit of the garden in its heyday. Fan-trained fruit trees and colourful planting around the walls are all lovingly tended by our volunteer gardeners.

Garden fashion in the 17th century included 'outlandish' foreign bulbs such as tulips, and for special occasions, fanciful designs cut into turf and filled with colourful gravels.

Wonderful wall walk at Bolsover Castle

Wall Walk

For the first time in almost 250 years you can stroll along Bolsover Castle's newly restored wall walk.

With stunning countryside views, and the fountain garden down below, you can strut along the Cavalier's catwalk, like a Stuart courtier wanting to see and be seen.

The circular walls go right around the garden, allowing panoramic views over Bolsover Castle grounds and the Vale of Scarsdale. Bring your camera to capture that perfect shot.

Cavalier on horseback inside the Riding School at Bolsover

Cavalier Horsemanship

Gallop over to the magnificent indoor Riding School - amongst the finest in the country. With its central white post, it's easy to imagine William Cavendish training his horses in their elegant exercises here, in the 1600s.

Once riding master to the future King Charles II, William Cavendish built the Riding School and stables for the elegant horses he imported from as far afield as Turkey and North Africa.

See the Riding School brought to life at one of our Cavalier Horsemanship displays set to evocative Baroque music (weekends April to September). The riders are clothed in the frills, feathers and high boots of the period and expertly demonstrate moves that we know today as dressage.  

This will be a photo of food from the cafe in Bolsover

Tearoom Treats

Rest your feet after exploring the castle in our fantastic café and treat yourself to a yummy sandwich, refreshing hot drink or tempting homemade cake.

If it’s a lovely day, feel free to perch on a picnic bench or spread out your blanket and enjoy a relaxing lunch in the castle grounds.

A visitor looking in a 'cabinet of curiosiity' at Bolsover CastleA visitor looking in a 'cabinet of curiosiity' at Bolsover CastleA visitor looking in a 'cabinet of curiosiity' at Bolsover Castle

Hands On

There are no ropes or barriers inside the Little Castle - all of the reproduction furniture here can be touched, sat on and enjoyed.

Open up 17th-century style 'cabinets of curiosity' to discover Bolsover's secrets, and learn how the castle was used for banqueting, relaxing and partying, by Sir William Cavendish.

Turn the wheels in our introductory exhibition in the Riding House to reveal intriguing facts about Bolsover Castle  -  from the architecture, to the people and politics of its past.

Multimedia guide at Bolsover CastleMultimedia guide at Bolsover CastleMultimedia guide at Bolsover Castle

Interactive Guide

Take an interactive tour of the castle with our multimedia guide (voiced by Spooks actor Rupert Penry-Jones).

Download an adult or family multimedia guide onto your iPhone for FREE with this handy app, or pick up a handset when you arrive.

Fancy playing a touch-screen game? Or listening to an in-depth interview about 17th century horsemanship? There's something for everyone in this fun guide.

Plan your visit to Bolsover Castle today.

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