Castles

#LoveCastles

We care for more castles than anybody else.

From Norman earthworks to mighty royal fortresses and from Cornwall to Northumberland, these castles and forts tell the turbulent and often surprising story of power, war and siege in England.

Explore the history of castles through time, learn more about medieval life, and plan a memorable day out at a castle near you. 

Why we #LOVECASTLES

Wherever you are in England, you're never far from one of our castles. The mighty walls of these fortresses have stood proud for many centuries, protecting notable historical figures from advancing armies - but now many of them are at risk again.

Your help is urgently needed to conserve the castles in our care, so that we can continue to offer spectacular days out long into the future.

Get involved

  • Visit a castle

    Use our map to explore more than 100 castles, forts and defences you can visit for yourself. From Henry VIII's revolutionary artillery forts to beautiful fortified homes such as Kenilworth and Stokesay Castles, each has its own story to tell.

  • Share your experiences

    Which is your favourite English castle? Somewhere that holds special memories? Or a favourite spot for exploring and getting lost? Share your stories and photos with us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LoveCastles

  • Win a castle stay

    We're on the lookout for England's best sandcastle builders this summer! Think you've got what it takes? Download our #LoveCastles flag, fly it on your sandy stronghold and share a photo with us for your chance to win a holiday at a historic site

We asked our Facebook followers to share their favourite castles in England. Scroll to see the nation's favourites...

We asked our Facebook followers to share their favourite castles in England. Scroll to see the nation's favourites...

We asked our Facebook followers to share their favourite castles in England. Scroll to see the nation's favourites...
YOUR FAVOURITE CASTLES
Dover Castle, Kent "Beautiful castle, amazing secret wartime tunnels,  fantastic backdrop of countryside meeting the sea. Not to mention the incredible events."

Dover Castle, Kent "Beautiful castle, amazing secret wartime tunnels, fantastic backdrop of countryside meeting the sea. Not to mention the incredible events."

Dover Castle, Kent "Beautiful castle, amazing secret wartime tunnels,  fantastic backdrop of countryside meeting the sea. Not to mention the incredible events."
Dover Castle
Portchester Castle, Hampshire "Portchester has everything: history, harbour, church, ramparts, views for miles, family friendly  events and even cricket in the grounds."

Portchester Castle, Hampshire "Portchester has everything: history, harbour, church, ramparts, views for miles, family friendly events and even cricket in the grounds."

Portchester Castle, Hampshire "Portchester has everything: history, harbour, church, ramparts, views for miles, family friendly  events and even cricket in the grounds."
Portchester Castle
Beeston Castle, Cheshire "I love Beeston, the history and the stunning views, great hideaways for kids to use their imagination! Lovely staff and wonderful events."

Beeston Castle, Cheshire "I love Beeston, the history and the stunning views, great hideaways for kids to use their imagination! Lovely staff and wonderful events."

Beeston Castle, Cheshire "I love Beeston, the history and the stunning views, great hideaways for kids to use their imagination! Lovely staff and wonderful events."
Beeston Castle
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire "Can spend the whole day there. Kids love the little castle and ruins. A bit of everything there and the jousting is fantastic."

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire "Can spend the whole day there. Kids love the little castle and ruins. A bit of everything there and the jousting is fantastic."

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire "Can spend the whole day there. Kids love the little castle and ruins. A bit of everything there and the jousting is fantastic."
Bolsover Castle
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall "Perfect combination of castle in a breathtaking clifftop location, stunning views of the sea, and beach cove tunnels down below."

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall "Perfect combination of castle in a breathtaking clifftop location, stunning views of the sea, and beach cove tunnels down below."

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall "Perfect combination of castle in a breathtaking clifftop location, stunning views of the sea, and beach cove tunnels down below."
Tintagel Castle
Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire "So much history, and when you walk in the fields around it in the early evening and the sun hits that red stone, it's just beautiful."

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire "So much history, and when you walk in the fields around it in the early evening and the sun hits that red stone, it's just beautiful."

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire "So much history, and when you walk in the fields around it in the early evening and the sun hits that red stone, it's just beautiful."
Kenilworth Castle
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight "Dressing up as knights, jousting, learning about its archaeology and the fate of a king... Never tire of its calming walks and atmosphere."

Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight "Dressing up as knights, jousting, learning about its archaeology and the fate of a king... Never tire of its calming walks and atmosphere."

Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight "Dressing up as knights, jousting, learning about its archaeology and the fate of a king... Never tire of its calming walks and atmosphere."
Carisbrooke Castle
Warkworth Castle, Northumberland "The best thing is being allowed to clamber over so much, it lets the imagination go wild!"

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland "The best thing is being allowed to clamber over so much, it lets the imagination go wild!"

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland "The best thing is being allowed to clamber over so much, it lets the imagination go wild!"
Warkworth Castle

Castles Through Time

What makes a castle, a castle? 

Think of a castle and you'll probably imagine a classic medieval keep. But castles come in many shapes and sizes, and some might surprise you.

Explore the evolution of England's defences, from prehistoric hillforts to the underground tunnels where the Dunkirk evacuation was masterminded. 

Explore the timeline

Castle walks and hikes

Explore the landscapes of England's castles and forts with our series of walking guides. Enjoy the short scenic stroll from Helmsley Castle to beautiful Rievaulx Abbey, or take on a more challenging hike atop the White Cliffs of Dover to discover two of Henry VIII's revolutionary device forts.

Our guides include step-by-step directions, all the essential information plus tips to make the most of your day out on the trail.

Walking Guides
The roof terrace of Peverell's Tower holiday cottage at Dover Castle

Stay at a castle

Be king or queen of your own castle when you stay in one of our luxurious on-site holiday cottages. With free entry and access to the grounds after closing time, the castle becomes yours to explore. (See more benefits)

Stay at Pendennis or St Mawes in Falmouth, Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, Walmer Castle in Kent, the mighty Dover Castle and many more. 

Find a holiday cottage

Videos A Mini Guide to Medieval Castles

Discover how castles developed during the middle ages. We trace their evolution from early motte and bailey castles in Norman times to the sophisticated structures of the late medieval period, and explain why castles were as much about status as defence.

Discover how castles developed during the middle ages. We trace their evolution from early motte and bailey castles in Norman times to the sophisticated structures of the late medieval period, and explain why castles were as much about status as defence.

Videos How to Make a Cardboard Castle

Learn how to make your very own cardboard castle from scratch. See how easy it is to make your own authentic castle, what equipment you will require to design your cardboard castle and the steps involved in making it.

Learn how to make your very own cardboard castle from scratch. See how easy it is to make your own authentic castle, what equipment you will require to design your cardboard castle and the steps involved in making it.

Videos How to Take a Medieval Castle

Besieging a medieval castle was a difficult task – just look at the histories of Dover Castle​ and Kenilworth Castle​! Attacking armies often had to rely on ingenious tools and methods to get the job done.

Besieging a medieval castle was a difficult task – just look at the histories of Dover Castle​ and Kenilworth Castle​! Attacking armies often had to rely on ingenious tools and methods to get the job done.

Videos Framlingham Castle: Power and Poverty

Framlingham Castle was built in the 12th Century by the powerful Bigod family. Over the next several hundred years, it went from being a centre of power and influence, to a place of charity for the rural poor.

Framlingham Castle was built in the 12th Century by the powerful Bigod family. Over the next several hundred years, it went from being a centre of power and influence, to a place of charity for the rural poor.

A Mini Guide to Medieval Castles
How to Make a Cardboard Castle
How to Take a Medieval Castle
Framlingham Castle: Power and Poverty

More to explore

  • All our castles

    See our full list of castles, forts and defences across the country and find one to visit near you today.

  • Histories of medieval castles

    England’s castles are theatres of history. Explore the stories of the country's medieval marvels. 

  • Family Guides

    Our practical guides have everything you need to plan a day out for the whole family at one of our castles.

  • Prepare for adventure

    Get set for your visit to a historic castle with our sword and shield craft guides for little knights.

  • Castle gifts and games

    Explore our range of castle-themed products, including the exclusive Castles Monopoly.

  • Join and save

    Join English Heritage as a member from just £3.83 a month and enjoy unlimited access to 400 historic sites. 

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