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Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
We have changed the opening arrangements of our sites to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Beeston Castle is currently closed and any tickets pre-booked for the closed period will be cancelled and refunds automatically made as needed, so there is no need to contact us. We are keeping a selection of sites open for local people to use for exercise during the lockdown period. These are a mixture of free-to-enter and paid sites, and all have plenty of outdoor space for safe social distancing. Visits to paid sites must be booked in advance. We hope to be able to reopen many more of our sites in the near future, and we are currently taking advanced bookings for early spring and beyond. If we are unable to open a site by the time of your booked visit, your ticket will be automatically refunded without you needing to contact us. Thank you for your understanding, patience and support during this difficult time.
People have lived and worked at Beeston since prehistoric times and in the Bronze Ages it was an important defended settlement and metalworking centre.
To help us tell the history of Beeston Castle, a replica Bronze Age roundhouse has been built using authentic tools and evidence from past archaeological digs plus the help of a dedicated team of 60 volunteers. The roundhouse is now open for all visitors to immerse themselves in all things Bronze Age.Find out more
A bank is created at the base of the crag and the site attracts Bronze Age metalworkers.
The site is transformed into a substantial hillfort with earthwork defences.
Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, one of the greatest barons of England, starts to build the ‘Castle of the Rock’.
Find out more about the history of Beeston Castle
Henry III seizes Beeston.
Hostages from Wales are held at the castle. The outer defences are completed.
Major rebuilding works include three new towers and a massive bridge leading to the inner bailey's outer gate.
According to legend, Richard II hides part of his treasure at Beeston Castle in the inner ward well, before being captured by the future Henry IV.
The abandoned castle is left to fall into ruin.
A garrison of 200-300 Parliamentarians occupies the castle.
In a midnight raid, Captain Sandford leads nine Royalists to take control of the inner ward. Parliamentary leader Steele dines with them and sends beer to their men before surrendering.
The Royalist garrison is besieged by the Parliamentarians for nearly a year. Starved out, they finally surrender and Parliament demolishes most of the castle's defences.
Lord Tollemache buys the estate and builds his own castle opposite Beeston. He promotes it as a tourist attraction and stocks the grounds with kangaroos and deer.
The first Beeston fête is held. It becomes an annual event on August Bank Holiday.
The castle is taken into state care and becomes the site of major excavations before being taken over by English Heritage.
Learn more about the history of Beeston Castle