Bolsover Castle Family Guide
Stuart cavalier William Cavendish knew how to enjoy himself - and he built Bolsover Castle with fun in mind. With such a history of entertainment and reputation for revelry, it's a fantastic place for a family day out.
There are lots of things for kids to do and enjoy, from dressing up boxes to interactive displays, incredible views and entertaining events. Here's everything you need to know for planning a visit to Bolsover Castle with your family.
- Food and drink: The on-site café offers local and seasonal produce as well as a selection of cakes, hot meals, sandwiches, and hot and cold drinks. It's located right next to the play area.
- Toilets: There are toilets and baby changing facilities at the visitor centre and the Riding House.
- Dogs: Dogs on leads welcome in the grounds only. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the Little Castle or at the cavalier horsemanship displays.
- Parking: There are disabled and family parking spaces 50m from the entrance. There's additional (free) parking available in Bolsover itself.
- Access: Be ready for lots of steps inside the Little Castle.
Travelling in time - interpretation for kids
The interactive exhibition in the Riding House is a great introduction to the site, so we'd recommend starting there.
A family multimedia guide is available for exploring the rest of the castle - just ask at the visitor centre as you enter. It's jam-packed with interesting information and fun games to play.
There are two opportunities to dress up - there are cavalier hats in the Riding House, and costumes for characters in the play 'Love's Welcome' in the Little Castle.
Older children might enjoy watching the riding demonstrations that showcase the way that William Cavendish trained his horses in an early form of dressage. These take place regularly between April and October.
Our tip for a great day
'Talk to the volunteers in the Little Castle who can tell you great stories about the Cavendish family. If you ask nicely, they might even unlock and open up the balcony from the Heaven Closet so you can stand on it and see the fountain garden and wall walk below!'
Emma Weeks (Site Marketing Manager)
Things to do
- Take to the stage: Play your part in 'Love's Welcome' in the Little Castle. The Cavendish family commissioned Ben Jonson (a famous playwright) to write this play to impress King Charles I when he visited in 1634.
- Explore the Little Castle: Open up the 17th-century style 'cabinets of curiosity' to discover Bolsover's secrets. There are no ropes or barriers inside the Little Castle - all of the reproduction furniture here can be touched, sat on and enjoyed.
- Walk the walls: A circular wall runs all the way around the fountain gardens, giving you great views for a game of I-Spy. Watch out for the steep steps at the end.
Places to play
Our wooden outdoor play area (right next to the café) has swings, a slide and wooden battlements and towers - just like a mini Bolsover Castle.
There are also plenty of grassy areas for a run around.
Events at Bolsover Castle
From clashes of medieval knights to displays of cavalier horsemanship, the regular programme of events at Bolsover Castle has something for all the family.See what's on at Bolsover