Creative Content Writer & former Tour Guide at HAGGiS Adventures. Scottish travel blogger and adventure lover. Kay enjoys travelling Scotland solo, and has visited 42 Scottish Islands. She loves to live up to stereotypes by dying her hair ginger, and regularly consuming haggis and whisky. A Scottish history geek and all-around chatterbox, she can literally talk for Scotland.
Cool Castles to Visit in the UK
Did you know there are over 1,500 castles in the UK? That’s insane considering how small the country really is! Castles in the UK range from medieval military fortresses to large houses built for royalty or nobles. Nowadays, most are unused as tourist destinations for history buffs, medieval architecture lovers and anyone in-between.
Up and down the United Kingdom, there are lots of castles hidden away down many otherwise boring and unknown roads. The UK’s castles have opened their doors to around 40,000 million people, with some playing host to movie marathons by night and guided tours by day,.
Let’s take a sneak peek at the best ones.
The 1,100-year-old Edinburgh Castle and the uphill walk to get there is totally worth it! Right at the top of Castle Rock, our epic castle stands proudly over the Edinburgh skyline. Visitors can roam the ramparts, step inside the oldest building in Edinburgh, and stumble upon the famous ‘Stone of Destiny’.
Since Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was filmed here, fans have travelled far and wide to visit this piece of magic in Northumberland. With memorable scenes, such as the Weasley car crash, taking place here, as well as several scenes from Downton Abbey, it’s certainly one of the most storied castles in the UK. Oh, and you get involved for broomstick training for those looking to take flight Harry Potter-style!
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This castle is an important and massive stone building with serious amounts of Scottish history all with spectacular views in the background. With occasional film screenings and spooky events alongside the regular but interesting tour, Stirling Castle still has many a tale to tell today.
The gorgeous medieval castle in Warwick was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It’s a family favourite with daily events such as a bird shows and jousting. You can even sleepover in tents, lodges and suites. It’s the perfect historic experience for your wee ones and big kids!
Tower of London
Keeper of the cherished crowned jewels, the Tower of London - though the name might sound misleading - is indeed a castle. It triples as a castle, a palace and a prison and welcomes over 2 million visitors a year. The crowned jewels are quite the attraction in themselves, with 23,578 gemstones placed on the crown. The Tower of London even has an ice rink so you can skate along beside the Thames.
How could we possibly forget the Queen’s favourite weekend retreat in Windsor? This royal castle has been the ancestral home of the British monarchy for almost 1,000 years, from Edward III to Queen Victoria. The Great Fire of Windsor broke out in 1992 and it took 15 hours to put it out to show a little of the grandeur of the palace. It’s a tiny bit different to the original but still pretty intact and remains as the oldest castle in the world.
If you’d like to see some of Scotland’s amazing castles, make sure to take a look through our extensive list of tours; especially our Lochs, Castles and Kelpies tour. It’s ideal for history buffs and culture vultures!