There are thousands of castles, forts and ruins spread all around the world. Some dating back thousands of years and boasting luxurious interiors, some barely remain as a scratch on the surface of the earth and some with towering remains that juxtapose the modern buildings around them.
The thing that separates the UK’s castles from many others around the world is the age, historical importance and preservation that can be found spread across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
They play a huge part in the UK’s heritage, culture and their societal impact cannot be understated.
Despite the fact that only two of the castles we will feature here are actually in London, thanks to the UK’s well connected roads you can reach all of these places from London’s centre with relative ease.
So take full advantage of the amazing central London hotel deals by booking a room in one of the lavish and luxurious London Shaftesbury Hotels. You can choose between 3 and 4 star options, enjoy the stunning restaurants and explore the city and beyond.
So without further adieu, let’s take a look at the most stunning castles that you can visit from London on your next trip.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the city’s most visited attractions- so it makes sense to start here.
Constructed by William the Conqueror after his victory over England in 1066, the White Tower and the domineering embattlements became the tallest building in London. The original idea was to subdue the peasants and quell any thoughts of a revolution- and it worked.
The structure contained a prison, a torture chamber and operated as an execution grounds for a long time and the building is said to have been covered with an aura of dread.
Fast forward 1,000 years though and this is pretty much the best tourist attraction in the city. The history of the building is staggering and fascinating, there are tales of ghosts that haunt the structure and you can visit the Crown Jewels in their vault.
Getting to the Tower could not be easier! Simply hop on either the District or Circle Lines and head for Tower Hill Station. Unsurprisingly this will put you just across the road from one of London’s most iconic buildings.
Windsor Castle is another of the area’s most historic castles- and likely one of the most impressive on the planet.
It was also built by William the Conqueror after his conquest, but this time was intended to house members of the Royal Family- and that’s exactly what it did.
For the last thousand years Windsor has played host to many members of the Royal family and was the favoured residence for the late Queen Elizabeth II. It is actually the largest and longest lived-in castle on earth!
The castle contains Royal apartments that can be toured, an ancient chapel and beautiful gardens. You can also catch the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony here, just like at Buckingham Palace.
Getting to Windsor is also pretty easy, thanks to its proximity to London’s city centre. From your Hogarth Road hotel, London has a fantastic rail system that can get you to Windsor in no time.
Head to Paddington and then get the train to windsor- it really is that easy.
Dover Castle is one of the most important castles anywhere on earth.
It was said in the mediaeval times that if you could capture Dover, then England would be yours to rule.
It is situated atop the white cliffs, with an incredible view over the channel to France. This location essentially made it the ‘key’ to England for invading forces and the castle became one of the most besieged in history.
It was used during the second World War as a command post and hospital and the grounds, secret tunnels, and castle are all open to visitors. This is truly one of the best castles to visit anywhere on earth.
Starting from King’s Cross St. Pancras in London you can actually get a direct train to Dover Priory, and from there it’s a quick bus ride to this stunning attraction.
Highclere Castle may be better known by its other name- Downton Abbey.
That’s right, one of the most scenic castles in the UK was the centrepiece for the ever popular TV show ‘Downton Abbey’. You can visit this stunning palace and its grounds on select days of the year, so check before you go.
This was actually the home of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who was in the party that discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, and there are some fascinating artefacts on display!
Getting the train from Paddington station is the best way to start this journey. You’ll be aiming for Newbury, where you will have to get a taxi to the castle itself.
It’s a longer journey at around 3 hours, but if you’re a fan of the show then it’s worth it!
Leeds Castle may actually seem a bit confusing- it’s absolutely nowhere near the city Leeds. Instead it can be found in rural Kent and is a really excellent day out for the whole family.
The Castle was constructed in the 13th century, and was used by the Royal Family for almost 300 years. Now there is a stunning hedge maze, a huge series of events that take place in the grounds and you can even go for a punt on the moat!
Head for Hollingbourne from London Victoria on the train, then grab a bus or taxi to the castle from there. Overall the journey will take you around 2 hrs and you’ll get to see some of the stunning Kentish countryside.
Exploring Historic Britain
Great Britain has a long and illustrious history, fraught with bloody battles, wars and high-class elite families making homes in stunning palaces.
Make the most of your hotel in Craven Hill London, and its proximity to the amazing public transport network- you don’t have to be confined to London whilst you are in London!
The castles left behind by this era leave us a window into the past, so get out there and explore the incredible history in these historic places.