There’s something quintessentially British about visiting a castle during a camping or caravanning staycation. The British Isles are steeped in history and there is no finer representation of British heritage than our beautiful, magnificent castles. They have something for everyone; families, couples, walkers, history enthusiasts and those who only dip their toe in anything historical on a very rare occasion.
We’ve put together our own BCH Camping
guide to some of the best British castles for customers planning a camping or caravanning holiday this year. They’re in no particular order, and other stunning and imposing British castles are available!
Warwick Castle, Warwick, West Midlands
Located in the town of Warwick, Warwick Castle is a medieval castle
, originally built by William the Conqueror
during 1068. The Great Hall and State Rooms are major attractions at Warwick Castle. The magnificent Great Hall, with its beautiful, ornate decor was constructed in the 14th
Century. Today, it contains many artefacts including suits of armour.
Also at Warwick Castle, you will find:
- The Horrible Histories Maze
- A Time Tower which is an immersive audio visual multimedia experience that guides you through Warwick Castle’s rich and vibrant history
- A castle dungeon with special effects and live actors
- The Mighty Trebuchet - a huge catapult which is an authentic recreation of one of the biggest and most deadly military machines of all time
- The Princess Tower
- Towers, ramparts and a range of fascinating architecture
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle was built during the 12th century by David I, son of Saint Margaret of Scotland. Castle Rock, on which the castle stands, was identified by Iron Age warriors as having military potential. They built the hill fort on it, later to be transformed into the castle we know today.
The castle, managed by Historic Environment Scotland, is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 2.1 million visitors in 2018. There is plenty to do at Edinburgh Castle. Here are some of the highlights:
- Fight for the Castle exhibition, outlining the castle’s history
- The Great Hall
- The Royal Palace
- The Stone of Destiny
- The Scottish Crown Jewels
- St Margaret’s Chapel
- National War Museum
Conwy Castle, Conwy, Wales
Conwy Castle was built by Edward I
, during his conquest of Wales
, between 1283 and 1289. It was part of a wider project to create the walled town of Conwy
. The combined defences cost around £15,000, which was a huge sum for the period! It’s considered by many to be the most magnificent of Edward I’s Welsh fortresses.
The outside of the castle is truly impressive, meeting the original remit of constructing an imposing and intimidating fortress that dominates the skyline, even though it competes with the beauty of Snowdonia.
At Conwy Castle you will be treated to the following:
- Eight towers to climb
- Breath-taking views across the estuary of the River Conwy and down into Conwy itself
- Two barbicans (fortified gateways)
- The great bow-shaped hall
- King’s apartments
Conwy Castle is a World Heritage Site, along with the town of Conwy’s three-quarter-mile ring of town walls, which completely enclose the original township of narrow streets protected by 21 towers. Most of the wall walk is open to the public.
Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent
Claiming to be the “loveliest castle in the world”, Leeds Castle has a varied history. It has been a Norman stronghold, the private property of medieval queens, a palace used by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, a Jacobean country house, a Georgian mansion, an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous, and it is now a much loved and visited historic building.
The first stone castle was built in 1119 by a Norman baron during the reign of William the Conqueror’s son, Henry I. The castle now hosts a range of events and has many attractions for the whole family:
- The Gatehouse Exhibition
- Dog Collar Museum
- Adventure Golf
- Knights’ Stronghold Playground
- Squires’ Court Playground
- Beautiful gardens
- Falconry and other wildlife
- Punting on the moat, Elsie the Castle Train and Black Swan Ferry
Dover Castle, Dover
Known as the ‘Key to England’ because of its position commanding the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent, Dover Castle has played a crucial role in the defence of England for over nine centuries.
King Henry II began the building of the present castle in the 1180s, the plan being for a great tower as a palace in which to entertain important visitors, as well as providing a supplementary fortification for a strategically important castle.
Things to see and do at Dover Castle include:
- The Great Tower
- Underground WWII Hospital
- Operation Dynamo – the Dunkirk evacuation
- WWI Fire Command Post
- The Roman lighthouse and Anglo-Saxon church
- Medieval tunnels
Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland
Alnwick Castle is a castle and country house that dates back to the Norman period. It is the seat of His Grace The 12th Duke of Northumberland, who lives in the castle with his family, but occupy only a part of it. It is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK after Windsor Castle.
During its time, Alnwick Castle has served as a military outpost, a teaching college, a refuge for evacuees and a film set. Today, the castle conducts daily tours, talks and shows, and special exhibitions are housed in three of the castle's perimeter towers.
Alnwick Castle has two parks and a range of activities and things to see:
- Artisans Courtyard: Medieval crafts and costumes, Dragon Quest and traditional games
- The State Rooms with their lavish Italian Renaissance interiors
- The Northumberland Collection of the Duke of Northumberland’s fine and decorative art
- Broomstick Training on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in the film production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland
Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542, and others were born or died there.
The first record of Stirling Castle dates from around 1110, during King Alexander I’s reign. Since then it has been at the centre of many Scottish/English battles, including Robert Bruce’s victory at Bannockburn in 1314.
Today, Stirling Castle is a hive of activity, with many things for visitors to see and do, such as:
- The Great Hall
- The Royal Palace
- The Chapel Royal
- The Great Kitchens
- Queen Anne Gardens
- The Stirling Tapestries
Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, Cornwall
Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses which has defended Cornwall since Tudor times and played a vital role during the two World Wars. It is one of a handful of distinctive circular artillery forts built during a period of national emergency in the 1540s.
In the first and second world wars, Pendennis Castle’s concealed Battery Observation Post controlled Half Moon Battery’s guns, which could fire up to 14 miles out to sea.
Today, you can take in the breath-taking views over the town of Falmouth, nearby beaches and out to sea. You will, no doubt, see many different kinds of boats and ships, as well as a huge range of wildlife, birds and coastal creatures.
Within the castle grounds, there are many artefacts to see from Tudor times through to the 20th
- Weapons of War display
- Tunnels down to Half Moon Battery
- The Battery Observation Post
- Tudor gunners
- Edwardian guns and cannons
Get in touch
We always enjoy hearing holiday stories from BCH Camping customers, so if you come across great places to visit, let us know
and we may write a future blog on your recommendation!
In the meantime, should you need any camping
equipment for your holiday, take a look around the BCH Camping website
for a wide range of products and great offers.