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Castles of England

Updated on August 28, 2011

Castles and Fortresses of England

This lens is about the beautiful and amazing castles of Britain, which I hope to some day visit. I've always been fascinated with castles.

Since there's so many, and I have a ways to go to list more, I will never list all of them. Just my favorites or the most interesting ones.

The Norman Invasion and After

Many of the castles that we are familiar with today were built after the Norman Conquest. Once William of Normandy succeeded in conquering the original people of England, he parceled out lands and estates to many of his followers. From that point on, hundreds of castles were built, including "adulterine" (unauthorized) ones. At one point there were 1115 castles offering protection to the estate and people.

In the early part of this time period the interest of the king and his barons was identical. However, the king only had castles in the main towns of the shires, which were entrusted to his sheriffs. Meanwhile, the barons had castles and keeps all over England.

The feudal revolts under the current Norman king and his sons showed that these numerous castles in private hands was a huge obstacle to the rule of the king.

Thus, it proved to be worth the while to increase the number of royal castles and strengthen the existing ones, while cautiously keeping in check those of the barons.

However, during a struggle within the royal family, the royal power was relaxed and there was a large increase in castle-building once more, by the barons.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, with the first being Windsor Castle, and has been the home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309.

The Castle was first restored by the 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 1300's and portions of this restoration remain today, including the Abbot's Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable's Tower.

It is located in Northumberland.


Map of Alnwick Castle

A markerAlnwick Castle -
Northumberland, NE66 1NQ, england
get directions

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, is the oldest in continuous occupation.

The castle's floor area is approximately 484,000 square feet!

It is located in Windsor, in the the county of Berkshire.

Also, it is one of the principal official residences of the British monarchy.

Most of the Kings and Queens of England, later Kings and Queens of Great Britain, and later still kings and queens of the Commonwealth realms, have had a direct influence on the construction and evolution of the castle, which has been their garrison fortress, home, official palace, and sometimes their prison.

Reference - Wikipedia

Map of Windsor Castle

A markerWindsor Castle -
Windsor Castle Berkshire SL4 1NJ, England
get directions

Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle

Known as the 'Key to England', this giant castle was considered to be a primary defensive castle of England. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of strategic importance since the Iron Age. The first castle at Dover was probably an Anglo-Saxon fortress and, on the arrival of William the Conqueror, the existing fortifications were improved with the building of an earthwork castle.

The Norman 'motte' (mound) which supported the castle is today known as 'Castle Hill'.

Work began on Dover Castle in the latter part of the 12th century with the construction of the Keep (or Great Tower) - the largest in Britain - and is entered through a "forebuilding" larger than any other built before or since.

There is also a history of the castle's use during World War II, in which the extensive tunnel system was used as a bomb shelter and command headquarters.

Map of Dover Castle

A markerDover Castle -
Dover, CT16 1HU, United Kingdom
get directions

Durham Castle

Durham Castle
Durham Castle
Entrance to Durham Castle
Entrance to Durham Castle

Durham Castle

The castle was originally built in the 11th century as a projection of the Norman king's power in the north of England, as the population of England in the north remained "wild and fickle" following the disruption of the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is an excellent example of the early motte and bailey castles favoured by the Normans. The holder of the office of the Bishop of Durham was appointed by the King to exercise royal authority on his behalf: the Castle was his seat.

Entrance to Bishop Bek's Great Hall

It remained the Bishop's palace for the Bishops of Durham until the Bishops made Bishop Auckland their primary residence and the castle was converted into a college.

The castle has a vast Great Hall, created by Bishop Antony Bek in the early 14th century. It was the largest Great Hall in Britain until Bishop Richard Foxe shortened it at the end of the 15th century. However, it is still 14 m high and over 30 m long.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

To make a booking, or for more information, please contact Event Durham on 0800 28 99 70 or

Map of Durham Castle

A markerPalace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW -
Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW
get directions

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle

A perfect example of a late medieval moated castle

This castle looks strangely lonely to me. However, the appearance is a classic design of a castle. Simply beautiful!

The castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III. It was supposedly built in order to defend the surrounding area from French invasion. However, recent research suggests that the castle was built more for show than as an effective defense.

There is evidence supporting that research, as the walls of Bodiam Castle are only a couple of feet thick!

Just the same, it looks like a formidable castle. In addition to not have a thick wall, it also only had one line of defense.

The Bodiam Castle was never involved in a medieval siege, so we have no idea if it would have stood well to an attack.

At the time of building, England and France were fighting the Hundred Years' War, which had been going on since 1337.

Map of Bodiam Castle

A markerBodiam Castle -
East Sussex TN32 5UA
get directions

Map of Castles in England

show route and directions
A markerAlnwick Castle -
Northumberland, NE66 1NQ, england
get directions

B markerWindsor Castle -
Windsor Castle Berkshire SL4 1NJ, England
get directions

C markerDover Castle -
Dover, CT16 1HU, United Kingdom
get directions

D markerBodiam Castle -
East Sussex TN32 5UA
get directions

E markerDurham Castle -
Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW
get directions

Books on the Castles of England

English Castles: A Guide by Counties
English Castles: A Guide by Counties

"The hidden treasure in this book is that in over 3 dozen instances, a plan view drawing of the castle and environs is included. Labeled rooms, land forms, and out-buildings provide a much more intimate idea of what life inside was really like than any number of exterior photos could do." - Merry Guido

Best Castles -  England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales: The Essential Guide for Visiting and Enjoying
Best Castles - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales: The Essential Guide for Visiting and Enjoying

"This book is wonderful because it lets me do just that. Many guidebooks (I use the Let's Go and Rough Guides) do not differentiate between different kinds of castles, and offer a brief description of each one. It's hard to know what you're getting into before you actually arrive. With this book, you can get a preview of each castle, so you're never surprised. I mentioned my personal love of ruins, but this book is great for any taste, or just the curious." - Isaac Vanduyn


More Photos of Castles of England - Free Use Photos Courtesy of Flickr and Wikipedia

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Your Experiences and Thoughts

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: bbbbbhhhhhhooooooo wow wow wow wow wow

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: i think so to

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: i think so to

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wow i love these castles

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      I hope to see them all some day!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      What a lovely virtual tour of England castles!

    • DeniseDurham2011 profile image

      DeniseDurham2011 6 years ago

      This is where my ancestors are from. Guess which castle!

    • profile image

      Ladyeaglefeather 6 years ago

      I love castles, too. great lens, I love the pictures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love castles too. Great pictures and information.

    • GetFactsnotHype profile image

      GetFactsnotHype 6 years ago

      I added this page of yours to mine under the heading Other British Learning Pages at this webpage

    • profile image

      numser 6 years ago

      Interesting lens. Did you know Alnwick Castle was used in the Harry Potter films?

    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      I'd love to see some of these castles! Thanks for the nice photos!

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      I'd love to visit old castles. Sad to think that many are now uninhabited where centuries ago they were the dominant center of life in the area.

    • notedbybarb profile image

      notedbybarb 6 years ago

      Nice, informative lens. Someday perhaps I can have the opportunity to visit England; it's been a dream of mine since childhood.

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      I would love to visit England!

    • snazzify lm profile image

      Katie Harp 6 years ago

      blessed by a squid angel :) <3

    • Jeri Baker profile image

      Jeri Baker 6 years ago

      Really beautiful. Thank you.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Great Lens!

    • davidleetong lm profile image

      davidleetong lm 6 years ago

      Awesome, and to think it used to house just ONE family in the past...

    • BritStops profile image

      BritStops 6 years ago

      Great lens, thanks! I've always loved Bodiam castle since visiting with my primary school as a child.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Beautiful castles and presentation. thanks

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 6 years ago from Florida

      I wish I would have seen this article before I visited Dover, England. I would have loved to visit the castle. Beautiful.

    • fionajean profile image

      Fiona 6 years ago from South Africa

      Bodiam Castle seems to me to be the most interesting. Great lens. Blessed.

    • profile image

      GBernstein 6 years ago

      Very nice lens, now I know what to visit. I would recommend Arundel Castle as well.

    • profile image

      GBernstein 6 years ago

      Very nice lens, now I know what to visit. I would recommend Arundel Castle as well.

    • TheBestGadgets profile image

      TheBestGadgets 6 years ago

      I like visiting castles. Durham is nice, and the whole town is quite picturesque as well, including an impressive cathedral.

    • anusk1313 lm profile image

      anusk1313 lm 6 years ago

      Great lens ... I plan to visit England in summer ... and now I'm finding more information about what should I visit

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      Great lens

    • profile image

      SeanRBailey 6 years ago

      Alnwick castle has an interesting history. Lots of manuscripts of interest to Freemasonry and other Philosophical sciences where found in archive there. Also I'd like to comment on Bodiam.. VERY inspiring structure

    • Northern-Light profile image

      Antony J Waller 6 years ago from North Yorkshire

      Good lens, well put together. I like castles too!

    • MSBeltran1 profile image

      MSBeltran1 6 years ago

      So cool... I look at castles for sale sometimes... I found an awesome 7th century knights templar castle in Italy once... if I ever hit the lottery, I think I'm going to buy one, convert it to a midevil style B&B and move there. Such a cool lens.

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 6 years ago

      I love castles! I have been in Wales but I cannot recall its name.

    • profile image

      NYThroughTheLens 7 years ago

      Beautiful lens. I would love to see these one day.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 7 years ago

      I'd love to see these castles in person some day.

    • Jen Maskill profile image

      Jen Maskill 7 years ago

      I also love Castles. I love to photograph them. York Castle, Scarborough Castle, Nottingham Castle and Cardiff Castle are all one I have visited recently.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Corfe Castle has always been my favourite, a great place to explore. I love castles, Blessed by an angel.

    • profile image

      camptrip 7 years ago

      Great collection of English castles. I love castles and have seen many on my trip through Europe. My most favourite ones were in Germany and Romania but it's nice to see that there are some excellent ones in England too. Thanks for sharing this article with us.

    • SunShine80 LM profile image

      SunShine80 LM 7 years ago

      Do not forget Wales. There are many excellent castles in the Principality.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      My first visit to a castle was the Warwick Castle. Though it does not figure in your list, it remains my favourite. I liked your lens too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      we have a castle nearby called casa loma, i love going through stuff like that and museums, art galleries.. adding you to my fictional novels about england blogrolling. blessed by a squid angel ;)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Gorgeous castles, just beautiful

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great lens, I grew up in England and most of my family are still there. I lived close to Durham castle, and my aunt went to college at Alnwick.

    • profile image

      Lisa_Maria 7 years ago

      Good lens. I live in the North West UK, and I have visited most of the main castles, I love looking around them and getting great pictures. I also love visiting other historical places of interest, and ruins etc.

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 7 years ago

      Hello, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      KDimmick 7 years ago

      Been to Windsor and Dover castles You might want to add Leeds Castle to your list - it's stunning! Blessed by an angel :).

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Beautiful! As an Anglophile who has never visited the object of my affections, I really enjoyed this lens. Maybe someday this American will make it to the land of my forefathers and see some of these places for myself. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy lenses like this one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great Lens..... love to travel there one day..Thank you from Mayberry Nc

    • AlexPress LM profile image

      AlexPress LM 7 years ago

      This is such a beautiful presentation of such a majestic England...I've been visiting in my dreams for years. Thank you for the images that will now present themselves in them.

      So breathtaking. Thank You. Have a wonderful Holiday!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 7 years ago from Sydney Australia

      I visited 3 Castles on my last visit to the UK.. You might like to add Conway Castle in Wales - a really beautiful heritage listed town too. Hampton Court Palace was fantastic too as you there was so much history and live performances to bring it to life. I recommend you see both!

    • profile image

      bsblmike2 7 years ago

      these are great pieces of human history

    • cbessa profile image

      cbessa 7 years ago

      Wonderful places.

      There are great castles in Germany as well, have you visited any of them?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I know I've stopped by here before but couldn't resist another peek. I still havn't gotten to spend time in a castle. How about you?

    • caketech profile image

      caketech 7 years ago

      Castles with moats have always fascinated me. Great photos! Blessed by an Angel! Keep up the great work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      These castles are amazing they are right on my door step. The pictures look great i have seen some of these in real life and they are amazing places they have a presence. thumbs up from me

    • profile image

      boutiqueshops 7 years ago

      I'd love to see the castles of England (and Ireland). Thanks for a gorgeous page with so many wonderful photos!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'd love to see some of these places. The photos are fantastic! I also liked the Bodiam castle best... because of the water!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      I would also love to visit these castles. Thanks for sharing all this great info. Your images are amazing. My favorites are of the Bodiam Castle.

    • Home Interior D profile image

      Home Interior D 7 years ago

      Great lens. Dover Castle is a stunning one which I can see from my window this very moment. Looks lovely at night with the lights on.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      I love castles!!! Great lens. Blessed by an angel.

    • topbeaches profile image

      topbeaches 7 years ago

      I wonder in a visitor could set up a picnic inside one of those half ruined castles or even celebrate something with music and drinks. Are there unguarded castles?

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 7 years ago

      @dantownehall lm: No, but I really want to see it! :)

    • dantownehall lm profile image

      dantownehall lm 7 years ago

      Great lens! I think my favorite is Durham, I love it's shape. I'd love to visit them all, though.

      I got to go to Balmoral Castle, the royal family's summer residence in Scotland last summer. It was a really neat experience. Lensrolled this to my lens on Balmoral.

      Have you ever been to any of these?

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 7 years ago

      @delia-delia: Thank you! :)

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 7 years ago

      @chefkeem: No, I've never seen the German castles. I bet they're beautiful! :)

    • profile image

      martialartstraining 7 years ago

      I think Alnwick would be the one I would have to visit, but i would want to see them all if i could, they are all wonderful looking. thanks for this lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have really enjoyed visiting some of the English castles. On our last visit we had dinner in a castle in southern England near the Wales border. It was really fun!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 7 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I like the Dover Castle, but the others are pretty impressive as well. Have you seen our castles in Germany yet?

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      lovely, lovely lens...a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~

      lensrolled to my 'when I lived in a castle' lens

    • profile image

      fenellashorty 7 years ago

      Wonderful castles. I have been to a few of these

    • profile image

      ulla_hennig 7 years ago

      Congratulations on the purple star! Great photos and information!

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

      Congrats on your purple star! It's been featured at

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congratulations on your Purple Star! I would love to visit the British Isles and see some castles and old ruins. Thanks for sharing your favorite castles! :)

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

      very cool - congrats on your purple star :)

    • kikij lm profile image

      kikij lm 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I'm visiting England this summer and can't wait to visit some of these castles!

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 8 years ago from London

      Visiting castles brings up so many different thoughts and emotional reactions; such as that all earthly power fades and that what was once fearsome is now romantic. What always strikes me most is that these ruins mark the suppression and loss of a culture that flourished before the invasion. I love the mediaeval period in all its richness, but my spirit rests with the culture that went before.

    • profile image

      kizzam 8 years ago

      cool lens!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      I love castles, who doesn't? Great lens with wonderful pictures.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Great lens. Great photos and lots of info. Makes me want to take a trip to see for myself. 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Truly remarkable structures. Would love to spend some time in a castle. That pictures, maps and information make for a great lens.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 8 years ago

      Great lens! I love the castle pictures and the information that come with it. I do hope I could come visit the castles you have featured here. 5*

      Hope you could visit my lenses and this fb page. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Dover is the key to england not the "Gateway"

      :) otherwise good lens

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      OMG! Those castles are splendid and I lensroll this lens to my Louis XIV lens now! Fantastic, wonderful, fantabulous, I can't say more except I'm off to go to Windsor, my new residence :)

      Congratulations on a well crafted lens!


    • profile image

      Light-in-me 8 years ago

      This is a great lens, I love castles.

      Thanks for sharing.


    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 8 years ago

      Great lens & pictures. 5*

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Wow! I want to visit all of them! I have only been to Kenilworth castle in Northamptonshire so far.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Love this lense. I'm half a Brit and my sister lives near Alnwick castle so I've been there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Love this lense. I'm half a Brit and my sister lives near Alnwick castle so I've been there.

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 9 years ago

      I have always desired to visit the castles of Europe since I am something of a history buff. I have always said, "If their walls could speak...."

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      eleetsp 9 years ago

      Absolutely great site for finding some great ideas for seeing sites and especially see something different. I will definitely be using some of this info and exploring. I will also be adding a couple to my site at href=""> and adding some walks with pics in the areas. Thanks

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 9 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      lovely lovely lens, 5*

      have you visited my page on Leicestershire? There are some wee castle ruins there as well

      lensrolling you

    • TopStyleTravel profile image

      TopStyleTravel 9 years ago

      Great lens on castles. 5 stars. Especially enjoyed the Polaroid of Windsor Castle. Keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      richard_wheeler 9 years ago

      England is one of my most deisred places I would love to visit. The castles I would love to visit the most are Windsor castle, the tower of London, and Nottingham castle. Some of my ancestors where from England which is the biggest reason why I would love to visit. I hear the country side is beautifal and green. I think it would also be fascinating to walk on the fields where all the famous battle took place. That would be awesome!

    • profile image

      totalhealth 9 years ago

      Nice lens about the fascinating castles of England.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great lens, 5***** Bamburgh and Warwick are 2 more very impressive castles you might want to add. I am doing a lens on Corfe Castle in Dorset, lensrolled you into that.

    • profile image

      hesika 9 years ago

      I take the Windsor castle to live in :-))

      Thank you for this great and informative lens!

    • PositiveChristi1 profile image

      PositiveChristi1 9 years ago

      What a fascinating subject and a very well researched lens.

      I have enjoyed visits to Bodiam Castle and to Dover Castle. My local castle is at Pevensey.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 9 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Great lens. Don't forget about the fabulous Leeds Castle which, confusingly, is nowhere near the city of Leeds in Yorkshire but is in Kent. I'm lensrolling this on my towns of England lenses.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      I like the idea of a castle with a mote so Bodiam castle would have to be my favorite. Do you know if any of these castles are haunted? They've been around long enough.

      Great lens