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Castles of England

Updated on August 7, 2012

Castles of England and their history

Stalwart fortress of strength, beauty, and history, these are also the homes of families and the pride of countries. They are the stuff of fantasy and fairy tales. Come...let me take you on a journey through the streets and countryside as we visit some of the many castles of England.

The castles covered in this section are: Alnwick Castle, Lindesfarne Castle, Arundel Castle, the two Scotney Castles, Berkeley Castle, Carlisle Castle, and Hever Castle.

This journey continues on Castles of England: II and Castles of England: III, also Castles of England: IV, and ends with Castles of England: V.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle

Located in Alnwick, Northumberland, England, Alnwick Castle was built immediately following the Norman conquest. The castle was built in 1096 by the Baron of Alnwick to defend against the Scottish invasions. In 1309, it was bought by Baron Henry de Percy and the castle is still owned by the Percy family.

This amazing castle has at one time been home to the Newcastle Church High School for Girls, and since 1981, has been used by St. Cloud State University as a branch campus forming part of their International Study Programme. Today, Alnwick Castle is the residence of the Duke of Northumberland.

Alnwick Castle is also famous for its beautiful gardens with an unusual "tree house" and many beautiful fountains with surprising water displays, including an enchantingly beautiful cascade. The castle has always been a popular attraction, and is well worth a visit. Check out the Alnwick Castle homepage.

Large photo of Alwick Castle above courtesy of Kewing. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Andy Jamieson, James West, and Ian Knox under a CC license.



Does this castle look familiar to all you Harry Potter fans? It should, since it was the setting for "Hogwarts" in the films.

Tour of the Poison Gardens and Treehouse at Alnwick Castle

Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle was built atop a crag on the highest point of Holy Island, a whin stone hill called Beblowea. It is located near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, and was erected between 1570 and 1572 as a defense against Scottish invasions. Not only did the Lindisfarne Castle have to defend itself against the Scottish, but the area was also frequently attacked by Vikings. The Vikings first attacked Britain at Lindisfarne when they massacred the monks of the monastery in 973. Holy Island, on which the castle was built, is only accessible via a causeway during low-tide.

When James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne in 1603, Lindisfarne Castle lost it's usefulness as a border fortress. At one point in the 18th century, the fortress was overtaken by Jacobite rebels, but soldiers quickly retook the fortress and imprisoned the rebels. However, the Jacobites, dug their way out and escaped.

In 1901, the fortress was bought by Edward Hudson and transformed into a beautiful holiday home, keeping intact the great fireplaces and arched ceilings, along with much of its original architecture.

Want to know more? Visit Lindisfarne Castle National Trust.

The large photo of Lindisfarne Castle above courtesy of Flickr Delusions. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Ross Harner and Christine Matthews under a CC license.

Lindisfarne Castle

Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle looks like something from a medieval fairy tale. Located in West Sussex, England, Arundel Castle was built in 1068 by Roger de Montgomery during the reign of William the Conqueror to defend the River Arun and it's surrounding lands. After Roger de Montgomery died, the castle became the property of King Henry I who left Arundel Castle and the attached land to his second wife Adeliza of Louvain who married William d'Albani II (William d'Aubigny) after the kings death. William created the stone shell on the motte, thus increasing the defense of the castle.

In 1176, William d'Aubigny died and Arundel Castle became the property of King Henry II, who ordered improvements on the castle. Arundel castle was then passed down throughout the ages to several different families, and reverted to the crown several times. The castle has been added to, renovated, and improved until today, where it is the principal seat of the Duke of Norfolk and his family.

The castle has seen its share of tragedies. It was heavily damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has been the place of several executions, and one lucky person, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, escaped his execution because King Henry VIII died the day before the execution of the Duke was to take place.

The 14th Earl of Arundel, known as "the collector" is responsible for the many treasures still at the castle today. The treasures are on display along with possessions of the former inhabitants and royalty.

To learn more about this enchanting castle, visit their homepage at Arundel Castle .

Small hyperlinked photos courtesy of Rib, Ludi Ling and Peter Neal under a CC license.

Arundel Castle

Scotney Castles

Scotney Castles
Scotney Castles

Scotney Castle is located south-east of Lamberhurst in the valley of the River Bewl in Kent, England. The area is home to Scotney Old Castle, which is on an island in the lake and is believed to have been built sometime near 1378 by Roger Ashburnham. The Scotney New Castle was built in the 1800's by Edward Hussey who uncovered a 100 million year old dinosaur footprint when he quarried the sandstone for the castle. The Scotney Gardens draw visitors as much as the castles themselves.

Scotney Old Castle was once owned by Thomas Darrell, a Catholic (which was an illegal religion at the time), who hid the famous Jesuit Priest Richard Blount. The tower in the south wing contains well hidden priest holes, as the castle was center of activities for Father Richard Blount. The authorities eventually found out the location of Father Blount and came after him. They searched the castle and would possibly have captured him, but a storm blew in miraculously concealing Father Blount as he escaped over the wall and into the moat.

After the death of the last occupant Christopher Hussey, the Castles and grounds became the property of The National Trust in apt fulfillment of his family motto: Vix ea nostra voco ('I scarcely call these things our own').

Learn more at the Scotney Castles page on the National Trust website. Hyperlinked photos courtesy of Richard Croft and Tony Grist.

The Scotney Castles

Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle
Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle is located in Berkeley, Glouchestershire, England. It was built as a defense against the Welsh by order of King Henry II in 1117 AD. The Keep was completed by Robert Fitzharding, an ancestor of the Berkeley family, in 1153, and has been passed down from generation to generation within the Berkeley family ever since. Berkeley Castle was a true Medieval Keep built with arrow slits, murder holes, barred doors, and other means of defense.

The castle is witness to the imprisonment and murder of King Edward II of England. The means of his demise is unknown, but several stories have circulated through the ages; one of a gruesome murder by way of a red-hot poker shoved into his "backside", and another by way of suffocation.The actual charge was suffocation. The cell where it is assumed he was held is still intact, as well as the adjacent dungeon. Another tragedy is the death of the last Court Jester of England who fell to his death from the Minstrel's Gallery.

Berkeley Castle holds the record of being the oldest home to be continuously inhabited and owned by the same family. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and while they were allowed to retain ownership, by an Act of Parliament, they were not allowed to repair the damage to the Keep and Outer Bailey. The damage still exists today, but has been partially filled in with a low garden wall for the safety of residents and visitors.

Learn more interesting facts at Berkely Castle .

The large photo courtesy of Wikipedia by way of Chestertourist.com. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Philip Halling, David Stowell, and Chris Gunns under a CC license.

Berkeley Castle

This video is amazing, and the narrator does an exceptional job of telling the story of King Edward II's murder, and the haunting of the castle.

Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle is located in the city of Carlisle, Cumbria, England. The Castle was originally built in 1092 by King William Rufus, and was made of earth and timber. In 1122, King Henry I of England ordered a castle built of stone, and added a keep and defensive walls.

For the next 700 years, the castle went form owner to owner between the English and Scottish, with the Scottish King David being the king who actually finished building the walls and stone keep.

Carlisle Castle was not only a home to the ruler of the lands, but also a prison as demonstrated by carvings made by some of the captives. One famous prisoner was Mary Queen of Scots, held here in 1568.

Another interesting piece of history concerns 'the licking stones'. In 1746, the castle was under siege by the Duke of Cumberland's Hanoverian Army. Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Garrison tried to hold out against them, but ultimately failed. They were imprisoned in the castle and it is said that the Jacobites, parched with thirst, resorted to licking the stones for moisture.

Visit the Carlisle Castle website for more information.

Hyperlinked photos courtesy of Philip Halling, Sarah Charlesworth, and Stephen McKay under a CC license"

Carlisle Castle

Hever Castle

Hever Castle
Hever Castle

Located in the village of Hever, Kent, England, and constructed in 1270 by William de Hever as a country house. In 1462, the house was converted into a manor by Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of the city of London, and became property of the Boleyn family.

Around 1505, Anne Boleyn and her siblings moved into the manor after which she was sent to the Netherlands for an education and then married King Henry VIII in 1533. A short three years later, Henry VIII had Anne and her brother George put to death, and the manor became his property. King Henry VIII then gave the property to his 4th wife, whom he divorced, Anne of Cleves, in 1540.

The property then passed from owner to owner, until it was purchased in 1903 by American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor. William spent a fortune on the property, repairing the castle, which was in a poor state of repair, building a "Tudor village", a large and beautiful garden, a man-made lake which covers 35 acres, and a yew maze, which is well known in the area.

More recently, a splashing water maze and Miniature Exhibit depicting life in early England was added.

Learn more at the Hever Castle homepage.

Hyperlinked photos courtesy of Charlesdrakew.

Hever Castle

Map of England with featured castles

Not quite sure where these castles are located within England? Have a look below!

Or if you need directions...go to Google Maps UK.

Which castle would you most like to visit?

See results

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    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      Castles are so intriguing.

    • craiger-m profile image

      The Hatter 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Great info about Castles, I am a great fan of the plantagenet castles of Wales.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I don't live too far from Scotney Castle and yet I've never been. I really must because I love castles.

    • nickybutler profile image

      nickybutler 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      MissMaysMomma 5 years ago

      Beautiful castles and great information. I hope one day to visit England and the castle you featured.

    • Lauriej1 profile image

      Lauriej1 5 years ago

      Wow! Beautiful pictures and great lens! :)

    • profile image

      Ladyeaglefeather 5 years ago

      Great lens, i have always waited, to visit England. For many different reason. But, one of them is to see the many castles there

    • bernie74 lm profile image

      bernie74 lm 5 years ago

      Great Lens. I loved going to Alnwick Castle and so did my family. Would definitely go back again when I get the chance..

    • profile image

      Aura99 5 years ago

      I have to say I was born in Alnwick and used to go to school right next to the on Bailiffgate castle there. I must go back soon....

    • DonD LM profile image

      DonD LM 5 years ago

      Your lense is worth reading and I enjoyed it. Keep on posting more interesting topics like this.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Interesting lens! I would love to visit these castles!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I so love castles. Very enjoyable lens.

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. I did a lens on Hendingham Castle, the seat of the De Veres and birthplace of Edward De Vere, whom many of us believe was the real author of Shakespeare's works. Very nicely done. Here's an angel blessing for you.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Never visited any of these in my stay in England, but they sound very interesting.

    • Northern-Light profile image

      Antony J Waller 6 years ago from North Yorkshire

      I really love visiting the 'northern' castles, especially those in Yorkshire and Northumberland.

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 6 years ago from Philippines

      These castles are awesome and your lens on them is so beautiful and full of information. How I wish to tread the ground and see them from the inside and from the distance. Thank you so much.

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 6 years ago from Philippines

      Awesome castles! Great lens! How I wish I could visit all of these. Thank you so much!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great presentation - I know Hever as an uncle lives nearby (but have never visited Scotney, for some reason), and Lindisfarne is a favourite.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      kool, thanks for the info :D

    • Sami4u LM profile image

      Sami4u LM 6 years ago

      Hi,

      It is a new year and I am still getting to bless lens. I miss this one before but not now! Blessed :)

    • wellingtonboot profile image

      wellingtonboot 6 years ago from U.K.

      Nice lens - I've been to 2 of the castles on the list (Alnwick and Lindisfarne), and I even went on the Harry Potter tour at Alnwick because it features in some of the films!

    • profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      One trip I have always wanted to take is to England to tour the castles. Wonderful lens.

    • PizmoBeach LM profile image

      PizmoBeach LM 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this lens. I lived in England for 2 years and tried to see as many castles as I could (I am a bit obsessed with English, especially the War of the Roses period and the Tudor period and the Howard family). Arundel Castle was one of my favourite castles. I also loved Hever because of the connection with Anne Boleyn.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      5*...very nice lens, love the images, info and maps...will lensroll this to my castle lens.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      I'm fond of history and study the French one since I'm 10 years old - I'm not finished yet and won't be by my last day on Earth. You built a fantastic page on English castles and I saved your profile on my computer so that I can check all of your castle lenses!

      Meanwhile, I lensroll to my Broadstairs lens as it's related.

      Squidangel blessings to these marvellous castles of Albion!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Excellent lens and lots nice Castles I only been to Leeds Castle and that was really nice. 5*****

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Wonderful Lens! Congrats on your Purple Star! :)

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      Beautiful, well-designed lens. Castles of England are now absolutely on my list of places to visit when I go to Oxford next summer for the annual meeting of the Emily Dickinson International Society. It appears Arundel, Hever and Scotney are within a "reasonable distance." Right?

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Congratulations on your well deserved Purple Star!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Wonderfully evocative lens. The castles of England are amongt some of our greatest monuments and you have captured the essence of them so well.

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 8 years ago

      Linderfarne looks beautiful. Brilliant lens *****

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Wow! That picture of Lindisfarne Castle could be a painting -- beautiful flowers!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      When I look at photos of castles, I get a burning desire to ramble the hallways.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      This is a great lens! I love castles too, and live about 40 minutes drive from Carlisle Castle.

      I'm inspried to write sbout Sizergh, may local castle!

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 8 years ago from Canada

      Such a beautiful lens. I've always wanted to go to England!

      Lenrolled this into Wizard Coloring Pages.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great Lens Ive been to Alnwick Castle , Lindisfarne and Arundel Ive written a lens about Arundel Castle. Lovely Photos you have here.

    • profile image

      LadyExpat 8 years ago

      Great lens. These castles are beautiful.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nice lens. I have been to Alnwick, Lindisfarne and Arundel. I was at Arundel in January. Freezing day! 5***** love the photos. Hoping to see my local castle "Corfe" on one of your other lenses, and also Warwick Castle which is another of my favourites.

    • Beaman LM profile image

      Beaman LM 8 years ago

      I've written a lens on another English castle that you might like, that of Dover Castle which I can see from my window. Great lens you have here!

    • Snozzle profile image

      Snozzle 8 years ago

      There is something very special about castles. I live in England and have seen some, but not all, of the castles featured. Great photos, most enjoyable top notch lens.

      Mike.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Many congratulations on the well deserved achievement of becoming a Giant Squid!

      Take care

      Paul

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 8 years ago from Upstate, NY

      Congratulations on becoming a Giant!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Some great pictures and information about English Castles. I find castles and history fascinating too. Great job and thanks for visiting my lens and for your kind comments.

      wombat666

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      I love these photos! This lens is being featured at All Things Travel.

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 8 years ago

      Great lens with so many informative tidbits about each castle. A well-deserved 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a terrific lens. I love castles and all of the funky stories related to them.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work.

    • DrRichard LM profile image

      DrRichard LM 8 years ago

      This is a very nice lens and reminds me of some memorable visits to England. 5 stars and favorite!

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for a beautiful, informative lens, Debra. I would love to have it in my Anything and Everything Travel Group. Keep up the good work.

    • dlcummings profile image

      dlcummings 8 years ago

      Nice lens! I know you had fun making this one! gave it 5 stars!

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      Beautifully done and I am lensrolling this to my lens, SARUM The Novel of England.5 stars all the way.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens (5 *) I love castles too, although there aren't too many near where I live in London. I can however see a stately home from my lounge window (Ham House) and there are a few Victorian "Gothic" buildings around here too.

    • GypsyGirl68 profile image

      GypsyGirl68 8 years ago

      very nice! I was fortunate to tour several UK castles in 2005-06 and plan to return next summer! off to look at parts 2 and 3 now

    • GypsyGirl68 profile image

      GypsyGirl68 8 years ago

      very nice! I was fortunate to tour several UK castles in 2005-06 and plan to return next summer! off to look at parts 2 and 3 now

    • profile image

      SharonMay 8 years ago

      Love English castles! I dragged the family around a few on our last trip to England to visit my mother-in-law. Alnwick castle is truly beautiful and we were there when they had a Knight school full of great activities for the kids to pretend they were knights from days of old. Lindisfarne is wonderful in summer. My favorite English castle would have to be Durham castle next to the most beautiful Durham Cathedral and Bamburgh castle over looking the sea.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      What a brilliant lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Castles have always intrigued me. What a testament to the ability of man to erect these massive stone fortresses and homes in perilous times to protect his family and possessions. 5 *'s definitely!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great Lens 5* and welcome to Travelmania Group.

      Tapir Travel

    • bconnor11 profile image

      bconnor11 9 years ago

      Great lens. Beautiful pictures. 5*

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Beautiful photos! Welcome to All Things Travel.