Great Britain is full of castles which are steeped in history and legend. Over the years they have been visited by people from all walks of life from all over the world. The popularity of visiting castles has recently increased due to the highly popular TV show “Game of Thrones” which is based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy novels which draw inspiration from British history.
Some of the most popular castles to visit include:
Warwick Castle was built in 1068 and is located in Warwickshire England. Up until 25 years ago, generations of Earls of Warwick lived in the castle. It is famous for is jousting and today you can visit the castle and see a re-enactment. One of the world’s largest working catapults has been built in the grounds of Warwick Castle. This catapult which in its day was known as a trebuchet can hurl a 150kg boulder over 300 metres and travel at speeds of more than 250 km per hour. Today you can visit the caste and join in with many interactive attractions and events which go on through out the year.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is 900 years old and is much more than just a castle. On the grounds of the castle there are several homes, a large church and also a royal palace. The Castle is situated on a cliff overlooking the Thames 20 miles west of London. It was built strictly for defense and the site was chosen because it was a day’s march from the Tower of London. Today it is the weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II.
Hampton Court Castle
Hampton Court Castle is a 15th century medieval castle located a few miles from London in the countryside of Herefordshire. The estate consists of 1,000 acres with beautiful elaborate award winning gardens. The Castle is open to the public but can also be hired to hold weddings or other events. The building was established in 1434, but was renovated in the 1900’s.
Leeds castle is located in Kent and has been open to the public since 1976. It is surrounded by a moat and 500 acres of gardens. It is at least 900 years old and originally built as a Saxon Manor in 857 AD. Over the years it has been home to many Kings and Queens of England including Queen Isabella, Edward III and most famously Henry VIII. King Henry VIII converted the Castle into a Royal Palace which is listed in the Domesday Book. Today it is looked after by the Leeds Castle Foundation and can be hired to hold idyllic weddings.
Tower of London Castle
The tower of London is a castle on the north bank of River Thames in the middle of London. Steeped in history, the Tower of London is one of the most popular attractions to visit in London. The real name of the Tower is actually called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace And Fortress, The Tower Of London. Originally it was built as a Royal Palace and defensive fortress, and built by William The Conqueror. During World War II it was used as a Prisoner Of War camp. Queen Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536 and many more followed. The last execution took place on August 14 1941, when Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was shot by a firing squad. For centuries the Tower has been home to the crown jewels which are estimated to worth at least 20 billion GBP.
There are many more castles worth a visit in Great Britain. It all depends on where you are staying or are prepared to travel to. Each and every Castle has its own unique history and will make a great day out for the whole family.