Most Important Medieval Castles in England

Medieval castles started making an appearance in Europe during the middle ages, specifically during the period around the 10th century.

The first castles appeared in England and France during the 10th and 11th century.

Donnington Castle

Donnington castle is located in the English county of Berkshire, in the village of Donnington Read more about the Donnington Castle >>

Hedingham Castle

Hedingham Castle is one of the Norman-era castles located in Essex, England Read more about the Hedingham Castle >>

Herstmonceux Castle

Castles in England - 'Herstmonceux Castle' is known as the 'Brick Castle' in Sussex! Read more about the Herstmonceux Castle >>

Kimbolton Castle

Kimbolton Castle is a residential castle which was originally the site of a pre-Norman manor house Read more about the Kimbolton Castle >>

Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle was originally built on the site of a manor house built by the Lumley family Read more about the Lumley Castle >>

Peckforton Castle

Castles in England - 'Peckforton Castle' the Gothic Castle with Imposing Towers Read more about the Peckforton Castle >>

Porchester Castle

Castles in England - 'Porchester Castle' is a Stone Motte-and-Bailey Castle style Castle Read more about the Porchester Castle >>

Portsmouth Castle

Castles in England - 'Portsmouth Castle' is also known as 'Southsea Castle' Read more about the Portsmouth Castle >>

Rowton Castle

Castles in England - 'Rowton Castle' Shrewsbury, Shropshire was built in the 17th Century Read more about the Rowton Castle >>

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle was a strategically defensive medieval castles built on the bend of the river Avon in Warwickshire by William the Conqueror Read more about the Warwick Castle >>

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror Read more about the Windsor Castle >>

In the annals of England’s storied history, the medieval period stands as a time of fortifications and grandeur, with castles emerging as bastions of power and defense.

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Bodiam Castle

As formidable symbols of royal authority and strategic strongholds, the Top 10 Most Important Medieval Castles in England have etched their names into the very fabric of the nation’s narrative.

From the iconic Tower of London to the legendary Warwick Castle, each fortress on this distinguished list has played a pivotal role in shaping the course of English history.

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Warwick Castle

Join us on a journey through time as we explore these magnificent structures, each a testimony to the resilience, grandeur, and drama of the medieval era.

1. Windsor Castle

The most famous, largest, and oldest official royal residence in the world Is located in England, about 20 miles west of London.

Windsor Castle Official site

Windsor Castle is more than 900 years old and over a million people visit it each year.

Windsor Castle Best Features

  1. St. George’s Chapel: A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, St. George’s Chapel is one of the most impressive and beautiful parts of Windsor Castle. It has been the setting for many royal weddings and is the final resting place of numerous monarchs, including King Henry VIII and Queen Victoria.
  2. The State Apartments: The lavishly decorated State Apartments, adorned with priceless art, tapestries, and luxurious furnishings, showcase the grandeur of Windsor Castle as an official royal residence. The rooms include the Grand Reception Room, the Crimson Drawing Room, and the Green Drawing Room, among others.
  3. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: This intricate miniature house, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, is an extraordinary work of art. Complete with electricity, running water, and miniature works by famous artists and craftsmen, it provides a fascinating insight into early 20th-century life.
  4. The Round Tower: The iconic Round Tower, located in the center of the castle, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb to the top and enjoy panoramic vistas of the beautiful Windsor Great Park.
  5. Changing of the Guard: The ceremonial Changing of the Guard is a highlight for many visitors. It takes place daily in the Lower Ward of the castle and provides a glimpse of traditional British pageantry.
  6. The Long Walk: The Long Walk is a magnificent tree-lined avenue that stretches for over two miles from the castle’s gates to the Copper Horse statue of King George III. It offers a serene and picturesque stroll through Windsor Great Park.
  7. The Norman Gatehouse: The castle’s Norman Gatehouse, dating back to the 13th century, is an impressive structure with its sturdy fortifications and imposing towers.
  8. The Semi-State Rooms: The Semi-State Rooms, used by the Royal Family for official entertaining, feature opulent interiors with ornate ceilings, intricate artwork, and fine furniture.
  9. The Waterloo Chamber: Named to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo, this magnificent room is adorned with portraits of significant figures from the time, celebrating the military achievements of the British nation.
  10. The Garter Throne Room: As the venue for the installation of Knights of the Garter, the Garter Throne Room is a place of historical significance and is beautifully decorated with heraldic motifs.

These features, among others, make Windsor Castle a treasure trove of architectural beauty, historical significance, and royal splendor. With a history spanning over a thousand years, the castle continues to be a symbol of the enduring monarchy and a captivating destination for visitors from around the world.

Official Windsor Castle Website

2. Tower of London

The Tower of London is a structure that for over 1000 years has dominated the skyline of the city. The tower which has housed the royal family and their jewels receives 2 million visitors each year, all of them eager to witness the crown jewels which are on display.

Tower of London Official Site

Tower of London Best Features

  1. The White Tower: The central keep, known as the White Tower, is the oldest and most iconic part of the fortress. Its imposing structure, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, showcases the might of Norman military architecture.
  2. The Crown Jewels: Housed in the Jewel House, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are a dazzling display of regalia. This priceless collection includes crowns, scepters, orbs, and other precious items used in coronations and ceremonial occasions.
  3. The Yeoman Warders: The Yeoman Warders, popularly known as Beefeaters, serve as ceremonial guardians and guides to the Tower. Their distinctive uniforms and entertaining guided tours offer insights into the Tower’s history and legends.
  4. The Medieval Palace: The Medieval Palace within the Tower complex provides a glimpse into the luxurious living quarters of English royalty during the medieval era. Lavishly furnished rooms and intricate tapestries recreate the ambiance of a bygone age.
  5. The Tower Green: The Tower Green is a site of historical significance where many high-profile prisoners, including Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, were executed. Today, it stands as a place of solemn remembrance.
  6. The Ravens: The legend of the Tower’s ravens adds a touch of mystique to the fortress. According to tradition, if the ravens ever leave, the Tower and the kingdom will fall.
  7. The Medieval Wall Walk: Visitors can walk along the castle’s ancient walls and enjoy panoramic views of the River Thames, the Tower Bridge, and the city of London.
  8. The Royal Menagerie: Although long gone, the Tower was once home to a Royal Menagerie that housed exotic animals, including lions, elephants, and even a polar bear. Today, sculptures mark the locations of some of the former enclosures.
  9. The Tower Bridge: While not part of the original Tower complex, the nearby Tower Bridge is an iconic London landmark and a stunning backdrop to the Tower of London.
  10. The Bloody Tower: This tower earned its gruesome name due to its association with the imprisonment and alleged murder of the “Princes in the Tower,” the young Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York.

These features, combined with the Tower’s rich history as a royal residence, a fortress, and a prison, make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, tourists, and anyone curious about the storied past of England’s most renowned fortress.

3. Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle, a picture-perfect medieval fortress located in East Sussex, England, stands as an enchanting embodiment of architectural beauty and defense.

Bodiam Castle Official Site

Bodiam Castles Best Features

  1. Moat and Bridge: The iconic moat surrounding Bodiam Castle adds to its fairy-tale charm. The castle’s bridge, flanked by two elegant towers, provides a dramatic entrance, creating a stunning reflection in the water.
  2. Symmetrical Towers: The castle’s four symmetrical towers, each with battlements and crenellations, lend a sense of harmony and balance to its design.
  3. Courtyard and Great Hall: Within the castle’s walls, visitors can explore the central courtyard, where the Great Hall once stood. This area served as the social and communal heart of the castle.
  4. Gatehouse: The impressive gatehouse, with its formidable portcullis and drawbridge, served as the castle’s main entrance and the first line of defense against potential attackers.
  5. Fireplaces and Chimneys: Bodiam Castle features beautiful stone fireplaces and chimneys, adding a touch of medieval comfort and luxury to its otherwise defensive design.
  6. Large Windows: Unlike many castles of its time, Bodiam Castle incorporates large windows throughout its structure, allowing ample light into the rooms and creating a more inviting atmosphere.
  7. Spiral Staircases: The castle’s towers house spiral staircases, leading visitors to various levels and offering picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.
  8. Machicolations and Arrow Slits: Bodiam Castle’s machicolations and arrow slits demonstrate its strategic defensive design, allowing defenders to safely drop projectiles on attackers.
  9. Gardens and Surrounding Landscape: The castle is set within beautifully landscaped gardens, providing a peaceful backdrop to its historic grandeur.
  10. Historic Ruins: While Bodiam Castle is now a partially ruined structure, its remains have been thoughtfully preserved, allowing visitors to appreciate its architectural beauty and immerse themselves in the romance of medieval life.

4. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is one of the grandest and best preserved medieval castles in all of England, it is a Norman castle that was built on the remains of a Roman Fort in 1068 on the orders of William the Conqueror.

Warwick Castle Official Website

Warwick Castle Best Features

  1. The Great Hall: The magnificent Great Hall, with its soaring ceiling, grand fireplace, and intricate medieval decorations, transports visitors back in time to the lavish banquets and ceremonies of the past.
  2. The State Rooms: The opulent State Rooms, including the Red Drawing Room and the Green Drawing Room, are beautifully furnished and showcase the castle’s historical importance as a seat of power.
  3. The Earl’s Tower: Also known as Caesar’s Tower, this imposing structure offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside from its turrets. The tower houses an impressive collection of arms and armor.
  4. The Castle Dungeons: The Castle Dungeons provide a spine-chilling experience, where visitors can delve into the darker side of Warwick Castle’s history through immersive exhibits and live actors.
  5. The Princess Tower: This enchanting tower houses the Princess Tower Suite, where guests can enjoy an overnight stay in medieval-style luxury, complete with four-poster beds and period furnishings.
  6. The Ramparts and Battlements: Visitors can walk along the castle’s ramparts and battlements, offering panoramic views of the River Avon and the picturesque Warwickshire landscape.
  7. The Trebuchet and Catapult Demonstrations: Throughout the day, visitors can witness impressive displays of medieval siege warfare with working replicas of the mighty trebuchet and catapult.
  8. The Rose Garden: The beautifully landscaped Rose Garden offers a tranquil setting to relax and enjoy the views of the castle’s exterior.
  9. The Time Tower: This interactive exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the castle’s history, from its origins in the Norman era to its role in the Wars of the Roses and beyond.
  10. The River Island and Peacock Garden: Accessible via a picturesque bridge, the River Island is home to a vibrant Peacock Garden, where peacocks roam freely among the castle’s stunning grounds.

These features, along with the castle’s immersive historical reenactments, medieval feasts, and family-friendly activities, make Warwick Castle an unforgettable destination for all ages. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a fan of medieval architecture, or simply seeking a day of enchantment, Warwick Castle offers a captivating glimpse into the fascinating tapestry of England’s past.

5. Dover Castle

Perched majestically atop the famous White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Castle stands as a sentinel of England’s history, a testament to its enduring strength and strategic importance. With a legacy that spans over nine centuries, this formidable fortress has witnessed countless pivotal moments in the nation’s past.

Dover Castle Official Website

Dover Castle Best Features

  1. Roman Lighthouse: The Roman Pharos, one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the world, dates back to the Roman occupation of Britain and provides a glimpse into Dover’s ancient past.
  2. Great Tower: Also known as the Roman or Keep, the Great Tower is a massive stone structure built by King Henry II in the 12th century. It offers panoramic views of the English Channel and the surrounding countryside from its battlements.
  3. Secret Wartime Tunnels: During World War II, Dover Castle served as an underground command center and hospital. Visitors can explore the Secret Wartime Tunnels, which were once a critical military headquarters during the war.
  4. Medieval Tunnels: The medieval tunnels, dating back to the 13th century, were used for storing supplies and providing a safe escape route during sieges.
  5. Constable’s Gate: This impressive gatehouse, built during the reign of King Henry VIII, showcases the Tudor architecture and serves as a grand entrance to the castle.
  6. Victorian Fire Command Post: A testament to Dover Castle’s continuous military importance, this Victorian-era command post offers insights into the defense strategies of the late 19th century.
  7. Roman Pharos Exhibition: The Roman Pharos is now home to an informative exhibition on the history of the lighthouse and its significance during Roman times.
  8. Interactive Exhibitions: Throughout the castle, interactive displays and exhibits provide engaging ways to learn about its history and the people who lived and worked within its walls.
  9. Views from the Castle Walls: Dover Castle offers breathtaking views of the English Channel, the busy Dover port, and the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
  10. Royal Courtroom and Great Hall: Visitors can step into the opulent settings of the Royal Courtroom and Great Hall, where medieval monarchs held court and entertained dignitaries.

These features, along with the castle’s dramatic location atop the White Cliffs, make Dover Castle a captivating destination that allows visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the diverse history of England’s coastal guardian.

Coming Soon…

Hedingham Castle

Alnwick Castle

Lincoln Castle

Stokesay Castle

Orford Castle

St Michael’s Mount

Berkeley Castle