The history has been tumultuous in Great Britain, which has been a witness of the bloodshed of various clans, fighting over power. Castles have been their symbol of power. Today hundreds of them a scattered across the British Isles. We have picked ten of them – ancient, enigmatic and gorgeous.
10. Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
The ruins of the Medieval castle are posited in the wonderful surroundings. Found on the rocky cliff, the castle is overlooking the deep blue sea. The area also features hiking trails, that allow exploring the beautiful environment.
Why go there? Visit the historic castle, which has inspired a lot of artists. Also admire the beautiful unspoiled nature here.
9. Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England
A Jacobethan country house is a beautiful historic landmark, which got world famous as the main filming location for the TV series Downton Abbey. Today the castle belongs to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – a family, who owned the place since the 17th century. It is also available for the weddings and other events.
Why go there? The whole complex can be explored on a guided tour. Visitors not only get to see the impressive palace and interiors but also the park, gardens, and woods, that sprawl over a huge territory. Moreover, the castle features an Egyptian exhibit: the 5th Earl has discovered and brought the tomb of Tutankhamun.
8. Kensington Palace, London, England
The royal residence is an official residence of Prince William and Duchess Kate. It is open for the visits, where various exhibitions are open. In the gardens an artificial lake, walkways, various plants offer a beautiful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Why go there? A historic site, the gardens are beautiful and it is located in the heart of London.
7. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
The country has the biggest density of historic fortresses and palaces per acre than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Edinburgh Castle is the most visited attraction in the city. In December visitors can listen to the music that used to be played to King James V during the Music Through the Ages event.
6. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England
The Indo-Saracenic style residence was built in the 18th century for George, Prince of Wales, the future king. At the time Brighton was a popular seaside town and its fame kept on growing due to the patronage of the royalty. The palace looked really outstanding and exotic in a typical British city.
Why go there Today visitors are welcome to explore the spacious rooms, art collections, and splendid gardens. After a tour they are invited to have a cup of tea and sweets at the cafe, overlooking the royal gardens.
5. Windsor Castle, London, England
One of the oldest royal palaces in the world – the castle houses royal family for almost 1000 years. And you get the chance to visit it, to see the royal apartments during a 2-3 hours tour. And keep in mind that the Queen still spends her weekends and holds many important events here – the castle is a real residence of the sovereign!
When to go there? Thoroughly plan the visit, since the castle is closed for official events or ceremonies.
4. Castle Stalker, Loch Linnhe, Scotland
A four-story castle is posited on a little islet in the middle of the lake, in the picturesque surroundings. The castle, however, is difficult to access due to water unless during the low tide. However, it can be approached from the A828 road, providing a scenic ride.
Why go there? Admire the wonderful 14th-century castle and breathtaking landscape.
3. Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland
The official residence of the British monarch in Scotland is situated opposite to Edinburgh Castle. A 17th century palace features apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, that are open for public to view. It is also haunted by Bald Agnes, who was accused of witchcraft. Maybe you will meet her too.
When to go there?
From 14 November to 8 February Evening Tours are available to book. Also works of Castiglione will be exhibited at this time.
2. Belfast Castle, Northern Ireland
The original castle was first erected here in the 12th century. However, the authentic building did not manage to survive the historic turmoils. The present palace was built in the 19th century. Today it attracts numerous visitors, who can admire the beautiful views of Belfast.
Why go there? The castle features a visitor center, an antique shop, a restaurant and also hosts various events including weddings.
1. Eilean Donan, Loch Duich Island, Scotland
The castle is named after Celtic saint Donnan of Eigg, who established a church here first in 617. The castle has witnessed a lot of aristocratic dramas and attacks from Mackenzie’s enemies. The castle’s renovation started in 1919 and was finished in 1932. Today it is one of the most popular castles in Scotland. Its dramatic exterior attracts many visitors, photographers, and filmmakers, as well as advertisers.
Why go there? Eilean Donan’s beauty has made it an iconic Scottish symbol. It is historically and culturally significant site, the most popular and photographed Scottish castle.