I might have mentioned I love castles! Living in England I have easy access to countless castles and almost as many websites and articles about the castles- yay! I’m casually trying to visit all the castles that I can easily reach from London. Here are a few that stand out as favorites so far!
- Hampton Court Palace | Best Overall Castle Experience
- As an avid historical fiction fan and King Henry VIII follower, Hampton Court was at the top of my list of castles to visit! This royal palace impresses from start to end! The audio guide brings you through the rooms of King Henry VIII, and King William III as well as the palace kitchens. The scratch and sniff map brings the Georgian rooms and chocolate kitchen to life!
- Highlights include the Tudor Kitchens (how can I become a historical chef!?), the Chapel Royal and the expansive gardens.
- Getting to Hampton Court Palace is very easy, just 35 minutes on the South West line from Waterloo.
- Touring the castle costs £20 and takes about 3 hours.
- Walmer Castle | Best Gardens
- Walmer Castle is a pretty little castle on the English Channel. It has everything I love in a castle, on a small, approachable scale: an audio guide, stately rooms, recreated living quarters, an impressive fortress design and gorgeous English gardens.
- The gardens surround the castle and include bountiful kitchen gardens, formal English gardens and many acres of beautiful, sunny space. You might even spot a friendly (I think) fox!
- Getting to Walmer Castle is very easy during the summer – just over an hour train ride from St. Pancreas. In the off season on the weekend, the trip is about 2 hours.
- Touring the castle costs £10 and takes about an hour, but wandering the gardens on a sunny day can take up additional time
- Dover Castle | Best Fortress
- Dover Castle is more than just a pretty place to live. It is the largest castle in England and has been a significant fortress guarding the south coast of England since the 11th century. Most recently, during World War II the castle tunnels were used as air-raid shelters.
- Touring the castle you’ll encounter many facets of English history from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day, with a focus on Henry II, who built the modern castle in 1180.
- Highlight for me include: the recreated Medieval residence and kitchen, WW I & II exhibit and the Admiral’s Lookout, where you can take in the entire property and gaze out over the white cliffs, to France.
- Like Walmer, Dover is on the Southeastern line and can be accessed easily from St. Pancreas.
- Touring the castle costs £18 and can take many hours if you cover the entire property
PS CastlExplorer is a fantastic castle hunting resource