Castles in England with the Most Beautiful Views

Castles in England with the Most Beautiful Views
Courtesy of Arundel Castle 

Discover these castles in England to make your vacation a fairytale.

There's one thing England does better than anywhere else in the world: castles, aside from medieval playwrights, pub lunches, and 1960s boy bands.

A country like this is home to nearly 800 surviving stone fortresses, some of which date back to the 11th century. Take a look at the ultimate fortified favorites to add to your next English itinerary if you're a Harry Potter or Downtown Abbey fan, a history buff, or a true drawbridge lover.


Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Courtesy of Historic UK

More than 850 years ago, Arundel was home to the Dukes of Norfolk, who have maintained the property well. It is easy to drive or take the train from London to Arundel. The castle was the first in Europe to have central heating, electricity, and elevators in the towers, and it is still in excellent condition today. There are many magnificent rooms and a 14th-century chapel as well as exquisite gardens for visitors to explore. In addition to the castle, Arundel, huddled about its foot, is worth exploring (especially for its legendary Sunday roast), which can be enjoyed there.


Highclere Castle, Hampshire

Courtesy of Boston Globe 

As one of England's newest major castles, Downtown Abbey, Highclere was constructed in the late 17th century. In addition to its intricate state rooms, palatial dining room, and elegant saloon, it is also unquestionably one of the most beautiful. One of the most attractive things about the castle is its expansive grounds — best accompanied by a demi-bottle of Joseph Perrier Champagne and impeccable sponge cakes, scones, and sandwiches.


Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Courtesy of Pinterest 

Royal watchers (and fans of The Crown) will know that Windsor Castle has been the home of British kings and queens for more than 1,000 years, and is still the residence of King Charles III today. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding took place at the grandiose State Apartments and the Gothic St. George's Chapel, the world's largest and oldest inhabited castle. Many parts of the castle are now open to the public.


Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Courtesy of Historic Houses 

For over 700 years, Alnwick has served as the residence of the Dukes of Northumberland, which doubled as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies. In addition to the current duke and duchess living in a private part of the 11th-century fortress, the rest of the fortress is open to the public for seven months each year. Highlights include an important Italian painting gallery, a lavish library, and a Harry Potter tour — which includes broomstick lessons in the courtyard. The Golden Snitch is not included in the Harry Potter tour.


Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Courtesy of Lonely Planet 

A fortified citadel built by William the Conqueror in 1068, Warwick Castle has undergone several refortifications over the centuries. There are dungeon tours, fiery ballista demonstrations, and jousting tournaments at the huge castle today, which is "full to the turrets" with family-friendly activities. You can stay in the castle (including tower suites with four-poster beds) or in the riverside Knight's Village, where woodland lodges are available for overnight stays.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Courtesy of Historic Houses 

There were Anglo-Saxon kings of Northumbria living at Bamburgh Castle before England was even a country; forget the usual dukes and lords. One of Europe's finest coastal fortresses, the building sits on a dramatic rocky outcrop overlooking the North Sea. A sword that is shrouded in myth is the Bamburgh Sword, a seventh-century weapon you shouldn't miss when you visit.

Leeds Castle, Kent

Courtesy of To Europe and Beyond 

While Leeds Castle is named after the city of Leeds, you'll find it hundreds of miles away on a tranquil lake island in Kent. No fewer than six queens have occupied this fairy-tale fortress surrounded by a handsome moat (hence its nickname, "The Ladies Castle"). A fiendish circular maze in the gardens mirrors the shape of a queen's crown and is almost as photogenic as the castle itself.

Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire

Courtesy of Sudeley Castle 

Sudeley Castle's significance in English history makes it astonishing that it isn't better known. A favorite of influential monarchs from Richard the Lionheart to Queen Elizabeth I, it is located in the picturesque Cotswolds near Winchcombe. In addition to the 20 treasures of Sudeley, a collection of important artifacts that influenced historical narratives, there's also a charming chapel in the gardens that was the final resting place of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and the most infamous Tudor survivor.


Framlingham Castle, Suffolk

Courtesy of Framlingham Castle 

The castle stands in the rolling Suffolk countryside about a 30-minute drive northeast of Ipswich, an excellent example of motte and bailey fortifications from the 11th and 12th centuries. Visitors to the castle café can enjoy the spectacular views of the nearby River Ore after hiking around the castle's curtain wall and enjoying a well-earned cup of tea on the spot where Mary I was first proclaimed Queen of England.

Rochester Castle, Kent

Courtesy of Pinterest 

In spite of its precise location between an important river crossing and the old London Road, Rochester Castle is remarkably well preserved for a 12th-century castle - especially considering how many battles it has survived over the centuries. It was a stronghold during the revolt against Bad King John, losing a whole tower to a pig fat bomb in 1215, but rebuilt under Henry III, remaining effective well into the 16th century.


Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Courtesy of Historic UK 

The Bodiam Castle has a deep moat encircling it, so it's the perfect stronghold. It combines all aspects of classic battlements: strong round towers, a traditional gatehouse, and a portcullis that intimidates. Built in 1385 to defend England against a feared French invasion, it ticks all of the classic battlement boxes. This medieval gem is today largely just an external stone shell, just 14 miles from the picturesque Sussex coast. The shell, however, is amazing.


The Tower of London

Courtesy of National Geographic 

Even though the Tower of London was a fortified castle and royal residence during the Middle Ages, it is best known as England's most ignominious prison. There's no denying that it's one of London's top tourist attractions, and it's one of the country's most haunted buildings (two of Henry VIII's wives were beheaded here, for instance). Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters, who are bigger than life, lead tours through the dungeons and crown jewels to attract nearly three million visitors each year.


Dover Castle, Kent

Courtesy of Pinterest 

The Dover Castle, known as "the Key to England" for its defensive significance, dominates the English Channel, a mere 21 miles away from France. It is unique among England's ancient fortresses in that it served a defensive purpose well into the 20th century after being built in the 12th century. There are several highlights here, including secret wartime tunnels, the robust Great Tower itself (now an interactive museum), and a Roman lighthouse that dates back to the year 50, making it one of England's oldest structures.

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