If you’re searching for exciting things to do with the family, what better way to spend the day than to explore the ancient famous castles of England? England is said to be home to over 4,000 castles, built many hund reds of years ago and scattered throughout the UK countryside and coastline. Many of the most famous still stand today, acting as a reflection of the countries rich heritage.

Serving as monuments of England’s unique and bloody history and witness to forei gn invasions, wars and conquests, many of these famous castles were designed to house royalty and aristocracy, defend borders and provide fortresses for English armies during times of dispute. Today, England’s castles provide a fun day out as well as a fas cinating look into the past.

Discover the most famous castles in England below and plan your visit to the famous British castles that made history.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle has played a significant role in the border wars between Scotland and England over the centuries, and continues to make history even today. The medieval castle is located in the heart of Northumberland and was erected to guard the road crossing the River Aln. Owned by the Percy family for over 700 years, much of Alnwick Castle remains as their home to this day, with many rooms of the castle beautifully preserved — such as the Lavish State Rooms and Artisan courtyard that are open to the public.

Fuelling its status as one of the most famous castles in England, Alnwick Castle a ppeared in the Harry Potter film series, with many areas of the castle appearing in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Why not try out for the Quidditch team with broomstick flying lessons in the castle grounds? You’ll stand in the exact spot where Harry and his classmates first took flight.

Windsor Castle

Image by ahundt from Pixabay.

Windsor Castle in Berkshire is one of the most famous castles in England as it is both the royal home of the Quee n, and one of the largest and most occupied castle s in the world.

Founded by William the Con queror following the Norman invasion of England, the castle has a royal history that extends back over 900 years, and is said to have housed 39 monarchs since it was built in the 11 th century. The original medieval structure was reinvented over the centur ies with Georgian and Victorian flourishes, and houses a number of priceless paintings and original architectural features such as the grand Ballroom.

Discover the grandeur of The State Rooms, where the Queen hosts visits with Heads O f State from around the world, or witness the Changing The Guard ceremony, which takes place up to three times a week.

Dover Castle

Image by Stevebidmead from Pixabay.

Described as the ‘Key to England’ throughout history due to its function as a defen ce point off the Southern coast, Dover Castle is considered one of the most famous British castles, and the largest in England.

Fortified in the Iron Age and withstanding Roman occupation, the Saxon Era and Norman invasion s , the castle is considered one of the most strategic sites in England’s military heritage having also been used as a garrison during the 18 th century, and air raid shelter and command centre during the Second World War.

Visitors can discover Henry II’s Great Tower and the original Roman lighthouses that sit within the castles fortified walls, as well as reconstructed interiors which give a glimpse into the castle’s past.

Leeds Castle

  Image by ENichols from Pixabay.

Leeds Castle in Kent celebrates its 900 th anniversary in 2019, and having existed in its current structure since 1119, this former English stronghold is beautifully preserved.

The original wooden castle was built during the Saxon era on two islands in the middle of the River Len before Robert de Crevecoeur erected a stone castle in its place. Like many of the castles of the period, Leeds Castle served as a military post thro ughout the Norman invasion, but later became the residence of famous royals including King Edward I and his wife Eleanor of Castile, and Henry VIII, who lived there with his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

The interiors of the castle are perfectly recons tructed through conservation work to reflect the Medieval and Tudor influences over the castle with many original paintings and artefacts on display. Younger visitors can find themselves exploring the castles winding garden maze, before venturing to the de pths of the unde rground grotto for a fascinating and challenging day out.

Tower of London

Tower of London” by David Stanley is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Despite its name, the Tower of London is a Norman castle built by William The Conqueror following the conquest in 1066, and is known today as one of the most important castles in English history. Its name actually refers to the White Tower, which is located at the southern battlements within the ca stle walls.

While the Tower Of London has served as a royal residence and official home to The Crown Jewels, the castle is best known for its use as a prison from the year 1100 until 1952. The Tower of London is entangled in the grisly and bloody history of England’s capital, with stories of executions and ghosts making it one of the most famous and interesting fortresses.

Explore the Tower Of London and discover the remnants of magnificent royal lodgings, and what remains of the ‘concentric’ castle des ign, or witness the Ceremony Of The Keys which takes place daily by the Yeoman Warders or ‘Beefeaters’ who still guard the tower to this day.

Warwick Castle

Image by Kdsphotos from Pixabay.

Built to protect the Midlands against rebel attack thanks to its strategic position on the River Avon, Warwick Castle is one of the many castles built by William the Conqueror during the 11 th century. Famously used as a strongho ld, Warwick Castle’s impressive armoury is a key attraction that has made it one of Britain’s most loved castles to visit.

Children especially will love the way Warwick Castle transports you back in time, with battlements, towers and turrets waiting to be explored, as well as the grim castle dungeons and a number of daily shows and activities.

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall” by sagesolar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Set on Cornwall’s rug ged coastline, the 800 - year - old ruins of Tintagel Castle has ties to the famous English legend of King Arthur, and the Knights Of The Round Table.

Constructed by the Earl Of Cornwall in the 13 th century, the medieval castle i s said to resemble King Arthur’s court at Cam elot, and the dramatic setting is one of the most magical and inspiring to visit. Excavations around the castle have even uncovered Greek pottery, ancient coins, glass and the remains of structures from the Dark Ages, providing a telling insight into the c astles role within English history.

Bamburgh Castle 

Image by jon57 from Pixabay.

Bamburgh Castle’s location overlooking the North Sea at the Bamburgh coast makes it one of the most beautiful of England’s famous castles. This Norman castle was built on the site of a Celtic Brittonic fort, and is well known as one of the most fascinating archa eological sites in the country.

Playing an important role as an outpost for the English during Scottish raids over hundreds of years , the castle fell into the hands of Lord William Armstrong in the late 19th century , the philanthropist, scientist and inventor who was responsible for much of the manufacturing industry in the North E ast of England. The renovations of the castle were not completed before Armstrong’s death however, the castle was restored by the Armstrong family and remains open to the public today. The castle and its battlements boast grand stately rooms with many pain tings and antiquities as well as breath - taking views of the North East coast.

Walmer Castle

Image by IndiraFoto from Pixabay.

Walmer Castle proudly stands guard over the Kentish coast, having stood t here since the Tudor era. Built by Henry VIII in 1539 to defend the county from invasion following England’s disputes with France and the Holy Roman Empire, the castle has survived multiple sieges and the English Civil War. In latter years, Walmer Castle has served as a home to numerous members of the aristocracy. The Duke of Wellington and The Queen Mother are among the names who se rved as Lord Warden of the castle.

Today , Walmer Castle is a place of great beauty and history, with majest ic sea views and acres of award - winning gardens to explore. You can even see Lord Wellington’s chambers for yourself, with authentically recreated decor that provides a glimpse at what the castle was like during his residency.

Arundel Castle 

Arundel Castle mage by diego_torres from Pixabay.

A restored medieval castle in West Sussex, Arundel Castle’s story begins in 1067. The castle has passed hands many time s, having been both owned by the Dukes of Norfolk and under control of The Crown over the centuries. Having been badly damaged during no less than two sieges during The First Civil War, the castle was later restored by the Howard family who owned Arundel f or multiple generations.

Today Arundel Castle holds many treasures including specially commissioned furniture and portraits – many of which were designed in honour of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert , who paid a v isit to the castle for three days in 1846. The castle was also one of the first to be fitted with electric lights and central heating. The manicured gardens of Arundel Castle are particularly beautiful to visit in the summer months, when the rose garden is blooming.

These castles provide an important glimpse into England’s long and complicated history and have many important tales to tell. Plan the perfect day out by planning your visit to these famous English castles, and lose yourself in Britain’s past. Book your tickets for Alnwick Castle today and save 10% on the ticket price.