Britain’s 10 best castles and forts

The UK is home to some spectacular ancient castles and forts, filled with myths and legends and brimming with fascinating history. Whether you’re taking a family trip or simply looking for some culture, we’ve put a list together of the 10 best British castles and forts that are well worth a visit.

1. Edinburgh Castle

britain castles and forts

Walk in the footsteps of Kings, Queens, soldiers, prisoners and even pirates at Edinburgh Castle– one of Europe’s oldest fortresses. The castle’s hallowed halls are home to a host of intriguing exhibits that open a door to its ancient past.

2. Windsor Castle

Britain castles and forts

Perhaps one of the most famous castles in the world, Windsor Castle is the current residence of the Queen, and has over 900 years of royal heritage to explore and discover. The Castle itself was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century and has played a significant role in the lives of 39 monarchs.

3. Tower of London

Britain castles and forts

Step inside the walls of the Tower of London and you’ll discover the powerful (and slightly bloody) reputation of this elaborate fortress. It’s infamy has stood the test of time and it’s now a popular tourist attraction that’s also home to six intelligent and cheeky ravens, dozens of knowledgeable Beefeaters and the precious Crown Jewels.

4. Highclere Castle

Britain castles and forts

You may recognise Highclere Castle for it’s starring role in one of ITV’s classic historical dramas- Downton Abbey. Walk in the footsteps of the aristocratic Crawley family and find out more about the filming of the second Downton Abbey film. You’ll also discover for yourself the stories from the real people that lived there as well as admiring the incredible landscape and gardens that surround the castle.

5. Corfe Castle

Britains castles and forts

As well as being the name of a very famous fortress, Corfe Castle is also the name of the village in which it stands. Take a wander around it’s battle-torn walls and explore the hidden nooks and crannies of one of Britain’s most iconic survivors of the English Civil War. Once you’ve finished admiring the castle, head into the village itself. You’ll find a model village, charming indie shops and art galleries.

6. Dover Castle

Britains castles and forts

Looking over the popular port town of Dover is Dover Castle, the 900 year old medieval icon that has been named the ‘Key to England’ due to its integral part in World War II. During the summer months, the whole family can be transported back to 1941 in the wartime tunnels and learn more about what the people of Dover experienced all those years ago with immersive performances and exhibitions.

7. Glamis Castle

Britains castles and forts

Glamis Castle has one of the most traditional and iconic castle looks with its impressive gothic style turrets. Take in the 1000 years of history on a guided tour, get involved at one of the seasonal events, explore the surrounding formal gardens or take advantage of the beautiful Scottish location and go for a summer walk along one of the surrounding nature walkways.

8. Hever Castle

Britains castles and forts

Hever Castle in the Kent countryside is famously known for being the childhood home of the ill-fated Tudor queen Anne Boleyn. Discover her story with a tour of the castle, admire the Bluebells on the Woodland Walk, have a picnic in the sunny castle grounds and cool off with a visit to the Water Maze.

9. Alnwick Castle

Britains castles and forts

You may have spotted the medieval 950 year old Alnwick Castle on a couple of the earlier Harry Potter films. To carry on its big screen legacy, you and the family can take part in some broomstick training alongside the other medieval themed events in the castle grounds. Once you’re done, you can tuck into some traditional snacks at the beautiful courtyard cafe.

10. Warwick Castle

Britains castles and forts

Over a thousand years of history, exciting bird shows and jousting make the characterful Warwick Castle a must-see for a fun family day out. Your little jousters will be well entertained with the new addition of a new 3D Zog interactive adventure trail, a Horrible Histories Maze and 64 acres of open space to play, explore or have a picnic.