The UK has more than its fair share of castles, mainly due to the fact that the land is comprised of four kingdoms that were at war during the medieval times. The Britannica Encyclopaedia chronicles how these kingdoms put years of conflict behind them and came to an agreement to unify their territories under the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as it is now formally known today.
The exact number of castles in the UK isn’t entirely clear, but to give you an idea about their prevalence in the country, AOL Travel published a travel guide stating that in England alone, there are already around 4,000.
In this article, we’ll focus on four of the most famous.
England: Tower of London
The Telegraph compiled a list of Britain’s best castles, and stated that there is no castle more famous than the Tower of London. Many historical events happened inside its walls, including the trial and tragic fate of Anne Boleyn, and the 17th century burglary of the Crown Jewels.
Wales: Raglan Castle
Raglan Castle provided shelter to highly influential Welsh families such as the Herberts and the Somersets. The castle also served as the last stronghold of King Charles I during the civil war between the Parliamentarians and Royalists.
Scotland: Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle was where an infant Mary Queen of Scots was defended from the attacks of Henry VIII. The nearby Stirling Bridge on the other hand, was the site of an important victory for Sir William Wallace during the Scottish Wars of Independence. This event was made famous in the 20th century through the film Braveheart starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace.
Northern Ireland: Carrickfergus Castle
Witness to the conflict between Britain and the rest of Ireland, this castle was central to events such as the Rathlin Island Massacre, where 600 Scots and Irish were killed, and the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland. It was also where the deciding Battle of the Boyne took place, after which William III foiled the attempts of James II to reclaim the British crown.
Some Tips for the Adventure
Tour packages can be interesting, however if you create your own itinerary, it’ll provide you with less limitations regarding visit times and the trip itself, sans tourist guides and other professional fees, and it can even save you money in the long run. Just allot extra time beforehand for the necessary preparations.
Booking your own transport to get to the aforementioned castles is also a good idea as you won’t be bound by public transport limitations At most of the UK’s airports, you can just pick up a hire vehicle up a few minutes after arriving, given the close proximity of the majority of car parks to terminals at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. Alternatively, Parking4Less explains that the surrounding hotels also have options available to flyers that include self-parking and are ideal for people who “have a long drive ahead” and can act as an “enjoyable extension to your holiday.” These provisions act as way of recharging your batteries before a long journey towards one of the above castles or preparing yourself for the flight ahead.
Having your own transport allows for a more personalized and flexible trip, leaving you with more freedom to fully explore UK’s castles.
Sometimes it’s best to just enjoy the moment, not giving in to the impulse of taking tons of pictures to immediately post online. All in all, seeing a bunch of castles in photos hardly justifies the feeling of actually being inside their walls. So if you’re venturing to the UK soon and are still deliberating where to explore, consider these castles as a wonderfully fulfilling adventure in the future.