Top 5 Favourite Castles in Great Britain – From an Insider’s Point of View

Many tourists come to London every year and enjoy the vibrant capital city, but less than half of them explore other parts of foggy Albion. That’s not right! Great Britain is a fabulous place to travel around. There are so many things to do and see, you just can’t miss it. Here is my list of favourite castles, from elegant England to mysterious Scotland – and believe me, I’ve visited a lot of them!

Arundel Castle

Founded in the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, this towering castle is the stately home and fortified castle of the 18th Duke of Norfolk.

Arundel Castle

The medieval castle is set among beautiful gardens and is one of the England’s largest complete and inhabited castles. One of the oldest parts of the castle is the tower, which provides breath-taking views across the nearby River Arun.

Arundel Castles garden

We loved the magical atmosphere of the castle and especially the beautiful garden.   

Arundel Castles garden

Arundel Castle is the backdrop for several movies, such as The Young Victoria, Doctor Who and The Madness of King George.

Arundel Castles Garden

What to see? Nowadays the castle has a very fine collection of furniture and paintings, including the personal possessions of Mary, Queen of Scots. Don’t miss the spectacular garden!

Where? West Sussex, England - 2 hours’ drive from London.

 Windsor castle

The most prominent and probably the most popular castle in Great Britain. Windsor is the summer residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but it’s open to visitors all year round. You can enter the castle even when Her Majesty is in residence! Just have a look at the flag flying from the castle’s Round Tower: if it’s the Royal Standard the Queen is there too.  

Windsor castle entrance

Windsor castle

Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world and has been the family home to British kings and queens for over one thousand years. It’s definitely a must-visit place when you travel to the UK.

Kiosk at Windsor Castle

Windsor town

Windsor town definitely deserves attention as well with small, narrow houses, cobbled streets and cosy cafes open for lunch and dinner.    

Windsor town

What to see? Magnificent state apartments, paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens, Queen Mary’s dollhouse (the largest and most famous dollhouse in the world), and semi-state rooms, where the Queen holds her receptions. The changing of the guard is another spectacular event which takes place in front of the main entrance.

Where? Windsor, England - a 1-hour drive from London.

Leeds Castle

Some people say, it’s “the loveliest castle in the world”. And I have to agree; Leeds Castle is my favourite castle in Great Britain. There are so many things to see and do! One can even spend a night here in a cottage or in one of the luxury bed and breakfast rooms.   

Leeds Castle

It’s the ideal place for a family visit or a romantic getaway. Set in a huge parkland and surrounded by a lake, Leeds Castle is the perfect backdrop to any day out, but especially during the summer and early autumn. During its 900-year history, Leeds Castle has been a Norman fortress, home to six medieval English queens and a palace used by Henry VIII. In the 30s, the castle was sold to rich and prosperous Lady Baillie, who entertained London’s high society here at the weekend. After her death, the castle was opened to the public.          

What to see? The historic castle itself with gorgeous interiors refurbished by top European designers throughout the 1920s and 30s for its last owner, Lady Baillie; the natural maze, where one can get lost, a grotto, falconry displays, a ride on Elsie the Castle Land Train or the Black Swan Ferry Boat.

 Where? Kent, England - 1.5 hours’ drive from London.

Eilean Donan Castle

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all over the world and is one of the most photographed castles in the country. Photos of the 13th century castle can be seen on different souvenirs, postcards and paintings. It’s one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands and it has been my dream for many years to come here and discover the surrounding area.

Elean Donan Castle grounds

Eilean Donan castle is situated on an island and surrounded by majestic scenery. That’s why it’s an extremely popular venue for weddings, TV shows, advertisements and fashion shoots. The castle has featured in many films, including James Bond – The World is Not Enough.

Eilean Donan Castle

What to see? The history of the region, displays of weapons, fine art and the story of the MacRae family, who bought the castle in 1911 and restored it. One can observe wildlife as well with regular viewings of porpoise, dolphins, otters and birdlife.

Where? Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland - almost 2 hours’ drive from Inverness city; 4 hours from Edinburgh

Urquhart Castle

Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, nowadays the picturesque ruins lie on the shore of mysterious Loch Ness Lake. Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress – great battles between the Scots and the English during the War of Independence took place here.

Urquhart Castle

We loved our day here in the castle, which is great a great spot for Nessie sightings and listening to traditional Scottish music. Beautifully dressed musicians play the bagpipes in the grounds of the ruins. 

Urquhart Castle

What to see? The castle ruins - one can find a prison, a tall tower with a great view, an exhibition about Scottish history, and a film about the history of the castle at the visitors’ centre video theatre. 

Where? Near Drumnadrochit village, the Scottish Highlands - 30 minutes’ drive from Inverness city, 4 hours from Edinburgh.

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I still remember my first trip. It was to London. I fell in love with this city the moment I saw it. Just - "click", and my heartbeat quickened. I was chosen by it. Red and funny double-decker buses, serious black cabs, the gorgeous Buckingham palace... That's it! I am your admirer forever! From that moment I have visited many places and have been to many countries. Traveling became my passion. My long lasting love, which I hope will never end.

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