What Is The Best Castle in Britain?
Our children pick the best castle to visit in Britain.
There are too many castles in Britain to visit them all.
We tried to google how many castles there were and no one can definitively determine the number because of the many ruins.
You can’t visit Britain without stopping to see castles but realistically unless you were studying for a thesis on castles you can’t pay to enter them all.
During our 6 week visit of Britain, we passed many castles and stopped for photos but only went inside one.
We were undecided on which castle to visit, so we let the kids decide and gave them the following choices based on our travel plans.
Stirling Castle is in the Eastern Scottish Highlands. In William Wallace territory, steeped in history and surrounded by forests. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned at Stirling Castle when she was nine months old. It sits high above the forest on a rock ledge and can be seen from the Highway M9 North of Falkirk. There is also a monument to William Wallace that stands high above the tree line and can also be seen from road.
There are kids activities such as tours, discovery and interactive learning.
Public Owned – The castle is managed by Historic Scotland, a government agency.
Price: Adult $32 and Child (5-15) $19 – Family total – $102 AUD
Location: Castle Esplanade, Stirling, Scotland.
The largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world. The Queen still visits and spends time in Windsor castle. If her ‘Royal Standard’ flag is up the mast then she is in residence. The town of Windsor is typically English, with many very old buildings and establishments. Well worth a visit to wander around.
Children’s activities in the castle include; story telling and dressing up in replica costume and armor. Family craft activities are also available.
Price: Family ticket $110 AUD
Location: Windsor, England.
Sitting high above Edinburgh on a large rock, it was the scene of many battles throughout history. Queen Mary of Scots gave birth to James VI at Edinburgh. Most recently the castle became a military base and it is now Scotlands leading tourist attraction. The forecourt is the stage for the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
There are interactive games, based on military battle, to play for both young and old.
Price: Adult $36 and Child (5-15) $22 – Family total $116 AUD
Location: Castlehill, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Known as the key to England due its position on the White Cliffs of Dover. Strategically important castle, it is a key feature in modern wars with an underground hospital and battalions. Dover Castle might be a visible symbol of English power but it doesn’t actually sit on the cliff edge but behind an Iron Age hill fort, on the highest point of the 80 acre grounds.
Light on kid centric entertainment, the tunnels are a feature all ages will enjoy.
Price: Family ticket $103 AUD
Location: Castle Hill, Dover, England.
And the kids pick…..
Privately owned castle and residence of Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland and his family. The castle was used for filming external shots for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The state rooms were used as the set for the television show Downton Abbey’s 2014 Christmas Special.
The castle is the smallest one in this list but has many exhibitions and military museums. Most importantly, there is heaps for the kids to do.
We spent the first two hours exploring the grounds and many rooms, including the state rooms with their luxurious fittings, however, no photos were allowed. It is understandable as the owners live in them for nine months of the year; tells us one guide, the guides inside will answer any question you have.
“Hogwarts broomstick flying lessons were heaps of fun”, Autumn (14) said. They are organised by two wizarding professors on the very spot where Harry Potter learnt to fly in the first movie.
After the lesson their skills were amazing.
Next, the girls dressed up and played with the equipment in ‘Knights Quest’. Spring (9) said, “Knights Quest was awesome because I got to dress up as a Princess and then a Knight. I swung the swords and beat up an enemy Knight.”
Then we all attempted the ghoulish ‘Dragon’s Quest’. Just like a haunted house but we had to solve riddles to find the clues to a short quest. Finally, we checked out the gift shop and Spring even brought a wand.
After spending 3 hours in the castle, we were pleasantly surprised to find a massive tree house with suspension bridges running from tree to tree. It was an amazing three storey tree house with restaurant and small cafe in the little forest just before the exit.
Price: Family ticket $86 AUD
Location: Northumberland, England.
Gardens website: alnwickgarden.com
Our visit to Alnwick Castle was the cheapest pick, this was a nice surprise, and had some great features that were enchanting. Pun intended, the garden and treehouse was magical. The activities are well coordinated and the military displays are very interesting and at times moving.
The girls are extremely happy with their one castle visit. They were dreading us dragging them through heaps of castles as we did with churches in Europe, but the price is a deterrent so one is enough.