England and Wales are both famous for their castles and, wherever you are in the country, there is a beautiful castle or fascinating museum not far around the corner
Castles and museums make for interesting and historical days out, and are a great, interactive way to get children to learn about history. After all, which child wouldn’t like running up a castle and pretend to be a king or a princess for the day!
Many castles up and down the UK host themed-events with entertainment, live-displays and theatres to keep everyone of all ages entertained. For a fun day out with the family, check out our list of some of the UK’s top museums and castles.
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
Anybody who has watched Downton Abbey would instantly recognise this Victorian castle, set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland. Highclere is not far from London, just to the south of Oxford and north of Winchester. Visitors can experience the splendid rooms all decorated in Victorian Deco, the kitchens and the wonderful grounds surrounding the castle. There are also special guided tours and events available throughout the year.
The setting for last year’s Royal Wedding, Windsor castle overlooks the landscape of the picturesque town of Windsor. It is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is open to visitors all year round. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. Today the queen spends most of her private weekends at the castle. The castle hosts private and public events throughout the year, ranging from interactive afternoons and classes on history.
Leeds Castle, Kent
Billed as one of the loveliest castles in the world, families can discover 900 years of history at Leeds Castle and explore the maze and grotto and even go punting on the lake. There are also adventure playgrounds, over 500 acres of beautiful gardens and a falconry centre, running daily free-flying demonstrations. This year, Leeds Castle celebrates its 900-year anniversary with special events and a brand new playground opening in April!
Originally built by William the Conqueror, and now owned by entertainment group Merlin, Warwick Castle offers a day of fun with daily shows and battle re-enactments. With magnificent attractions such as the Horrible Histories maze, the Castle Dungeon and the Princess Tower, there is something for small and big kids of all ages. Brand new for 2019, there is The Falconer’s Quest – the UK’s ultimate Bird of Prey Show. There are also 64 acres of rolling landscaped gardens and an island with a secret past.
If you fancy staying the night, there is medieval-themed accommodation fit for royalty.
Farleigh Hungerford Castle
The city of Bath and its surrounding areas enjoy an array of museums, castles and the Roman Baths. Placed in the beautiful valley of the river Frome, only nine miles from Bath, stands the remains of Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Started in the 14th Century and occupied for 30 years, it still has much for visitors to enjoy and provides a great day out for families with children, couples and even walkers enjoying the beautiful surrounding countryside.
This is a little-known fact; Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe! Wales’ history has left a landscape scattered with Roman ruins from Medieval Welsh Princes and English Kings. With 600 castles in Wales, wherever you go on holiday, you won’t be far from a historic castle. Here are just a few of some of the country’s many castles.
(North Wales) is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle boasts eight massive towers and a great bow-shaped hall, all sitting within its distinctive elongated shape.
is the biggest castle in Wales and is surrounded by a series of moats and watery islands. Climb to the rooftop of the massive east gatehouse, and from here you can see the rings of stone and water defences that made Caerphilly so strong. Don’t forget to look out for the south-east tower, which out leans Pisa’s famous tower!
There are a great range of museums in the UK, offering a great day out for all the family. Yorkshire features the immersive, free-to-enter National Railway Museum, as well as the great Yorkshire Museum.
If you’re looking for museums a bit further south, then look no further than the capital! London is the hub of museums including the Natural History Museum, V&A, art galleries and the London Transport Museum, to name a few.
Find out more by visiting www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/london-attraction/museum/freemuseums-in-london
Hampshire is home to Beaulieu which features the National Motor Museum, Palace House and Gardens, and the World of Top Gear, offering one of the best days out in the heart of the New Forest. Beaulieu hosts special events throughout the year, and 2019 sees a celebration of 50 years of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.