If you love castles, Herefordshire is the county to visit.  Many Herefordshire castles were built across the Wales and England border during the turbulent time after the Norman Conquest.  The ruins of these still exist today. It’s fascinating to see these castle ruins,  discover their history and enjoy views from the top.

Travel further into Herefordshire and discover castles built later that are fully intact. Enjoy the splendour and beautiful grounds of Hampton Court Castle, Eastnor Castle,  and Croft Castle and Parkland

Eastnor Castle

Eastnor Castle is in a beautiful location at the foot of the Malvern Hills, surrounded by a deer park, arboretum and lake.

It was built by the 2nd Baron (Lord) Somers, later 1st Earl, between 1810 and 1824. Today, it’s home to the Hervey Bathurst family

It’s an amazing day out. There is something for everybody. The castle is interesting to look round and is full of medieval armour and fine art.

Walkers will enjoy the spectacular grounds with walks, trails and views.

Children will love the maze, adventure playground, junior obstacle course and grounds for running around and playing hide and seek.

The Castle hosts many events throughout the year which include Easter trails, outdoor theatre, family fun days, a steam and vintage fair and the famous Eastnor Chillifest.

Find out more at Eastnor Castle

 

Goodrich Castle


Picture by Hugh Llewelyn / Flickr Creative Commons

Located above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in England with extensive remains.

Discover the fascinating history of the castle from it’s origins in the 11th century to it’s dramatic fall in 1646. Climb tight spiral staircases and see creepy murder holes built into the castle walls. Explore the dungeons and experience stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

There’s lots happening in the school holidays for kids including children’s trails and themed family events. If the weather is good take a picnic. There is also a cafe on site.

Find out more at Goodrich Castle

Croft Castle and Parkland


Picture by Glen Bowman / Flickr Creative Commons

Croft Castle and Parkland is a National Trust property.  The 17th Century castellated manor house has been home to the Croft family for over 1000 years. Discover the story of the Croft family through photos and other memorabilia in the property.

The stunning countryside surrounding the castle provides fantastic walks with options of long and short routes . See ancient trees, hill forts, restored valleys and woodlands. Kids will love the two children’s play areas which include a castle play area and a natural play area.

If you like haunted castles, this is one to check out. The spirit of Welsh freedom fighter Owain Glyndwr is one of six ghosts said to walk the halls of Croft Castle. Those who’ve seen the ghostly figure say he’s seven-feet tall!

There are many events and exhibitions throughout the year, check out the Croft Castle website to see what’s on.

 

Longtown Castle


Picture by michaelday_bath / Flickr Creative Commons

Longtown Castle is a small ruined castle which has free entry. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area of Longtown. There isn’t too much to see and do but there are boards to read that give you an insight into the history of the castle.

The Castle was first built in the 11th century and was one of a number of castles which defended Herefordshire againt Welsh invaders. It was abanded in the 1400s.

There’s space for picnics and you can enjoy lovely walks from the castle on public footpaths. There are also spectacular views of the Black mountains.

Wigmore Castle


Photo by michaelday_bath / Flickr Creative Commons

Wigmore Castle ruins are from one of the many fortifications built near the English-Welsh border after the Norman conquest. It was a powerhouse for 500 years and a stronghold of the Mortimor family. The castle was later dismantled to prevent it’s use during the Civil War.

Today, it is looked after by English Heritage. It’s somewhat overgrown as it has been left as a haven for plants and wildlife. Despite this, it’s an interesting place to explore, although you can’t access the keep for safety reasons. There are many ruins to discover at the site which are scattered around but it’s well worth seeing each one. There are some boards to explain the history of the castle.

To access the castle you have to walk through fields so it’s not the best place to visit if you have mobility issues.

You can bring a picnic and enjoy the stunning views of the countryside while you relax and eat

 

Hampton Court Castle


Photo by Elliott Brown / Flickr Creative Commons

The oldest parts of Hampton Court Castle (including the chapel) date back to 1427. The Castle has an interesting history and you can visit some of the rooms inside the castle. Consider a guided tour to get the most out of your visit.

Perhaps the best part of visiting Hampton Court Castle are the lovely gardens. There is much to explore including a maze, the sunken garden, waterfall and amazing views in all directions.

The castle is also an awesome wedding venue if you are looking for somewhere spectacular to tie the knot.

There are sometimes events which take place during the summer months such as jousting shows. Check out the website to see what’s on.

Kilpeck Castle


Photo by Amanda Slater / Flickr Creative Commons

Kipeck Castle ruins are free to see. There’s not a huge amount left but it’s a great place to come and walk around. The climb to the top of the earthworks are well worth the views from the top. Take a picnic and admire the scenic views while you eat.

The castle ruins are situated behind the church of St. Mary and St. David which is worth a quick visit too.

The castle was built just after the Norman invasion in around 1090.

 

Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle is one of the finest medieval ruins in England. It was built by the Normans in the 11th century and hugely expanded in the 12th century and beyond. It’s the only one of the castles in the list that isn’t located in Herefordshire (it’s actually just outside – in Shropshire). It’s only a 40 minute drive from Hereford.

There are lots of ruins to look around. Notice boards tell you about the history of the Castle. Climb up the spiral staircases to be rewarded with stunning views of Ludlow, the River Teme and the Welsh hills (in the distance).

The castle hosts many events throughout the year which include Easter egg hunts and the Ludlow food festival.

Ludlow is a pretty town and well worth a visit with many independent eateries and a market. Additionally, there are many walks starting from the Castle and down to the River Teme.

Clifford Castle


Photo by Humphrey Bolton / Wikimedia

Clifford Castle was built in the 11th Century. It’s situated 2 miles North East of Hay on Wye. Once built, it guarded a main crossing point over the River Wye between England and Wales. From the 15th Century it started to fall into disrepair but the ruins today give a good idea of what the castle looked like.

The castle is privately owned but it’s open to the public on certain days throughout the year, which are published on the Clifford Castle website. 

Hay Castle

Hay Castle by Ed Webster / Flickr Creative Commons

Hay Castle is situated in the lovely town of Hay on Wye. The castle ruins have a huge presence in the town. It was one of the great medieval defence structures on the border of England and Wales that is still standing. It was first built in the 12th century by the Norman Lord, William de Braose.

The castle had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years. Fortunately, it was awarded money from the National Lottery fund and raised it’s own funds to restore some of the castle. Restoration work has almost been completed on the castle. It’s due to open it’s doors to the public for the first time in May 2022.

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