Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by Louise
London is lucky to have many beautiful castles (and palaces) which are just a train ride away.
The castles are some of the most stunning in England and are full of fascinating things to see and do. Many of the castles host themed events and activities throughout the year, so it’s well worth checking out their websites to see what’s going on.
Some of the castles are more easily reached than others but we’ve detailed exactly how to get there so you can make a decision as to which ones to see.
So what’s stopping you? Book your ticket, hop on a train and discover these 10 amazing castles on London’s doorstep.
Take the train from London Paddington (35 minutes) or from London Waterloo (55 minutes)
Windsor Castle is the centrepiece in the quaint and historic town of Windsor. Originally built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has been a royal residence for over 900 years. The Queen used to spend several weekends here a year, hosting state dinners and important events.
Many events have taken place here over the years, from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018!
It’s home to St. George’s Chapel, where the Queen has been laid to rest and the State Apartments, which are used for official state occasions.
During the summer months, the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, takes place daily and on alternate days during the winter.
Make sure to see the Queen Mary’s Doll House which is fascinating whether a young person or an adult.
There are two ways from get to Windsor Castle from London by train:
1.) Take the train from London Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central – you will need to make a very easy train change at Slough. (approx 35 minutes.) Windsor & Eton Central Station is located just below the castle walls.
2.) Take the train from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station (approx 55 minutes). The station is a 5 minutes walk from Windsor Castle. Bear in mind that this walk involves a very steep climb up a hill.
Take the train from London Bridge (40 minutes) + short taxi ride.
Historic Hever castle was built in the 13th century as a fortified manor house and converted into a castle in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Anne Boleyn, who was the second wife of King Henry VIII, lived at the castle as a child, and it is believed that Henry VIII visited her there before they were married. It was also the childhood home of Anne’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.
Visitors can explore the castle’s interior, which includes rooms decorated in the Tudor style, including Anne Boleyn’s bedroom and a chapel where Henry VIII is said to have worshipped.
Beautifully manicured gardens are not to be missed. They include an Italian garden, a rose garden, and a Tudor garden.
Numerous events take place here throughout the year, including jousting tournaments, outdoor theatre performances, and Christmas markets.
How to get to Hever Castle by train
Trains run from London Victoria and London Bridge (via Oxted or East Croydon) to Edenbridge Town Station. Then take a taxi for three miles to the castle. You will need to phone and book a taxi in advance as there are no taxis waiting at the station. Check out the Hever Castle website for details on how to get there and taxi firms.
Take the train from London Paddington (40 minutes) + 15 minute taxi ride.
Photo Credit: Richard Munckton
Fans of Downtown Abbey, must visit Highclere Castle. This impressive country house is located in Hampshire, England.
First built in the late 17th century, it was later remodeled in Victorian Gothic style. The castle features numerous staterooms, bedrooms, and a library. There’s also collections of art, furniture, and historical artifacts. As well as the beautiful castle, there are extensive gardens, woodland walks and a lake.
In addition to being home to the Carnarvon family for over 300 years, Highclere Castle was used as a hospital during World War I, and training centre for the British Secret Service during World War II.
The castle is only open on certain dates during the summer months, so check out the website to see when you can go inside. The grounds are open all year round.
How to get to Highclere by train
It’s an easy journey from London Paddington, with trains running directly to Newbury station. Then it’s just a 15-minute taxi to the castle. According to the Highclere website, taxis can be found outside the station but you will need to book a return taxi to take you back for your return train.
Take the train from London Marylebone by train (1 hour 15 minutes) + bus journey (23 minutes)
Blenheim Palace isn’t a castle but it’s got a place on this list as it’s a beautiful and historic residence. The stunning stately home is located in Oxfordshire, England. It was built in the early 18th century as a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his military victories against France.
It has a rich history, and has been home to the Churchill family for over 300 years. Sir Winston Churchill, was born at the palace in 1874. You can even take a look in the bedroom where he was born.
Designed in the English Baroque style by architect Sir John Vanbrugh, Blenheim Palace is considered one of the finest examples of this style in England. You can see all the stunning interiors, including the Long Library, which is one of the largest private libraries in Europe, and the State Rooms, which are used for official receptions and events.
There’s so much to do at Blenheim. Amazing gardens and parklands have attractions for kids like a small children’s train and the Marlborough maze. Formal gardens include the Water Terraces, the Italian Garden, and the Rose Garden, while the parkland features miles of gorgeous walking trails, lakes, and woodlands.
The Palace also hosts a range of events including guided tours, outdoor concerts, and seasonal festivals.
How to Get To Bleinham Palace by train.
Take the train from London Marylebone to Oxford Parkway (then connect to Blenheim by Bus 7 – this route may be changing from March 5th 2023 – so double check). You can get 30% off Palace, Park & Garden tickets if you arrive by train – use the code GREEN30 on the Blenheim Palace website at checkout. Find out more on how to get to Bleinham Palace
Take the train from London St Pancras International or London Victoria (1 hour) + 5 minute bus journey (or 26 minute walk)
Dover Castle is a medieval fortress with a long, rich history. It was a strategic defensive site for over 2,000 years.
Originally built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the castle was later expanded and modified over the centuries to strengthen its defences. It played a key role in numerous historical events, including the Napoleonic Wars and World War II.
Visitors can explore the castle’s interior, including the Great Tower, the medieval palace, and the Roman pharos, which is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world.
The impressive defensive features, including the iconic White Cliffs, form a natural barrier against sea-borne attacks.
Excitingly, the castle also has extensive network of tunnels and underground chambers, including Secret Wartime Tunnels. These were used as a military command centre during World War II. You can explore the tunnels and experience what life was like for soldiers and civilians during times of war.
How to Get To Dover Castle by train
Take the train from London St Pancras International or London Victoria to Dover Priory station. From Dover Priory it’s roughly a 26-minute walk to the castle. You can also get the number 93 bus from Priory Street (Stop E) heading towards Deal, which will take you to Dover Castle in five minutes. From there it’s a two-minute walk to the castle.
Hampton Court Palace
Take the train from London Waterloo (30 minutes with stops at Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park and New Maldon on the way) + 5 minute walk.
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace located in the borough of Richmond upon Thames in southwest London. Again it’s not a castle, but if you love visiting castles, you will probably enjoy visiting Hampton Court too.
The palace was originally built in the early 16th century for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was a close advisor to King Henry VIII.
After Wolsey’s fall from favour, the palace was acquired by King Henry VIII, who expanded and renovated it extensively over the course of his reign. It then became one of the principal residences of the Tudor monarchs and played a significant role in English history.
Today, Hampton Court Palace is open to the public as a museum and tourist attraction, and is known for its rich history and impressive architecture. The palace’s design features a range of historic architectural styles, including Tudor, Baroque, and Georgian.
Visitors can explore the palace’s interior, which features a range of historic rooms and exhibits, and includes the Great Hall, the Chapel Royal, and the King’s Apartments, which were used by King Henry VIII and his wives. The palace’s collections also include artwork, furniture, and other objects of historical significance.
In addition to its museum exhibits, Hampton Court Palace also offers a variety of outdoor activities and events, including costumed re-enactments and it’s famous Garden festival. With over 60 acres of landscaped gardens, including the famous maze and the Great Vine, (the largest grapevine in the world) – the palace grounds are not to be missed.
How to get to Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace train station is in zone 6 so you can use an oyster card to get here. National Rail train services run from London Waterloo to Hampton Court Station every 30 minutes. The train calls at Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Maldon, Berrylands, Surbiton, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court. The station is a 5 minute walk from the Palace.
Take the train from London Victoria (1 hour 10 minutes) + shuttle bus (operates in the summer only)
This stunning castle in Kent, is situated on an island in the middle of a lake, surrounded by gorgeous gardens and parkland.
It was built in the 12th century as a Norman stronghold, and was later used as a royal palace by King Edward I and his queen, Eleanor of Castile. Over the centuries, the castle has been owned by numerous prominent families, including the de Crevecoeur, Culpeper, and Fairfax families.
Inside the castle, the banquet hall, library, and bedrooms have all been beautifully restored and furnished with period pieces. They are wonderful to look around.
Visitors will love the stunning Castle gardens, the Woodland Walk, as well as a number of lakes and water features. There’s also a maze and an aviary.
How to get to Leeds Castle
Take the train from London Victoria to Bearstead station. In the summer months you can get a shuttle bus from Bearstead station to Leeds Castle. Find out more here.
Take the train from Liverpool Street Station (1 hour) + 400 yards walk.
William the Conqueror constructed Colchester Castle in the 11th century and it was one of the first stone castles to be built in England.
The castle has had many interesting roles. Not only has it served as a royal residence, it’s been a military fortress, and a prison!
Today, Colchester Castle is open to the public as a museum. Highlights include the Roman vaults, the Norman keep, and the Victorian galleries. The castle’s collections include Roman artifacts, medieval objects, and paintings, as well as interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.
How to get to Colchester Castle
Take the train from London Liverpool Street station to Colchester Town station (about 1 hour). The Castle is about 400yds from the station.
Take the train from London Victoria (1 hour and 45 minutes) + 10 minute walk
Arundel Castle is a fairy-tale, medieval construction which dates back over 900 years. It was home to the Howard family, the Dukes of Norfolk, for over 400 of those years from the 1600s.
Built in the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, the castle was later owned by the powerful Fitzalan family, who were the Earls of Arundel. In the 16th century, it was seized by the Crown after the Fitzalans fell out of favour and was eventually sold to Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, in 1660.
Must sees inside the castle include the Great Hall, and the State Dining Room. There is also the library, which houses a collection of rare books and manuscripts. The castle’s collections include artwork, armour, and furniture from various periods in its history.
With over 40 acres of landscaped gardens, water features, and woodland trails, the grounds are also a popular attraction. Discover a Victorian walled garden, a medieval motte and bailey, and a collection of rare and exotic plants.
How to Get to Arundel Castle
Take the train from London Victoria to Arundel Station. The castle is about a 10 minute walk from the station.
Take the train from London Marylebone (1 hour and 45 minutes) + 15 minute walk.
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle located in Warwick, England. It was originally built in 1068 by William the Conqueror as a defensive stronghold to protect against rebellion and invasion.
Over the centuries, the castle was expanded and renovated by a series of owners, including the de Beauchamp and Neville families, who were powerful English nobles during the Middle Ages. During this time, the castle played a significant role in English history, including the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War.
Today, Warwick Castle is as a themed tourist attraction. It is known for its rich history and impressive architecture. The castle’s design features a range of historic architectural styles, including Norman, Gothic, and Renaissance.
Families and kids love it here as there is lots going on including mazes, archery, jousting tournaments and falconry displays.
It’s well worth exploring the castle’s interior, which features a range of historic rooms and exhibits, including the Great Hall, the State Rooms. The Dungeon Experience with live actors and special effects is also not to be missed. There are also collections of armour, weaponry, and other objects of historical significance.
In addition to its museum exhibits, Warwick Castle also offers a range of outdoor events. It’s worth checking the website to see what’s on when you go. The castle’s surrounding grounds and gardens are also a popular attraction, with scenic walks, picnic areas, and stunning views of the castle and the nearby River Avon.
How to get to Warwick Castle by train
Take the train from London Marylebone to Warwick station. The castle is about a mile from the station, so well within walking distance.
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