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Castle Tour

Castle Tour

Introduction

Time: All Year

Accommodation: Castle & First Class Hotels

Start Date: 8 Days / 7 Nights

Group Size: Singles, Couples, Families and Small Groups

The word castle means a “fortified place” and it was first used to just before the Norman conquest of England in the C11th. The main period of castle building was in the Middle Ages but, in England and Wales, there are many earthworks and structures from well before this period some, stretching back into pre-history. These classify as castles.

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The aim of this tour is to give you a cross-section of England and Wales’ castles. Starting out from London, we travel east to the Channel coast – one of the most fortified regions anywhere. Then, we travel along the coast before tracking north to visit the World Heritage Sites of North Wales. From here, we visit the wonderful peaceful Northumberland coast before heading back to London via Warwick.

As there are so many castles and options available, the aim of this tour is to customise each day to either offer you something different or pick-up on a theme that interests you.

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Why not create your own tour? As with all our tours the attractions you see will take account of your interests and can be adapted to what you want to see. So, if you want to see places not on the list below, just let us know. Complete our enquiry form to find out more »


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Itinerary

Travelling east our first castle is ROCHESTER. Set on 3 floors, the keep is an imposing 113 feet high. In 1215, the castle was held by rebel barons and King John seiged the castle, destroying one side by tunnelling beneath it. Set in the North Sea marches, RICHBOROUGH CASTLE is the most symbolic site from Roman Britain and is where all modern roads begin. DOVER CASTLE dominates the WHITE CLIFFS. This huge complex of buildings is regarded as the oldest in England with buildings from all periods of history. The Secret WWII tunnels are a must. Other options in this area are WALMER CASTLE.

Day 1: Rochester - Richborough - Dover

Travelling east our first castle is ROCHESTER. Set on 3 floors, the keep is an imposing 113 feet high. In 1215, the castle was held by rebel barons and King John seiged the castle, destroying one side by tunnelling beneath it. Set in the North Sea marches, RICHBOROUGH CASTLE is the most symbolic site from Roman Britain and is where all modern roads begin. DOVER CASTLE dominates the WHITE CLIFFS. This huge complex of buildings is regarded as the oldest in England with buildings from all periods of history. The Secret WWII tunnels are a must. Other options in this area are WALMER CASTLE.

Day 2: Bodiam - Leeds - Hever

Day 2: Bodiam - Leeds - Hever

BODIAM CASTLE is perhaps, the best example of a moated medieval fortified manor. Built in 1385 as both a luxurious home and for defence, the exterior is virtually complete. LEEDS CASTLE is one of the most famous castles in the world. Dating back into pre-history and set on an idyllic island, Henry VIII transformed the keep from a fort into a palace. Together with the castle keep, there is 500 acres of parkland and gardens to explore. HEVER CASTLE is picture perfect. Childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the castle was passed to Anne of Cleves before being restored by the Astors.

Day 3: Old Sarum - Wardour - Berkeley

Day 3: Old Sarum - Wardour - Berkeley

The hilltop site of OLD SARUM is an iron age earthwork. It was taken over by the Romans, then Saxons and finally Normans and there the ruined castle is C11th. OLD WARDOUR came to fame in the movie, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It is a unique 6-sided C14th tower house built as a luxurious and lightly fortified country home. In the C18th, it became a romantic tourist attraction. BERKELEY CASTLE sits overlooking the Welsh borders and is a real gem. Owned by the same family for over 900 years, the main keep is spectacular and gives us a real picture of medieval life.

Day 4: Sudeley - Ludlow - Stokesay -

Day 4: Sudeley - Ludlow - Stokesay -

SUDELEY CASTLE is one of the most influential castles in England. Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Katherine Parr have all played a part in the castles history and it was the Royalist base in the Civil War. LUDLOW CASTLE rests serenely on the edge of the lovely market town of Ludlow. It was the location of the Lords of the Marchers - where control of the borders with Wales was administered and where Henry VIII’s older brother died. STOKESAY CASTLE is another border castle and is regarded as the best preserved fortified manor house in England. Unaltered since the C13th. it has magnificent halls and a timber roof.

Day 5: Powis - Conwy

Day 5: Powis - Conwy

Set just inside Wales, POWIS CASTLE rests high on a rock above the terraces of the castle’s world famous gardens. Built around 1200, it was the home of the Princes of Wales and much later, Clive of India. The long gallery is one of the best in Britain. There are many castles in this region, reflecting the turbulent past and conflict between England and Wales. Along the north Wales coast are the ring of castles built by Edward I. These are World Heritage Sites. Included in this group are CONWY, a small fortified town with the castle at its heart. Some of Edward's other castles are CAERNARFON, HARLECH and BEAUMARIS.

Day 6: Sizergh - Carlisle - Hadrian's Wall

Day 6: Sizergh - Carlisle - Hadrian's Wall

SIZERGH CASTLE is the gateway to the Lake District. Set in a 1600 acre estate this imposing fortification has outstanding interiors and fine furniture. It is home to the Strickland family. CARLISLE CASTLE is on the border with Scotland. As a garrison until recently, the medieval castle rests on a Roman fort. As we travel east, HADRIAN’S WALL dominates the scenery. 73 miles long, it was built by the Romans, probably as a way of collecting taxes. There are a number of evocative forts to explore. Arguably the best is HOUSESTEADS, as the base for 800 soldiers it the most complete Roman fort in Britain.

Day 7: Lindisfarne - Alnwick - Durham

Day 7: Lindisfarne - Alnwick - Durham

Northumberland has many superb castles. LINDISFARNE CASTLE is dramatically set on a rocky island accessible by a 3 mile causeway from the mainland. Built by Elizabeth I, the castle was a ruin until transformed in the C19th to create a lovely Edwardian Home. ALNWICK CASTLE is known as the “Windsor of the North” it is the second largest castle in the country. The seat of the Dukes of Northumberland and has 1000 years of history, opulent State Rooms and is used in many movies. DURHAM CASTLE is a World Heritage Site. As C11th motte and bailey keep was the king’s representative’s power base here.

Day 8: Kenilworth - Warwick - Windsor

Day 8: Kenilworth - Warwick - Windsor

KENILWORTH CASTLE has been described as the finest surviving semi royal palace of the middle ages. It has been always been an important site but, it was the Earl of Leicester who was trying to woo Elizabeth I, who created the Tudor Palace. WARWICK CASTLE is England’s favourite castle once owned by the Earls of Warwick and the home of "Warwick the Kingmaker" - whose large army determined who was king of England. WINDSOR CASTLE is largest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen’s weekend home. It is truly spectacular with unrivalled sequence of State Rooms.


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