A Selection of Northern England’s Castles [1]

by David Murray on 2 May 2012

in Castles

Penrith Castle Interior

Do you recognise this castle? Hint: The young Richard III once lived here.

The North of England from coast to coast was once a dangerous place. These borderlands were fought over for centuries and wealthy local families as well powerful barons erected defensive houses, some of which became more like fortress palaces, to protect themselves and their people. Today many of these great structures are open for public visiting. Some are more or less ruined. Others, including many of smaller scale, have been lived in down the centuries (some even by the same family) and maintained in remarkable condition.

A major castle visit can give an excellent day out, or one of the smaller castles can be combined with other attractions, a scenic walk in the neighbourhood, or exploration of the local town. I trust you will you enjoy this first fortnightly selection of castles and hope it might trigger some fresh ideas for a trip out with family or friends whether you live in the North or are planning a holiday visit.

Four Castles of the North – A Fortnightly Selection [1]

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria: Back in the days of Henry II the Strickland family built the first house at Sizergh, just to the south of Kendal, and they still live there today, although the property was gifted to the National Trust in 1950. The huge defensive pele tower was probably erected somewhere around 1350 and remains a key part of the now larger structure substantially developed in Elizabethan times.

Barnard Castle, County Durham: An imposing castle dating from the 12th century, now in the care of English Heritage. From high up above the River Tees it looks down on the magnificent Tees Gorge. Barnard Castle also has an interesting old town centre to explore, with its historic market cross, and nearby is the celebrated Bowes Museum.

Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland: Lindisfarne Castle is not so old as most others mentioned here, being originally a small Tudor fort dating from around 1570. Now in the care of the National Trust the present Arts and Crafts styled house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens as a holiday home for a client, retaining much of the old fort. Lindisfarne Castle stands proud on Holy Island close to the ruins of Lindisfarne priory and monastery, home to the 7th/8th century English historian the Venerable Bede.

Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire: This fine and remarkably well-preserved Norman fortress on the northern fringe of the Yorkshire Dales National park has inspired painters, including J.M.W. Turner, for more than two centuries. High above the River Swale it commands outstanding views over the surrounding countryside. Enjoy the contemporary Heritage Garden, and explore the town with its Georgian architecture and cobbled market place.

Northern English Castles Mystery Tour

Northern Castles Mystery Tour

On the blog yesterday I launched my “Castles Mystery Tour”. Try it again now by clicking here: Mystery Castle. You never know what might come up on the next screen; it’s all randomised. Currently there are twenty four castles, with more to come.

Local Accommodation

If after choosing your castle visit you plan to stay overnight in the area check out these accommodation services:    Hotels   –   B&B accommodation


Some related pages:

Brough Castle Cumbria - Eden Valley

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