pembroke castle

Castles to visit in the UK

I do love to visit a castle, and thankfully there are plenty of castles to visit in the UK. Even my (easy moaning about being bored) child likes visiting them, and nowadays there’s so many that do a variety of tourist activities for those visiting.

From ruins to more modern vanity project castles, there’s plenty you can visit with each having something different to find.  All of our castle visits are on my family lifestyle blog, but I’d love to know how many of these you’ve visited.

UK castles to visit list

Don’t forget to check out my list of Kings and Queens of England as well.

Types of castles in the UK

Motte and bailey

These castles have the keep on a hill or mound (motte), with a walled courtyard (bailey), surrounded by a protective ditch. Originally most would have been made from woodure. The rest of the castle is inside the castle walls below the keep. 

There are nearly 800 motte and bailey castles left in the UK, with the majority in England. As times moves on, many motte and bailey castles became developed and rebuilt. The wooden structures were destroyed, leaving earthworks on the motte, many of which can still be visited today. Others have been developed by rebuilding with stone.

Stone keep castles

The most recognisable castle type, with the Normans building stone keep towers to replace the motte and bailey type which were seen as more temporary. Stone keep defences were stronger, and built as the main part of the castle within the walls while the bailey now sat just inside the outer castle walls. Still often with a moat surrounding them, there was usually a drawbridge entrance.  

Concentric castles

As explained by the name, concentric castles have inner and outer walls to help defend from intruders. There are usually multiple gatehouses, and towers around the walls to be used as viewpoints. With some of these examples, they started out as stone keep castles, but became concentric as the castles were developed and grew. Many UK examples are in Wales.

List of castles to visit in the UK

I’ve pulled together the castles you can still see and visit today. Some are ruins while others are more intact. Some are now hotels, wedding venues, parts of schools or universities.  Others are tourist attractions. My recommendation is check their website first before visiting.

I’ve excluded those which are privately owned and not open to the public. And I’ve also not left off the motte and bailey castles which are now just earthworks or the grassy mound left with nothing else to see.  Some of these mounds are more interesting than others, so you can visit, while others are just a field with a hill in it.

South West England


  • Caerhays Castle
  • Carn Brea Castle
  • Ince Castle
  • Launceston Castle
  • Pendennis Castle
  • Pengersick Castle
  • Restormel Castle
  • St Catherine’s Castle
  • St Mawes Castle
  • St Michael’s Mount
  • Tintagel Castle


  • Berry Pomroy Castle
  • Castle Drogo
  • Compton Castle
  • Dartmouth Castle
  • Gidleigh Castle
  • Lydford Castle
  • Okehampton Castle
  • Plympton Castle
  • Powderham Castle
  • Rougemont Castle
  • Salcombe Castle
  • Tiverton Castle
  • Totnes Castle
  • Watermouth Castle

Scilly Isles

  • Cromwell’s Castle
  • Star Castle


  • Brownsea Castle
  • Christchurch Castle
  • Corfe Castle
  • Highcliffe Castle
  • Lulworth Castle
  • Portland Castle
  • Sherborne Castle
  • Sherborne Old Castle


  • Berkeley Castle
  • Beverstone Castle
  • St Briavel’s Castle
  • Sudeley Castle


  • Banwell Castle
  • Dunster Castle
  • Farleigh Hungerford Castle
  • Newton St Loe Castle
  • Nunney Castle
  • Taunton Castle
  • Wells Bishop’s Palace


  • Ludgershall Castle
  • Old Sarum Castle
  • Old Wardour Castle

South East England


  • Donnington Castle
  • Windsor Castle

East Sussex

  • Bodlam Castle
  • Camber Castle
  • Hastings Castle
  • Herstmonceux Castle
  • Lewes Castle
  • Pevensey Castle
  • Rye Castle


  • Colchester Castle
  • Hadleigh Castle
  • Hedingham Castle
  • Walden Castle


  • Calshot Castle
  • Carisbrooke Castle
  • Hurst Castle
  • Odiham Castle
  • Portchester Castle
  • Southampton Castle
  • Southsea Castle
  • Winchester Castle
  • Wolvesey Castle
  • Yarmouth Castle


  • Berkhampstead Castle


  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Lambeth Palace
  • St James’ Palace
  • Tower Of London


  • Allington Castle
  • Canterbury Castle
  • Chiddingstone Castle
  • Chilham Castle
  • Deal Castle
  • Dover Castle
  • Eynsford Castle
  • Hever Castle
  • Leeds Castle
  • Lullingstone Castle
  • Lympne Castle
  • Otford Palace
  • Penshurst Place
  • Rochester Castle
  • Scotney Castle
  • Sissinghurst Castle
  • St Leonard’s Tower
  • Stone Castle
  • Sutton Valence Castle
  • Tonbridge Castle
  • Tonbridge Castles
  • Upnor Castle
  • Walmer Castle
  • Westenhanger Castle


  • Broughton Castle
  • Oxford Castle
  • Rotherfield Greys Castle
  • Wallingford Castle


  • Farnham Castle
  • Guildford Castle

West Sussex

  • Amberley Castle
  • Arundel Castle
  • Bramber Castle
white tower at tower of london
White Tower at Tower of London

East of England


  • Baconsthorpe Castle
  • Caister Castle
  • Castle Acre Castle
  • Castle Rising
  • Norwich Castle
  • Oxburgh Hall
  • Weeting Castle


  • Bungay Castle
  • Clare Castle
  • Eye Castle
  • Framlingham Castle
  • Orford Castle
framlingham castle view
Framlingham Castle



  • Bolsover Castle
  • Codnor Castle
  • Elvaston Castle
  • Haddon Hall
  • Peveril Castle
  • Wingfield Manor


  • Croft Castle
  • Eastnor Castle
  • Goodrich Castle
  • Hampton Court
  • Longtown Castle
  • Wigmore Castle
  • Wilton Castle


  • Ashby de la Zouch Castle
  • Belvoir Castle
  • Kirby Muxloe Castle
  • Leicester Castle


  • Bolingbroke Castle
  • Grimethorpe Castle
  • Hussey Tower
  • Lincoln Castle
  • Tattershall Castle


  • Rockingham Castle


  • Newark Castle
  • Nottingham Castle


  • Oakham Castle


  • Acton Burnell Castle
  • Alberbury Castle
  • Bridgnorth Castle
  • Clun Castle Hopton Castle
  • Ludlow Castle
  • Moreton Corbet Castle
  • Shrewsbury Castle
  • Stokesay Castle
  • Whittington Castle


  • Stafford Castle
  • Tamworth Castle
  • Tutbury Castle


  • Kenilworth Castle
  • Warwick Castle

West Midlands

  • Dudley Castle


  • Hartlebury Castle
  • Holt Castle
ludlow castle
Ludlow Castle



  • Bolton Castle
  • Conisbrough Castle
  • Helmsley Castle
  • Knaresborough Castle
  • Marmion Tower
  • Middleham Castle
  • Mulgrave Castle
  • Pickering Castle
  • Pontefract Castle
  • Richmond Castle
  • Ripley Castle
  • Sandal Castle
  • Scarborough Castle
  • Skipsea Castle
  • Skipton Castle
  • Spofforth Castle
  • Tickhill Castle
  • Whorlton Castle
  • York Castle (Clifford’s Tower)

North West England


  • Bewcastle Castle
  • Brough Castle
  • Brougham Castle
  • Carlisle Castle
  • Clifton Hall
  • Dalton Castle
  • Egremont Castle
  • Greystoke Castle
  • Kendal Castle
  • Lowther Castle
  • Millom Castle
  • Muncaster Castle
  • Pendragon Castle
  • Penrith Castle
  • Piel Castle (Fouldrey Castle)
  • Sizergh Castle
  • Wray Castle


  • Beeston Castle
  • Chester Castle
  • Cholmondeley Castle
  • Halton Castle
  • Peckforton Castle


  • Ashton Hall
  • Borwick Hall
  • Clitheroe Castle
  • Lancaster Castle
  • Turton Tower
lancaster castle
Lancaster Castle, used as a prison until 2011, it remains a county court

North East England

Co Durham

  • Auckland Castle
  • Barnard Castle
  • Bowes Castle
  • Brancepeth Castle
  • Durham Castle
  • Lumley Castle
  • Raby Castle
  • Walworth Castle
  • Witton Castle

Tyne and Wear

  • Hylton Castle
  • Newcastle Castle
  • Tynemouth Castle


  • Alnwick Castle
  • Aydon Castle
  • Bamburgh Castle
  • Belsay Castle
  • Berwick Castle
  • Chillingham Castle
  • Cockle Park Tower
  • Corbridge Vicar’s Pele
  • Dunstanburgh Castle
  • Etal Castle
  • Harbottle Castle
  • Hexham Moot Hall 
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Norham Castle
  • Preston Tower
  • Prudhoe Castle
  • Thirlwall Castle
  • Warkworth Castle

Castles in Wales

Wales is the castle capital of the UK, with 641 castles, although not all are open to visit, or have anything left of them other than the site they were originally on. But there’s still plenty to visit, and some pretty spectacular examples. Here’s just a selection – you can see a map of Welsh Castles.


  • Denbigh Castle
  • Ewloe Castle
  • Flint Castle
  • Rhuddlan Castle
  • Ruthin Castle


  • Carreg Cennen Castle
  • Kidwelly Castle
  • Laugharne Castle
  • Llandovery Castle
  • Llansteffan Castle
  • Newcastle Emlyn Castle


  • Barry Castle
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Cardiff Castle
  • Castell Coch
  • Coity Castle
  • Newcastle Castle
  • Ogmore Castle
  • Oxwich Castle
  • Oystermouth Castle
  • Penmark Castle
  • Pennard Castle
  • St Quentins Castle
  • Weobley Castle


  • Abergavenny Castle
  • Chepstow Castle
  • Coldicot Castle
  • Grosmont Castle
  • Monmouth Castle
  • Raglan Castle
  • Usk Castle
  • White Castle


  • Beaumaris Castle
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Castell-y-Bere
  • Conwy Castle
  • Criccieth Castle
  • Dolbardarn Castle
  • Dolwyddelan Castle
  • Harlech Castle


  • Narbeth Castle
  • Carew Castle
  • Cilgerran Castle
  • Haverfordwest Castle
  • Pembroke Castle
  • Picton Castle
  • Tenby Castle


  • Crickhowell Castle
  • Dolforwyn Castle
  • Montgomery Castle
  • Powis Castle
  • Tretower Castle
pembroke castle
Pembroke Castle

Castles in Scotland

Over the years there have been said to have been thousands of castles in Scotland, although many were left to ruin. Now many remaining intact are now hotels or private residences, with some open to the public. Many are ruins which are largely open to the public at any reasonable time of the day (presumably dawn to dusk). Here’s some of the Scottish castles that are open to the public.


  • Hermitage Castle

Central Scotland

  • Castle Campbell
  • Doune Castle
  • Stirling Castle

Dumfries and Galloway

  • Caerlaverock Castle
  • Cardoness Castle
  • Morton Castle


  • Aberdour Castle
  • St Andrews Castle


  • Abergeldie Castle
  • Balvenie Castle
  • Braemar Castle
  • Craigievar Castle
  • Delgatie Castle
  • Duffus Castle
  • Dunnottar Castle
  • Fyvie Castle
  • Glenbuchat Castle
  • Kildrummy Castle
  • Tolquhon Castle

Highlands and Islands

  • Castle of Mey
  • Cawdor Castle
  • Eilean Donan Castle
  • Inverness Castle
  • Kisimul Castle
  • Noltland Castle
  • Old Inverlochy Castle
  • Urquhart Castle


  • Blackness Castle
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Crichton Castle
  • Dirleton Castle
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Linlithgow Palace


  • Bothwell Castle
  • Carnasserie Castle
  • Castle Stalker
  • Castle Sween
  • Dean Castle
  • Duart Castle
  • Dumbarton Castle
  • Dundonald Castle
  • Rothesay Castle


  • Balvaird Castle
  • Broughty Castle
  • Elcho Castle

There’s certainly enough castles in the UK to keep history fans happy visiting them all. Just make sure to check they’re still open to the public and what times or access there is. Note, that with historic sites, especially on exposed sites, they may close for safety reasons or renovations. Some castles (in particular Scotland), you may have to collect a key from the keeper, so arranging a time when they’ll be available is worth checking in advance.

Download my printable checklist of castles to visit in the UK. Just click the link then save it to your own device to print and use on your own trips.

How many have you visited? Which castles have been your favourites?

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    1. The UK certainly does castles well (although there’s plenty in the rest of Europe too). And different options for those who want really touristy attractions through to people who want to wander through ruins.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  1. I did not realise there were so many castles in the UK. I’ve only visited a few of them in North East. My favourite will always be Alnwick Castle. It’s such a good day out. x

    1. I’ve never been to that one. I’m going to also include a checklist because we love a castle, and we’ve done quite a few. But nowhere near as many as there are. And this doesn’t include the ones that are just remains without decent ruins to look round!