You will find that every king prefers his own realm and every princess her own version of a fairytale castle. Yet, in a country where knights and ladies of the realm are a rich part of the nation’s tapestry, it’s often difficult to select favorites. However, here’s a list of the Top 5 Fairytale Castles of England.
Photo by bram_app
1. Leeds – This is truly a fairytale castle, situated atop 2 islands and surrounded by a picturesque moat with swans and picnic grounds. Leeds and its beautiful spires was originally built in 1199 for King Edward I and served as home to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. In the 1920s, Lady Olive Baillie bought it with her inheritance (oh, if only!) and Leeds Castle became the social hub of its day. Take the train from Victoria to Maidstone, Kent and then a taxi or shuttle to the Castle.
2. Warwick Castle – This has become quite the tourist destination offering typical castle tours and then a trip to the bloody Castle Dungeon or a princess walk through the Pageant Playground for the wee knights and princesses. Warwick is just under a two hour train ride from London’s Marleybone station.
3. Hever Castle is about 30 miles outside of London in West Kent and was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It has a double-moat surrounding it and lovely Italianate gardens to stroll through for the day. One charming item on display is Anne’s original prayer book with her original signature. Take a train from London’s Victoria Station to Edenbridge and then a taxi to the castle.
4. Hampton Court Palace – This is the massive palace which Henry VIII took from Cardinal Wolsey. Tour guides dress in period costumes and offer several different itineraries to choose from since the building is much too large to tackle in one visit. The Palace is said to be haunted but brave souls can rent an apartment and spend the night in a real castle if they dare. Don’t forget to visit the outdoor maze but beware – you might not be able to navigate your exit too easily.
5. Windsor Castle – This castle is still occupied by the royal family and has served them well for more than 1,000 years. It offers visitors a close-up view of the “changing of the guard” ceremony complete with parade through Windsor’s charming narrow streets. A fire back in 1992 destroyed a good portion of the building and today, the castle’s exhibits feature insight into the rebuilding process. Plan to spend the day both in Windsor and nearby Eton, just a short walk over a footpath across the Thames. It’s a short train ride from central London’s Waterloo station.
There are many more lovely castles sprinkled throughout the U.K. and you can watch history come to life with just a bit of imagination.
Hotels in the UK
Hotel Corus Hyde Park, London
Average Price of a Double Room: € 126
Guest Rating: 7.8
Hotel The Park Grand London Paddington, London
Average Price of a Double Room: € 81
Guest Rating: 5.4
Ravna Gora Hotel, London
Average Price of a Double Room: € 51
Guest Rating: 5.1
The Continental Hotel, Hounslow
Average Price of a Double Room: € 65
Guest Rating: 7
The George Hotel, Edinburgh
Average Price of a Double Room: € 90
Guest Rating: 8.1
Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport, Abbotsinch, Paisley
Average Price of a Double Room: € 67
Guest Rating: 6