Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Places I must visit and things I simply must see...Part 1: Castles of England

When we decided to move to London travel was on the top of our priority list. Here are a few of the Castles we must go in England before we leave:
Bodiam Castle is a quadrangular castle located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It is said to be a perfect example of a late medieval moated castle.
It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, supposedly at the request of Richard II in order to defend the surrounding area from French invasion.  Recent research suggests that the castle was built more for show than as an effective defence. There is evidence supporting that research, as the walls of Bodiam Castle are only a couple of feet thick. I think it is absolutely mystic and must go as soon as possible.

St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island located 366 m (400 yd) off the Mount’s Bay coast of Cornwall, It is united with Marazion by a man-made causeway, passable only at mid to low tide, made of granite setts. The island exhibits a combination of slate and granite.

Historically, St Michael’s Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France. We've been to Mont Saint Michel and it was fantastic.

Castle Howard has been the home of part of the Howard family for more than 300 years. It was used fictional “Brideshead”, both in TV's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Today, it is part of the Treasure Houses of England heritage group. I find is stunning and romantic and cannot wait to go.
Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England is a restored medieval castle. The castle dates from the reign of Edward the Confessor (r. 1042–1066) and was completed by Roger de Montgomery, who became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel by the graces of William the Conqueror. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.
From the 11th century onward, the castle has served as a hereditary stately home to several families (with a few and brief reversions to the Crown) and is currently the principal seat of the Duke of Norfolk and his family. It is a Grade I listed building. I love this photo of it as well - it looks so foreboding and timeless!

Hever Castle, in Kent, England (in the village of Hever), was the seat of the Boleyn, originally ‘Bullen’ family. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century and converted into a manor in 1462 by Geoffrey Boleyn, who served as Lord Mayor of the City of London. Some time after 1505, the Boleyn family moved in, and Anne Boleyn (and her siblings, Mary Boleyn and George Boleyn), although probably not born here, did grow up here for a time, before she was sent to the Netherlands and then to the French court for her education from 1513 to 1521.
The building  passed through various owners, including the Waldegrave family in 1557, and the Meade Waldo family from 1749–1903. During this latter period of ownership, the castle fell into a poor state of repair, during which time it was leased to various private tenants, until it was acquired, in 1906 and completely restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who used it as a family residence. We've actually already gone to this one - my profile photo is taken in the gardens and here are Cate and X:
Belvoir Castle is the thing of fairy tales. It's huge, wonderful, magical and you can hire it for the night, weekend or week! Anyone want to go in together and have an enchanting evening (or two or three)? All you need is a coach, handsome prince, some glass slippers and a sparkling gown fit for a queen. I cannot wait to see this castle.


  1. Do you know what, I have driven past several of these but never been to one of them--and Ive been to A LOT of castles here! They're all so beautiful and their histories so evocative, aren't they? That's a good plan to make sure you get to see these.

    Loved that pic of the two Very Serious looking little cuties ;)

  2. If you can, go further north - right up to the north east coastline. It is dotted with castles, perhaps the most famous one being Alnwick (pronounced Annik) where they filmed Harry Potter.

  3. Very interesting post,thank you.

  4. I hope you are setteling in well in London. It looks like you will be putting a few miles on the car with your wish list of places to visit!

  5. Michelle, pop in one next time and let me know if it's truly worth the drive. There seems to be too many castles in too many countries and only a few years to see them all!

    Ex-Pat Mum - that is a brilliant idea. It is now on my list. We're doing the NE in October!

    James - thank you - that's a great compliment coming from you.

    Mother Hen - I'm starting to really like it here. Scary - I don't pine for NY that much anymore (maybe it's the weather?)

  6. Leeds Castle in Kent is another fabulous castle. My parents live nearby and each Boxing Day we walk through the grounds (on the footpaths, so it's free!), I just love it. Bodiam is one to do when the kids are a bit older and can wear themselves out running up and down the spiral staircases!!


Go ahead, make my day!