The United Kingdom is home to several majestic castles with very rich histories and artifacts dating centuries back. People will appreciate the stories and architecture behind every palace while learning more about the life of royals who used to live and reign there. Here are the top must-visit castles in the UK.
1. Windsor Castle
The castle is located in Berkshire, England. It is one of the most famous castles in the world because of its link with the British royal family. The original castle was created in the 11th century. The first king who lived in the castle is Henry I and he has been succeeded by several others through the centuries, making Windsor Castle the longest-occupied castle in all of Europe.
Tourists will appreciate the architecture and wide expanse of the palace, spanning over five hectares. People will notice several features like a small town, chapel and fortification. The luxurious rooms and apartments throughout the grounds are also frequently visited by tourists each year. There are over 500 workers that preserve and maintain Windsor Castle.
2. Dunrobin Castle
The palace is located in Sutherland, Scotland. It was originally the home of the Earl of Sutherland and was created during the Middle Ages. The architectural style is a combination of Scots Baronial and French Renaissance. There are 189 rooms in Dunrobin Castle. It is the biggest house in the northern Highlands in Scotland. Visitors will notice a number of unique features in the structure such as the pyramidal roof that covers the main entrance, beautiful French-inspired gardens and falconry displays. One museum houses the trophy heads of animals hunted by family members in their frequent trips to Africa. There are also Pictish symbol stones and collection of other rare artifacts.
3. Eilean Donan Castle
The castle is located on a small island in Loch Duich in Scotland. It was built to protect Eilean Donan from Norse attacks. Later on, the Mackenzies of Kintail used the structure as a stronghold. For many centuries, the castle did not have much use and was rebuilt by Lt. Col. MacRae-Gilstrap in the 1900s. A bridge was added to provide a more convenient route. Visitors will notice several field guns used during the First World War. Eilean Donan Castle was opened to tourists in 1955. It is one of the most photographed and visited places in Scotland.
This fortress is located in Edinburgh, Scotland. It sits on top of Castle Rock and was the home of many royals starting with David I at least during the 12th century. During the 17th century, it was converted into a military base. Visitors will also find the Honours of Scotland, the National War Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National War Memorial. It is one of the most famous castles in the world, frequented by over 1 million visitors each year. There are also shops, an educational center for visiting students and cafes in the area.
5. Leeds Castle
The castle is located in Kent, England and was built in the 12th century. It is widely known as the favorite residence of King Edward I. One of the unique features of the palace is that it is constructed on islands in a lake, making it a magnificent site especially at sunset. Some of the things to see include the maze, aviary and library.