Castles From Ludlow to Holy Island

It sometimes seems that castles are everywhere in England. They are not, of course, but there certainly are a lot of castles. Some are ruins, giving glimpses of a time gone by, and others are still in beautiful condition, restored to allow a more complete snapshot of their past.

We had visited Ludlow Castle (built soon after the Norman conquest, the castle was home to intrigue and romance - in the past, and enjoyed touring the ruins, which are still relatively complete. On this trip we viewed it from the surrounding hills.

Ludlow Castle

While staying near Ludlow, we took a day trip to Warwick. While we did not tour Warwick Castle ( - there was far too much to do to add a tour of the castle in only one day), its looming presence pervades the town.

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle from the tower of St. Mary's Church

Just north of Ludlow is Stokesay Castle ( Stokesay, built in the 13th century, is more of a fortified house than a castle, but fills the role quite well.

The Stokesay Castle gatehouse was added in the 1600's
The Great Hall at Stokesay Castle
Stairs from the Great Hall up to the private bedrooms. Kitchens and storage through the lower door, and the large door at right leads to the courtyard.
The sitting room in the tower. The small windows look down on the Great Hall.
View from the top of the tower at Stokesay Castle

Driving north from Ludlow, is Beeston Castle ( Sitting high on a rocky crag, with curtain walls restricting access up the hillside, Beeston commanded everything around it.

Inside was a demonstration of medieval falconry, with a Harris Hawk...
... and a Peregrine falcon
Atop the first curtain wall at Beeston Castle
Walking up to the castle
Looking down from just below the moat
Castle wall across the moat
Down from the top

In Northumberland we visited Alnwick Castle (, a magnificently preserved castle, which has been used as a setting for many well-known films and television programs, from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey. By the way, in an unusual combination of pronunciation variations, nearby is the river Aln, pronounced like the name, Alan. Consistently, the nearby town of Alnmouth is pronounced Alan-mouth (the mouth of the Aln river). However, Alnwick is pronounced Ah-nick.

The Barbican at Alnwick Castle
And another falconry demonstration from the same presenters as at Beeston Castle (Raphael Historic Falconry -, with a Harris Hawk...
... an enormous (6 foot wingspan) Golden Eagle, ...
... and a Peregrine falcon.
All observed from the gallery.

Even farther to the north is Holy Island. At low tide, Holy Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. At high tide, the causeway is covered by water, so Holy Island becomes a true island.

View of the mainland from Holy Island. The causeway is at the far right.
Lindisfarne Castle, in the distance, on Holy Island

Bamburgh Castle, just a bit south of Holy Island, dates to the 6th Century, but most of the parts you now visit were added, renovated, and expanded in much more recent times.

Examining a coat of mail
Living quarters at Bamburgh Castle

Before leaving Northumberland, we took some photos of Warkworth Castle, only a short walk from our B&B.

The last castle we visited was in the Lakes District: Kendal Castle, in Kendal ( According to the posted signs, the original castle was built on a nearby hill much earlier, but a new castle was built in the present location as a fortified manor house in the early 1200's.

There is a footpath that runs all the way around Kendal Castle, separated by a deep ditch from the curtain wall of the castle.
From the green at the top of the hill on which the castle sits.
Created By
Scott Thomas


Scott Thomas

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