Did you know that the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from J.K. Rowling OBE’s Harry Potter books and movies has topped the poll of 1,000 kids aged six to 16 – despite not being real?
The study on the top 10 castles that kids want to visit was commissioned by English Heritage ahead of its forthcoming #LoveCastles season, which aims to encourage families to take a trip to one of the nation’s forts.
Fictional castles dominated their bucket lists – although landmarks such as Dover Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Windsor Castle all featured in the top 10:
Top 10 Castles kids wants to visit:
- Hogwarts, Harry Potter
- Cinderella’s Castle
- Elsa’s Ice Palace, Frozen
- Beast’s Castle, Beauty and the Beast
- Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
- Castle Doom, Marvel Comics
- Far Far Away Castle, Shrek
- Windsor Castle, Berkshire
- Dover Castle, Kent
- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
Some of these are easily achievable but others could be done with a little bit of added imagination and here are some of our favourites:
Our favourite castles to visit in the UK:
You won’t be able to head inside the actual castle, however a visit to Warner Bros Studio Tour not only gets you up close to some of the actual movie sets and props, but they also have a magnificent scale model of Hogwarts to see. Sit and watch as night turns to day and vice versa – it really is a magical sight to behold.
If it’s a Disney Castle you are after, then this ruined medieval fortress, located upon a rocky headland near Stonehaven, is the inspiration behind Merida’s DunBroch family castle from the film Brave.
This fortress is steeped in fascinating British history and is completely hidden from the road, which gives it an added “WOW” factor as it comes into view. Dunnottar Castle is a must visit if you are visiting Aberdeenshire.
A bit of a tenuous link, but Arundel sounds like Arrendell from the movie frozen?
Arundel Castle is in fact a restored medieval castle and stately home in West Sussex and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. We love it for its events and it hosts lots of different historical activities, including medieval sieges, living history days, jousting and knights tournaments.
No visit to Edinburgh would be without visiting its famous Castle, sat in the middle of the city on top of an extinct volcano, 135 metres above sea level and offering a panoramic view over Edinburgh.
Make sure you are there for the famous One O’Clock Gun. Crowds gather from around 12.30 to watch the gleaming field gun fire an ear-splitting time signal at exactly 1pm (every day except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday).
Corfe Castle is the nearest castle to us here in Dorset and we visit several times a year as they regularly stage events such as falconry, living history days and our favourite – the teddy zipwire!!
Owned by the National Trust, Corfe Castle is one of Britain’s most iconic survivors of the English Civil War and once at the top of the hill, offers amazing views over the Purbeck Hills.
Carisbrooke Castle has been a central place of power and defence on the Isle of Wight for over 1,000 years and is probably most famous for being the place where Charles I was held prisoner here during the Civil War, shortly before his execution.
We loved exploring the ramparts and pretending to do battle with the enemy, but it was Jack that stole the show for us.
Donkeys have played a role at the castle since the 17th century when they would walk on a tread-wheel to raise water from the well and we got to see a demonstration from Jack who helped raise a bucket up from the 161ft deep well!!
Bolsover Castle is set in Derbyshire and like Dunnottar is a real sight to behold as it sits upon a hill, overlooking the countryside.
Much of it is in ruins which is perfect for a game of hide and seek, but the Little Castle with medieval-style turrets and towers is still intact.
Inside the castle is a labyrinth of sumptuous rooms which has been brilliantly preserved and beautifully restored, with richly coloured wall art, carved marble fireplaces and stunning painted ceilings.
Kenilworth Castle has been linked with some of the most important names in English history and was a favoured residence of the Lancastrian kings. Today, with its Elizabethan gardens, its impressive Norman ‘keep’ and John of Gaunt’s Great Hall, it is the largest castle ruin in England, making it perfect for exploring.
This one is a bit tricky if you have a young child, as there are lots of stairs to climb as you explore, but the views are well worth it.
Possibly the most commercial castle on my list as it is run by Merlin Entertainments, it is still well worth a visit, even though it is much busier.
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It offers the chance to experience a thousand years of jaw-dropping history including ; great battles, ancient myths, spellbinding tales, pampered princesses, heroic knights, birds of prey and a spectacular trebuchet display.
It has been a long time since we last visited Dover Castle, but it was our first English Heritage Castle and introduced us to their annual pass.
Set on top of the famous White Cliffs of the Kentish coast, Dover Castle is worth a visit to witness the drama in the Secret Wartime Tunnels alone and its displays are fascinating, especially for older children as there are interesting displays that cover everything from medieval history up to the Cold War.
For families that have a real interested in royalty, Glamis Castle (pronounced Glams) in Angus, is a must visit.
Glamis Castle is the ancestral home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and birth place of Princess Margaret and during their tours you get to see the magnificent dining hall, hear all about the ghost stories in the secret room and see the private apartments of the Queen Mother.
Not in the UK………but
To see Cinderella’s Castle you need to head to one of the Disney parks, although their castle is based on castles found on mainland Europe, such as Palace of Fontainebleau in France and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
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Do you enjoy visiting castles, which should we visit next?