Last Updated on 4 June, 2023
Step into a world of magic and grandeur as we embark on a journey to discover the best castles near London.
From breathtaking fortresses to picturesque palaces, these magnificent structures not only boast fascinating histories but also offer captivating experiences for visitors.
So, fasten your seatbelts and let’s set off on an adventure filled with medieval tales, architectural wonders, and a touch of royal allure.
Best Castles Close To London
Highclere Castle: Unveiling the Real Downton Abbey
Get a glimpse into Aristocratic Splendor Highclere Castle, situated in the scenic Hampshire countryside, which holds an esteemed place in both history and popular culture. Recognize it from the captivating TV series “Downton Abbey”?
This is the very place where the drama unfolded. Just a stone’s throw away from London, Highclere Castle invites visitors to step into the lives of the Crawley family.
With its opulent interiors and breathtaking gardens, this aristocratic gem offers a perfect blend of elegance, drama, and intrigue. The castle’s beauty is worth the hour-and-a-half drive from London, where you’ll be greeted by its enchanting presence. You can book your tickets in advance here.
Dover Castle: Majestic Fortress and Cliffside Marvel
Where History Echoes Through the Centuries Prepare to be awestruck by the imposing Dover Castle, perched atop the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
As one of England’s most magnificent fortresses, it has stood steadfast for centuries, guarding the English coastline.
Discover the secrets hidden within its ancient walls, including the eerie underground tunnels that played a vital role in World War II.
Unparalleled views of the English Channel await those who venture to this extraordinary castle, just a two-hour drive from London. You can book tickets in advance here.
Bodiam Castle: A Fairytale Come to Life
A Storybook Setting of Moats and Turrets Nestled in the idyllic East Sussex countryside, Bodiam Castle enchants visitors with its picturesque appearance.
This 14th-century gem showcases a fairytale-like setting, complete with a moat, crenellated walls, and circular towers.
As you cross the drawbridge and step into the castle’s courtyard, a world of medieval splendor unfolds before your eyes.
Fun fact: Did you know that Bodiam Castle has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”? Immerse yourself in history and let your imagination run wild during the two-hour drive from London.
Blenheim Palace: A Baroque Masterpiece
A Stately Abode of Grandeur Prepare to be captivated by the awe-inspiring beauty of Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
Situated in the charming Oxfordshire countryside, this monumental Baroque palace showcases jaw-dropping architecture and meticulously landscaped gardens.
Embark on a journey through time as you explore its opulent interiors and stroll through the magnificent grounds designed by the legendary Capability Brown.
A little over an hour’s drive from London, Blenheim Palace is an absolute must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike. You can book your tickets in advance here.
Warwick Castle: Step into the Middle Ages
A Tapestry of Chivalry and Intrigue Embark on a journey to the heart of medieval times as you enter the majestic Warwick Castle.
Towering above the River Avon, this fortress transports you to an era of knights, jousting tournaments, and lavish banquets.
Brace yourself for immersive experiences that bring history to life, from traversing the castle’s formidable ramparts to exploring its interactive exhibitions.
A mere two-hour drive from London, Warwick Castle beckons with its fascinating tales of chivalry and intrigue. You can book tickets in advance here.
Tonbridge Castle: Where History Meets Riverside Tranquility
A Hidden Gem by the River Medway Discover a hidden gem nestled along the tranquil banks of the River Medway: Tonbridge Castle.
This well-preserved 13th-century castle boasts a commanding position, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Immerse yourself in the castle’s rich history as you explore its stone keep and walk along its formidable curtain walls.
With just an hour’s drive from London, Tonbridge Castle offers a peaceful retreat where you can escape the bustling city and delve into the past.
Broughton Castle: A Tale of Timeless Beauty
Where Medieval Architecture Stands the Test of Time Venture into the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside and discover the enchanting Broughton Castle.
This stunning medieval manor, set amidst sprawling gardens and a tranquil moat, exudes an aura of timeless beauty.
With its rich tapestries, antique furniture, and atmospheric great hall, Broughton Castle immerses visitors in the grandeur of a bygone era.
Take a leisurely drive lasting just over an hour from London and lose yourself in the serenity of this hidden treasure.
Herstmonceux Castle: Where History Meets Astronomy
A Celestial Connection Amidst Medieval Splendor Prepare for a unique experience at Herstmonceux Castle, where history intertwines with the mysteries of the universe.
Located in East Sussex, this magnificent castle houses the Royal Greenwich Observatory, making it a haven for astronomy enthusiasts.
Explore the castle’s elegant interiors, admire the beautiful gardens, and perhaps even attend a stargazing event on its grounds.
A drive of approximately two hours from London will transport you to a realm where the celestial and the historical converge.
Hastings Castle: Reliving the Battle of 1066
The Echoes of an Epic Battle Delve into the pages of English history as you visit Hastings Castle, perched atop the rugged cliffs overlooking the sea.
It was here that the momentous Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, changing the course of England’s destiny. Walk in the footsteps of William the Conqueror and relive the events that unfolded during this significant clash.
Gaze upon the ruins that stand as a testament to the past and absorb the breathtaking coastal views. Plan a memorable day trip from London, and within a two-hour drive, you’ll find yourself amidst the echoes of an epic battle.
Clearwell Castle: Where Fairytales Come True
A Romantic Retreat in the Forest Escape into a world of enchantment and romance as you discover Clearwell Castle, nestled amidst the lush forest of the Forest of Dean.
This fairytale-like castle, with its ivy-clad walls and majestic turrets, is a dream come true for couples seeking a truly magical wedding venue.
Wander through the castle’s elegant halls, adorned with chandeliers and intricate woodwork, and feel like royalty for a day.
The two-and-a-half-hour drive from London is a small price to pay for the experience of a lifetime.
Oxford Castle: A Fusion of History and Academia
Where Legends and Scholars Collide Enter the hallowed grounds of Oxford Castle, where legends and scholars converge in perfect harmony.
This magnificent Norman castle stands proudly in the heart of Oxford, surrounded by the city’s prestigious colleges.
Uncover the castle’s intriguing past as a prison and delve into its historic remains. Climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower for panoramic views of the city, and imagine the scholars of Oxford’s famous Bodleian Library studying just a stone’s throw away.
A short drive of just over an hour from London, Oxford Castle welcomes visitors into a world where history and academia intertwine. There are plenty of tours leaving from London to Oxford here as well as advance tickets of Oxford Castle.
Highgrove House: A Royal Retreat in the Cotswolds
Royal Opulence in Nature’s Embrace Indulge in the splendor of Highgrove House, the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Tucked away in the breathtaking Cotswolds countryside, this grand estate showcases exquisite gardens bursting with floral beauty.
Take a guided tour of the gardens, marveling at their organic and sustainable design, or explore the impressive interiors of the house during selected dates.
While visits to the main residence are limited, the drive of approximately two hours from London offers a glimpse into the regal world of Highgrove House.
Scotney Castle: A Picturesque Ruin and Garden Delight
Serenity Amidst Romantic Ruins Prepare to be captivated by the timeless charm of Scotney Castle, a captivating combination of a romantic ruin and stunning gardens.
Located in the bucolic county of Kent, this fairytale-like castle transports you to a bygone era. Explore the atmospheric ruins of the medieval castle, surrounded by a moat and embraced by nature’s beauty.
Wander through the enchanting gardens, bursting with colorful blooms, and lose yourself in the serenity of this hidden gem.
A leisurely drive of just over an hour and a half from London leads to a world of tranquility and enchantment.
Guildford Castle: A Towering Presence in Surrey
A Towering Legacy in a Quaint Town Visit the historic town of Guildford and be greeted by the commanding presence of Guildford Castle.
Perched on a high mound, this Norman castle offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Climb to the top of the Great Tower and admire the picturesque landscape that unfolds before you.
Immerse yourself in Guildford’s rich heritage as you explore the castle’s grounds and learn about its fascinating past.
With a short drive of just under an hour from London, Guildford Castle is a delightful destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking a charming day trip.
Rockingham Castle: A Medieval Marvel in Northamptonshire
Where Medieval Splendor Meets Breathtaking Scenery Venture into the heart of Northamptonshire and discover the captivating Rockingham Castle.
With its stunning hilltop location and sweeping views of the Welland Valley, this medieval marvel is a sight to behold.
Wander through its historic rooms adorned with antique furnishings and admire the beautifully landscaped gardens.
Don’t miss the opportunity to witness exciting events such as falconry displays and reenactments that bring the castle’s rich history to life.
A drive of just over two hours from London is all it takes to immerse yourself in the grandeur of Rockingham Castle.
Windsor Castle: The Iconic Royal Residence
A Royal Abode Steeped in Tradition No exploration of castles near London would be complete without a visit to the iconic Windsor Castle.
As the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, it continues to serve as the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Marvel at the grandeur of the State Apartments, adorned with priceless works of art, and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a quintessentially British tradition.
Take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens and soak in the regal atmosphere that permeates every corner.
Just a short drive of approximately 40 minutes from London, Windsor Castle offers a royal experience like no other. Book tickets in advance here.
Leeds Castle: The Gem of the Kent Countryside
A Romantic Fortress Surrounded by Water Prepare to be enchanted by the beauty of Leeds Castle, often referred to as the “Loveliest Castle in the World.”
Situated in the picturesque Kent countryside, this fairytale-like fortress rises majestically from its own moat, creating a truly magical setting.
Explore the opulent interiors, stroll through the stunning gardens, and take a tranquil boat ride on the castle’s serene lake.
With a drive of just over an hour from London, Leeds Castle promises a captivating escape filled with romance and history. You can book tickets in advance here.
Colchester Castle: Unveiling Roman History
Where Roman Legacy Comes Alive Step back in time to Roman Britain as you visit Colchester Castle, located in the historic town of Colchester, Essex.
This awe-inspiring Norman keep stands on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, making it a unique fusion of Roman and medieval history.
Delve into the interactive exhibits that showcase the castle’s intriguing past, and climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the town.
A drive of approximately one hour and a half from London brings you face to face with the Roman legacy at Colchester Castle.
Hever Castle: An Idyllic Tudor Retreat
Step into the World of Anne Boleyn Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Tudor history at Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
Located in the picturesque county of Kent, this enchanting castle showcases exquisite Tudor architecture and stunning gardens.
Explore the maze of rooms filled with antique furniture, tapestries, and Tudor portraits. Stroll through the award-winning gardens, complete with a picturesque lake and a rose garden that blooms in a riot of colors.
With just a little over an hour’s drive from London, Hever Castle offers a delightful escape into Tudor splendor.
Rochester Castle: A Fortress of Medieval Power
Where History Takes a Towering Form Journey to the historic city of Rochester and discover the mighty Rochester Castle, a symbol of medieval strength and power.
Standing proudly atop a hill, this Norman castle boasts one of the tallest keeps in England. Explore its formidable walls, climb the stone staircase, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Learn about the castle’s storied past, from its involvement in the struggles between King John and the barons to its role in the English Civil War.
A drive of just over an hour from London leads to a fascinating encounter with Rochester Castle’s rich history.
Arundel Castle: A Stately Fortress by the River Arun
A Journey Through Centuries of Grandeur Prepare for a journey through centuries of grandeur as you visit Arundel Castle, situated in the charming town of Arundel, West Sussex.
This magnificent fortress, nestled on a hill overlooking the River Arun, boasts a rich history spanning nearly 1,000 years.
Marvel at its imposing towers, opulent staterooms, and extensive art collection that includes works by Van Dyck and Gainsborough.
Explore the meticulously maintained gardens, which provide a stunning backdrop for leisurely strolls. A drive of approximately two hours from London transports you to a world of regal elegance at Arundel Castle.
Map Of Castles Near London
The castles near London offer a captivating glimpse into history, transporting visitors to bygone eras of knights, royalty, and grandeur.
From the medieval fortresses like Warwick Castle and Dover Castle to the fairytale-like retreats of Clearwell Castle and Hever Castle, each castle has its own unique charm and story to tell.
Whether you’re seeking a day trip filled with adventure, a romantic escape, or an immersion into Tudor or Roman history, these castles provide an enriching and unforgettable experience.
So pack your bags, hop in the car, take the train or coach and embark on a journey through time to discover the best castles near London. Below is a map of each castle.