Castles are alive with the stories of the past and the events, exhibitions and activities of today. So whether you fancy a majestic fortress, grim prison or luxurious mansion you’ll find a great family day out at one of Britain’s castles…
Framlingham Castle has a long history stretching right back to the Norman times. During holidays and half terms, the castle honours this history with great family events, where kids can meet characters from Framlingham’s past such as Bloody Mary and learn how to be the right hand person to a king or queen or even how to be a knight.
the audio trail designed for kids.
If… your kids love the Jungle Book then Bateman’s is more than a Just So place. This National Trust property is a Jacobean Castle that was also the home of Rudyard Kipling. Kids will enjoy visiting the mill and receiving a prize at the end of one of the seasonal trails. There are many treasures still in the castle from Kipling’s time such as original illustrations of the Jungle Book.
the Jungle Book days and also the tree climbing days which tie in with the number 1 thing to do on the National Trust’s list of 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4.
Dunnottar Castle, is like the north of Scotland where it resides, stunningly beautiful, but hard to get to. Those who manage to travel all the way up to Aberdeenshire and then scale the many stairs to reach the castle will be rewarded with amazing views. Famous residents of the castle include Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace. The castle is most famous for saving the Scottish Crown Jewels for Charles II. Check their Facebook page for updates, including plans for a new visitor’s centre.
the storyboards which help the history of the castle come alive.
Osborne House was the holiday house for Queen Victoria and her massive brood of children. And so the house has always been great for kids! You can visit Queen Victoria’s private beach and peruse the Royal Collection which is full of things owned by the queen herself. There are also children’s trails.
playing in either of the two playgrounds after a long day of learning about the Victorians.
Pendennis Castle was built by Henry VIII and was used as a defence castle right up until the Second World War. There are loads of activities for kids and history for them to learn. The discovery centre will enable kids to learn all about how the castle was used to protect Britain. A mile down the road is its sister castle, St Mawes. Not so childfriendly, St Mawes is one of the best preserved Tudor Castles in Britain.
the noon day gun, at noon an original working gun from one of the 37 on display is fired. So you can hear, not just see history.
Sudeley Castle was once the home of Katherine Parr, the only wife to survive Henry VIII. For kids there is an adventure playground and a whole host of fun events throughout the year. Family fun days include arts and crafts and face painting as well as activities in the maze. Fun days and kids days happen during holidays and half terms, particularly during August.
Running around the beautiful grounds and gardens. Just try not to get lost in the maze!
Carreg Cennen is 13th-century castle that has been described as one of the most romantic ruins in Wales. It played a part in the Wars of the Roses and is great for families to explore. The cafe serves great hearty food to fuel kids on their adventures around the ruins.
exploring the cave in the south east corner of the inner ward – bring a torch!
Another castle built at the time of Henry VIII, Charles I was imprisoned in Hurst Castle in 1648. The history does not stop there, the castle was important during the Napoleonic wars and in World War 2, making the contents of the castle eclectic and exciting for kids and adults. Located on a spit of land on the South Coast, the views are amazing, the Isle of Wight is hard to miss.
learning lots about history. While there are no children-specific activities, the castle is very child-friendly, especially if your kids are at all interested in military history (and guns).
Located at one end of the Royal Mile, Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. There are daily family events and specific family room for storytelling and other activities. There is also a family audio guide which will take you throughout the castle including seeing Mary Queen of Scot’s chambers. The castle is really child-friendly and geared towards making sure kids have a fun and educational time. Check the kids section of the website before you visit for loads of top tips and things to look out for.
joining in on the family activities that will allow them to experience and see more of the castle.
Castle Howard is a beautiful 18-century palace and the star of the 1981 TV serial and the 2008 film of Brideshead Revisited. With 1000 acres of parkland, kids can explore the Walled Rose Garden, feed the resident peacocks and land the little train which is pulled by a tractor to the lake. During the summer families can boat on the lake. Inside, it is still a family home, but visitors can still access a lot of the rooms. All kinds of family events take place throughout the year.
following Geoffrey the Lion’s illustrated trails.
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