London has always been at the centre of British life, stretching back centuries. It was the seat of power for the Norman conquest of 1066 and was the largest settlement in the country for centuries before that.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the area surrounding London is home to more than its fair share of castles. Kings and queens throughout the ages built castles in and around London to protect the capital from warring tribes and foreign invaders. If you’re looking for castles to take the kids in and around London, you’re spoiled for choice.
Here are our best five castles to visit nearby in London if you have young children.
1. Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle is one of the longest-inhabited homes in Britain, with the family having lived there for nearly 1,000 years. The castle dates back to 1138, providing a wealth of history.
Arundel Castle offers kids one of the finest examples of a traditional, medieval castle in the country. It has some of the most impressive architecture of any in the local area.
Address: Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AB
Phone: +44 1903 882173
2. Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle is one of the most quintessential castles in the country, surrounded by a moat and with traditional turrets and battlements. The castle, located in East Sussex, is relatively easy to get to from London either by car or train.
It is an excellent place for kids because of all of the activities that it offers. The National Trust runs activities for kids at the castle throughout the summer to give them an insight into what life might have been like for a knight in the middle ages. Kids can learn archery and learn about falconry in the organised falconry walking tours.
Address: Bodiam, Robertsbridge TN32 5UA
Phone: +44 1580 830 196
3. Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle, located in the middle of Essex, is both a castle and a museum where kids can find out all about the history of the building and its medieval origins.
What’s unusual about Colchester Castle is its age. There’s been a fortification on the site for more than 2,000 years, ever since the Romans conquered the indigenous people of Britain.
Children will have fun at the castle trying on all the costumes and armor. There’s also a large park that occupies the rear of the castle with plenty of space to play.
Phone: +44 1206 282939
4. Hever Castle
Hever Castle in Kent is magnificent for kids. The castle has both a maze made of hedges and a water maze. It also offers archery lessons, shield-painting, and activities trials.
The main draw of the castle, however, is the fact that it is still set up to represent how life would have been hundreds of years ago. The volunteers play their roles in the kitchens as cooks and as maids in waiting. If you want a sense what it would have been like to watch Henry VIII walk down to the jousting field with Anne Boleyn, this is the place to do it.
Finally, in the summer months, there are tents where kids can listen to storytellers, watch craftsmen, and listen to music.
Address: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG
Phone: +44 1732 865 224
5. Herstmonceux Castle
Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex is an hour south of London by train. There is plenty for kids and family to do, including the walking trails through the nearby forest and full English tea experience. No wonder why it is featured in our recommended castles to visit nearby London.
Address: Hailsham BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 833 816
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