England's Top 10 Tudor Homes, Castles, and Palaces
Royal Divorces! Political Scandals! Beheadings! Anglophiles love the Tudors—both the House of Tudor known for intriguing monarchs like Henry VIII, and the sexy Showtime series that recently entered its final season. Though most of the show is filmed in Ireland, you can certainly treat yourself royally while touring London and Southeast England. These 10 locations have a strong connection to the monarchs, and should please fans of both the Tudors' fascinating history and the many books and movies regularly devoted to them.
1. Tower of London
Don't be fooled by its name: the Tower of London is really a mini-city of towers, palaces, and fortifications complete with the Crown Jewels, legendary ravens, and a long bloody history. Two of Henry VIII's wives—Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard—are just some of unlucky who lost their heads on Tower Green. Yeoman warder tours are a great introduction to the sprawling compound—just be thankful you didn't enter via Traitor's gate. Full review »
2. Hampton Court Palace
Upstream from London, this Thames-side royal palace is a combination of two magnificent buildings: a Tudor red-brick mansion plus a 17th-century baroque section designed by Sir Christopher Wren. You can explore Henry's Great Hall, marvel at the ceiling of the Chapel Royal, and try navigating the famous maze on the grounds outside. Full review »
3. Westminster Abbey
Founded in 960 AD and consecrated in 1065, Westminster Abbey has been the site of many coronations and royal weddings. Henry VII funded the building of the lady chapel, which now holds his tomb as well as half-sisters Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor. The Tudor reign was a turbulent time for the Abbey, as Henry VIII dissolved the monastery in 1540 and it was re-founded by Elizabeth I as a Collegiate Church 1560. Full review »
4. Windsor Castle
Construction began on this castle in the 11th century and it is still occupied today—by Queen Elizabeth II of the Windsor dynasty. Just west of London in the Thames Valley, this sprawling structure has seen many royal families come and go, including the House of Tudor. Full review »
5. Leeds Castle
Set on two small islands on a lake, the interior of this fortress-turned-palace sometimes disappoints visitors compared to the dramatic exterior. Henry VIII enjoyed spending time here with his court. Full review »
6. St. James's Park and Palace
The Tudor brick palace was built by Henry VIII and was once home to Elizabeth I; today it is the working office of Charles the Prince of Wales. While you can't tour the inside, a stroll the royal park is a pleasant way to relax close to Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster (Parliament). Full review »
7. Ludlow Castle.
This ruined sandstone castle dates from medieval times, but has several links to the Royal House of Tudor. The massive structure dominates the small town of Ludlow along the Welsh Border. Full review »
Now demolished, Greenwich Palace was once a popular royal residence on the site of the Old Royal Naval Hospital. Today the borough's maritime history is the main draw, but you can still prance around Elizabeth Oak in Greenwich Park. Full review »
9. Hever Castle
Thirty miles south of London, the 13th-century ancestral home of Anne Boleyn was also where Henry VIII courted her. Though renovated, the structure's turrets and moats still fit the classic image of many a castle. Full review »
10. Hatfield House
Just north of London, Hatfield House itself wasn't completed until 1611 but Elizabeth I learned of her accession to the throne in 1558 while living in the Old Palace. Full review »
For more suggestions and tips, see this thread in our Forums.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Member Comments (13) Post a Comment
Then maybe it should have been described as English castles most recognised and visited by Americans? Btw I know where Ludlow castle is - I live <50 miles away from it!
While most of these castles are in the vicinity of London, only one is actually in London and that is the Tower of London. Ludlow isn't anywhere near London, it is in Shropshire and is well-visited by English native and non-natives alike. I believe this was their criteria for the article being the Top Ten. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this claim. Castles, Palaces and manor homes are the most popular Sunday day out or day trips in England. If there are extensive gardens in relation to the monument in question they pull in even more.
George IV was the only Price of Whales
The "Prince of Whales". Do you know something we don't?
Like several of the castles on the above list, Leeds castle isn't a Tudor castle - it was built in 1119 - only the Maiden Tower is Tudor. Tongsa, Warwick castle does have Tudor connections. John Dudley I, Earl of Warwick and 1st Duke of Northumberland was beheaded for trying to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. The list also omits castles actually built by the Tudors like Lindisfarne which was built as a Tudor fort. What about Hardwick Hall, Little Moreton Hall, Deal Castle (which is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England) etc etc
Charles is not the Prince of Whales!
sorry, take that back - guess the ones mentioned on the list are only Tudor-related!
Would add Warwick Castle for kids - a whole day fun affair ending with a jousting and trebuchet show; I remember at Windsor, my then 3.5 year old who was wearing a dress and crown,exclaimed looking at QE's portraits,"she has a crown too"! and also enjoyed the Doll's House exhibits too.
p.s. and yes,tend to agree with hastobe_kate!
margaretklinger - the author is saying that Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor are half-sisters.
Sorry, make that the father of Henry VIII.
Westminster Abbey's Lady Chapel was founded by Henry VII who was the father of Henry VII not the half-brother of Mary and Elizabeth. Their brother was Edward VI.
I thought this was supposed to be England's top 10 castles...not London's top 10 castles.
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