This castle, built more than a thousand years ago by the Normans, was remodeled extensively during the Middle Ages and surrounded by a mile of artillery fortifications in 1600 to defend against the threat of the Spanish Armada. During the English Civil War Carisbrooke served as a prison for Royalists, most notably King Charles I, who also tried (unsuccessfully) to escape through a tiny window in the north curtain wall, which you can still see. (The small museum has memorabilia relating to the imprisoned King.) The castle was restored during Victoria's reign and served as the residence of her daughter Princess Beatrice, who has a namesake Edwardian-style garden here. There are excellent views from the top of the Norman keep and battlements. Children love meeting the donkeys who still pull the wheel that draws water from the castle well. The castle is about a mile southwest of the Isle of Wight's capital, Newport. From Cowes, take Bus 1 or 5 (1 from West Cowes, near Holmwood Hotel; 5 from East Cowes, near Osborne House) to Newport, from where it's a 30-minute walk or a short ride on Bus 6, 7, or 38 to The Mall in Carisbrooke, ¼ mile away.