Castles around London

Old Feb 10th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Castles around London

my husband and i want to take our two sons (ages 17 and 15) to London this spring or summer for a week. we haven't been there in 25 years. the kids are interested in castles. what castles are nearby that we can get to and most worth seeing?

also, if anyone can recommend any great 'packages', would love any tips. we leave from buffalo, new york.

thanks!
leslie007 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Castles nearby: Windsor is the obvious one; Leeds

Palaces: Hampton Court, Blenheim.

The Tower of London is not really a castle, but is a similar idea (old, lots of history etc).

For packages, try go-today.com, or the airlines themselves (like Virgin Atlantic vacations, for example).
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Warwick Castle is also a do-able day trip (though not as easy as Windsor.)
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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One castle that I've been wanting to see but is never open when I'm in London is Arundel Castle. You can take the train from Victoria Station. I'm not sure how long a trip it is but it's located in West Sussex. The website is www.arundelcastle.org
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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Windsor and Hampton Court are the closest to London and if you only have a week they are probably your best bet. Warwick Castle is 90 min. by train (from Marylebone Station) and the ride is pleasant and gives one a chance to see countryside. Arundel Castle is lovely, we have been there twice, but it is not as much of a "show place" as Warwick is. Arundel is about 90 by train from Victoria Station and the ride is very nice, again through countryside. The town itself sits alongside the Arundel River - to me it is more picturesque (and forgive me for using that word) then Warwick, however the boys may enjoy Warwick more.
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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With only a week in London, the Tower of London and Windsor would be the most time-efficient, but there are others you could get to and back within a (long-ish) day, like Arundel, or Corfe, or Carisbrooke, as well as Warwick.

Try this and see what the youngsters think:
http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/maps.php

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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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You don't mention whether you will have use of a car or not. I had a car and found the castles and other sites in Kent a fantastic excursion. In one day trip, I visited Hever Castle, Chartwell (Churchill's estate), Leeds Castle, Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral. And it wasn't a hurried day either. They are all close enough to each other to spend several hours at each. Hever Castle once belonged to the family of Anne Boleyn (it is where she grew up). Henry VIII gave it to his 4th wife Anne of Cleves. It has a yew maze. Leeds Castle sits in the middle of a lake with two separate sections connected by a arched covered bridge with beautiful grounds with swans gliding in the lake. It bills itself as the "lovelist castle in the world". Chartwell is Churchill's estate from 1924 until his death in 1965. They still have a half-smoked cigar of his sitting on his desk. Dover Castle overlooks the harbor of Dover. There is a Roman lighthouse on the grounds that dates from the first century. And Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Church and where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights in the name of King Henry II and became a pilgrimmage site thereafter.
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Not as obvious as the others mentioned but consider the castle at:

http://www.city-of-rochester.co.uk/
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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The key thing here is that the kids are interested in castles, and from their age I would put Warwick Castle and Dover Castle as the better of the bunch. Warwick has the dungeons, ramparts, battlements, towers, torchure chamber and Ghost Tower. Dover has got some great millitary history aswell as all the fortifications expected of an impregnable castle.
Leeds, delightful place that it is, can be said to be more of a stately home, having lost its fortifications years ago. Hampton Court and Chartwell are simly not castles (but nevertheless wonderful places). And Windsor, well for younger people it can feel a tad frigid and unappealing.
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Old Feb 10th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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"In one day trip, I visited Hever Castle, Chartwell (Churchill's estate), Leeds Castle, Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral. And it wasn't a hurried day either."

You did all that in one day? We've been to all of them except Canterbury Cathedral and I would say each one was at least a half a day to see. You must walk and drive much faster than we did.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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Here's a related question -- my hubbie and I will be two weeks in London this fall, and want to see castles that haven't been renovated, i.e., ruins or shells that we can explore and dream. Not that interested in modern palaces or renovated 'country manors', etc... suggestions close or easily accessibly by London? We will be relying on tube and train... thanks!
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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Cromwell "slighted" so many castles during the Civil Wars that ruined, unrestored ones are ten a penny. However alot of them are just piles of rubble. Decent sized ruins that spring to mind are Chepstow and Kennilworth, although not really within easy reach of London. There is a perfectly good Keep to see at Rochester and a smaller one at Guildford but alot of castles within easy reach of London have been cosmetically altered.
If you can get into Wales then there are many "fairly unrestored" ruins like Harlech, Caernavon and Conwy and even an unfinished one at Beaumaris on the isle of Anglesey. Built to be a state of the art impregnable fortress but Edward I just ran out of money!!
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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GreenDragon:

Corfe, near Wareham
http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/engla...links.php#main
Very romantic, pretty village and countryside but a good 3-4 hours from London.

Bodiam
http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/engla...tions.php#main
Beautiful shell, but not much else
About 1.5 hours from London

Berkhamsted - only about 40 minutes from London by train, but it's so ruined, your imagination will be really challenged
http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/engla...tions.php#main
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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Warwick is definitely worth the trek for teenage boys -- it's much more interactive and informal than the grand places like Windsor or Leeds. Climb the parapets, etc. When we were there, they had an ongoing medieval festival on the grounds, with jousting, craftsmen, archery displays, etc. And beautiful gardens. Check their website for details and scheduled ecents.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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GreenDragon- One castle ruin that I've always wanted to see is Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Look at www.english-heritage.org.uk.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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www.evanevans.co.uk is a tour company that provides half day/full day tours to Leeds Castle, Warwick Castle, and Windsor.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Warwick even years ago blew my mind... but if you plan your trip this summer check to see if Buckingham Palace is going to be opened.. We were so overwhelmed...You can buy tickets ahead of time
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Warwick Castle definitely. My 14 year old nephew loved every minute. We initially thought we would spend a few hours and spent nearly the entire day.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for all the ruin tips, will note them
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