Help! Castles near Bath, York, Lakes?

May 24th, 2000, 04:33 AM
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Help! Castles near Bath, York, Lakes?

After years of planning by a rookie, we leave in a few weeks for a two week trip to England and Paris. And now, my 12-year old daughter is upset I have not included any "cool castles" on our itinerary. We will have five nights in London, two in Bath, two in Grasmere (Lakes), two in York and then five in Paris. We were going to travel exclusively by train...but now the six of us may need a minivan for the day to find a castle. Any suggestions for "cool castles" close to our locations?
May 24th, 2000, 05:21 AM
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We took a day trip bus tour to Windsor Castle that included a stop at Hampton Court to see the gardens and have tea. Information is available at Victoria Station.
May 24th, 2000, 05:51 AM
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In my opinion Warwick might be the most impressive English castle for a 12-year old. Warwick is roughly an hour (maybe 90min?) from London by train, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Warwick Castle is run by the people who own Madame Toussaud's waxworks in London. It has been completely restored and decorated from various periods, with wax-figure displays that are supposed to illustrate life during various eras. There are also usually live people wandering about the grounds in period costumes (bards, archers, maidens, even sometimes a mounted, fully-armoured knight).

As a bonus, the grounds are very nice, with formal gardens, strutting peacocks, and some beautiful parkland on the banks of the River Avon.

If you decide to visit Warwick, be sure to get there early, since this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in England.


Windsor would also be a good choice, although not as "entertaining" as Warwick (I feel qualified to make that judgement, since sometimes I still think like a 12-year-old). Windsor can easily be reached by train from London.


There is a castle in York, called Clifford's Tower, although it's just an empty Shell Keep atop a man-made Motte (mound). I doubt your daughter would consider this one of the "cool castles". There's nothing inside, so don't bother paying the admission unless you want to climb the walls for the view of York. Still, it's worth seeing, at least from the outside, since it's easy to walk to, and is probably a better representation of a real medieval castle than either of the highly restored ones mentioned above.


On another note, you said you are planning to travel exclusively by train. But you are planning to go to Grasmere? The Lake District is one of the few areas in the UK without an extensive rail network. As I recall (without my resources, so this is subject to correction), there is a rail line along the west coast of the Lake District, and also a spur into Windermere from the east. Have you confirmed that you will be able to get to Grasmere? I think this will probably involve a ride on the local bus service from Windermere.

I apologize if you already have this all planned out; just wanted to mention it in case.

Have a great trip.

May 24th, 2000, 05:55 AM
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Windsor and Hampton Court are two easy, good suggestions. They are also easy, and probably less-expensive, daytrips that you can do on your own rather than on the relatively expensive bus tours:
Windsor Windsor Castle
Train from Waterloo or Paddington Station takes about 30 minutes, transferring at Slough.
For train info from London call 207 262 6767
There is a Tourist Information Centre across from Windsor Castle on High Street, and another one at Windsor Coach Park. Both are open 10-4 from Easter through September.
Windsor Castle phone is 1 753 868286. Open March-October from 10 to 5; Nov-Feb from 10 to 4pm.
Last admission is one hour before closing. Family tickets are available. The castle is closed to the public for periods in April, June, and Dec when the royal family is in residence.
The Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard takes place Monday through Saturday from May to August at 11am; In winter it is every other day Monday through Saturday. To check on the ceremony, call
1753 868 286.
Don't miss a visit to St. George's Chapel on the Castle grounds.

Hampton Court
Trains from Waterloo Station. Call 207 928 5100.
London transport buses (207 730 3466) travel from Victoria Coach Station to Hampton Court.
There is also boat service from Richmond and Westminster, lengthy trip.
Be sure to allow time to go through the Maze in the garden. Both adults and kids love it.
If you have any interest in sight-seeing notes on London and Paris, feel free to email me.
Enjoy your trip.
May 24th, 2000, 08:16 AM
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To avoid renting a mini-van, I definantly suggest Windsor Castle. I am twenty-four and probably think like your daughter! When I visited Windsor Castle, I was excited just to know that the Queen could be there. If the flag is up on the castle, the Queen is in and she drives her green Range Rover from London to the castle herself (I learned all of this from my boyfriend, who is English). When you tour the castle, you view the courtyard, across form which are the private apartments. When the Queen is there, her Range Rover is parked right in the courtyard - it was when I was there. Eton is also right across the river - a short distance - where William and Harry go to school and will probably be in school until mid-June. That could also be exciting for a 12 year old. Also, in the town of Windsor there are great shops and tea houses. I highly recommend Windsor!!!
May 24th, 2000, 08:29 AM
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Hi ...

Re: Train to Grasmere.
You can only get as far as Windermere by train, the rest will have to be done via bus. To get to Windermere, change at Oxenholme (this is on the main London to Glasgow line). I would suggest that you get yourself a 3/5/7 day bus pass ... I believe that you can get them from outside Windermere railway station, or else on the bus. Also go to Ulswater .... beautiful ... take boat trip ... not as commercialled as Windermere (which is the largest lake in England - 19 miles). Maybe consider going to Kendal - gateway to the Lakes ... pretty town with castle ... this is where Katherine Parr lived ... she was the sixth wife of Henry 8th & the only one to survive him ... most of the rest got beheaded. Great views of the lakes & all free ... be aware that it is a partial ruin ... Kendal is on the Oxenholme to Windermere train route ... I'm biased cause I grew up there ... any more required then contact me directly if you like.
Grasmere has the house of Wordsworth as well ...
Hope this is of interest.
May 25th, 2000, 07:29 PM
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Dear Schuvy,
Don't forget, the Tower of London is a castle, very impressive, and you are already in London. Take the tube and go early. Don't miss the Crown Jewels and take a free Beefeater tour.It is really cool. My teenage son was most impressed.
May 25th, 2000, 07:39 PM
Beth Anderson
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don't forget about the Louvre, Versailles, and Chantilly! castles all!

I would second Warwick (War-ick) and DO NOT miss the Tower of London - go on the guided tour - wow! impressive stories.

if you are going to York, try to find some time to see Hadrian's Wall. she might be impressed by that. The Romans went pretty far north in England, back in their day!!
May 25th, 2000, 08:07 PM
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My kids loved every castle we visited. Warwick, Tower of London, and Hampton Court were their favorite. Try to go to Warwick or Hampton Court on a weekend day when there is a festival. Tried to see all of them, and your daughter will have great memories. At Windsor Castle, we found the lines horrendously long, so we skipped it. They wouldn't let us skip the line with the Heritage Pass like the other sites do. And in Paris, visit Versailles
May 25th, 2000, 08:38 PM
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All good advice above. If you wanted to see a really wonderful medieval castle (a ruin, but wonderfully preserved) you could go to Raglan Castle in Wales while you are in Bath. It would require a bit of doing, and I don't know how you could go without a car, but it's certainly a wonderful castle. Otherwise, Hampton Court is super as is Windsor and of course, the Tower of London. Your 12 year old will be very impressed by all of this!
May 26th, 2000, 06:28 AM
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We were in England last summer and enjoyed Hampton Court. The history there is great and the gardens beautiful. Also, you daughter might enjoy the maze that they are famous for. I am glad to hear that you are going to Bath. We took a side trip there from London and I thought that it was the best part of the countryside trip out of London. The Roman ruins and the town was wonderful. Paris was the best!!!!!!

May 26th, 2000, 11:46 AM
Bill Irving
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From London, as other have already stated, Windsor & Warwick Castles are easily reached by train, as well as the Tower in London. Other ones within reach by train from London on a daytrip are Dover, & in Wales you could see Cardiff Castle & then a very short trip to Caerphilly - both reached easily by train. Can see both in 1 day & return to London. My 12 yr old(as well as myself) think Caerphilly is way cool. Chepstow Castle in Wales is also another good castle. If you do not know ahead of time how to get there by train, you can go into almost any train station & they will usually give you the quickest train route at the cheapest rate they can find, but for cheapest rates, it is best to purchase train tickets atleast a few days in advance, if you can.
Jun 2nd, 2000, 01:07 PM
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Recommend Warwick Castle.

Check out these websites for more info:

Jun 2nd, 2000, 03:05 PM
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Schuvy--- try the following site

It is primarily an interactive map and database of all the English and Welsh castles that have been built since the 11th century that are still standing, or at least still have some visible remains (verbatim). Some have photos; most have a good historical synopsis. I'll think it would be cool to have your daughter explore this site and sort of do some travel planning.
Jun 8th, 2000, 01:58 PM
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i think a 12 y/o would difinately enjoy warwick..its very beautiful,but rather "touristy".. also check out kennsington.. i think that dianas dress collection is still there. hampton is also a good choice..the kitchens are might tell your daughter that it is said to be haunted by catherine howard (henry viii's 5th wife who was a teenager)
she will enjoy everything she see's.. what a great trip for a little girl.

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