The Best Castles Near London To Explore


Rochester Castle, Kent
Strategically placed to guard an important crossing of the River Medway, this imposing fortress has a complex history of destruction and rebuilding.
This Norman tower-keep of Kentish ragstone dates back to the 12th century and still stands as a prominent feature of the city of Rochester, dominating the skyline from a top of the hill, standing at 113 feet high.
In 1215, the castle endured an epic siege which resulted in the southern corner crashing down. The castle was rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I, the castle remained as a viable fortress until the sixteenth century.
The fortress has been included in the works of artists and writers, including diarist Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens who lived in Rochester and included the castle ruins in The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Highclere Castle, North Wessex
Situated in the North Wessex Downs is Highclere Castle, although you might know it as a filming location for Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle has a rich, multi-faceted heritage with records dating back to 749AD.
Highclere is open to the public for general admission at specific times throughout the year. April, May and a couple of months over the summer is when visitors can explore the grounds and attend special events such as the Highclere Castle Battle Proms Concert, a full two hour programme of captivating classical music.
Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Founded at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067. Arundal Castle has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for more than 950 years making it one of the longest inhabited country houses in England.
Be sure to visit the Keep, the gardens and Fitzalan Chapel, a burial ground for the members of the family of owners, the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. Dover Castle, Kent
The largest castle in England and one of the most imposing of all English fortresses, Dover Castle is built on the iconic White Cliffs in the 11th century.
The strategic location on the country’s coastline showcased it’s defensive intentions, serving as a Roman lighthouse, an underground hospital, and the secret wartime tunnels from which England commanded many operations like Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk during World War II.