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The 15 Most Iconic Castles in and Near Manchester

The 15 Most Iconic Castles in and Near Manchester

Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for a castle adventure that’s more thrilling than a rollercoaster ride! 

Today, we’re embarking on a quest through the enchanting landscapes of the United Kingdom to discover the most iconic, the most legendary, and the most downright awesome castles in and around Manchester.

So buckle up, fellow adventurers, and let’s dive into a world where knights roamed, dragons lurked (well, maybe), and where the past comes alive with a sprinkle of magic.

Peveril Castle

Address: Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 8WQ, UK

Year it was built: Around 1086

Style: Norman

Ah, Peveril Castle – or as I like to call it, the old wise one! Perched high in the Derbyshire Peak District, it’s like a mysterious grandpa with a lot of tales to tell. This Norman fortress dates back to the Conqueror’s times, built by his alleged illegitimate son. 

It’s seen centuries of royal feuds, changes, and, yes, taxes. Its breathtaking views aren’t just there to wow visitors – strategic placement, folks! Ever want to time-travel to the 11th century? Wander around the ruins, and you’ll feel it.

Pro tip: 

Wear comfy hiking boots. That hill’s a bit of a challenge, but the view? Worth every step. It’s like winning a game of king-of-the-hill – literally!

Peckforton Castle

Address: Stone House Ln, Tarporley CW6 9TN, UK

Year it was built: Completed in 1851

Style: Medieval

Picture this: A guy in the 19th century wakes up and thinks, “I need a castle!” Meet Peckforton Castle, a Victorian fantasy playing medieval dress-up. John Tollemache didn’t just want a castle; he wanted the real deal – with arrow slits, a drawbridge, and everything. 

No half measures here! It’s like stepping into a storybook, and not just for looks. This place is alive with adventure: falconry, 4×4 off-roading, and even archery. Oh, and you can sleep like royalty in their hotel. I mean, they filmed Doctor Who episodes here, so you know it’s cool!

Pro tip: 

If you ever wanted to feel like a modern-day Robin Hood (minus the theft), try their archery experience. It’s right on target for fun!

Liverpool Castle

Address: Castle Street, Liverpool, L2 4TA (replica site; original location no longer exists)

Year it was built: Originally built around 1235; demolished in the 18th century

Style: Medieval

Liverpool Castle? Wait a minute, where’d it go? Yep, the original medieval fortress is long gone, but don’t fret, history lovers. A replica, inspired by the original, has found a new home at Rivington. Built by the first Lord Leverhulme, it’s a nostalgic nod to the past. 

Now, this might not be the real deal, but it’s like a tribute band – still rocking, still charming, and with killer views of the reservoir. And hey, no castle upkeep means no moat monsters!

Pro tip:

Pack a picnic. The surrounding park and reservoir views are perfect for a serene lunch. And if you’re a fan of mystery, try to imagine what secrets the original castle walls could tell.

Chester Castle

Address: Grosvenor Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2DN, UK

Year it was built: 1070 

Style: Norman and Neoclassical

Step aside, Cinderella’s castle, Chester Castle’s got layers of cool! Part Norman fortress, part Neoclassical architecture, it’s like a multi-generational family reunion of styles. Built by William the Conqueror’s nephew, Hugh Lupus, it was THE place for royals to hang out. 

Even Queen Eleanor was imprisoned here – talk about drama! Fancy a glimpse of military history? The on-site Cheshire Military Museum has all the scoop. Oh, and that Agricola Tower? It’s like a medieval skyscraper with views that’ll make you say, “Whoa!”

Pro tip:

Don’t miss the Military Museum. It’s packed with stories, artifacts, and even uniforms. Want to feel like a general for a day? Here’s your chance!

Halton Castle

Address: Castle Road, Runcorn, Cheshire, WA7 2BE, UK

Year it was built: Founded in 1070

Style: Medieval

Halton Castle? More like the ultimate cliffhanger – literally! Perched on Halton Hill, this medieval masterpiece overlooks five counties and the River Mersey. This castle’s been around the block a few times, from royal fortress to courthouse to even a pub. 

Talk about a career change! It’s not just its history that’s versatile; the views are a nature lover’s jackpot. Fancy a game of “Spot the Landmark?” This is your place! Wander through the ruins, but don’t let that fool you; these walls echo everything from royal feasts to dramatic trials. 

Need a break from time-traveling? Pop into the on-site pub, and who knows, you might bump into a ghostly barkeeper!

Pro tip:

Ghost tours, anyone? Halton Castle’s known for its spectral sightings. Book a guided tour for a thrilling adventure – if you dare!

Skipton Castle

Address: The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1AW, UK

Year it was built: 1090

Style: Medieval

Skipton Castle, the “She’s still got it!” of castles. A thousand years old and still fully roofed, it’s like the grand dame of medieval fortresses. This place has hosted royalty, survived a three-year siege (talk about holding your ground!), and now welcomes visitors from all over. 

The guided tour is a must – it’s like having a chatty friend from the 17th century showing you around. The Conduit Court with its yew tree? A botanical mystery novel waiting to be written. Love stories with secret chambers and hidden passages? Skipton’s got ’em!

Pro tip:

The tea room’s scones are legendary. After exploring, treat yourself to a cuppa and scone – you’ve earned it, brave castle explorer!

Mow Cop Castle

Address: Mow Cop, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST7 3PA, UK

Year it was built 1754

Style: Folly

Mow Cop Castle –the majestic imposter! This chap, standing tall on the hill, might fool you into thinking it’s an ancient fortress, but it’s actually a folly. A ‘folly’, you ask? It’s a decorative building, a piece of architectural flirtation by its builder, Randle Wilbraham of nearby Rode Hall. 

Wilbraham fancied a quaint ruin for his summer evening walks, so he thought, “Why not build one?” 

You know what, though? This ‘fake’ castle is a real beauty! No tales of knights and battles here, but the panorama? Killer! A 360° view across Cheshire and Staffordshire that screams, “Hello, gorgeous!” The sunsets? They’d give any Instagram filter a run for their money.

Pro tip:

The Castle isn’t just about the views; it’s also part of a local legend about a ‘Cheshire Chunder,’ a mythical dragon. Fancy a selfie with a dragon? Why not!

Clitheroe Castle

Address: Castle Hill, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1BA, UK

Year it was built Believed to be built around 1102

Style: Norman Keep

Ahh, Clitheroe Castle. It’s like the cute, compact car of castles – petite but packed with character. This Norman keep is proudly touted as one of the smallest in England, but it’s got a personality that’s anything but small. 

Perched atop a limestone cliff, it’s been watching over the Ribble Valley for over 900 years. Rumour has it, it was built by Robert de Lacy as a show of power and a place of retreat.

The castle’s museum? It’s like a mini time machine, zipping you back to ancient times and then back to the Industrial Revolution. Oh, and those picture-perfect views from the castle grounds are perfect for a picnic, a dreamy doodle, or a moment of zen.

Pro tip:

Got kiddos? The museum’s Castle Quest is a must! It’s like a scavenger hunt but with a historical twist.

Victoria Tower

Address: Castle Hill, Huddersfield, HD4 6TA, UK

Year it was built: Completed in 1899

Style: Victorian

Allow me to introduce you to Victoria Tower, or as I like to call it, “Vicky with a View!” Built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, it’s a royal toast in stone, thanks to the architect Isaac Jones.

Standing tall on Castle Hill, this tower isn’t shy about flaunting its panoramic views over Huddersfield. And let me tell you, those views are no joke! But don’t rush up those 98 steps without soaking in the elegant sandstone exterior, crowned with that beautiful balcony. 

Ever dreamed of feeling like royalty without the whole ruling-a-kingdom bit? Just stand on that balcony and take in the view! You’ll feel on top of the world.

Pro tip:

Wear comfy shoes for the climb; trust me, your feet will thank you later. Oh, and bring a camera – those views are frame-worthy!

Lancaster Castle

Address: Castle Parade, Lancaster, LA1 1YJ, UK

Year it was built: Origins date back to Roman times

Style: Medieval

Lancaster Castle is like that fascinating friend who’s had a million jobs – royal fortress, prison, even a courthouse. Talk about versatility! With foundations dating back to Roman times, this castle has seen it all, from the reign of kings to the infamous Pendle Witch Trials. 

Thomas Covell, the castle’s infamous keeper during the witch trials, probably still wanders the halls! Every brick and stone here is a page from history, echoing tales of intrigue, power, and justice. 

Go on a guided tour, and you’ll be guided through history by the friendliest time-traveling guide you’ll ever meet. Dungeons, medieval Graffiti, royal banquets – this castle has chapters upon chapters to explore.

Pro tip:

Don’t miss the “Drop Room” where the last public hanging in England was carried out in 1865. It’s macabre history but utterly fascinating.

Beeston Castle

Address: Chapel Ln, Beeston, Tarporley CW6 9TX, UK

Year it was built: In the 1220s

Style: Medieval

Think Beeston Castle is just a pile of old rocks? Well, think again. This hilltop fortress is more like the Hollywood superstar of the castle world – all style, substance, and an impressive resume to boot. 

Built by Ranulf de Blondeville (don’t you love that name?), it’s the perfect place to play ‘spot the knight’! What’s that you ask? Well, take a stroll among the ruins, squint your eyes, and let your imagination do the rest. 

Maybe that shadowy corner was a bustling kitchen, or that empty space was where a once-mighty tower stood. And when you’re done, sit back with a picnic and enjoy a view that would make even a mountain go green with envy.

Pro tip:

This is a hike and a history lesson rolled into one, so wear sturdy shoes and bring a camera. Those views are just begging to be Instagrammed!

Cholmondeley Castle

Address: Malpas SY14 8AH, UK

Year it was built: In the early 19th century

Style: Gothic Revival

Ah, Cholmondeley Castle. Now, this is not your run-of-the-mill brooding and mysterious castle. Nope, Cholmondeley is more like the lively debutante at the ball – all charm, grace, and garden parties. 

I mean, with those turrets and gardens, it’s like stepping into a Gothic novel, only much more colorful. Wander through the flower-studded gardens, find that perfect spot under a tree, and whip out your favorite book (may I suggest Jane Eyre?). 

Pro tip:

Check their events schedule before you visit. Trust me, these guys know how to throw a garden party, 19th-century style!

Sandal Castle

Address: Castle Road, Sandal, Wakefield WF2 7HZ, UK

When: In the 12th century

Style: Medieval

Ah, Sandal Castle, where the stones whisper secrets of noble knights and bloody battles! Built in the 12th century by the Warren family, this place has seen more drama than a reality TV show. 

Remember the Battle of Wakefield in 1460? Yeah, that’s like the “Game of Thrones” episode you never knew was real!

Grab your walking shoes, because this castle offers both fascinating ruins and views of the River Calder that’ll make you go all poetic. And the visitor center? It’s like a detective’s notebook on the place – complete with interactive exhibits and archaeological clues.

Pro tip:

Get a guided tour. Trust me, the local guides can spill the castle’s secrets better than a medieval gossipmonger!

Conisbrough Castle

Address: Castle Hill, Conisbrough, Doncaster DN12 3BU, UK

When: In the 12th century

Style: Norman

Ever wanted to visit a real-life fairytale castle? Well, pack your bags and head to Conisbrough Castle! Built by Henry II’s illegitimate half-brother (scandalous, I know!), this castle is all about grandeur with its unique hexagonal shape and intricate carvings. 

Sir Walter Scott found his muse here for “Ivanhoe,” so who knows, you might just pen the next bestselling novel during your visit. And if writing’s not your thing, just climb to the top of the keep for a view that’s worth a thousand words, or at least a killer Instagram post.

Pro tip:

Check out the historical re-enactments to discover the nostalgic costumes!

Ewloe Castle

Address: Wepre Park, Connah’s Quay, Deeside CH5 4HL, UK

Year it was built: Built around 1257

Style: Welsh medieval

Ever felt like playing hide and seek with a castle? Well, Ewloe Castle is an expert at this game, hidden away in the luscious woodlands of Wepre Park. This mysterious medieval marvel, built by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, might look shy, but it has stories that can fill books.

Constructed as a symbol of Welsh defiance, Ewloe Castle’s earthy, rustic charm contrasts sharply with the more extravagant English fortifications. Its partially hidden location in a secluded valley gave it a strategic advantage back in the day. Clever, right?

Strolling through the maze-like ruins, you may find yourself humming a Welsh ballad, enchanted by its silent beauty. Or is that just me getting carried away again?

Pro tip:

Don’t just explore the castle; take a hike around Wepre Park too. The woodland walks are pure poetry, and they’ll make you feel like you’re a character in a Welsh legend. Bring a camera; you’ll thank me later!

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