Saturday, February 13, 2010

Visiting Medieval Britain

Britain has some of the best medieval castles in the world. Some are surprisingly still intact and lived in whilst others just have ruins left - a shadow of their former, glorious selves. If you live in or come to visit Britain and have an interest in medieval history, then it's your lucky day because there are hundreds of medieval sites open to the public.

Medieval castles in Wales include Coch Castle, Denbigh Castle and Caernarfon Castle.

Medieval castles in Scotland include Castle of Mey, Hermitage Castle, Caerlaverock Castle.

Medieval castles in England include Alnwick Castle, Naworth Castle,

Many British medieval castles are on or near to the coast. Take, for example, Dunstanburgh Castle and Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. Both are on the coast yet one is in ruins whilst the other intact and still lived in. Both of them command some of the most spectacular locations you could ever imagine for a medieval castle. Tourist accommodation in this area is plentiful and if you want a vacation rental (self catering) cottage that's extra special, there are some luxury Northumbrian cottages on hand to make your stay even more enjoyable.

Moving further north you are soon in Scotland, a country famous for its history including medieval history with the likes of William Wallace. Now there's a medieval folk hero worth talking and writing about - but that's for another time and another post!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Threave & Hermitage - Castles In Scotland

Threave Castle
Sitting in the middle of the River Dee, this has to be one of the most unusual and interesting medieval castles we have ever visited. It even has its own medieval harbour! Views out across the river Dee are beautiful with unspoiled countryside everywhere you look.

Threave Castle has some fascinating architectural features for those interested in medieval castle design. Watch out for future posts with more of the stunning photos from our Threave Castle visit.

Hermitage Castle
We have already published several posts about Hermitage featuring photographs of it that we took on a visit during 2009.

Check our Medieval Castle Blog Archive for details.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Medieval Castles in 2009

During the course of this year we have visited and photographed a number of medieval castles in the Border region that lies between England and Scotland. It is an area that has seen many battles for power over the centuries and is therefore littered with fortresses many of which date back to medieval times and some such as Carlisle Castle having origins even further back - to Roman times.

Carlisle Castle (Cumbria England)
With over 900 years of history. Architecturally fascinating and reputed to be haunted!

Naworth Castle (Cumbria England)
A small, privately owned medieval castle dating back to the early 14th century.

Dacre Castle (Cumbria England)
An even smaller castle, again privately owned which was up for rental at the time we visited.

Dunstanburgh Castle (Northumberland, England)
Castle ruins in one of the most outstanding locations you could ever dream of! Located high on a promintery overlooking the sea. Breathtaking views once you reach it and look down on the surrounding countryside. Legends abound about this castle and it is reputed to be haunted.

Threave Castle (Scotland)
Ruins of a 13th century castle built in a unique location - on an island in the middle of the river Dee.

Hermitage Castle (Scotland)
Another unique location for a medieval castle - this was far from romantic though. A much more desolate location. Castle reputed to be haunted.

Photographs of each of the above will be published in subsequent blog posts.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hermitage Castle - Inside & Out

Hermitage Castle Scotland
We don't usually focus on an individual castle for more than one or two blog posts but we have made an exception with Hermitage Castle in Scotland. I have tried to describe the place in words (see our Halloween blog post about haunted Hermitage Castle) but photographs convey the atmosphere perhaps more strongly.

Here are 2 more photographs we took of Hermitage Castle earlier this year.

Photo 1 (right)
An inside shot of part of the castle ruins

Photo 2
On the left of the picture is the Douglas Tower - the largest of the 4 attached towers and so named because it was the Earl of Douglas who remodelled the castle in the 1370's and 1380's. Almost 2 centuries later (in 1566), the infamous 4th Earl of Bothwel was taken to Hermitage to recover from a local skirmish; whilst there, most likely residing in the Douglas tower, he was paid a secret visit by Mary Queen of Scots who was later to become his wife.

On the right of the picture is the Well Tower.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Hermitage Castle Photos

Here is a view of Hermitage Castle as you approach it more closely, having come up the path from the entrance (Historic Scotland's little hut where you buy your ticket).

At this point you are already standing above what used to be the castle moat.

Pictured right - what used to be the moat, now grassed over but still visibly deep. You can see the green, grassed path in the top right hand corner of the picture along which you walk from the entrance.

This photo was taken having turned around near to the base of the stonework in photo 1 (above left).

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hermitage Castle Scotland

Whilst our Halloween post pointed readers in the direction of a variety of haunted medieval castles all over Britain, it focused in particular on Hermitage Castle.

After writing that post I was reminded of just how strong an atmosphere there was to the place - I can still close my eyes and feel the 'coldness' that seemed prevalent there! I then started to sift through the photographs we took on our visit to Hermitage Castle earlier in 2009 and it became even clearer just how powerful and commanding a presence the place has.

It seems therefore only fair to the many readers of our website and our medieval castle blog, that we should share some of those photographs with you all. After all, many of you are not in a position to travel to Scotland and see first hand what I have described. So over the coming weeks watch out for some great photos!

Today's ...... the view that greets you as you walk towards Hermitage Castle.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky Stories From Medieval Castles On Halloween!

If you've been reading our Medieval Castle Blog during the month of October you will know that we have been recounting 'white lady' ghost stories at some of Britain's medieval castles. Well, for those of you who haven't had enough and want yet more spooky stories for your Halloween bedtime reading, let us point you in the right direction ....

Haunted Castles In England
Haunted Castles In Scotland
Haunted Castles In Ireland
Haunted Castles In Wales

On a personal note, one of the most 'spooky' castles I have ever visited has to be Hermitage Castle in Scotland. It is difficult to explain but the moment you set eyes on the castle it really grips you and holds your attention. It has a powerful, eery appearance and when you see it close up and then enter inside the ruins the atmosphere is very intense. Hermitage Castle is set close to a river, in open countryside and with views to distant fields and hills all around. It has to be one of the most distinctive of medieval castles I have ever seen - though not one that I would relish revisiting. There was a coldness to it that even now is clear in the memory as I write this post. See our dedicated page on Hermitage Castle and read about 2 of its ghost stories.

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