21+ Best Castles near London You Must Visit (2023)

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Particularly for international travelers, one of the really cool things about visiting London is its proximity to wonderful castles near London.

Around the world, England has a history closely associated with knights, castles, and the age of chivalry.

And even though that chapter of history has been fictionalized to a great extent, it’s perhaps more accurate in England and France than anywhere else.

A long path leading to Windsor Castle, with people walking along it, with green grass and blue sky

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When you throw in the fact that a lot of the most impressive castles are near London and can be enjoyed on quick day trips from the capital, it’s understandable that they can be irresistible for tourists.

So whether you want castle ruins, fully functioning castles with demonstrations and people dressed up like medieval characters (seriously), or historic castles with artifacts, check out this awesome list of the best castles near London to make your trip one to remember.

The Absolute Must-Knows (from a Londoner)

1. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

A lot of people are aware that Windsor Castle is a functioning residence where Queen Elizabeth II still spends a great deal of time.

That is to say, it’s not some ancient dwelling crumbling away in ruins on a green countryside – a description that perhaps encapsulates many people’s imagination of British castles.

But many probably don’t realize just how impressive this place truly is.

Having been a home to British royals for over 900 years, it’s still awfully sturdy and beautiful, and is actually the largest occupied castle in the world.

Windsor suits a certain fairy tale vision – not quite Arthurian in appearance or nature, but like the sort of castle we imagine constituting an entire city unto itself.

Plus, of the choices we’ll list here, Windsor is particularly close to London, which makes it perhaps the easiest one to check out during your stay.

How to get there from London: check out my guide on how to get to Windsor Castle from London.

2. Hever Castle

hever Castle

This is actually a castle I’ve covered before, so I’ll keep it brief here.

But to repeat a few interesting facts, it’s a 13th century castle that was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and it’s really picturesque.

Check out my Hever Castle review for more information.

It actually looks almost as if it could be a country home to some reclusive writer, gone into a bit of disrepair in the offseason.

hever castle

When you get closer, of course, you can see more of its age.

But from down the road, the view is one of gardens, climbing ivy, and what amounts to an ancient stone mansion.

It’s a lovely place to visit.

How to get there from London: book the train from London Bridge Station to Hever Station using Omio and then walk 20 minutes

3. Leeds Castle

Leeds castle

This is probably the castle that comes closest to meeting people’s imagination of the definitive British castle ideal: Camelot.

The mythical home of King Arthur has been portrayed exhaustively over the years.

It’s the title of the film and a setting in several others.

There’s currently an internet slot reel that offers to take you into the sacred land of Camelot, and which is adorned with all kinds of castle imagery and Arthurian symbols in place of slot icons.

And of course, everything from children’s coloring books to LEGO sets has sought to keep the myths alive for younger generations.

In all these interpretations, Camelot is idyllic – a beautiful castle with a traditional moat, surrounded by green and with white stone walls.

That’s more or less what you’ll see if and when you visit Leeds Castle.

Built largely in the 1800s but dating back to a 12th century site, it’s one of the most beautiful castles in the country.

How to get there from London: Rent a car through Discover Cars and drive 1 hour and 30 minutes

4. Rochester Castle

rochester castle

Rochester Castle is another 12th century building that is perhaps the most imposing of these examples and one of the best castles to visit on a day trip from London.

Indeed, it could better be called a keep than a castle, and looks as if it would still be difficult to conquer with some of today’s modern weaponry.

This is fitting, given that it’s most famous for its military history.

The “Great Siege of Rochester” is possibly the most famous siege of the medieval period, and held enormous implications for English history and by extension that of much of Western civilization.

That, in addition to the impressive visual quality of the castle, makes it a fascinating place to visit.

How to get there from London: Use Omio to book train tickets from Victoria Station to Rochester Station and then walk 7 minutes

5. Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.

With such rich history and stunning architecture, it’s easy to see why over three million people visit the Tower every year.

There are many reasons to visit the Tower of London.

For instance, the Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the oldest buildings in the United Kingdom, having been built in the 11th century.

The Tower of London is also home to the Crown Jewels.

These are some of the most magnificent jewels in the world and include the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Visitors can also take part in one of the famous Yeoman Warder tours.

These tours are led by members of the Yeoman Guard and provide an exciting insight into the history of the Tower.

So, if you are looking for a fascinating day out, be sure to add the Tower of London to your list of places to visit.

How to get there from London: it’s in London!

6. Warwick Castle: one of the best castles near London

Warwick castle
Image: Warwick Castle. Dark Dwarf. [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle in England that was built in 1068.

The castle is located in the historic town of Warwick, on the River Avon. Warwick Castle is one of England’s most popular tourist destinations, with over one million visitors each year.

There are many reasons to visit Warwick Castle.

The castle is a beautiful example of medieval architecture and has played an incredible part in history.

The castle was the site of many important events during the Middle Ages, and it has been the home of the Earl of Warwick since 1145.

Visitors can explore the castle grounds, which include the Great Hall, the Norman Chapel, and the keep.

The castle also has a museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the castle’s history.

Warwick Castle is an excellent place for history buffs, architecture lovers, and anyone who wants to experience a piece of England’s rich past.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from London Marylebone Station to Warwick Station

7. Lincoln Castle

Lincoln castle
Image: Lincoln Castle. Hugh Llewelyn. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Lincoln Castle is a historic site in the city of Lincoln, England.

The castle is located on a hilltop overlooking the city and has been used as a fortress, prison, and royal residence.

Today, Lincoln Castle is open to the public and is a popular tourist destination.

The castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror.

Today, the castle is open to the public and is a popular tourist destination.

Lincoln Castle is a great place to learn about England’s history.

The castle has a museum with exhibits on the castle’s history and the history of the city of Lincoln.

The castle also has a chapel, which is worth a visit.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lincoln Castle or just looking for a great place to visit, I highly recommend checking it out.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from King’s Cross St. Pancras Station to Lincoln Station and then walk 20 minutes

8. Farnham Castle

Farnham castle
Image: Farnham castle. Guy Freeman. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you enjoy historic buildings and beautiful gardens, Farnham Castle is definitely worth a visit.

This 12th-century castle was once home to royalty and is now one of Surrey’s most popular tourist attractions.

The castle grounds are simply stunning, featuring some fantastic views of Farnham Park.

If you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, you can even enjoy a picnic on the grounds.

There are also plenty of photo opportunities around the castle, so make sure to bring your camera!

Inside the castle, you can explore the fascinating displays and learn all about the castle’s history.

There are also regular events held at the castle, so there’s always something to see and do.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable day out, Farnham Castle will not disappoint.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from Waterloo Station to Farnham and then walk 20 minutes

9. Eynsford Castle: a castle close to London

Eynsford castle
Image: Eynsford Castle (20). Richard Nevell. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you’re looking for a beautiful and historic place to visit, look no further than Eynsford Castle.

This stunning castle is located in the village of Eynsford in Kent, England, and has a rich history dating back to the 11th century.

Today, Eynsford Castle is open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction.

The castle grounds are beautiful and well-maintained, and there is plenty to see and do. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and corridors or stroll through the grounds.

Eynsford Castle is also home to several events and activities throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.

Whether you’re looking for a day out with the family, or a romantic getaway, Eynsford Castle is the perfect place to visit.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from Blackfriars Station to Eynsford and then walk 13 minutes

10. Berkhamsted Castle

Berkhamsted castle
Image: Remains of Berkhamsted Castle. Matt Brown. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Berkhamsted Castle is a Norman castle in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

It was built around 1070 by William the Conqueror and has been used as a royal residence, prison, and hunting lodge.

The castle is now owned by the English Heritage and is open to the public.

Berkhamsted Castle is a great place to visit for its beautiful architecture and rich history.

The castle has been well preserved and is an excellent example of Norman architecture.

The castle has a rich history, being used as a royal residence, prison, and hunting lodge.

The castle is now owned by the English Heritage and is open to the public.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from Euston Station to Berkhamsted and walk 2 minutes

11. Betchworth Castle

Betchworth Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK.

The castle has a rich history dating back to the 11th century.

It is situated in the picturesque town of Betchworth, Surrey.

The castle has a beautiful setting, with its grounds overlooking the River Mole.

The castle is open to the public all year round, and various events and activities are held throughout the year.

Visitors can explore the castle ruins, the grounds, and gardens and take part in guided tours.

There is also a café on site.

Betchworth Castle is a great day out for all the family.

It is a place full of history, with something for everyone to enjoy.

How to get there from London: Rent a car from Discover Cars (for the best price comparison) and drive in 1 hour and 30 minutes

12. Oxford Castle

oxford castle

If you’re looking for a fascinating day out, why not visit Oxford Castle?

This historic castle has a rich and varied history, and there’s plenty to see and do.

The castle was built in the 11th century and has since been used as a prison, a royal residence, and a law court. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction.

There are plenty of things to see and do at Oxford Castle.

You can explore the castle grounds, visit the Prisoner of War Museum, or tour the castle itself.

And if you’re feeling brave, you can even try your hand at the Escape Room experience!

So why not pay a visit to Oxford Castle?

It’s a great day out for all the family.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book tickets from London Marylebone Station to Oxford Station and walk

13. Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth castle

Kenilworth castle is a great place to visit if you are looking for a historic site with plenty of activities for the whole family.

The castle has a rich history dating back to the 12th century.

It has been home to many famous people, including King Richard III and Queen Elizabeth I.

Visitors can explore the castle grounds, visit the museum, or participate in one of the many events held at the castle throughout the year.

Kenilworth Castle is a great place to visit for a day trip or even an afternoon.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from Euston Station to Kenilworth Station (includes a change at Coventry) and then walk 20 minutes

14. Highclere Castle

Highclere castle
Image: Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle). Richard Munckton. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

If you love history and want to experience what it was like to live like a member of the aristocracy, then a visit to Highclere Castle is a must.

This magnificent estate was the setting for the popular TV series Downtown Abbey and offers visitors a glimpse into the past.

Highclere Castle is located in the picturesque countryside of Hampshire, England, surrounded by acres of gardens and parkland.

Visitors can explore the castle grounds, which include a Victorian rose garden, a lake, and even a maze.

Guests can tour the lavish state rooms inside the castle and see how the aristocracy lived in luxury.

Highclere Castle is also home to an extensive collection of art and artifacts, making it a fascinating place for anyone interested in history and one of the best castles near London.

So, if you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, be sure to add Highclere Castle to your travel plans.

How to get there: take a guided tour excursion from London for Highclere, like this one

15. Dover Castle

Dover castle
Image: Dover Castle (EH) 20-04-2012. Karen Roe. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Dover Castle is a historic castle located in the town of Dover, in the English county of Kent.

The castle has a long and rich history, dating back to the 11th century.

It was built by the Norman invaders of England and has since been used as a royal residence, a fortress, and a prison.

Today, the castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, with over one million visitors per year.

If you’re looking for a taste of history, visiting Dover Castle is a must.

The castle is full of fascinating stories and original artifacts to explore.

There are also plenty of fun activities for all the family, such as the secret underground tunnels.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from London Bridge Station to Dover Priory Station and then walk 27 minutes

16. Severndroog Castle

Severndroog castle

If you’re ever in the vicinity of Greenwich, England, make sure to check out Severndroog Castle.

This 18th-century folly was built by a woman who was heartbroken after her husband left her for another woman.

The castle is only three stories high, but it has some stunning views of the surrounding area.

And if you’re a fan of oddities, you’ll definitely want to see the castle’s collection of model ships for yourself.

But even if you’re not into architectural oddities or model ships, Severndroog Castle is worth a visit.

It’s a beautifully landscaped park and always a peaceful place to take a stroll.

How to get there from London: take the DLR from central London to Greenwich (basically it’s already in London, just the outskirts)

17. Bodiam Castle

Bodiam castle
Image: Bodiam Castle, Kent. Miltof. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Bodiam Castle is a one-of-a-kind 14th-century moated castle in East Sussex, England.

The castle was built in response to the threat of French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War.

Bodiam Castle is one of the most visually stunning castles in England.

The castle’s beautiful setting and dramatic history make it a must-see for any castle lover.

Visiting Bodiam Castle is a great way to step back in time and imagine what life was like in medieval England.

The castle’s moat, towers, and battlements are all original, and the castle has been expertly preserved.

How to get there from London: rent a car from Discover Cars (for the best prices) and drive 1 hour and 45 minutes

18. Arundel Castle

arundel castle
Image: Arundel Castle. Dave_S. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Arundel Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting England.

The castle is located in the town of Arundel in West Sussex and dates back to the 11th century.

It is one of England’s largest and oldest castles and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Arundel Castle is open to the public for tours and events.

Visitors can explore the castle grounds, gardens, and museum.

The castle also offers a variety of fun events throughout the year, such as jousting tournaments and falconry displays.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from Victoria Station to Arundel Station and walk 20 minutes

19. Camber Castle

camber castle
Image: Camber Castle. shirokazan. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Camber Castle is a stunningly beautiful castle located in England.

If you’re looking for a fairytale-like setting to explore, this is the place for you.

The castle is surrounded by a moat and has a drawbridge, making it feel like you’re stepping back in time.

Inside the castle, you’ll find several rooms to explore, each with its own unique history.

You can also venture up to the top of the castle for stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a breathtaking setting to uncover, Camber Castle is well worth visiting.

How to get there from London: rent a car using Discover Cars (for the best prices) and drive 2 hours and 10 minutes

20. Framlingham Castle

farmlingham castle
Image: Framlingham Castle. Keith Roper. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Framlingham Castle is a stunning castle located in Suffolk, England and is an easy castle to get to from London.

The castle dates back to the 11th century and was once the home of the powerful de Clare family.

The castle is now owned by the Suffolk County Council and is open to the public.

There are many reasons to visit Framlingham Castle.

The castle is full of history, and there are many exciting things to see and learn about.

The castle grounds are also beautiful, and there are plenty of opportunities to take great photos.

How to get there from London: rent a car using Discover Cars (for the best prices) and drive 2 hours and 30 minutes

21. Hastings Castle

A visit to Hastings Castle is a must for any history lover.

Situated in East Sussex, England, the castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and played a vital role in the Norman Conquest of England.

The castle is now in ruins, but there is still much to see and explore.

Visitors can imagine what life was like in medieval times and learn about the castle’s role in English history.

There are also beautiful views to enjoy from the top of the castle.

Hastings is a lovely town to explore, with plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants to enjoy.

How to get there from London: use Omio to book train tickets from London Bridge Station to Hastings Station and walk 11 minutes

22. Herstmonceux Castle

herstmonceux castle
Image: Herstmonceux Castle – East Sussex. Mark. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Herstmonceux Castle is a beautiful 15th-century castle located in East Sussex, England.

The castle is currently owned by the British government and is open to the public.

There are many reasons why you should check out Herstmonceux Castle the next time you’re in Sussex.

The first reason is that it is simply stunning.

The castle is made of red brick and has many beautiful features, including a moat, a gatehouse, and a drawbridge.

Herstmonceux Castle also has a rich history.

It was built in 1441 and has been home to many influential people, including Queen Elizabeth I. This is the place to start if you want to learn more about British history.

The castle has a museum with many artifacts from its long history.

How to get here from London: use Discover Cars (for the best prices) to rent a car and drive 2 hours and 7 minutes

Want more helpful London guides? Check these out!

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