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    22 Fairy Tale Castles You Can Actually Visit

    Turrets for days.

    1. Bodiam Castle, Sussex, England

    Flickr: tps58 / Creative Commons
    Flickr: sallypayne / Creative Commons

    Bodiam Castle's grisly history as a 14th century stronghold only adds to its mysterious beauty. Surrounded by dense wood and a misty moat, the ruin offers a romantic and mystifying peek into Medieval history.

    More information here.

    2. Arundel Castle, Sussex, England

    Flickr: karen_roe / Creative Commons
    Flickr: karen_roe

    Tucked along the River Arun, Arundel Castle is a romantic masterpiece dating back to the 11th century. Stunning gardens and a sweeping history make it an unmissable piece of British history.

    More information here.

    3. Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland, Scotland

    Flickr: nathanandrewbaker / Creative Commons

    This romantic 13th century estate is the ancestral home to the Earl of Sutherland. Perched on a hill near the village of Golspie, the castle boasts a fascinating history and evolution and exquisite gardens.

    More information here.

    4. Castell Coch, Cardiff, Wales

    Flickr: lesbessant / Creative Commons
    Flickr: riverofgod / Creative Commons

    Nestled in the green hills overlooking the village of Tongwynlais just outside Cardiff, this stunning castle was built in the Victorian era but inspired by Medieval and Gothic aesthetics. The castle is a must see for both its storybook architecture and jawdroppingly luxurious interior.

    More information here.

    5. Eilean Donan Castle, Lochalsh, Scotland

    Flickr: jamarshall / Creative Commons
    Flickr: eusebius / Creative Commons

    This picturesque and romantic structure has long been known as one of Britain's most striking castles. Eilean Donan Castle dates back to the 13th century, and but was heavily damaged in battle in the early 18th century. It wasn't until the island was bought in 1911 that the castle was restored.

    More information here.

    6. Leeds Castle, Kent, England

    Flickr: mcdarius / Creative Commons
    Sophie Bengtsson / Getty Images

    Once used by Henry VIII's first wife Catherine of Aragon, the 13th century estate has evolved from a Medieval palace to a Jacobean country house and Georgian manor to become one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Britain, boasting over 500 acres of parkland and formal gardens.

    More information here.

    7. St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, England

    Flickr: ukgardenphotos / Creative Commons
    Flickr: 50144889@N08 / Creative Commons

    Crowning a small island on the coast of Cornwall, this positively charming castle dates back to the 12th century and is the ancestral home to the St Aubyn family. With a gorgeous view of the sea and a sub-tropical garden growing in its shadow, St Michael's Mount is definitely one of Britain's most magical spots.

    More information here.

    8. Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England

    Flickr: bethmoon527 / Creative Commons

    This 18th century residence rests on over 1,000 acres of lush parkland in North Yorkshire. The house remains the home of the descendants of Lord William Howard to this day, and the estate regularly brings in exhibitions and events for the community.

    More information here.

    9. Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, England

    Flickr: ndrwfgg / Creative Commons
    Flickr: 42945623@N03 / Creative Commons

    Stokesay goes down as one of Britain's most unique castles, with its Frankenstein-like merging of a timber-framed cottage and stone fortress. The manor house was constructed in the late 13th century and has stood the test of time since.

    More information here.

    10. Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, England

    Flickr: kennysarmy / Creative Commons
    Flickr: 94418464@N08 / Creative Commons

    This formidable fortress has guarded the coast of Bamburgh since it was founded as a Saxon stronghold in the 6th century. Over the following 1,800 years the structure was built up into one of England's largest castles.

    More information here.

    11. Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

    Flickr: oliphant / Creative Commons
    Flickr: avail / Creative Commons

    Designed for the 3rd Marquess of Bute by the same architect responsible for Castell Coch, this 19th century castle rests just on the edge of Cardiff, providing a breathtaking visual merge of old and new. An 11th century Norman keep remains in tact on the grounds, while the castle's interiors are a stunning monument to the splendour enjoyed by the Marquess in the Victorian era.

    More information here.

    12. Dover Castle, Kent, England

    Flickr: scpgt / Creative Commons
    Flickr: pollobarca / Creative Commons

    Dover Castle was originally commissioned by William the Conquerer and made from timber. In the 12th century, it was remodeled by Henry II into the remarkable stone fortress it is today, and continued to be used as a stronghold for centuries following.

    More information here.

    13. Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England

    Flickr: gordon_robertson / Creative Commons
    Flickr: kathryn-wright / Creative Commons

    Sudeley Castly grew out of a 12th century manor home, and was once the home of Henry VIII's last wife, Queen Katherine Parr. The Tudor castle also played host to Henry VIII himself, Anne Boylen, and Oliver Cromwell. The real gem of the castle is its beautiful manicured gardens, perfectly picturesque against the backdrop of the castle's romantic architecture.

    More information here.

    14. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Flickr: simoncaulton / Creative Commons
    Flickr: frogtrail / Creative Commons

    High on a hill overlooking Scotland's capitol, Edinburgh castle has played a major role in Scottish history and remains an important landmark today. Aside from offering killer views of the city, the fortress is rich in history, having once been home to Mary, Queen of Scots before becoming a military base in the 1600s.

    More information here.

    15. St Mawes Castle, Cornwall, England

    Flickr: atoach / Creative Commons
    Flickr: atoach / Creative Commons

    This coastal fortress was commissioned by Henry VIII in the 16th century as protection from threats from Spain and France. These days, the castle is most useful as a lookout spot for jawdropping views of the ocean from the coast of Truro.

    More information here.

    16. Corfe Castle, Dorset, England

    Flickr: neilsingapore / Creative Commons
    Capdesign / Getty Images

    These captivating ruins date back 1,000 years, and never recovered from damage during the English Civil War. Particularly beautiful at sunset, the remains of Corfe are a stunning sight to see and offer splendid views of the Dorset countryside.

    More information here.

    17. Hever, Kent, England

    Flickr: play4smee / Creative Commons
    Flickr: ripienaar / Creative Commons

    Hever is most famous as the childhood home of the infamous Ann Boleyn, but dates as far back at the 13th century. The castle later fell into the possession of another of Henry VIII's wives, Anne of Cleves, and has been home to many influential families since. With luxurious formal gardens and stunning interiors, not to mention the beauty of the surround Kentish countryside, Hever is a gorgeous place to spend a day out.

    More information here.

    18. Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales

    Flickr: s2ublack / Creative Commons
    Flickr: wildlife_encounters / Creative Commons

    Drenched in history, the dramatic cliffside castle in Monmouthshire is the home of the oldest castle doors in the whole of Europe. Constructed in the 11th century, the formidable castle rests on the grounds of one of the oldest surviving Roman fortresses in Britain, and offers a breathtaking view of the River Wye.

    More information here.

    19. Skipton Castle, Yorkshire, England

    Flickr: bramhall / Creative Commons

    This spooky castle in Yorkshire is over 900 years old. With a unique and well-kept interior and lovely Tudor courtyard, the castle offers a captivating and revealing peek into 11th century life.

    More information here.

    20. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

    Flickr: 24874528@N04 / Creative Commons
    Flickr: alakai / Creative Commons

    One of the UK's largest inhabited castles, Alnwick is a well-preserved and impressive stronghold. You might even recognize the exterior from its appearances as a stand in for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, and as Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey.

    More information here.

    21. Warwick Castle, Warwick, England

    Flickr: hangtowngal / Creative Commons
    Flickr: sallypayne / Creative Commons

    The dramatic Medieval fortress at Warwick is the ancestral home to the Earl of Warwick, and offers a pictuesque view of the River Avon. In recent days, the castle has become a entertainment and glamping hotspot, offering a new mixture of history and modern convenience.

    More information here.

    22. Highclere

    Flickr: jonathanrieke / Creative Commons
    Flickr: pretty_kittie / Creative Commons

    It might be most famous for starring as Downton Abbey on ITV, but Highclere dates back much farther. The Victorian estate rests on over 1,000 acres of gardens and parkland, and has been the home of Earl of Carnavron since the late 17th century.

    More information here.

    Bamburgh Castle originated from a fort built by the Saxon Kings of Northumbria in the 6th century. A previous version of this article credited 7th century Normans.

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