10 of the best castles on the coast

10 of the best castles on the coast
  • Deal Castle, Kent

Deal Castle is just yards from the beach – perfect for a relaxing morning on the sands, followed by an educational stroll. Commissioned by Henry VIII, the design looks uncannily like a Tudor Rose from the air.
Open 10am-6pm. Adult £5, conc £4.50, child £3, English Heritage members free. Call 01304 372762 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/dealcastle

  • Oxwich Castle, The Gower, South Wales

This courtyard-style Tudor residence was put together by a rather flashy local family, the Mansels, who actually moved out after only a few decades. You’ll find all mod cons here, even indoor toilets! It’s in the perfect spot – beautiful wooded headland overlooking the Gower Peninsular.
Open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm. Adult £3, conc/child £2.25, family £9. Dogs welcome on leads. Call 01792 390359 or visit www.cadw.wales.gov.uk and search for Oxwich.

  • Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh

Perched on an island on the way out to Skye is Eilean Donan and its picturesque bridge. It’s been rebuilt several times following Scottish feuds, and sat in ruins until 1911, when it was lovingly restored by Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.
For those who can’t manage the steps, there’s a ‘virtual tour’ available.
Open 10am-5pm. Adult £6.50, conc £5.50, under-fives free. Call 01599 555202 or visit www.eileandonancastle.com

  • Hurst Castle, Hampshire

This fortress, on The Solent, served as a prison for Charles I. If you don’t fancy the short walk from the mainland, there’s a ferry from Keyhaven. 
Open 10.30am-5.30pm. Adult £4.50, conc £4, child £2.50, English Heritage members free. Call 01590 642344 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/hurstcastle

  • Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland

Close to the sands, and with truly wonderful gardens. There’s a museum and even a restaurant – Lord Strathnaver has pulled out all the stops in welcoming visitors to his home.
Open 10am-5pm, with daily falconry displays at 11.30am and 2pm. Adult £10, conc £8, child £5.50.
Call 01408 633177 or visit www.dunrobincastle.co.uk 

  • Tynemouth Castle, Tyne and Wear

The 13th century chapel is small but perfectly formed, though if medieval is not for you, try the newly restored gun battery. Note: Access to the gun battery is down very steep stairs.
Open 10am-6pm. Adult £4.70, conc £4.20, child £2.80, English Heritage members free. Call 0191 257 1090 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/tynemouth

  • Carrickfergus Castle, Co Antrim

It’s still standing, despite sieges from the Scots, the Irish, the English and the French! You can’t miss Carrickfergus if you’re arriving in Belfast from the UK mainland – ferry routes run right past it. Enjoy historical displays, including a range of cannons dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
Open 10am-6pm. Adult £5, conc/child £3, family £13. Call (028) 933 51273 or visit  www.discovernorthernireland.com/Carrickfergus-Castle-Carrickfergus-P2814

  • Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire

Take a torch with you – some of the chambers are positively medieval! The castle was destroyed by Vikings in the 9th century. It appears to sit on an island, despite being attached to the mainland.
Be prepared for plenty of walking. 
Open 9am-6pm. Adult £6, child £2, family £14. Call 01330 860223, or visit www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk

  • Caernafon Castle, Gwynedd, North Wales

King Edward I was responsible for this medieval coastal fortress, still impressive enough to be awarded status as a World Heritage Site, and absolutely huge! Look out for coloured bands of stone in the walls.
Open daily, 9.30am-6pm. Adult £5.25, conc/child £4.85, family £15.35. Call 01286 677617 or visit  www.caernarfon-castle.co.uk

  • Dartmouth Castle, Devon

The fort sits atop cliffs at the mouth of the River Dart. Opposite is Kingswear Castle and, during the Second World War a great chain, suspended between the two, blocked any entrance to the estuary. These days, views from the tearoom are nothing short of beautiful.
Open 10am-6pm. Adult £5, conc £4.50, child £3, English Heritage members free. Call 01803 833588 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/dartmouthcastle

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