If there are two things the UK is famous for it’s our rich history and beautiful landscapes. That’s why, at Hippychick, we’re all such big fans of Castles as an ideal family day out. They combine the best of both!
Here we bring you a taster of what’s out there just waiting to be explored this half term with a few of our team’s favourites. If there’s one you feel we’ve missed off the list please let us know – we love hearing about a new hot spot to visit!
And don’t forget to take your My Buggy Buddy Lock when you go! Many of these castles want you to leave prams outside and a Hipseat might come in usefull too! Our 100% waterproof all-in-ones are another must- that way an unexpected shower doesn’t have to bring any castle battle games to a grinding halt!
Found right in the heart of 1066 country, Bodiam Castle was built in the 14th century to defend South East England from French invasion. With its huge towers, broad moat and beautiful countryside setting, it is most people’s idea of what a fairytale castle should look like.
The great news for families is that it’s also brilliant for kids! Although essentially a ruin (there are no furnished rooms to see) the castle’s battlements, spiral staircases, nooks and long moat bridge make it ideal for imaginative battle games and will bring out the big kid in everyone!
Throughout the spring summer there are also all sorts of interesting educational activitiesi and events laid on from Birds of Prey displays and Have a Go Archery Sessions (from 1st April to 3rd September – weekends and school holidays).
Top Tip! As a special treat, why not take Dad on a visit to Bodiam Castle this Father’s Day, Sunday 18th June between 1pm and 4 pm. To celebrate his special day, he will be able to dress up in full armour costume in the Armour room.
Did you know? It’s broadly accepted now that Bodiam’s famous wide moat didn’t actually serve a defensive purpose by was there purely to make the castle look larger and more imposing.
Warwick Castle is described on its website as a place of ‘jaw dropping history, magic, myth and adventure’ and we’d be inclined to agree!
This is a castle that has it all – towers, turrets, a centuries-old gaol complete with the still legible graffiti of its prisoners and over 64 acres of rolling landscaped gardens. This year even more secret towers, rooms and passages are open than ever before thanks to ‘Warwick Castle Unlocked‘, an initiative that has seen corners of the castle, including a previously unearthed bear put, opened up to the public for the first time in centuries!
This is a castle where the family entertainment never stops! Trebuchet Firing, Jousting Tournaments and Birds of Prey shows are laid on regularly. Throughout the summer the castle also plays host to the ever popular ‘Horrible Histories Stormin Summer’ spectacle with interactive areas and characters. There are even Medieval Glamping packages available with families and groups able to stay in unique Medieval Bell Tents in the stunning grounds.
Even the littlest visitors are well catered for here with baby changing and bottle warming facilities, a mini playground for toddlers and the Pageant playground, designed as a mini fortress with slides, walkways and swings for school age children.
Top Tip! Book your ticketes online in advance to gaurantee the best price.
Did you know? Warwick is renowned for its impressive towers. Caesar’s Tower, the castle’s tallest tower is around the same height as 10 double decker buses!
One of the largest inhabited castles in Europe, there has been a castle on this site for 1000 years with the castle being home of the Duke of Northumberland’s family for the past 700 years.
One of the biggest draws for families will be the castl’s association with film. It’s taken the starring role as Hogwarts School in two of the Harry Potter films and was the castle in both Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett) and Robin Hood Prince of Theives (starring Kevin Coster).
As well as having a host of sumptuous State rooms to visit, the castle plays host to a wealth of activities to fire young imaginations, based around its links with the film world.
Join the resident wizarding professors for some Broomstick Training (free with admission) and learn to fly from the very same spot Harry Potter had his first flying session (31 March to 29 October).
Children will also love taking part in the Castle’s ‘Dragon Quest’ – solving a series of challenges before negotiating their way through the Hall of Mirrors to confront Northumberland’s most fearsome dragon (14 April to 29 October).
Did you Know? Stunning Alnwick Gardens – beautiful contemporary styled gardens in the grounds of the castle are home to one of the biggest tree houses in the world?
Steeped in history and in a fantastic setting close to the Thames and Tower Bridge, the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror to keep hostile Londoners at bay.
Ever since, it has had one of the most colourful histories of any of Britain’s castles and been home to kings, queens, saints, sinners and even a whole menagerie of exotic animals!
Families will love the Family Knights and Princesses Trail through the towers rooms and Yeoman Warder Tours through the grounds. It’s also well worth taking the time to visit some of the many dedicated exhibitions – in particular the Prisoners Exhibition and the Royal Beasts exhibition – which explains how the Tower of London came to house everything from tigers, alligators, and kangaroos for over 600 years!
Top Tip! Visit the Historic Royal Palaces of London dedicated Kids site www.hrp.org.uk/PalaceKids website for a wealth of educational trivia, games and activities that will have your children enthralled for hours!
Did you Know? 23,578 gems make up the Crown Jewels which are on display at the Tower.
Perched on top of the huge craggy Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle dominates the City’s skyline and features arguably the most breathtaking views of any castle in the UK.
The oldest building in Edinburgh, the Castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, Mons Meg a 15th century siege cannon and the National War Museum of Scotland and attracts over 1.3 million visitors a year.
Children will love the Castle’s ‘Explorer Quiz’ which encourages little explorers to find some of the many amazing animal sculptures dotted around the Castle.
Top Tip! Make sure you’re there for the One O’Clock Gun fired at 13.00 every day except Sunday
Did You Know? Edinburgh Castle is perched on top of a now extinct volcano and that during the Second World War, the Crown of Scotland was hidden below a mediaeval latrine closet in David’s Tower?
Have we missed any treats off this list? Comment below!