England has an endless number of castles to explore. TNT selects some of the best.

Bamburgh Castle

You’d be hard pressed to find a more dramatic setting for a castle.
Sitting astride a basalt crag, overlooking a vast sandy beach, Bamburgh
still seems to guard the Northumberland coast from invasion. Originally
built by the Normans in the 11th century, the fortress was home to
kings and queens for centuries, only to be all but destroyed in 1464
during the War of the Roses. Lord Armstrong fixed it up in the late
19th century and his family has resided there ever since.

Wander through the Armoury, King’s Hall and Faire Chamber, taking in
the decorative furniture, suits of armour and paintings by the likes of
JMW Turner.

Getting there Trains run from London Kings Cross to
Berwick-Upon-Tweed (4 hrs). From here take the 411 or 510 bus. See

While you’re there Stroll along the beach to the cute tea
room in Bamburgh village. If you like playing king of the castle, the
Northumberland coast is the place. Head south to Warworth and Alnwick
Castles or north to Lindisfarne on Holy Island.


If you’ve always believed you could’ve pulled the sword Excalibur
from the stone, then a visit to Tintagel (pronounced tin-tajill) is a

Set on the dramatic, windswept north-west coast of Cornwall, the
castle is the birthplace of Arthurian legend. Thought by some to be
King Arthur’s fabled castle Camelot, this magical edifice from the Dark
Ages now lies in ruins. Still, it’s the stark beauty of the setting
that wins visitors over.

There aren’t any guided tours on offer, but a wander over the cliffs
and into the quaint church allows you to enjoy the place’s haunting
beauty. After a short trek down to the sea, swim alongside Elephant
Rock or explore Merlin’s Cave, apparently the haunt of Arthur’s
legendary guru. If you’re quiet enough you may even hear the magician
whisper across the ages.

Getting there Trains from London Paddington run to the West
Country (4 hrs). Coaches run to Tintagel from Bude and Bodmin Parkway
station. Castle opening times depend on the weather, so it’s best to
call ahead in winter. See www.english-heritage.org.uk/tintagel.

While you’re there Be enchanted by the old Post Office, enjoy
shopping in gorgeous little stores and feast on a Cornish cream tea of
scones and clotted cream.

Warwick Castle

First built by William the Conqueror in 1068, this medieval castle looms over Warwick town.

There are archery, falconry and knights-in-armour battle displays,
but the real highlight is the castle itself: it’s big, old and
impressive as hell.

Descend into the dungeon or climb the narrow spiral staircases to
the castle’s parapets. If you gaze over the trees, you can almost
imagine an army preparing to lay siege.

Indoors, the baronial Great Hall is loaded with armour and weapons,
while the state rooms have been recreated in all the opulence of the
castle’s heyday.

Explore the 24 hectares of parkland, especially if you’ve packed a picnic on a sunny day.

Getting there There are trains from London Marylebone to Warwick (1hr 30 mins). From the station, it’s a five-minute walk to the castle. See www.warwick-castle.co.uk.

While you’re there Check out the Tudor tombs at the Church of St Mary in Warwick town.

Leeds Castle

Peacocks roam the grounds, masses of wild flowers are in bloom and
in sight is a castle floating on two islands. What sounds like a scene
from a fairytale is, in fact, Leeds Castle.
The castle (in Kent,
not Leeds) dates from the 12th century and has seen its fair share of
royalty through its gate, including King Henry VIII.

The last private owner was an eccentric heiress, who spent most of
her life (and fortune) turning the castle into what it is today.

Inside you’ll find Norman cellars, rooms fit for medieval queens and banqueting halls used to entertain celebs and politicians.

Outside there are black swans in the Duckery, exotic parrots in the
aviary and a live falconry display. And no fairytale castle would be
complete without its own maze.

Getting there National Express offers a combined castle
admission and coach fare. Trains leave from London Victoria to Bearsted
station (about 1 hr) and from there a shuttle runs to the castle. See

While you’re there You’ll need a whole day to explore Leeds
Castle, especially if you want to stroll through its vineyard, play a
round of golf on its parkland course or take a trip in a hot air