The Best Castles in the Southeast of England

The Southeast of England is one of the most beautiful and diverse regions of the country, and it is also one of the most-visited; there is an abundance of historic sites, such as the many castles and heritage grounds that attract a multitude of visitors each and every year.

This list will highlight the absolute best castles in the Southeast of England, their key points of interest, as well as practical information, such as their location, and opening and closing times.

The best 13 castles to visit in Southeast of England

1. Guildford Castle

Believe to have been built after the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, Guildford Castle is a fantastic Mottle and Bailey castle located in the town of Guildford in Surrey.

The castle was predominately used as a royal residence, but it also did function as a strong military fortress. Today, there are incredibly beautiful gardens on the site, as well as a museum.

Where: Guildford, Surrey

When: 11th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

2. Farnham Castle

Originally constructed in the 12th century, Farnham Castle is a fantastic historical castle that was built as the residence of the Bishops of Winchester.

It was originally constructed by the grandson of William the Conqueror, Henri de Blois, in around the year 1138. Over the years, the architecture of the castle shifted and changed, depending on the various styles of the time.

Today, it remains in impeccable condition and represents the multifaceted layers of English heritage.

Where: Farnham, Surrey

When: 12th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 10:00am – 18:00pm

3. Bramber Castle

Bramber Castle is a fantastic ruined Norman Motte and Bailey castle, that is located in the sleepy village of Bramber in West Sussex. It is believed that the Normans built an early fortification at this site in around the year 1070, where it served primarily as an administrative centre.

The castle also played a role in many historical and important events, such as its presence in the First English Civil War, whereby it was held under a Parliamentary garrison. Today, the castle is open to the public.

Where: Bramber, West Sussex

When: 1070

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:00pm

4. Windsor castle

Famed as one of the most prominent, architecturally impressive, and crucial castles in the whole of England, Windsor Castle has its long-standing associations with the British Royal family.

It was first constructed in the 11th century, after the Norman invasion of England, though over the centuries, it was heavily adapted, particularly in the Georgian era. Windsor Castle is the perfect place to visit for an entire day; it has wonderful grounds, impressive interiors, and a fantastically expansive heritage and history.

Where: Windsor, Berkshire

When: 11th century

Style: A mix of architectural styles

Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

You might interest to check out more castles close to London. 

5. Broughton Castle

Situated in the scenic Oxfordshire village of Broughton, lies the gorgeous and historic Broughton Castle; this castle was originally constructed in the early 14th century, though this castle was sadly demolished and it was not rebuilt until the year 1550.

The castle is situated on an artificial island, that is only accessible by a small bridge, giving it a real air of mysticism and charm.

Where: Broughton, Oxfordshire

When: 14th century

Style: medieval

Open for visit: Only accessible by guided private tour

You might want to check out more castles near Oxford. 

6. King John’s Castle

Castles in Ireland King-John's-Castle

King John’s Castle is a fantastic ruined medieval royal residence, that is located in Clipstone, in Nottinghamshire. Its earliest history dates back to the 12th century, where the castle was the residence of the king; it was also used as a hunting lodge.

However, though the castle is known as ‘King John’s Castle’, it is not actually known how closely it is associated with him, as it is believed that he only spent nine days at the site.

Where: Clipstone, Nottinghamshire

When: 12th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

7. Hever Castle & Gardens

The grand and impressive Hever Castle and its surrounding gardens are located in Hever, in Kent, and they are an incredibly popular tourist attraction. The castle began life as a country house, which was originally constructed in the 13th century.

However, the castle is most famous for its associations with Anne Boleyn, who was the wife of King Henry VIII: Anne grew up at Hever Castle, and many visitors are fascinated by this association. It is open to the public, and there is a multitude of lakes and mazes on the site as well.

Where: Hever, Kent

When: 13th century

Style: Tudor

Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:30pm

You might also be interested in: The best castles in Kent.

8. Rochester Castle

The glorious Rochester Castle is situated in the historic town of Rochester in Kent, and it is one of the best-preserved castles in the entirety of the country.

It was originally constructed in the 11th century, and it was built on a strategic spot for monitoring trade routes and potential invaders. Over the centuries, the castle passed hands of multiple owners, who each brought new additions and styles. It is today open to the public

Where: Rochester, Kent

When: 11th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

9. Severndroog Castle

Castles near London-Severndroog-Castle

Situated in the southeast of London, in the beautiful Royal Borough of Greenwich, lies the historic Severndroog Castle; this unique castle is actually a folly, which is a structure that serves primarily a decorative rather than functional purpose.

The castle was originally constructed in 1784 by the architect Richard Jupp, as a commemorative structure for Commodore Sir William James, who passed away in 1775. The castle is open to the public today, and it offers incredible views of London from its viewing platform.

Where: Greenwich, London

When: 18th century

Style: Gothic

Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:30pm

10. Highclere Castle

The glorious Highclere Castle, which is situated in the English county of Hampshire, s most famous and recognisable in modern times for being the set of the hit TV drama, ‘Downtown Abbey’.

However, the castle is also a wonder in and of itself; it was originally built in the year 1679, though it was reconstructed and renovated between 1842 and 1849, which saw the additions of Jacobean Revival feature.

There is also a fascinating Egyptian exhibition housed at the castle, as well as some splendid grounds and gardens that are perfect for strolling around.

Where: Highclere, Hampshire

When: 17th-century origins

Style: Jacobean Revival

Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

11. Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishop’s Palace)

Located in Winchester in Hampshire lies the gorgeous ruined castle, Wolvesey Castle, or as it is sometimes known as ‘Old Bishop’s Palace’. The history of the site dates back to the year 970, where an early structure was constructed, the in 1110, William Giffard added a new hall to the southwest.

Again, in 1684, a new, grand baroque palace was constructed by Thomas Finch, for the Anglican Bishop, George Morley. Though the castle is in a ruined condition, it is nonetheless a fascinating experience to walk about it.

Where: Winchester, Hampshire

When: 970

Style: Ruined

Open for visit: 9:00m – 17:00pm

12. Tonbridge Castle

Castles near London-Tonbridge-Castle

The history of Tonbridge Castle dates back to the aftermath of the Norman Conquest, where Richard Fitz Gilbert, who was a Norman lord, built a motte and bailey castle.

However, this castle was not strong enough, and it was besieged; it was later rebuilt in stone in the 13th century. Since the year 1900, the castle has been owned by the local council, and it is surrounded by a public park.

Where: Tonbridge, Kent

When: 13th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

13. Eynsford Castle

Eynsford Castle, situated in Eynsford in Kent, is an impressive and ruined medieval castle, that is believed to have built between 1085 and 1087 by William de Eynsford; it was built with the intention of protecting the lands of Lanfranc.

It was constructed in a typical motte and bailey castle structure, with an inner and outer bailey and an outer wall. Throughout the centuries, the castle was modernised and strengthened, until it eventually fell to ruin in the 18th century.

Where: Eynsford, Kent

When: 11th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

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