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.

You can also see the map here

The Best 12 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: Yes, check here for more information.

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. It is used as a wedding venue.

Where: Farnham, Surrey
When: 12th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Check here for information.

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: Yes. Open dawn-dusk. Check here for more information.

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: Usually open daily but closures can happen at short notice – Check the website ahead of time for exact opening times.

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: Yes, check here for more information.

You might want to check out more castles near Oxford. 

6. 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: Yes. For more information, click here.

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

7. 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: Yes, check here for more information.

8. 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: Yes. Check here for more information.

9. 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: Yes, selected dates only – See the website for details.

10. 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: Yes, check here for more information.

11. 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: Yes. Click here for more information.

12. 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: Yes. Check here for more information.


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