The Best Castles near Manchester

Famous for its association with the Industrial Revolution, football and music, the English metropolis of Manchester has a lot to love; today, visitors flock to the city to experience its bustling and thriving culture, its numerous historical hotspots, and its charming and welcoming atmosphere.

In addition, beyond the city centre lies a plethora of historic castles, that presents another side to Manchester’s heritage; here are the best castles near Manchester:

12 castles to visit near Manchester

1. Peveril Castle

Towering above the village of Castleton, in the county of Derbyshire, lies the scenic and ruined Peveril Castle; the castle’s origins date back to the 11th century, where it was the primary settlement of the feudal barony of William Peverel;  over the centuries, the castle has had a variety of different function, and has a rich and varied history, such as being visited by royalty like King Henry II.

Today, the castle is open to the public and is the perfect place to visit as a day trip from Manchester.

Where: Castleton
When: 11th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

2. Beeston Castle

Situated in the town of Beeston in Cheshire, just outside of Manchester, lies the historic Beeston Castle; it was originally constructed in the 1220s, under the decree of Ranulf de Blondeville, who was the 6th Early of Chester, upon his return from the Crusades.

Up until the 16th century, the castle played a primarily military function and had a critical role in the midst of the English Civil War. Today, the castle is on the National Heritage List for England and is a tourist attraction.

Where: Beeston
When: 1220s
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

3. Sandal Castle

Located on the outskirts of Wakefield, which is a city relatively near to Manchester, lies the Sandal Castle, which is a fantastic ruined medieval castle that scenically looks over the River Calder.

The origins of the castle date back to 1107, where the 2nd Early of Surrey, William de Warenne, built the first castle that was made of timber. Over the centuries, the castle has changed shape on several occasions, and there have been a variety of royal guests and owners of the castle.

Where: Sandal Magna
When: 1107
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

You might be interested in: The best castles in England. 

4. Skipton Castle

The beautiful and historic Skipton Castle is an amazing medieval castle that is located in the town of Skipton in North Yorkshire. The castle’s origins date back to the year 1090, where it was first constructed by Robert de Romille who was a prominent Norman baron.

Unlike many historic castles in England, Skipton Castle has been incredibly well-preserved for the 900 years in which it has stood, and its impeccable condition is a huge factor in which it remains as a tourist attraction.

Where: Skipton
When: 1090
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

You might also like: The best castles to visit in Yorkshire.

5. Chester Castle

Situated in the heart of Chester, which is another city nearby to Manchester, lies the fantastic Chester Castle; the origins of this fortress date back to the year 1070, after it was constructed by Hugh d’Avranches, who was the second Earl of Chester.

In the 12th century, the original wooden tower was rebuilt as a stone fortification, and a number of other additions were added, such as the stone gateway to the inner bailey. Over the following centuries, the castle continued to modernise, and it played a critical role in several key historic battles.

Where: Chester
When: 1070
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

6. Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle is a spectacular early 17th- century castle that is built upon the grounds of an early 12th- century medieval castle, in the town of Bolsover, which is located in the country of Derbyshire.

The castle that stands today was built between the years 1612 and 1617 by Sir Charles Cavendish, and there are said to be several instances of hauntings, such as footsteps, quiet voices, as well as mysterious lights. Today, the castle is open to the public, and it is maintained by the English Heritage Charity.

Where: Bolsover
When: 12th century
Style: Post-Medieval
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

7. Alton Castle

Perched on top of a hill that towers above the Churnet Valley, near to the Staffordshire village of Alton, lies the fantastic Gothic-revival style Alton Castle. Before the current castle was built, an earlier castle existed on the site, which dates back to the 12th century, and has been fortified since the Saxon era.

The castle that stands today was built during the mid-19th century, upon the commands of John Talbot, who was the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury. Today, the castle is open to the public; it is a Grade 1 listed building and is located near to Alton Towers theme park.

Where: Alton
When: 12th/19th century
Style: Gothic-Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

8. Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle is a stunning medieval fortification that is located in the town of Conisbrough in the south of Yorkshire.

The castle’s origins date back to the 11th century, where it was originally constructed by William de Warenne, who was the Early of Surrey; like many castles in the region, it was constructed after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

In the 16th century, the castle fell into ruin, and it has since remained in this state; it is now open to the public as a tourist attraction.

Where: Conisbrough
When: 11th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:30pm

9. Ewloe Castle

Castles in Northern Wales-Ewloe-Castle

Situated in the town of Ewloe in Wales, which is surprisingly not too far away from Manchester, lies the impressive and historic Ewloe Castle.

The origins of the castle date back to the 12th century, and it was one of the last fortifications that were built by the Princes of Wales, though it was later abandoned in the year 1277 by Edward I, at the turn of the invasion of Wales.

Today, the castle is a Grade I listed building, and it is scenically situated in the Wepre Woods, which makes for a fantastic walk.

Where: Ewloe
When: 12th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: No opening times; always accessible.

10. Lancaster Castle

English Castles Lancaster Castle

Located in the heart of the city of Lancaster is the impressive medieval Lancaster Castle, which is believed to have been established in the 11th century, though its exact early history is not certain; it is also believed to have been built on the site of an early Roman fort.

Throughout the centuries, Lancaster has had a strong military and royal associations; in the year 1164, for example, it was taken under royal control, and in the years 1322 and 1389, the castle was heavily damaged by the invading Scots. Today, the castle is a tourist attraction and is open to the public.

Where: Lancaster
When: 11th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 18:00pm

11. Knaresborough Castle

Located in Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, and overlooking the beautiful River Nidd, lies the fantastic Knaresborough Castle; this impressive and historic castle dates back to around the year 1000, where it was first constructed by a Norman Baron.

In the year 1205, the castle switched hands to that of King John, and he made some major improvements to it, which were then again added to by Edward I and Edward II in the 14th century. The castle has a long and extensive history, and many visitors are attracted to its associations with the monarchy.

Where: Knaresborough
When: Around 1100
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:00pm

12. Spofforth Castle

Spofforth Castle is an impressive ruined medieval castle located in the scenic North Yorkshire village of Spofforth.

The castle was originally founded in the early 14th century after it was constructed by Henry de Percy, who was a prominent medieval baron; major renovations were made to the manor house at the end of the 14th century, and then again in the 15th century, to meet the needs of the time.

Later, in 1408, the castle was confiscated in the midst of the rebellion against King Henry IV; it was later given to Sir Thomas Rokeby. Today, the castle is open to the public, and it makes for a great day trip from Manchester.

Where: Spofforth
When: 14th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

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