Castles in Lancashire

Lancaster Castle - Lancashire

This county in north-western England has the Lake District to the north, Yorkshire Dales to the east, and the cities of Liverpool and Manchester to the south. However, there’s plenty to see in Lancashire too. The coastline includes Morecambe Bay, one of the most important wildlife sites in Europe.

Here, you can see a range of water birds, including waders, gulls, and wildfowl. Inland, there are several picturesque countryside spots too, including the Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill – notorious for the witch trials of 1612. This is one of many important historical events to happen in the county. Another is the War of the Roses, which pitted the house of Lancaster against Yorkshire.

In this post, we’ll look at the most fascinating castles in Lancashire and their place in the county’s rich history. 

4 Castles to Visit in Lancashire

1. Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe Castle has been standing over the town for more than 800 years. It is an enclosure castle that was originally constructed to guard the River Ribble. The castle was in a ruinous state by the English Civil War in 1649, and no involvement in the war is recorded there.

Since the turn of the 21st century, it has undergone much restoration work and reopened to the public in 2009. Now, the public can learn about the area’s history through interactive exhibitions. There’s also a café, restaurant, and shop on site.

Where: Clitheroe
When: 12th century
Style: Norman
Open for Visit: Yes. 11:00 – 16:00 from April to November daily. 12:00 – 16:00 from November to March. Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

2. Hornby Castle

Hornby Castle was founded in the 13th century, but the Gothic Revival building you can see today is from a rebuild around 1820 when the interiors were restored in a Victorian Style. The imposing castle sits on a hill overlooking the Lune Valley and the village of Ingleborough.

It is a private residence, and while the public is not free to visit at their own leisure, it’s possible to book a room in the castle for overnight stays. There are also occasional open weekends and events at the castle; find out more on the website.

Where: Hornby
When: 18th century
Style: Gothic Revival
Open for Visit: Yes, the castle hosts open weekends and there is an Airbnb room here. 

3. Lancaster Castle

Known as the ‘North-West’s most important historic and archaeological monument,’ Lancaster Castle proudly stands in the town of the same name. It was founded during the Roman times to guard against the ancient Picts and Scots looking to cross the River Lune.

The current incarnation is a Norman castle, dating back to the 11th century. It is sometimes known as John O’Gaunt’s Castle. Since then, it has seen the Lancashire Witch Trials. It was also a fully functioning prison until as recently as 2011.

However, the castle is now a tourist attraction; hourly tours introduce visitors to the interior of this fascinating Lancashire landmark.

Where: Lancaster
When: 11th century
Style: Medieval
Open for Visit: Yes. 09:30 – 17:00 daily except during the Christmas/New Year period.Guided tours only of the castle’s interior. 

4. Turton Tower

This manor house in Chapeltown is a grade I listed building and was initially constructed as a two-story stone Pele tower. What now appears as a manor house is located around four miles from the town of Bolton on the West Pennine Moors; it’s a lovely discovery for walkers and hikers.

The house has been modified and updated over the years and there are both Tudor and Victorian influences in the architecture. Visitors to Turton Tower can enjoy a Victorian tearoom and a gift shop. There is also an extensive collection of art and furniture.

Where: Chapeltown, Bolton
When: 15th century
Style: Country House/Tudor
Open for Visit: Yes. 10:00 – 16:00 Wednesdays to Sundays and bank holidays from March to October.

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