10 castles in Lancashire and the Lake District that you should visit
PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 June 2015 | UPDATED: 17:56 11 October 2017
If the Game of Thrones has given you a love of medieval fantasy, there are plenty of historic castles to visit locally. We can’t promise you any dragons and knights, but you may hear tales of witches and ghosts.
Clitheroe has been dominated by its landmark castle for centuries and is said to have been built in 1186 by Robert de Lacey. From its vantage point the top of Castle Hill you can see the beautiful Ribble Valley, Pendle Hill and much further afield.
The Castle is surrounded by 16 acres of parkland and Clitheroe Castle Museum has a host of interactive permanent exhibitions and a packed schedule of evenst all year round.
It is thought that Lancaster Castle is built on the site of an old Roman fort, although the structure we see today was dates from around the 11th century. The Castle served was famously the setting for the Lancashire Witch trials in 1612, were ten people were found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death.
The modern day castle pays tribute to its dark past with daily tours that take in the old prison cells and the Shire Hall that houses a splendid display of over 650 shields with Royal coats of arms.
Not quite a castle, but Hoghton Tower is still one of Lancashire’s most famous buildings and said to one of the most haunted houses in Britain.
The guided tours take in the magnificent Banqueting Hall, underground passages and the dungeons, you can also visit the permanent Dolls’ House Collection, stroll around the walled gardens, courtyards and along the ramparts. Hoghton Tower also hosts a wide range of events including a monthly farmers’ market, open air music and theatre and Crafty Vintage Weekends.
The original stone Pele tower, which was built around 1420 but it was later transformed into a fine Tudor house of such opulence that the owners had to sell it to pay the builders. In 1835 it was bought by a mill owner, who restored it and added a ‘mock tudor’ extension and also built follies in the nine acres of woodland gardens.
The Tower opens in late March to October Wednesday to Sunday and the grounds and children’s play area are open throughout the year
Hornby castle has the look of a classic medieval castle with its imposing tower and ramparts, it sits on a hill just outside the village of Hornby with dramatic views overlooking the Lune Valley and Ingleborough.
Although the building remains a private residence it is open to the public on a handful of occasions a year.
The Strickland family owned the site of Sizergh from 1239 until it was gifted to the National Trust in the 1950’s. The castle was initially built in the 14th century, although it has undergone extensive modification and expansion over the past 700 years.
Located just 4 miles south of Kendal, the castle is a perfect location for a day out, there are regular events all year round as well as a wild play trail and beautiful grounds and gardens to explore.
Not quite a medieval castle, the Victorian neo-gothic building near Hawkshead is a relatively modern structure built in 1840 by James Dawson. It has hosted some famous guests in the past, Beatrix Potter is said to have spent a summer holiday here as a 16 year old.
The castle is very mush a family friendly visitor attraction these days, where kids can explore the rooms and dress up in period costume.
Just off the M6, Lowther Hall was the family home of the Lowther family (who also owned nearby Askham Hall) for 800 years. The current castle was completed in 1806. The castle was used by the army during the Second World War and was left to ruin for several decades.
A partnership between the Lowther Estate and English Heritage was transformed the site into a major visitor attraction with regular walks, music events and garden tours.
Muncaster Castle is owned by the Pennington family, who have lived at Muncaster for at least 800 years, its location just outside the popular tourist town of Ravenglass makes it an ideal place for a day out.
You can stay in the The Coachman’s Quarters bed and breakfast within the grounds and visit the Maze and the Hawk & Owl Centre.
Verterae was old Roman fort built in the 1st century to protect the Stainmore Pass, a key route through the Pennines. Brough Castle was built on that site at around 1092, but was destroyed by Scots in 1174 during the Great Revolt against Henry II.
Despite the building being just a shell of what it formerly was, it is well worth the trips for the breathtaking views of the Eden Valley.
What are your favourite castles in the region? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet at @lancashirelife