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Full of secrets and scandals, Britain’s castles are full of stories. Marking where battles were won and dynasties were upheld, these royal residences come battle forts mark history’s most famous moments.

Beyond tours and exhibitions, there are lots of new ways to get hands-on with history. Witness a sword-clashing skirmish between medieval knights, sleep in the childhood home of a former queen, or party in the real-life Downton Abbey? Here are just some of our most treasured castles, along with the one-of-a-kind experiences you can find…

Visit some of England’s favourite castles

Walk through 1,000 years of history at Windsor Castle, exploring its opulent state rooms and superb royal artefacts.

Visitors with ice cream, Windsor Castle

From dragon-slaying to sword-fighting, history really does come alive at the 1000-year-old Warwick Castle.

Aerial view of long buildng with a pineapple dome

Get hands-on with history at this former palace and prison. It’s full of tales and treasures, including the Crown Jewels.

Beefeater walking by the, Tower of London on a sunny day

Step inside the real Downton Abbey.

Food truck and direction signs at a festival at Highclere Castle with house behind

Hever Castle was the childhood home Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, who later became queen of England for just 1,000 days.

A man and woman in a rowing boat, rowing in still waters

A really magical day - the setting of wizarding schools for Harry Potter, Alnwick Castle even offers magic performances and wand-making workshops.

Young woman hovering on a broomstick in the Outer Bailey of Alnwick Castle

Overlooking the golden sands of Bamburgh beach, this magnificent fortress is one of Britain’s biggest inhabited castles.

View from a distance of a castle on hill near a beach

Leeds Castle is jam-packed with things to do: from an adventure golf course and mind-boggling maze, to a Bird of Prey Centre and outdoor art sculptures.

Woman in a punt on the moat looking towards castle

The best castles in Scotland

Discover this dramatic fortress, perched on top of an extinct volcano at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Green and red deck chairs laid out on grass in a park

A striking fairytale castle that hosts anything from Shakespeare plays to wilderness survival skill workshops.

Woman walking on a path between grass, towards a castle

Venture into Stirling Castle’s Palace Vaults, stroll the Queen Anne gardens, and experience the opulence of royal life in the 1500s.

A woman posing in front of Stirling Castle, Scotland

Immerse yourself in Scottish heritage. Eilean Donan sits in an incredible setting: the castle’s stone turrets are surrounded by rugged peaks, and it sits at the meeting point of three west coast lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh.

Aerial view of castle and surrounding countryside

Visitors to Urquhart Castle have recorded many Loch Ness Monster sightings over the years, and it even features in a 1955 photo of Nessie.

A view from above Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland.

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses, and the biggest in the Northern Highlands – with an incredible 189 rooms.

A view from below Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

This is no ordinary castle: Culzean has its very own beach, country park, Adventure Cove – and much more.

Culzean Castle and Country Park

One for nature lovers, Drummond Castle Gardens offer everything from snowy splendour in winter, to a summertime riot of colour.

Drummond Castle Gardens

The best castles in Wales

Step into history at Caerphilly Castle. Dating back to the 13th-century.

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Almost plucked straight from a fairytale, Castell Coch is a Medieval style castle built by Victorians, and is surrounded by woodland idyl.

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Cutting a megalithic figure on the Monmouthshire countryside, Raglan Castle features turrets, moats and a Tudor tours and falconry days.

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Explore dramatic ruins of Harlech Castle through immersive storytelling, Knight School and staged battles all with a backdrop of Snowdonia.

Castle standing on a grassy hilltop. Blue skies and clouds

More than 700 years old, Caernarfon Castle towers over the River Seiont in North Wales and among its turrets and settings is ram-packed with events.

Row boats in a moat surrounding a castle

Standing tall for more than 700 years, this Medieval fortress overlooks the pretty town of Conwy – both a joy to explore.

A castle lit up at night in winter snow near harbour

Explore the packed events of the near-finished Beaumaris Castle - the last to be built by King Edward I in North Wales.

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This part castle, part Tudor mansion see Laugharne Castle - the place that inspired famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

View from the outside of Laugharne Castle