My favourite castles

By | November 15, 2015

It has been over a year since I posted something narcissistic here, so I am long overdue! I have been fortunate to visit a bunch of castles in the last 3 years so here is my list,

  1. Edinburgh Castle. Castle Rock is almost as old as human habitation of the region. So no surprise, it is integrally tied to the ancient history of Scotland. It houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, it has served many purposes during it’s long and illustrious life. It stands out above the city vista, a tremendous view whether you are in Old or New Town. Read more, http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/
  2. Tower of London. Not nearly as old as Edinburgh Castle, but certainly equally as impressive! It was originally built by William the Bastard, and has become an integral part of the London Skyscape since the Norman Invasion. It too houses Crown Jewels, and is still a microcosm of community living by the resident Yeoman Warders. The Tower has served many purposes in it’s long history, along with many famous, infamous and dubious “guests”. Many of whom lived there until the bitter end when justice was served. Read more, http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/
  3. Nottingham Castle. Technically not really a castle any more, but a Ducal Mansion, it was rebuilt within the old walls that still exist from a previous build. Like Edinburgh Castle, it has an imposing view above the skyline, built on the highest outcropping of sandstone in the area. The museum inside encompasses a great history of the city and region. There is the Mortimer Hole carved in the sandstone beneath the castle served many purposes, as an escape route, as a place for people to live, and my favourite, a storage for nearby breweries. I have a strong family tie to Nottingham, so this place has been special to me since some of my earliest recollections. Read more, http://www.nottinghamcastle.org.uk/
  4. Inverary Castle. I had the privilege of being in Inverary twice, but alas the first time I had to admire the castle from afar. The second time I made it a point to play tourist. This is the ancestral home for the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. The village is on the beautiful rugged coast of  Loch Fyne. The castle is an incredible fixture within the community, and served as the backdrop of the Christmas Episode for Downton Abbey. Read more, http://www.inveraray-castle.com/
  5. Blair Castle. I went to Blair Castle with a friend, as he said it was his favourite castle. As with any castle, the approach to the property is key to taking in the beauty of the architecture. The impressive white façade is arguably most beautiful of any castle I have ever visited.  This is the former ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl. The great hall at the end of the tour is lined with deer antlers other spectacular heraldic devices. Read more, http://www.blair-castle.co.uk/
  6. Castle Menzies. This nonchalant castle  near Weem on the outskirts of Aberfeldy was rescued as a ruin in the mid-twentieth century and restored to it’s current splendour. It is the former ancestral home for the Duke of Menzies, and  was one of the many castles through the highlands that Bonnie Prince Charlie sought refuge in as fled English forces. Read more, http://www.castlemenzies.org/
  7. Inverness Castle. This too is a rebuilt castle, just like Nottingham Castle. But it is no less impressive as it rises above the cityscape. It is currently used as a courthouse, but in it’s previous history served as a backdrop of the antics of some guy named Macbeth. Read more, http://www.explore-inverness.com/what-to-do/castles-great-places/
  8. Urqhart Castle. I didn’t get to tour the castle, as it was closed when I got there, but got to admire it from the outside. It is on the shores of Loch Ness, so if only on principle I had to stop to spy on the in/famous Nessie! The view is absolutely spectacular! Read more, http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_297
  9. Casa Loma. This is a new world castle in Toronto. It is of neo-gothic design. I visited here as a child, and it was my first castle! Getting to tour around and walk through some of the “secret” passageways was absolutely amazing. Not quite the ancient fixture as some of the other castles I have detailed, but still worth the visit. Read more, http://www.casaloma.ca/

Look at that, almost a top ten list! I wonder if  The Louvre, Chateau de Versailles or Farnham Castle will get a chance to crack the top ten 🙂