Written By Ashley Switzer, Travel Advisor
“Castle Connoisseur”… that’s what I like to call myself! During my time living in England, I’ve visited over 70 historical locations (so far) and can confidently say I have seen some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world.
English castles are grand, majestic, and mostly were used for strategic and military forces during their peak. My favorite castles- the ones that tell a story and have a little mystery- are mostly located in areas where the Kings & Queens of England needed to guard their grounds and protect their lands.
Read on to discover a few of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most!
#1 - Tower of London, England
When in London, visiting this beautiful fortress is a must! The Tower of London stands strong along the River Thames, as it has for hundreds of years. The Tower holds the Crown Jewels, where visitors can view this magnificent crown. The castle has a very authentic feel to it, almost as though it has remained untouched as London has developed around it.
#2 - Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle is what most people think of when they think of an English Castle- a stone formation set in the center of a moat. The cool thing about Bodiam is that it was built more for a show of grandeur than to protect its occupants against an invasion. It’s a beautiful castle, and set in the gorgeous Kent countryside. The interior is mostly ruins, but the outside remains strong.
#3 - Lowther Castle
Lowther Castle, although mostly ruins, still features it’s magnificent battlements that help it to stand out against the rolling hills of Cumbria, where it is located in northern England. The gardens surrounding the castle are well manicured, making it easy to imagine the lavish lives of the Earls who once lived here.
# 3 - Lincoln Castle
It’s important to include Lincoln Castle on this list for a different reason. Lincoln Castle (located in, you guessed it, Lincoln) is home to one of the last remaining original copies of the Magna Carta (THE Magna Carta we all learned about in grade school). Visitors can view this document from behind a glass case, bewildered that something so interesting and old still exists.
#5 - Creake Abbey
Although not a castle, this is one of my favorite historical locations in England, and I feel it deserves a location on this list. The Abbey is in ruins now, but is lesser-known, and is a beautiful place to spend a few hours. It is in the rural countryside, so getting here is a bit tricky. The amazing thing is that locations like this are scattered all about the country, just waiting to be explored.
Ashley is a native of rural Georgia, where her interests in British and Early American history began at a young age.
In 2014, she married her husband, Andrew. His military career meant they could travel the world together, exploring off-the-beaten path locations. In 2019, those hopes came to fruition when Andrew received orders to the United Kingdom. It was a dream come true for the both of them, as they packed their belongings, pups, and prepared a long list of must-see locations.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Ashley and Andrew have had the opportunity to venture to every corner of the United Kingdom. The adventures they've experienced together have inspired Ashley to help others achieve their dreams of exploring British culture, and aid other young couples in the experience of a lifetime. Ashley completed her Master's in Communication degree in 2019, currently has three rescue dogs, and enjoys advocating for international animal rescue. Ashley is currently on a mission to see as many historical locations as possible in the United Kingdom, specifically castles.