Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus castle was built by John de Courcy in 1177 as his headquarters, after he conquered eastern Ulster in 1177 and ruled as a petty king until 1204, when he was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy. Initially de Courcy built the inner ward, a small bailey at the end of the promontory with a high polygonal curtain wall and east gate. It had several buildings, including the great hall. From ...
Founded: 1177 | Location: Carrickfergus, United Kingdom

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert"s stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Doune, United Kingdom

Tenby Castle

Tenby Castle was a fortification standing on a headland separated by an isthmus from the town of Tenby. The castle, which was sited on a rocky promontory, was founded by the Normans during their invasion of West Wales in the 12th century. A stone tower was built on the headland's highest point which was protected by a curtain wall. The walls had a gateway and several small towers on the landward side. A lesser sea wall su ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tenby, United Kingdom

Cowes Castle

Cowes Castle, also known as West Cowes Castle, is a Device Fort on the Isle of Wight. Originally built by Henry VIII in 1539 to protect England against the threat of invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, it comprised a circular bastion, flanking wings and a keep, and in 1547 it housed 17 pieces of artillery. With its companion fortification at East Cowes, the castle overlooked the entrance to the River Medina, a ...
Founded: 1539 | Location: Cowes, United Kingdom

Hay Castle

Hay Castle is a medieval fortification and 17th-century mansion house in the small town of Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Originally constructed as part of the Norman invasion of Wales, the castle was designed as a ringwork overlooking the town in either the late-11th or early-12th centuries. It was rebuilt in stone around 1200 by the de Braose family and then had a turbulent history, being attacked and burnt several times during the ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457. Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only mad ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Pembroke, United Kingdom

Swansea Castle

Swansea Castle is located in the city centre of Swansea. It was founded by Henry de Beaumont in 1107 as the caput of the lordship of Gower. A timber castle existed in Swansea in 1116, when it was recorded as being attacked by Welsh forces who destroyed the outer defences. The castle was besieged in 1192 by Rhys ap Gruffydd, Prince of Deheubarth. Despite 10 weeks of starvation the castle was saved. After various other uns ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Swansea, United Kingdom

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is a ruined medieval castle located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood. In the 13th century, Richard Óg de Burgh, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Portballintrae, United Kingdom

Castell Coch

Castell Coch is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle built above the village of Tongwynlais. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans after 1081 to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff and control the route along the Taff Gorge. Abandoned shortly afterwards, the castle"s earth motte was reused by Gilbert de Clare as the basis for a new stone fortification, which he built between 1267 and 1277 to c ...
Founded: 1875-1891 | Location: Cardiff, United Kingdom

Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle is a 16th-century castle near Banchory in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. Construction of the current tower house of Crathes Castle was begun in 1553 but delayed several times during its construction due to political problems during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. It was completed in 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys, and an additional wing added in the 18th century. This harled castle ...
Founded: 1553-1596 | Location: Banchory, United Kingdom

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It was built, probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch. The castle, together with the Crichton lands, passed to James II of Scotland in 1453, and the castle has been crow ...
Founded: 1440s | Location: Blackness, United Kingdom

Mont Orgueil

Mont Orgueil is a castle in Jersey Island. The site had been fortified in the prehistoric period, but the construction of the castle was undertaken following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The castle was first mentioned in 1212. The castle was the primary defence of the Island until the development of gunpowder which then rendered the castle ultimately indefensible from Mont Saint Nicholas, the adjacent hi ...
Founded: 1204 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Blair Castle

Blair Castle is the ancestral home of the Clan Murray, and was historically the seat of their chief, the Duke of Atholl. Blair Castle is said to have been started in 1269 by John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch. John Murray, son of the second Earl of Tullibardine, was created Earl of Atholl in 1629, and the title has since remained in the Murray family. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of the 17th century, the Murrays su ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Blair Atholl, United Kingdom

Castle Rushen

Castle Rushen is located in the Isle of Man"s historic capital, Castletown. The castle is amongst the best examples of medieval castles in the British Isles, and is still in use as a court house, museum and educational centre. The exact date of castle is unknown, although construction is thought to have taken place during the reigns of the late 12th century and early 13th century rulers of the Isle of Man – the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castletown, United Kingdom

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore. The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascina ...
Founded: c. 1375-1425 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle is a country house which has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 17th century. Work on the castle began in the 1750s, in Gothic revival style. Later additions included a third floor with dormer windows and steep conical roofs. The village of Inveraray was moved in the 1770s to give the castle a more secluded setting. Designers who worked on the house include William Ada ...
Founded: 1750s | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle is a Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth. The origin of this surname traces back to when it was spelled Cygweli which means 'swan.' The present remains of the castle date from the early 12th century. Created as a defence against the Welsh, the castle fell to the Welsh several times in the twelfth century. Later in its history, it was unsuccessfully besieged by forces of Owain Glyndŵr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kidwelly, United Kingdom

Aberdour Castle

Aberdour Castle is located in the village of Easter Aberdour. Parts of the castle date from around 1200, making Aberdour one of the two oldest datable standing castles in Scotland, along with Castle Sween in Argyll, which was built at around the same time. The earliest part of the castle comprised a modest hall house, on a site overlooking the Dour Burn. Over the next 400 years, the castle was successively expanded accor ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Aberdour, United Kingdom

Caldicot Castle

Caldicot Castle is an extensive stone medieval castle, built near the site of Harold Godwinson"s former Saxon castle by the Norman earls of Hereford from about 1100. Humphrey III de Bohun was the probable builder, in about 1170, of the stone keep and curtain walls of the present-day castle. The Bohun family held the manor and castle of Caldicot for more than two centuries, over eight generations. In 1381, Essex was ...
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Caldicot, United Kingdom

Carreg Cennen Castle

Carreg Cennen Castle near the River Cennen has been in a ruinous state since 1462 and is now in the care of Cadw, the Welsh Government historic environment service. Human remains found at the site date human activity here back to prehistoric times. The site may well have also been an Iron Age hillfort. Roman coins from the 1st and 2nd century have also been found, although it is unlikely the Romans occupied this site on ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Llandeilo, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.

The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.