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 Kings of Mann and the Isles. The original Castle Rushen consisted of a central square stone tower, or keep. The site was also fortified to guard the entrance to the Silver Burn. From its early beginnings, the castle was continually developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th century. The limestone walls dominated much of the surrounding landscape, serving as a point of dominance for the various rulers of the Isle of Man. By 1313, the original keep had been reinforced with towers to the west and south. In the 14th century, an east tower, gatehouses, and curtain wall were added.

After several more changes of hands the English and their supporters eventually prevailed. The English king Edward I Longshanks claimed that the island had belonged to the Kings of England for generations and he was merely reasserting their rightful claim to the Isle of Man.

The 18th century saw the castle in steady decay. By the end of the century it was converted into a prison. Even though the castle was in continuous use as a prison, the decline continued until the turn of the 20th century, when it was restored under the oversight of the Lieutenant Governor, George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan. Following the restoration work, and the completion of the purpose-built Victoria Road Prison in 1891, the castle was transferred from the British Crown to the Isle of Man Government in 1929.

Today it is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage, depicting the history of the Kings and Lords of Mann. Most rooms are open to the public during the opening season (March to October), and all open rooms have signs telling their stories. The exhibitions include a working medieval kitchen where authentic period food is prepared on special occasions and re-enactments of various aspects of medieval life are held on a regular basis, with particular emphasis on educating the local children about their history. Archaeological finds made during excavations in the 1980s are displayed and used as learning tools for visitors.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Daniel Ramsden (9 months ago)
great day out can spend hours looking round the castle. very helpful and friendly staff
Ed Chicken (9 months ago)
Great setting and imposing building but no stand out elements.
Sarah Clough (9 months ago)
This is a fantastic castle, really well preserved, information boards and displays are excellent and staff were incredibly helpful. Fantastic views over the island and out to sea. My 7 year old loved the trail round to find the dragon egg. And we felt really sorry for the poor guy on the castle toilet
kart theartist (2 years ago)
I performed here for the Nightmare Nights show in November 2018 & it was great fun. We got a free tour of the castle which was informative & gave a deeper insight into the history of the castle. The staff were lovely too! I'd recommend anyone who enjoys learning about history to go & take a look for yourself.
Tim Bull (2 years ago)
Amazing little castle. Lots of information in side and stuff for the kids to do to. Been a few times now. You can explore round 90% of the castle. You can go right up the top, with amazing views of the town and see. Loads of rooms to explore and they have really improved things over the past few years with lots rooms dressed up with people and sounds. There is still some of the prison features to see which gives the place a cool atmosphere.
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