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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andrew Lickley (11 months ago)
A super castle to explore for all the family. Situated next to the sea in Castletown is very easy to find by car, bus or with a little walk train. Staff friendly and chatty and happy to answer questions. As a historic building has the usual low ceilings and steep uneven steps when exploring. Clear directions around the site, follow and you will see everything. Good information and room settings. Onsite with the ticket office there's a small shop, with toilets nearby. There's no cafe but plenty in the town to choose from. Charge on entrance, with options for various heritage cards.
T Laois (11 months ago)
Well being Irish we don't tend to have drawbridges and spiked gstes. Very nice place fun little rooms. Nice bit of history lots of steps 26£ for 2 adults kids are free. I really enjoyed it. Stunning views over Castletown and the beaches.
omnious1982 (12 months ago)
Didn't get to go in as we didn't leave enough time on our day to do it justice. We explored the outside grounds and got some great pictures... great views lots of history. Would love to bring my kids.
Mohammad Ebrahim (14 months ago)
Beautifully maintained (Full) castle. You can learn alot of the island's history here. The staff are heally friendly and hospitable.
Tushar alva (14 months ago)
The castle is a good experience and the walk around the walls is enjoyable and has some good old relics and stuff worth viewing . Has some good views and viewing points. The dungeon could be maintained better
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