Best Castles Near London: 15 Beautiful Must-See Castles From London!

Best Castles Near London: 15 Beautiful Must-See Castles From London!

Best Castles near London Blog Cover Graphic - Text overlaying an image of he magical Bodiam Castle at sunrise, including the bridge and moat from the north.

WRITTEN BY: Sophie Clapton, Born and bred Londoner.
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The UK is home to some of the most spectacular, fairytale-like castles in the world. While many of them reside in remote locations, there are plenty of castles near London that can be reached on a day trip from the capital.

Our goal was to provide you with a truly comprehensive travel guide to the best castles near London. To achieve this we collaborated with fellow UK travel bloggers and worked together to compile a list of the must-see castles that can be experienced on a day trip from London.

Whether you want to get lost in a daydream about knights and princesses, discover some of the most storied structures in British history, or just take some pretty pictures, these stunning English castles have something for everyone.

If you’ll be travelling up to Scotland or just want to see more pictures of amazing castles, be sure to check out our guide to the 20 Best Castles in Scotland. For help planning the rest of your London vacation, our Ultimate London Itinerary has you covered!

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂

15 Best Castles near London

All of the castles in this guide can be reached by car in about 2 hours or less. The drive times have been calculated from “London”, which on Google Maps seems to be from Trafalgar Square. Of course, exact distances and drive times will vary depending on where you’re leaving from, and traffic is always an important consideration in London. Where possible, public transport options have also been included.

For reference, it is worth noting that we have listed the castles below in the order of their proximity to London. We have also provided links to the cheapest options available for purchasing tickets to each castle. In some instances, this is directly through the castle’s website, while others will go through a third-party website.

Some of the castles can be visited via a day tour from London. For those that have this option available, we have provided additional links to our favourite companies and options. If you plan on visiting more than one of the castles near London, it may actually work out cheaper to book some of the tours listed throughout this post.

For you planners reading this, we have also included a map at the bottom of this post to help you plan your UK trip itinerary.


Tower of London

Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan.

The Tower of London is the only castle within central London.
The Tower of London is the only castle within central London.
Image: We Dream of Travel.

You don’t have to go far to see this London castle, as it’s right in the heart of London on the banks of the River Thames! You may not have even thought of the Tower of London as being a castle. Many people who visit for the first time expect to see just a single tower, but it’s actually much more than that. The site’s official name is “Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London”, which gives a better indication of what you can expect to see here.

Within the grounds is a sizeable castle surrounded by fortified walls punctuated by gates, crenellations, and of course, towers. The very first one to be built was the White Tower, constructed in the 11th century under the orders of William the Conqueror. Since then, a number of others have been added, and the White Tower is now enclosed inside a ring of 13 more towers. These all have individual names, some of which simply describe their purpose (such as the Bell Tower), while others have names that commemorate an important event that happened there (such as the Bloody Tower).

Be sure to join one of the tours led by the Beefeaters – the nickname for the royal bodyguards who live inside the Tower. After the Beefeaters, the Tower’s second most famous residents are the half a dozen ravens who live on the grounds. According to an old legend, if the ravens leave the Tower, the entire kingdom will soon fall. As you leave the Tower, stop for an Instagrammable photo opportunity at Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in London, made all the more famous when it became a Harry Potter filming location.

Getting to the Tower of London

Distance from London: 0 miles!

As the only castle IN London, you don’t have to travel far to get to the Tower of London! You will likely be able to get there on foot if you’re already out exploring the city, otherwise it is easily accessible via public transport. The nearest tube stations are Tower Hill and London Bridge.

Tickets for the Tower of London

Entrance fee: £26

Book your tickets for the Tower of London here.

For other Tower of London tickets and tour options click here.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge as seen from the Garden at 120 London
An aerial view of Tower of London with Tower Bridge behind it.
Image: We Dream of Travel.

Windsor Castle

Contributed by Stephanie of History Fan Girl.

Windsor Castle is one of the best castles near London.
Windsor Castle at spring time.
Image: Shutterstock.

Windsor Castle has been home to 39 British Monarchs dating all the way back to William the Conqueror. In the 11th century, he chose to have Windsor Castle serve as one of his nine castles that formed a defensive ring around the city of London. This proximity is one of the reasons that Windsor Castle is one of the most popular castles near London.

While at the castle, make sure to see stunning Waterloo Chamber, St. George’s Chapel where Prince Harry married Meghan Markel (among other notable events), and Queen Mary’s Dollhouse.

Pay special attention to the artwork on the walls. If you’ve ever read a biography of a British Royal, it is likely that the original piece of art is gracing one of the rooms in Windsor Castle! For me, the highlight was the portrait of Richard III. 

Just like at Buckingham Palace, you can enjoy watching the Changing of the Guards ceremony. 

Nearby you can walk through Eton and take in the charming school town.

Getting to Windsor Castle from London

Distance from London: 22 miles, approximately 42 minutes drive time.

You can take the train from London to Windsor, and the town is quite walkable. The train takes between thirty minutes to a little over an hour depending on your exact route and when you are traveling. You can also go on a full guided tour from London that includes hotel pickup and dropoff to make it even easier.  Or even combine it with a tour to Stonehenge and Oxford or Stonehenge and Bath.

If you choose to drive, make sure you plan out your parking ahead of time so that you don’t get a ticket!

Tickets for Windsor Castle

Entrance fee: £26 online

Book your tickets for Windsor Castle here.

Check here for Windsor Castle day trips from London.

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Hever Castle

Contributed by Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff.

Hever Castle near London
 One of the best castles near London; Hever Castle.
Image: Trijit Mallick fromBudgetTravelBuff.

Hever Castle is famous for many things. It was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and is full of fabulous rooms and Tudor treasures. The grounds of the castle are equally impressive, surrounded by rose gardens, mazes and a man-made lake. 

The United Kingdom is not a cheap European country. However, for just £18.80, you can visit one of the most popular and significant medieval castles near London. 

This medieval defensive castle was built in the 13th century and was owned by William de Hever, a Sheriff under King Edward. Later, the ownership of the castle passed through several hands. More recently, Hever Castle was owned by William Waldorf Astor, an American millionaire who used his fortune to restore and extend the castle in the 20th century, before selling it on to the current owners (Broadland Properties Limited.) They have since opened up the gardens and castle to the public. 

Inside Hever Castle, visitors can see the rooms where Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII once frequented. Many of them feature a mix of historical designs from the 16th century and the 20th when the famous Astor family bought the castle and made it their home.

There is a lot to see and do in Hever Castle, from relaxing on the Loggia and Piazza to strolling along the beautiful gardens admiring the water features and grottoes. The gardens are very impressive and perfect for taking some stunning pictures. Don’t forget to visit the traditionally designed Yew Maze and Water Maze in Hever Castle as well!

Getting to Hever Castle from London

Distance from London: 40 miles, approximately 1 hour drive time.

Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever in Kent. If you have your own car, the castle is just over an hours drive from London. Car parking is free.

You can also get there via a short train ride from Central London, with trains from London Victoria and London Bridge. The nearest station is Hever station which is a 1-mile rural walk to the castle. You’re unlikely to find taxis here. Alternatively, take the train to Edenbridge Town Station then take a quick taxi trip to the castle.

Tickets for Hever Castle

Entrance fee: £18.80 online

Check here for Hever Castle tickets and tours.


Leeds Castle

Contributed by Angie from Where Angie Wanders

Leeds Castle reflected in the moat with daffodils in the foreground
Leeds Castle aka “The Loveliest Castle in the World”.
Image: Shutterstock.

Leeds Castle in Kent has the title of being “The Loveliest Castle in the World”… and for good reason! Standing in 500 acres of lush Kentish countryside and surrounded by a medieval moat, it is exactly how you would imagine a fairytale castle to look. It is easily one of the best castles near London.

Leeds Castle is steeped in history and has seen many owners over the centuries. It has been a Norman stronghold, the private property of six of England’s medieval queens, and is the castle that Henry Vlll and Catherine of Aragon lived in for part of their married life. In the 21st century, it has become the most visited castle in England. 

Inside, wander around the staterooms and be transported to a time when medieval furniture, wall tapestries and suits of armour were de-rigueur for most stately homes. 

In the castle grounds, explore woodland walks, an aviary (bird displays are performed daily), an underground grotto featuring creatures patterned from shells, and a garden maze. Don’t forget to visit the Gatehouse before you leave where the castle’s 900-year history will be brought to life long with the Dog Collar Museum, housing the biggest collection of canine finery in the world.

The area by the moat is a pretty spot to finish your day and maybe enjoy a picnic. From here you can admire the vista while imagining a time when England’s medieval royalty would have frequented the walkways surrounding The Loveliest Castle in the World.

Getting to Leeds Castle from London

Distance from London: 44 miles, approximately 1 hour drive time.

Many are confused by the fact it is called Leeds Castle as it is in the South of England, nearly 230 miles from the city of Leeds in the North. But being so close to London is a bonus meaning day-trippers can experience the castle in all its glory within 60 minutes of driving from the capital. Alternative travel from London to Bearsted Station in Kent is an option but a taxi would need to be taken from the station to the castle.

Tickets for Leeds Castle

Entrance fee: £26 online

Book tickets for Leeds Castle here.

Check here for tours including Leeds Castle.


Sissinghurst Castle

Contributed by Christin of Christin Has Fernweh

View of the gardens and courtyard from the top floor of Sissinghurst Castle near London.
The beautiful Sissinghurst Castle near London.

The most noticeable feature of Sissinghurst Castle is the four-story gate tower dating back to 1550; this is the oldest remaining feature of the castle. It was later used as a prison during the Seven Year War in the mid-1700s, before becoming a poorhouse for the next 60 years. 

The last private owners were Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, who occupied Sissinghurst Castle until it was given over to the National Trust. Vita and Harold had a rather unconventional marriage wherein they both allowed same-sex affairs, but they found common ground in their shared passion for gardening. 

They purchased the castle in 1930 and, together, they started building ten individual gardens on the grounds. There are roses, herbs, fruit trees and a white garden with only white blooming flowers and plants with silver leaves. 

Personally, I loved the white garden for its decadence and the view from the tower that remains unspoiled by evidence of modern civilization. The entire estate is set in a picture-perfect English countryside with smooth, rolling hills and historic villages all around. Climate conditions here are favorable for flowers, and I soon discovered the reason Kent is called the “Garden of England”!

Getting to Sissinghurst Castle from London

Distance from London: 54 miles, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive time.

It is possible to reach Sissinghurst Castle from London using public transport. There are regular trains from London Bridge station to Staplehurst, which is the nearest train station. From there, take a bus (Arriva 5 Maidstone to Hawkhurst) and then a short walk from the village to the entrance of the castle. 

If you have a car, it’s just about an hour and a half drive from central London, off A262. Car parking costs £4 or is free for National Trust members.

Tickets for Sissinghurst Castle

Entrance fee: £10.40 during winter months and £14.50 during summer.

Tickets can only be bought at the castle. Check here for Sissinghurst Castle current prices.

Or click here for a tour from London including Leeds Castle and the white cliffs of Dover.


Bodiam Castle

Contributed by Sophie and Adam from We Dream of Travel

A girl in a red dress in front of Bodiam Castle at sunrise with mist rising from the moat creates a fairytale like feel at one of the best castles near London.
Feeling like a princess at Bodiam Castle.
Image: We Dream of Travel.

In our opinion, Bodiam Castle is absolutely one of the best castles near London. Its perfect symmetry and sand-castle like appearance is complemented by a reflective moat, all of which comes together to create a real life fairytale scene. It is a spectacular castle to photograph.

Only smaller ruins of the once-grand 14th century castle remain. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to get lost envisaging medieval knights roaming this quintessential English castle.

While the exterior of the castle has been well maintained and undergone many repairs over the years, the interior has fallen into ruin. There is no surviving record of how the interior was once structured.

Since 1926, Bodiam Castle has been managed by the National Trust after being donated by Lord Curzon, who himself had made many restoration works to the castle.

Bodiam Castle is also home to one of the largest bat roosts in south-east England. During springtime, special bat walks are held to allow you to get a closer view of these protected animals.

Bodiam Castle and its reflection in the moat surrounding it near Robertsbridge in East Sussex
The reflective moat surrounding Bodiam Castle creates some postcard-worthy scenes.

Getting to Bodiam Castle from London

Distance from London: 57 miles, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive time.

Located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, the easiest way to get to Bodiam Castle from London is to drive. There is ample parking which costs £4 to non-National Trust members.

It is possible to reach Bodiam Castle by train, from Charing Cross to Robertsbridge. However, this station is not connected to Bodiam Castle by public transport and requires a 10 minute taxi ride.

Tickets for Bodiam Castle

Entrance fee: £5

While entrance to the interior of the castle is ticketed, you can enjoy a walk around the outside and take in the impressive exterior for free. Tickets cannot currently be booked online.

Check here for Bodiam Castle current prices.

READ MORE: Camera Gear for the BEST Travel Photos.


Arundel Castle

Contributed by Joanna from The World in my Pocket.

Arundel Castle with a market within its grounds makes for a great day trip from London.
Arundel Castle is just 90 minutes from London by train.
Image: The World in my Pocket.

day trip to Arundel is a fantastic way to get away from the hustle and bustle of London and discover the English countryside. Arundel is a typical small English town and the main attraction is the impressive Arundel Castle, which is the residence of the Duke of Norfolk. 

Visiting the entire Arundel Castle can easily take half a day. The oldest part of the castle is the Keep, which has been built in the 12th century. The hallways and stairs leading up to it have been redecorated to portray images of events that happened during the years, such as the English Civil War from 1644. There is even a dressing room where visitors can try on clothes and armours. 

The rooms of the castle are breathtaking, especially the private chapel and the library. You can admire the private chapel, open only for the members of the Norfolk family, from a balcony above. Inspired by the Salisbury Cathedral, the chapel has been built in a gothic style, with columns finishing in arches, on the ceiling. 

The library is decorated in a Victorian style, with mahogany carved bookshelves and red carpet and curtains. The armchairs and futons dotted around the room are so inviting, they make you want to pick up a book and curl up on them! 

This castle near London has 40 acres of land surrounding it, with impressive gardens such as the Rose Garden and the Collector Earl’s Garden.

Getting to Arundel Castle from London

Distance from London: 64 miles, approximately 1 hour 50 minutes drive time.

You can reach Arundel by train from London in around 90 minutes from London Bridge and London Victoria train stations.

If you have a care, driving from central London would take approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. The castle itself does not have a designated car park and you would need to park in one of the ticketed parking lots nearby.

Tickets for Arundel Castle

Entrance fee: From £13-22 depending on how much access you want.

Book tickets for Arundel Castle online here.


Highclere Castle

Contributed by Kat from Wandering Bird.

Highclere Castle is one of the best castles near London, famed for its appearance in Downtown Abbey.
The star of Downtown Abbey: Highclere Castle.
Image: Deposit Photos.

Ever heard of a little TV series called Downtown Abbey? Welcome to the star of the show (apart from Hugh Bonneville – obviously!).

Not only is Highclere Castle one of the best castles near London, but it is also one of the oldest castles in the UK. There has been a record of a building on this site since 749AD (although the current castle was built in the 19th century).

The castle and grounds make up 5,000 acres and it’s possible to walk around a large portion of them. I actually grew up not far from here and spent much of my childhood exploring the estate – it’s very child friendly.

One of the things I love most about Highclere Castle is how involved it is with the local community. Every year, there are loads of events which happen in the grounds – including Last Night of the Proms, historical re-enactments and outdoor theatre. Book tickets well in advance – they sell out fast!

Whilst at the castle, you can tour inside and see some of the incredible treasures it houses. Treat yourself at the gift shop or cafe – which are full of local produce, and even sample the official Highclere Castle Gin – a perfect souvenir or gift for a loved one.

Getting to Highclere Castle from London

Distance from London: 66 miles, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive time.

Highclere Castle is not easy to get to by public transport, although it is near Newbury, which is easily reached from London. However, the easiest option is to hire a car and drive there – you can even bring your own picnic. If you want to keep the car and have a proper England road trip, you can actually stay overnight on the castle grounds and experience the estate without all the tourists.

Tickets for Highclere Castle

Entrance fee: From £7 (gardens only) to £24 (includes Castle, Egyptian Exhibition and Gardens) online

Click here for current prices and to book tickets.

Check here for Highclere Castle and Downtown Abbey tours.

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Colchester Castle

Contributed by Sarah from A Social Nomad

Colchester Castle in one of the best castles near London
Colchester Castle in Essex is a great day trip from London.
Image: Shutterstock

Colchester is known as England’s oldest recorded town and there has been a fortification here since Roman times.  Today’s castle has Europe’s largest Norman castle keep dating back to 1076. However, it was built over the foundations of the Roman temple of Claudius. 

The keep is still mostly intact today and views from the roof encompass the town of Colchester and surrounding area.  The Roman buildings were destroyed, along with the city of Colchester, then Camulodunum, in a revolt led by Boudicca against the Romans.  Colchester Castle became a museum in 1860 and now contains many Roman mosaics, the famous Roman Colchester Vase and the Fenwick Treasure (named after the department store on Colchester’s high street where it was found!).

Highlights of a visit to Colchester Castle really are the Roman remains – and tracking some of the remains of the Roman Wall around Colchester is a great additional thing to do while you’re in Colchester.   You’ll also want to prebook and take a tour of the dungeons and get to see the Roman foundations.  Escape from the Castle, an escape room game is an exciting new addition to the castle – which tempts you to try, with friends, to break the Serpent’s curse!  You can also see an exhibition detailing the Boudiccan revolt.

Getting to Colchester Castle from London

Distance from London: 67 miles, approximately 1 hour 25 minutes drive time.

Colchester Castle is easy to reach from London, there are regular trains from Liverpool Street Station and the journey takes 90 minutes.  There are also regular National Express Buses from London Victoria, or the drive along the A12 is easy to undertake. 

Tickets for Colchester Castle

Entrance fee: £10

Check the Colchester Castle website for current prices for entrance and tours.


Herstmonceux Castle

Contributed by Eric from Recipes From Europe.

Herstmonceux Castle is one of the best castles near London.
Image: Recipes from Europe.

If you are looking for a medieval castle near London – complete with towering battlements and a large moat – then Herstmonceux Castle should be on your list. Built back in the 15th century, this red brick castle is a very unique structure. In fact, the castle is one of the most significant brick structures still standing in all of England! Technically speaking, Herstmonceux Castle was never meant for battle – but was originally built as a grand private residence by a very wealthy individual.

Over the years, Herstmonceux Castle changed hands a number of times and even fell into ruin. Some of the brick interior was demolished to be used at another building site nearby. Luckily for Herstmonceux, the Royal Greenwich Observatory decided to relocate their telescopes to the rural grounds in the 1950s. While the Observatory moved again in the 1970s, the white domes of the telescopes are still there to this day.

These days, there is lots to do at Herstmonceux Castle. Guided tours are offered of the interior, and features the lovely Elizabethan gardens at the rear to explore. There is also a tea shop – Chestnuts – where you can enjoy an authentic English tea. The grounds around are full of walking trails and there are a number of unique sculptures, wildlife, and things to stumble upon.

Getting to Herstmonceux Castle from London

Distance from London: 74 miles, approximately 1 hour 50 minutes drive time.

Herstmonceux Castle is located in Hailsham, a rural part of East Sussex, about 20 minutes from the coast at Eastbourne. It is just under 2-hours drive from London.

It’s also possible to get close to Herstmonceux Castle by train from London. For that, head to Polegate Station from London Victoria Station and then call a local cab. However, generally, it is easier to reach by car.

Tickets for Herstmonceux Castle

Entrance fee: £3-14.50 depending on level of access.

Tickets are not available online but you can find pricing and opening hours on the Herstmonceux Castle website.


Dover Castle

Contributed by Lee and Stacey of One Trip at a Time.

Dover Castle in Kent is known as the Key to England and is one of the best castles near London.
The impressive Dover Castle in the south east of England.

One of the best castles near London, Dover Castle is known as the “Key to England”, such has been its importance in defending the land from invaders for centuries. The prominent position of the castle overlooking the English Channel was identified at least as far back as Roman times. In fact, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the country is contained within the current castle’s walls. The Roman Pharos was used to guide sailors across the channel from France.

The castle itself dates from the 12th-century; the baileys and Great Keep were constructed during the reign of Henry II. Exploring the Keep with its decorated rooms, open fires and defensive passageways is one of the main attractions of the castle. Ascending to the very top provides expansive views of the area, including across the channel to France on a clear day.

Dover Castle looks out over the English Channel from atop the White Cliffs of Dover.

Dover Castle was still used as recently as World War II when tunnels, carved into the famous white cliffs, were used for war planning including Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk. Today an interactive tour of these tunnels and the adjacent underground hospital tell the story of the castle during the war.

Other attractions include the medieval tunnels which were constructed after the siege of 1216, the Anglo-Saxon church of St Mary in Castro which is right next to the Roman lighthouse, and the fire command post from World War I, which houses a working British 3-inch fun that is fired during summer demonstrations.

Getting to Dover Castle from London

Distance from London: 78 miles, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes drive time.

You can get to Dover Castle from London’s St Pancras International in around 90 minutes by taking the train to Dover Priory and then bus 93 from Priory Street to Dover Castle bus stop. The castle is then about a 300m walk. With all the things to do at the castle, we suggest you plan to be there for a full day.

Tickets for Dover Castle

Entrance fee: £21.30 online

Click here to book tickets for Dover Castle.

Check here for Dover Castle tours from London with options to include Leeds Castle, the cliffs of Dover and more.

READ MORE: Day Trip to the White Cliffs of Dover from London


Warwick Castle

Contibuted by Stephanie from Explore More Clean Less

Warwick Castle near London makes for a great day trip.
Warwick Castle is a top day trip from London.
Image: Explore More Clean Less.

An easy day trip from London, Warwick Castle is a busy tourist attraction full of activities for all ages. Built over 1100 years ago as a wooden fort by William the Conqueror, the castle has been reinvented, rebuilt, and resold several times.

It now serves as a major tourist destination as one of the best castles near London. In addition to tours, Warwick Castle hosts a wide range of shows, activities, and dining options. 

Some of the most exciting reasons to visit are the dramatic falconry show and the (seasonal) live knights joust! Other highlights include the life-size trebuchet, scary dungeon tour, and the Horrible Histories hedge maze/scavenger hunt for families.

Luxury travelers can sleep in the castle itself in one of two exclusive suites that come with a personal concierge, unlimited food & drink during your stay, and private tour.

With a tighter budget, there are medieval themed wooden lodges and fancy “glamping” camping tents to stay in. All of the lodging options are served by a dining hall that offers knight lessons for families and a live-action weapon demonstration full of theatrics while you indulge in the buffet.

This is a great castle to visit from London if you want to be able to fill an entire day with activities and enjoy lots of hands-on exploration like shooting a bow! It’s also a great stop on the way to the Cotswolds.

Aerial view of Warwick Castle, one of the best castles near London
Warwick Castle makes for a great day trip from London.
Image: We Dream of Travel.

Getting to Warwick Castle from London

Distance from London: 96 miles, approximately 1 hour 50 minutes drive time.

In order to get to Warwick Castle, a car is easiest. However, the Warwick train station is about a mile from the castle.

If you don’t want to rent a car or take the train, there are several private tour operators that will drive you for the day. For luxury travelers, the Warwick Castle Express is a private bus leaving from London directly to the castle.

Tickets for Warwick Castle

Entrance fee: £13 online

Click here to book your ticket online for Warwick Castle.

Check here for tours to Warwick Castle from London, including options to include Stratford, the Cotswolds, Oxford and more.


Hurst Castle

Contributed by Izzy from The Gap Decaders.

Hurst Castle on the south coast of England is one of the best castles near London.
Hurst Castle on the south coast of England.
Image: Getty Images.

Hurst Castle stands on a shingle spit which stretches across the Solent from Keyhaven, towards the Isle of Wight and its’ magnificent Needles.

Hurst Castle is a brutish fortress, the central part of which was built by Henry VIII. Over the centuries, it has been added to and was used to guard the entrance to this important waterway during WWII.

It is fascinating to visit and compare how the Tudors might have lived here. Particularly in comparison to the soldiers of 1940’s England, who enjoyed a cinema, lawn and canteen, all of which have been preserved for today’s visitors.

The views from the ramparts across the Solent are spectacular, with Hurst Castle being the closest building on the mainland to the Isle of Wight. There is also an iconic and traditional lighthouse here, which makes for great images with the still waters of the lagoon as a backdrop. 

Hurst Point Lighthouse
Hurst Point Lighthouse provides a little added bonus!

Getting to Hurst Castle from London

Distance from London: 101 miles, approximately 2 hour 10 minutes drive time.

Drive from London down the M3 and M27 before picking up the back roads through the beautiful New Forest to Lyndhurst before making your way to the charming Milford on Sea and arriving at Keyhaven.

Park in the public car park next to the yacht club here and follow the path along the aptly named Saltgrass lane, which edges the lagoon, until you reach the spit. From here it’s a bracing 45-minute walk along the shingle spit, with the imposing castle dominating the skyline ahead.

If you don’t fancy a long trek, park where Saltgrass Lane meets the spit (although it can be hard finding a space), or get the boat across the lagoon from Keyhaven harbour. The boat runs every 30 minutes or so in summer. Alternatively, another good option is to walk out to the castle and take the ferry back.

Once on dry land again, head for the Gunn Inn next to the car park for a well earned cold drink!

Tickets for Hurst Caslte Castle

Entrance fee: £5.50 online

Check here for Hurst Castle tickets and ferry prices.


Kenilworth Castle

Contributed by Suzanne from Meandering Wild

Aerial image of Kenilworth Castle near London
Aerial view of the ruins hints at the grandeur of this medieval castle near London.
Image: Shutterstock.

Kenilworth Castle is located in the Warwickshire countryside on the edge of the small village of Kenilworth.  It has been standing for over 900 years and was originally established in 1120 as a medieval fortress.  Expansions continued over the years, and in the 13th century an outer ring of stone walls and a dam were added to fortify it even further.  This fortification stood up to rigorous testing when the castle would go on to be held under siege for six months, the longest period in medieval history.  

As time progressed, the castle became a palace and was a retreat for Henry V. It wasn’t until 1563, when the Earl of Leicester Richard Dudley was granted the castle by Elizabeth 1, that it underwent the transformation into a magnificent palace.  After the English Civil War in 1650, the fortifications were dismantled and the castle was left as a ruin.

Today, the castle is looked after by English Heritage and is one of the best castles near London. During the summer months, it is home to jousting and re-enactments of the siege.  The red sandstone castle is approached over a bridge and through an archway before the main castle building and stables can be seen. 

The main features are the massive great tower and great hall that can be explored and, although in ruin, the grandeur is still visible.  There are multiple fireplaces and ornate stone window frames that give an insight into how the castle once appeared.  

Outside the castle, there is the Elizabethan Garden and a number of terraces originally designed in 1575 for the visit of Elizabeth 1.  The garden and terraces are like a small maze, shaped into knots with ornate and colourful flower beds.

Getting to Kenilworth Castle from London

Distance from London: 102 miles, approximately 1 hour 55 minutes drive time.

Kenilworth Castle can be reached by train with the station being just a mile from the castle.  The journey from London Euston by train takes just under 2 hours and is a similar time to driving.

Tickets for Kenilworth Castle

Entrance fee: £12.60 online

Check here for Kenilworth Castle tickets.

Click here for the Shakespeare’s England Explorer Pass to combine your ticket to Kenilworth Castle with entrance to Warwick Castle and many other attractions for just £39.


Framlingham Castle

Contributed by Deb from The Visa Project.

The medieval Framlingham Castle near London.
Image: Pixabay.

At merely two hours from London, Framlingham Castle is a beautiful medieval castle in Suffolk, Eastern England. The history of the castle dates back to the 11th century and the Norman invasion of England, when the construction started with an early motte and bailey.  It was subsequently destroyed by Henry II, the King of England, after a revolt. It was later rebuilt. 

Throughout the centuries, parts of the castle fell into disrepair and new parts were added. It was witness to many historical events, but the one that stands out is being the place where Bloody Mary (Mary Tudor) rallied her supporters and proclaimed to be the queen of England in July of 1553. She went on to bring back Catholicism to England after the short-lived Protestant reign of her half-brother. During her reign, she had more than 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake, earning her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” 

During the Second World War, Framlingham Castle was also used by the British military as part of the regional defense against a potential German invasion.

Today, most of the medieval buildings inside the castle have more or less disappeared after they fell into disrepair. However, it is still one of the best castles near London and has 13 stone towers that are intact. They are connected by a mighty ring of ‘curtain wall’ that forms a rough circle.

Make sure you do the wall walk when you visit Framlingham Castle! This will have you walking around the entire circuit of the outer walls, crossing each of the 13 towers. A remaining hall that used to be a poor house now acts as a museum. Also, adjacent to the castle, there is the castle mere – a deep lake and wetland. 

Getting to Framlingham, Castle from London

Distance from London: 104 miles, approximately 2 hours drive time.

While it is technically possible to get to Framlingham Castle from London on public transport, it involves a long, convoluted route of trains and buses. Therefore, your best way to get to this castle is by car, which will take approximately two hours from London. There is a small car park onsite where parking charges apply.

Tickets for Framlingham Castle

Entrance fee: £11.30 online

Click here for Framlingham Castle tickets and current prices.

You may wish to consider buying an English Heritage Pass for tourists. This includes unlimited access over 9 (£37) or 16 days (£44) to hundreds of English Heritage attractions including Framlingham Castle, Dover Castle, Rochester Castle and many more!


Map of the Best Castles near London

We’ve created a map of all the best castles near London to help you plan your time in England. Click on the image below to open the map in Google Maps in a new tab.

Map of the Best Castles near London that can easily be reached on a day trip from London.
Map of all the best castles near London.

Final Thoughts on the Best Castles near London

The UK truly is a treasure trove when it comes to historical sites, and the castles near London are no exception to this! In only a short day trip from London, you can visit some of the country’s most impressive historical architecture while immersing yourself in medieval England.

We hope you’ve found this guide to the best castles near London useful. As always, we would love to hear from you! Let us know if you’ve visited any of these castles or if you think there are others that are deserving of being included on this list!

If you are spending more time in the UK and have found this useful, you may also be interested in some of our other UK travel guides:

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38 Comments

  1. May 15, 2020 / 11:18 pm

    I’d love to visit Hever Castle, I really enjoyed learning about the Tudors in school, definitely my favourite part of history lessons. It looks like such a beautiful building too!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:02 pm

      It was my favourite part of history at school too, we have a lot of local Tudor history where I live. Hever Castle is great, although I haven’t visited for years. I’m itching to get back!

  2. May 15, 2020 / 11:45 pm

    I cannot believe I live in London and didn’t know about half of these places! Thank you so much for writing this as it has given me ideas for weekend trips!

    • May 16, 2020 / 9:45 pm

      Glad to hear you found it helpful! 🙂 I’d love to know what you think if you do visit any of them!

  3. Suvarna Arora
    May 15, 2020 / 11:47 pm

    Omg London has castles too? I seriously have to visit London as soon as I can. Your photos are so amazing as usual.

    • May 16, 2020 / 9:55 pm

      Well, it has plenty nearby! You definitely do need to visit London (when I’m still here)! Thank you 🙂

  4. May 16, 2020 / 12:21 am

    i love castles they are so much like fairytales! Great post and photos!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:03 pm

      Me too! It’s fun to visit them and get lost in my imagination 🙂

  5. May 16, 2020 / 12:26 am

    I am a big history geek but only got to see the first two when we went last summer. So many of the others call to me from my readings. Definitely saved this for reference for a return trip!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:05 pm

      There’s so many to see! At least it gives you a good excuse to come back 😉

  6. May 16, 2020 / 1:06 am

    I love castles! I think my favorites are Bodiam and Warwick – I’d absolutely love to visit all of them really. Cannot wait to make it back to London!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:11 pm

      Bodiam is my favourite too. Although there are so many amazing ones I still need to get to!

  7. Tiana Bantis
    May 16, 2020 / 1:08 am

    Wow you have visited some really cool castles in the UK! Warwick looks to be my favourite!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:18 pm

      There are some amazing castles near London! I haven’t visited them all, I enlisted the help of some other amazing bloggers to put together this list 🙂

  8. Taylor
    May 16, 2020 / 1:56 am

    All of these castles are so beautiful! I wish I got to see them when I was in London. Your photos are also so gorgeous. 🙂

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you! At least you have a good excuse to come back 🙂

  9. May 16, 2020 / 2:53 am

    So many stunning castles near London! We have visited Windsor and loved it and I studied down near Arundel Castle and it is so pretty, especially in the Spring time. Would love to visit Framlingham Castle and Hurst Castle looks so cute! Too many choices! Bookmarking this post for my next trip back to the UK

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:28 pm

      Oh I love Arundel, it’s such a lovely town. I’ve never been in spring though so I’ll have to add that to the list! I hope you can make it back soon 🙂

  10. May 16, 2020 / 3:48 am

    I love a good castle! And there are so many to choose from when in the UK. I enjoyed the selection in your post.

  11. May 16, 2020 / 3:57 am

    So many beautiful castles in London! I recently visited Windsor Castle and was pleasantly surprised. I loved the town of Windsor and all the adorable shops they had.

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:45 pm

      Isn’t it a lovely place? I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂

  12. May 16, 2020 / 7:10 am

    These castles look so pretty! 🙂 I haven’t explored much south of England, so I would love to visit castles and towns there. Beautiful pictures too!

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:51 pm

      It’s a beautiful part of the country (although I’m a bit biased!). There’s definitely plenty to see 🙂

  13. May 16, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Wow such an amazing list of castles near London! Sounds like I’m going to have to rent a car and make some day trips as soon as the castles open again 🙂

    • May 16, 2020 / 10:57 pm

      Absolutely! I plan on making some day trips from London too as soon as possible 🙂

  14. May 16, 2020 / 8:09 am

    I didn’t know there are so many amazing castles near London! Looks like I need to plan a trip to London again 🙂

  15. Nina | Lemons and Luggage
    May 16, 2020 / 8:35 am

    Thanks so much for this! I’d love to visit some of these castle (okay, I watched Downton Abbey, so I know where I might go first, haha!).

  16. May 16, 2020 / 9:47 am

    So many castles, so little time! I particularly love Leeds (we went to a wedding there) and Hampton Court. Windsor has been on my list for years. Really must get there once it’s open again.

    • May 16, 2020 / 11:10 pm

      Hahaha absolutely! Luckily they’re all in such close read to London. Oh a wedding at Leeds Castle must’ve been amazing. I want to see more of the castles too.

  17. Bim
    May 16, 2020 / 12:23 pm

    This is so great! My friend is hoping to visit London this year and I’m thinking of day trips. I think Leeds castle is a winner!

    • May 16, 2020 / 11:18 pm

      Oh how lovely. That would be a wonderful day trip from London 🙂

  18. Jiayi Wang
    May 16, 2020 / 1:11 pm

    Wow, I never knew there were so many beautiful castles around me! 🙂 This post was so insightful, I’m definitely looking forward to exploring some of these castles in the next few months! Thanks so much for the tips!

    • May 16, 2020 / 11:18 pm

      Me too! I want to get out and see more once they’re open again 🙂

  19. May 16, 2020 / 8:22 pm

    As a Londoner I’ve been to a few of these but there are plenty more I still need to visit! A great list for when we can start moving around again!

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**All photos contained in this photography-based travel blog are copyright of Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton. 
They are not to be used for any purpose without the expressed, written consent of their owners.**