Visiting a castle can be a whole day affair or just a quick peek as you walk past following a circular walk or Treasure Trail. If you come to Brinsop Court and want a castle weekend, we’d suggest one day to explore Eastnor Castle and Ledbury and a second day to tour the other seven!
Eastnor Castle is the home of the Hervey-Bathurst family, situated in a 5,000 private estate near Ledbury. The castle and grounds can be explored from Easter to the end of September on selected days and in the grounds there is an arboretum, lake, knight’s maze and children’s adventure playground.
Or if you fancy more of a drive around the county, then leaving Brinsop Court, the most logical castle to visit first is Hampton Court Castle. This 15th Century Medieval Castle, Gardens and Parkland is set in 1,000 acres and opens again for the season on Thursday 26th March 2015. The view from the gate down their drive is just magnificent and at night when it is all lit up it is stunning.
From Bodenham, head north to the 11th century Wigmore Castle. You can’t easily see the castle from the road, but a walk up the ruins, managed by English Heritage is well worth getting your wellies on for. Once the stronghold of the turbulent Mortimer family, Wigmore Castle was later dismantled to prevent its use during the Civil War. Now it is among the most remarkable ruins in England and the view from the castle is fabulous on a clear day.
Head back down south now to Kinnersley. Kinnersley Castle, also dating from the 11th century is a family home, not a business although the castle is open for guided tours during a few selected days in the summer months.
From there, the next stop is Clifford Castle. This is yet another ruined castle from the Norman period and along with Longtown Castle fun to explore around and read up on its history from the boards around the site. Longtown Castle is set in the beautiful Olchon valley, with magnificent views of the Black Mountains. From there it is a short hop to both Goodrich Castle and Wilton Castle – more ruins to clamber around! Goodrich Castle is one of the county’s most striking ruins built from pale red sandstone and close to Symonds Yat and the high point there with its fantastic views. Wilton Castle is close to Ross on Wye which is also worth a visit.
If you don’t want to do all eight, my recommendation would be to head for Wigmore Castle in the North and Longtown Castle in the South using Treasure Trails to follow a route that will show you the best bits of the area.