Nestled amid the West Midlands, Staffordshire plays host to many market towns, villages and hamlets. In these countryside escapes, you can find many beautiful and historic castles to visit and stand amidst centuries of culture. Here is a selection of the best castles in Staffordshire you can visit.
English castles are pieces of standing history that represent great battles won and lost, years of trade and innovation, of law and policing. We are lucky to still have elements of these castles left to explore and discover, with some standing in ruins and others as close as possible to how they were centuries before. Here are the best castles in Staffordshire for you to explore.
Alton Castle in the heart of Staffordshire
High above the Churnet Valley, the stunning Gothic-Revival castle of Alton stands in the picturesque village of the same name. The castle’s origins date all the way back to the 12th century, when the stone castle was constructed by Bertram III de Verdun. In the 15th century, the castle was reconstructed due to the growing need for military numbers and bases. As the centuries grew, the castle took on more and more of a Gothic architectural style, particularly in the 9th century when famous Catholic architect Augustus Pugin again reconstructed it.
Nowadays, Alton Castle is a popular youth retreat and is open to the public for them to explore and investigate the old building. Find more information about Alton Castle here.
Stafford Castle has a rich history that is as fascinating as it is shocking. There is even an element of magic surrounding the castle’s history that attracts numbers of visitors each year. The ancient fortress stands in the town of Stafford and dates back to 1070, when it was originally constructed as a wooden castle by Robert De Stafford, a Norman magnate. The old-fashioned wood was ousted in favour of the more modern stone material in the 15th century, and numerous members of the royal family and noble families resided in the castle for many years, not to mention the historical battles that took place there. Stafford Castle was rebuilt in the Gothic Revival style in 1813 after it fell into ruin.
Now, the castle is open to the public, where lots of amenities can be found on site for a wonderful day out. A lovely nature trail leads up to the castle which is great to explore with children, there are even hidden wooden woodland animals. Find more information about Stafford Castle here.
The country town of Tamworth in Staffordshire is home to Tamworth Castle, which dates back to 1080. Its original function was to home Mercian Kings during the Anglo-Saxon era; however, following the Viking invasion, it fell into disrepute and was refortified by the Normans. The Normans expanded and modernised the castle, meaning it is one of the best-preserved castles still open to the public today. The castle has won awards for its celebration of heritage, and the castle hosts many events and exhibitions to show off the best pieces of history and culture from the castle’s past. This well-maintained castle has many rooms to explore and new interactive sections. The staff and volunteers are fantastic; it’s a great day for all ages. This is certainly a must-visit castle, and they have a fantastic website that helps you plan your trip. Find more information about Tamworth Castle here.
This motte and bailey castle was built by one of the Earls of Chester around 1100 and sits to the north of Stowe-by-Chartley in Staffordshire. It was rebuilt in 1220 by Ranulph de Blondeville, the 4th Earl of Chester, and Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner there for some time, amongst other castles and houses.
You cannot visit this Castle as it is located on private property, however you can view it from this piece of history from the roadside. Find more information about Chartley Castle here.
Tutbury Castle is situated atop wooden slopes that overlook the beautiful winding River Dove, with stunning views across the Dove plain to the Derbyshire Hills. While it is an epic view, it was chosen for its defensive position all those centuries ago. Tutbury Castle has been occupied since the Stone age, and in 1071 it was one of the newer castles built to stamp the authority of the Norman conquerors, playing a vital part in the history of England for both wartime and peace times.
Again, Mary, Queen of Scots, resided in the castle as a prisoner, and it was here that she was thought to have become embroiled in the plot that would ultimately lead to her bloody execution at Fotheringhay. Tutbury Castle has been destroyed, besieged and rebuilt numerous times throughout its history. Today’s dramatic ruins are that of the castles last attacked by an Act of Parliament in 1648.
The castle has taken on a new form in the modern day, welcoming thousands of visitors annually with historical re-enactments, excavations, the famous tearoom and even the haunted Great Hall. Fun and history await anyone visiting Tutbury Castle. Find more information about Tutbury Castle here.
Beeston Castle stands just outside the border of Staffordshire but is too good a castle to miss off the list! Beeston Castle is a sure hit with anyone who boasts spectacular views of the Cheshire Plain, the Pennines, the Welsh Mountains and Staffordshire.
The 4,000-year-old mountain houses a replica Bronze Age roundhouse and a 40-acre woodland park and has many exhibitions that delve deeper into the history of the famed castle. The castle has become a hotbed for family days out and school trips and will teach about England’s history for many years. Find more information about Beeston Castle.
Staffordshire is a beautiful place home to many pieces of rich English culture. The castles on this list are all equal measures similar and unique, and their differences make them so appealing and exciting. So take the family or take some friends to explore castles in Staffordshire; they are already centuries old, so take the opportunity before it is lost forever!