I was pottering about on Twitter the other day when I overheard someone say they had never taken their children to a castle! I was, quite frankly, astonished. I think, as a family, we have probably spent more time at castles and historic houses on days out than we have anywhere else!
We have been pirates, knights and princesses with attitude,
We have been Henry VIII, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. We have fought bravely and died like heroes, we have spared dragons and slain Voldermort but most of all we have had fun, it has been easy and everybody has found something to do.
We have sat on lots of cannons
and have pretended to fire a few
We’ve been in the stocks once or twice
And we’ve made lots of daisy chains
At Corfe Castle in Dorset, which is owned by The National Trust and which appears in the opening scenes of the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, we held up the walls and fought off the marauding armies of the English Civil War
We have climbed thousands of steep stone steps and rescued maidens and forgotten princes from their isolated towers
At Carrisbrooke Castle on the Isle-of-Wight, which is owned by English Heritage, we imagined what life would’ve been like looking through these windows
and we stepped through this door into a world of adventure
We have held mighty battles
and eaten magnificent feasts. There is usually space to have a good run and sometimes enough space to make dens or even to design weaponry of your own!
Castles are fabulous places for imaginary play. English Heritage are particularly good at encouraging visitors to take part in the whole experience and usually have costumes which children and adults can try on to really get in the mood!
Both English Heritage and The National Trust hold historical re-enactment days and family friendly activities which are tremendous fun and you can find the dates for this year at a property near you on their websites.
We are lucky in the UK to have so many fabulous castles and houses from history to explore and enjoy. Not all of them charge an entrance fee, the Thinly Spreads have Nunney Castle in Somerset on the doorstep which is free to enter and has ducks to feed in the moat outside. There are ruins and buildings scattered countrywide just begging to have families enjoying them.
Castles have inspired a love of history and adventure in all my children and have given them a fantastic outlet for their very vivid imaginations. If you haven’t taken your kids to a castle I would thoroughly recommend that you do so at once!
Do you have a favourite castle you could share with us? We’re always on the look out for new ones!