Magnificent castles to visit over the Coronation Weekend

Best castles to visit on a canal boat holiday

The coronation weekend provides the perfect opportunity to visit and explore some rich history and whilst the royal residence of Windsor Castle is reachable in a 2-week cruise from our base in Oxford, England and Wales are home to more castles than just the few our new King will reside in; there’s more than 1500! They vary greatly from crumbling stone ruins to perfectly preserved buildings some of which are open to the public.

Castles were usually built overlooking and guarding key trade routes which frequently followed the path of rivers. Since many of the canals were later built along these same river valleys, they now pass many of the country’s most impressive castles – making these historic properties an ideal stop off.

From moated keeps and fairytale turrets to imposing defensive walls, every castle has its own unique story to tell, offering us a link with our often-turbulent past. So whatever style or state of repair, exploring a historic castle is a great day out for all ages.

Here are some of the magnificent castles you could visit during your coronation canal boat holiday with Anglo Welsh…


Experience Stunning Castle views on a break from Whixall or Bunbury

Sitting atop its rocky crag and boasting spectacular views across the Cheshire Plain, Beeston is one of the most dramatically sited medieval castles in England. On a clear day visitors can see all the way from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains. Built in 1220 by Ranulf de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, the castle shares the site with earlier Bronze Age and Iron Age defences which are incorporated into its structure. The castle was seized by Henry III in 1237 and remained in royal ownership until the 16th century. It came under siege during the Civil War in 1644-5 and was partially destroyed after being surrendered by the Royalists. Now run by English Heritage, the walk uphill from the canal is worth the effort for the views alone but the castle ruins are fascinating with a 360ft deep well and there is now a replica Bronze Age roundhouse on the site.


Travel back in time to a Tudor Manor House from Oxford

Dating from the turn of the 14th century, this moated fortified Tudor manor house was built by Sir John de Broughton. It passed into ownership of Lord Saye and Sele, in 1448 and has remained in the same family ever since. It is now home to the 21st Lord and Lady Saye and Sele who open the property to visitors on selected days throughout the year. Moor up during your narrowboat holiday to take a tour of the house and admire a family collection amassed over more than 550 years. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful formal gardens before sitting down to a well-earned cuppa in the tea rooms. Broughton was awarded five stars by author and broadcaster Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses.


Cruise from Tardebigge to take in some History

Home to the Bishops of Worcester for more than 1000 years and now home to the Worcestershire County Museum, this castle is worth stepping ashore from your canal boat holiday cruise. The older 15th century castle was rebuilt in the 18th century and boasts the bishops Palace with impressive state rooms and antiques while the museum has a fine collection of costumes, carriages and toys. Visitors can also enjoy a walk around the extensive grounds with stunning views of the palace. Hartlebury Castle won the Visit England Hidden Gem award for the second year in a row in 2019 in recognition of its great visitor experience.


Visit Warwick Castle from Wootton Wawen or Stockton

One of the best-preserved medieval castles in the UK, Warwick Castle looms over the town and River Avon and offers a full day of entertainment during a narrowboat holiday. Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 to secure his dominance over England and protect supply routes, the castle has since been rebuilt and remodeled several times. Much of the remaining edifice dates from the 14th century when the castle was refortified by Thomas Beauchamp after the outbreak of the 100 Year’s War. Since being bought by Tussauds Group in 1978, the castle has undergone millions of pounds worth of restoration so visitors can explore the towers and ramparts, Great Hall and state rooms before delving into the gruesome dungeon and testing themselves in the Horrible Histories maze. There are also daily live shows including falconry, the Wars of the Roses live and the Dragon Slayer which should have the kids entranced.


Step into some Medieval History from Silsden

Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best-preserved medieval castles in England and is open to visitors throughout the year. A wooden motte and bailey were constructed on the site in 1090 but quickly replaced by a more robust stone fortress to withstand the marauding Scots. In 1310 Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford and the history of the castle was inseparable from that of the Clifford family for the next three centuries and was the last Royalist bastion of the north during the Civil War, yielding only after a three-year siege in 1645. A short walk from the canal, visitors can explore every corner of this impressive castle, from the Banqueting Hall through to the kitchen, the bedchamber and privy. You can climb from the depths of the dungeon to the top story of the watch tower for great views over the Yorkshire countryside.


Explore Chirk Castle from Trevor

Built in 1310 during Edward I’s campaign to bring Wales under his control, Chirk Castle was designed to be a bold symbol of power. Built on a steep hill high above the meeting point of the rivers Dee and Ceiriog, the silhouette of the castle still looms over the surrounding countryside of Wales and England. In 1595 the fortress was bought by Sir Thomas Myddleton who made his fortune investing in the East India Company and transformed Chirk Castle into an elegant family home. Now run by the National Trust, visitors can admire the lavish furnishings reflecting four centuries of changing tastes and styles within the castle as well as the 5.5 acres of ornamental gardens and 480 acres of rolling parkland, making it a perfect family day out for your canal boat holiday.

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