Started conversation Jan 3, 2002
When I was a kid my parents were forever dragging me about stately homes and suchlike, most of which seemed quite stuffy and restrictive to me back then.
Oh the joy of visiting a ruined castle! Running about, climbing walls and letting my imagination loose. I'd be a cavalier, fighting back the roundheads or a Saxon fighting off the Norman invaders. OK, so most of the castles were ruins of those built by the Normans, but what does that matter when you're 10 years old?
Probably my favourite, then and now is Corfe Castle in Dorset, probably the 'perfect' ruined castle. Its a national trust property now, costs about a fiver to get in (each!), but there are some great walks around the area where you can get a fantastic view of the castle without being impoverished by the entrance fee. The car parking fees are also quite pricey so get plently of people in the car! The village of Corfe is very definately geared towards the tourist trade so there are plently of tea rooms, gift shops and accomodation around.
For a very cheap alternative not too far away there is Maiden Castle. An iron age hillfort, its all banks and ditches, but is extremely impressive even though theres no stone or mortar in sight. The entrance is free and so is the car park.
Posted Jan 9, 2002
Corfe - definately a castle of intrigue, with the steam railway nearby and the beautiful village. There's also the history, not only the Civil War, but the Saxon intrigue... In 978, King Edward the Martyr visited his brother Æthelred and Æthelred's mother Ælfthryth, Edward's step-mother, at their home in Corfe. Whilst there, he was murdered, presumably by Ælfthryth, and Æthelred became King Æthelred II.
Posted Jan 9, 2002
Just thought of another spetacular ruin - Tintagel in Cornwall.
Not one for those who dilike heights and steep steps - there's lots of both. There are usually lots of visitors there too.
Although the official castle blurb goes to great lengths to point out the distinct lack of an Aurthurian connection, a wander round the village will soon show that's what folks go there for.
The entrance fee was quite reasonable if I remember correctly, amazing views from the cliff tops and the coastal path to walk along as well, should the mood take you.
Went for a second visit early 2001 and thanks to the foot and mouth problem, the place was almost desserted. Great for us, not so good for the local traders.