It’s not that castles are suddenly fashionable, though Game of Thrones has probably helped make them so, but they are always fascinating.

What attracts us to castles? There’s something about how they can be a very physical reminder of our past, our culture and our history. And they come in all shapes and sizes, spanning hundreds of years in origin. Some are little more than ruins, some much more grandiose. They’re more often than not pretty imposing, because that’s one of the reasons they were built in the first place.

Castles conjure up powerful images and associations, both historical and fictional. They’re great places for taking the kids to for this reason.

If you like the idea of visiting castles, then Devon is a great holiday destination for you.

 

Old Haunts

The seclusion of Berry Pomeroy castle and the fact that it was left to ruin in 1700 have given it the reputation of being haunted. You enter through a huge gatehouse, to the remains of the Elizabethan manor within the castle walls, built by the Pomeroy family. Berry Pomeroy is in Totnes.

 

Totnes Castle is another relic of a bygone age, a wooden Norman fortress supplanted by a stone structure, then rebuilt by William de la Zouche in 1326.

 

Another supposedly haunted site is Okehampton Castle, set on a high ridge overlooking the River Okement in Okehampton. When the owner fell out of favour with Henry VIII the castle fell to decay and ruin.

 

Grand Designs

Set in a popular picnic spot, Dartmouth Castle guards the entrance to the Dart Estuary and the port of Dartmouth itself. Work first began on the castle in 1388 but it saw action in the English Civil War and was being used as recently as the Second World War. It was the first castle to be built specifically to accommodate artillery and there are a number of cannons on display. Visitors can climb to the top of the battlements for a fantastic view of Dartmouth town.

 

Tiverton Castle has a history spanning an impressive 900 years. It was originally built in the 1100s but during the 14th century it extended its fortifications. It is a location steeped in history, with both medieval and Elizabethan buildings. It was the site of fierce conflict during the English Civil War, suffering a siege by Parliamentary troops. The interior of the house is filled with memorabilia from the siege. The grounds include an impressively maintained three acre garden.

 

Castles are full of mystery and they bring history alive. They’re great for a day out if you’re holidaying in Devon, with plenty to see and do.