10 of the best castles and palaces for families

The British Isles are famous for their historic buildings, so we bring you 10 of the best castles and palaces to visit with your children

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  • Buckingham Palace

    As the home of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace is possibly one of the most famous buildings in the UK. Although still lived in by the Queen and used for many official events and receptions held throughout the year, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors and families are encouraged to visit and discover all about the history of the British monarchy.

  • Hever Castle

    Located in Hever, Kent, Hever Castle was the home of Anne Boleyn and later Anne of Cleves, both of whom married King Henry VIII during his reign on the throne in the 16th century. For children, there’s an adventure playground, a yew hedge maze, a water maze and a miniature model houses exhibition.

  • Lincoln Castle

    Dating back to the times of William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Lincoln Castle is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in the UK. Located on castle hill, the castle offers free-guided tours where all of the family are invited to learn about Lincoln Castle’s 900-year history.

  • Alnwick Castle

    Celebrating its 700-year anniversary, Alnwick Castle is one of the most recognisable castles in Britain thanks to its appearances in film and TV favourites including the Harry Potter series, Elizabeth and Blackadder. Located in Northumberland, Alnwick Castle has a varied range of events for all the family from 31 March to 21 October.

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  • Edinburgh Castle

    Perched on an extinct volcano in the heart of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s most famous locations. Featuring live performances throughout the year and royal gun salutes daily. The castle offers visitors a great opportunity to learn all about the history of Scotland. There’s a free downloadable children’s trail guide on the website, too.

  • Warwick Castle

    Located just outside of Birmingham, Warwick Castle is said to be one of the more haunted castles that Britain has to offer. The castle also has host of activities available for families including The Castle Dungeon (scary and best for kids over 10), the Little Knights and Princess adventure playground, and The Princess Tower. 

  • Tower of London

    Possibly the most famous prison this side of the Atlantic, the Tower of London is home to the world famous crows, beefeaters and the crown jewels. Families are invited to visit the ‘Hands on history’ exhibition where visitors can learn all about swords and armour (and even try some on!)

  • Ripley Castle

    Ripley Castle and Gardens, located 3 miles from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, is a historic attraction open to the public all year round. Ripley Castle features a tour of the castle tailor-made for children, as well as host of fun activities for all the family to enjoy.

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  • Cardiff Castle

    Seeped in 2,000 years of history Cardiff Castle offers visitors a great insight into Welsh history. The castle hosts many events throughout the year including medieval jousting, midsummer evenings with Shakespeare, a scary Hallowe'en and an evocative Victorian Christmas.

  • Leeds Castle

    Located in 500 acres of beautiful parkland, a visit to Leeds Castle is open all year round. Visitors are transported through the castle’s history and invited to take part in dozens of the family attractions available including the Knights Realm Playground and Maze, Grotto and Turf Maze.

Last updated on 17 November 2010