There are over 4,000 castles around the UK, so it’s safe to say there’s plenty to choose from – each with its own history and beauty to behold. If you’re looking to plan your next trip and wondering which castle to visit, here are some of the most Instagrammable spots based on hashtag mentions.
Some of these are nestled on cliff edges and rugged coasts, so don’t forget to wrap up and pack a good designer umbrella to keep the weather off your back while getting the perfect snap of the most instagrammable castles in the UK.
Highclere Castle – #highclerecastle – 65,076
Newbury, a quaint market town in Berkshire, is home to Highclere Castle. While records of the estate date as far back as 749, the Highclere Castle that stands today is the creation of Sir Charles Barry, who transformed the castle into an opulent, Elizabethan-style home.
Although what’s made Highclere Castle famous around the worldis its status as the real Downton Abbey. Some elements of the house’s actual history even made it into the show, such as its time spent as a hospital during World War 1.
If you’re planning a trip to take the perfect photo for your collection or relive your favourite Downton Abbey moments, the castle and the picturesque surrounding estate are open for about 60 days a year. Guided tours are also available, and the estate often hosts special events throughout the year, so check out the website to see what’s on.
Castle Howard – #castlehoward – 68,598
Around 250,000 people visit Castle Howard each year, which is located about 15 miles to the northeast of York in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This impressive stately home and estate took over 100 years to complete and was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary back in 2022, which followed the castle across four seasons.
The almost 1,000 acres of gardens and grounds surrounding this stately home are a perfect place to get your Instagram shots all year round. The grounds are also dog-friendly, so your four-legged friends can join in exploring the lakes, woodland, landscaped gardens, and temples.
Bamburgh Castle – #bamburghcastle – 74,200
Overlooking the stunning Northumberland coastline, Bamburgh Castle has over 1,000 years of history – from an impenetrable stronghold to a family home. The castle underwent a massive restoration in the early 20th century and is filled with a varied and priceless collection of artefacts.
In the rain and the drizzle, the castle can seem even more imposing and is just right for a few dramatic photos that make the most of the moody setting.
Hever Castle, #hevercastle – 90,711
This medieval castle was originally built in 1383 and is set within 125 acres of beautiful grounds on the borders of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.
The castle is filled with fascinating Tudor artefacts, including furniture, tapestries, and portraits. From March 2024, Hever Castle will also be opening an immersive Tudor experience that will give you the chance to get a glimpse into the lives of Anne Boleyn and her family – who once called the castle home.
If you want to extend your trip, you can also book a luxury stay in their bed and breakfast or holiday cottage.
Corfe Castle – #corfecastle – 96,127
The history of Corfe Castle spans over 1,000 years; during that time, it’s seen more than its fair share of battles. All that remains today are the dramatic ruins that hide mysteries and stories of the once-royal palace and fortress.
After discovering the castle’s secrets, you can take in some of the peaceful surrounding nature on a walk on top of the rolling Purbeck Hills with breathtaking views as far as the Isle of Wight.
Leeds Castle – #leedscastle – 115,621
This 900-year-old castle in Kent welcomes around 600,000 visitors a year, and it’s not difficult to see why. Built on an island in the middle of a lake and surrounded by 500 acres of gardens and parkland, Leeds Castle is a romantic and tranquil place.
Its association with some of England’s most famous and powerful queens and its 1930s refurbishment into a glamourous getaway for statesmen, royalty and film stars alike make this a fascinating place to spend your day.
Warwick Castle – #warwickcastle – 133,520
Located on the edges of Warwick town and overlooking the River Avon, Warwick Castle promises an action-packed day out with lots to see, do, and capture for your Instagram highlights.
From historical re-enactments to jousting, archery and birds of prey shows, this is an excellent choice for a day out with the kids. There’s even themed accommodation if you want to keep the medieval fun going. The castle also regularly hosts live shows, concerts and other events for a spectacular evening.
St Michael’s Mount – #stmichaelsmount – 151,167
St Michael’s Mount is an impressive 1600s castle situated on a small island off the Cornish coast. When the tide is low, visitors can take a stroll along the ancient, cobbled causeway that leads to the island. Otherwise, public boats are also available.
The crystal-clear sea views, picturesque harbour and village nestled along the shore of the island, and the castle standing ontop of the steep garden terraces make this a special place to visit.
Hampton Court Palace – #hamptoncourtpalace – 179,163
In second place for the most Instagrammable castle is Hampton Court Palace, located in Moseley in Southwest London. This lavish Tudor castle is famous for being the home of Henry VIII, his wives, and their children.
Hampton Court Palace is so photogenic that it’s been used as a filming location for TV and film for almost 100 years – most recently including Bridgerton, The Favourite, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more.
Windsor Castle – #windsorcastle – 462,685
With nearly 1.5 million visitors each year, it’s no surprise that Windsor Castle takes the top spot on this list. In fact, in 2022, Windsor Castle was England’s 11th most-visited attraction. As the world’s oldest and largest occupied castle, Windsor Castle holds over 1,000 years of royal history to discover and is, to this day, used by the Royal Family. On Thursdays and Saturdays, visitors can also witness the famous ‘Changing the Guard’ ceremony, where fully uniformed guards march through Windsor town on their way to the castle.
There are many castles in the UK to choose from that truly make a great day out. If you’re planning your next trip, these are the ones that seem to have gotten visitors whipping out their cameras to capture the history, beauty, and awe-inspiring architecture. So, get ready to step into British history, discover something new, and make a lot of memories.
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