Five country castles for family days out

Croft Castle, Church of St Michael to the left and the east front of Croft Castle to the right

Star in your very own fairy tale at these spectacular countryside castles across the UK, promising a fun day out for all the family.

Admired for their splendour, longevity and intimidating exteriors that contrast with opulent interiors, the UK's castles have been privy to the private and political lives of some of history’s best-known personalities, from kings and queens to politicians and soldiers.

Whether you're looking to unwind on woodland walks, learn about historical periods, or sit back and admire the colourful gardens, these countryside castles offer fun days out for all the family.

And with a National Art Pass, you'll make great savings at every venue.

What family-friendly castles can I visit with an Art Pass?

Bolton Castle exterior

Bolton Castle

Explore 600 years of fascinating history while wandering the halls of one the country’s best-kept medieval castles. Originally one of England’s most luxurious homes, this Wensleydale castle remains an astonishing example of 14th-century architecture. Offering tranquil garden walks, educational trips, archery demonstrations and falconry experiences, there are plenty of activities that will keep the whole family entertained at this North Yorkshire fortress.

Croft Castle, The East Entrance

Croft Castle and Parkland

Set in 1,500 acres of historic parkland home to many ancient trees, cows and sheep, Croft Castle dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Unwind in their gardens that grow seasonal produce which can be enjoyed in the Carpenter's tea-room. Children can burn energy at the two play areas and four-legged friends are welcome in all outdoor spaces.

Blair Castle, exterior

Blair Castle

Splendid, regal and majestic – the mesmerising Scottish residence of Blair Castle boasts extensive gardens, antique furniture, artefacts and period fashion displays. It has also appeared in ITV’s Victoria. Visit the expansive Hercules Garden, which has a life-sized statue of the Greek hero himself, the secluded wooded area or the extensive deer park.

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle

Nestled in the rolling Kentish countryside, this idyllic Tudor castle is accompanied by a museum displaying collections of Japanese, Stuart, Jacobite, Egyptian and Buddhist art. With gorgeous gardens, a tranquil lake and woodland, a beautiful Victorian orangery, a tearoom and an Ancient Egypt-inspired maze, there’s plenty to entertain you across its vast grounds. They also programme a range of events throughout the year, including collection talks, live music afternoons and activities for families and children.

Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle

Feel like a prince or princess for the day at this truly magical Scottish landmark. This idyllic, peachy-pink fairytale fortress looks as though it’s been plucked straight from an enchanted forest and is said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella. You can explore the exquisite gardens, take a winding woodland trail and keep an eye out for the elusive pine marten, or simply marvel at the castle’s charming beauty.

Please note: Craigievar Castle is undergoing conversation until late spring 2024 so do check with the venue directly before planning a trip.

National Art Pass gets you free entry to hundreds of museums, 50% off major exhibitions, and great benefits in museum cafés and shops. Got little ones? Add Plus Kids to your membership to save money for the whole family.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

The more you see, the more we do.

The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.

Are your sure you want to leave checkout?