Five castles by the sea

  • 21 July 2015

Feel like the king or queen of the castle on your next trip to the seaside – if only for one day.

1. Pendennis Castle, Cornwall

Free with National Art Pass

Built in the 16th century, when England faced the threat of a possible invasion by Catholic Europe, Pendennis Castle was part of King Henry VIII’s national defence plan. Along with St Mawes, it was designed to protect Carrick Roads, the deep estuary at the mouth of the River Fal, which would have been the perfect location for an enemy’s base. Don’t miss the noon day gun, which is fired from one of the 37 original working guns that are on display. You can hear it every day between April and October (except on event days).

2. Powderham Castle, Devon

25% off with National Art Pass

Situated in a beautiful deer park, Powderham Castle is one England’s oldest family homes. Sir Philip Courtenay began building it in 1391 and it has remained in the same family to this day. Walk through the castle’s spectacular rooms, marvel at the stunning 18th-century Music Room and take a look at the Victorian Kitchen. For the first time this year, the Luna Cinema is bringing open-air cinema to the grounds. Enjoy three classic films during the August Bank Holiday weekend in this breathtaking setting.

3. Bodelwyddan Castle and Park, Denbighshire

Free with National Art Pass

Although the castle, as we look at it today, is a 19th-century construction, records show that there has been a house on the site since at least 1460. Its long and complicated history indicates the work of many hands, which gives the castle its distinct character. In the 1980s, it was acquired by Clwyd County Council and, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, was restored to its Victorian splendour. With some of the furniture loaned from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the castle now provides an exquisite setting for exhibiting some of the finest portraits from the National Portrait Gallery.

4. Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Free with National Art Pass

With views of Snowdonia, the castle was built for the affluent politician George Hay Dawkins Pennant in the 19th century. When he died, he instructed his son-in-law, Edward Gordon Douglas, to develop the castle’s collection of paintings. Edward did this to such an effect that the castle came to be known ‘as the gallery of North Wales’ at the time. Wander through the magnificent rooms to find works by Rembrandt, Canaletto and Gainsborough, and don’t miss the one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria when she visited in 1859.

5. Dunninald Castle and Gardens, Angus

50% off with National Art Pass

Built by James Gillespie Graham between 1819 and 1824, the current castle is heir to two previous castles on the site, giving Dunninald more than 1,000 years of history. One of the castle’s highlights is its walled garden. Originally created to provide for the household, the garden continues to have some fruit and vegetables, but these are now complemented with beautifully arranged flowers. You can find the blooming garden at its best in July.

Tags: Great days outMuseums and galleriesstaycationsWhat to see