Castles near The Orchards

Castles are great for spending a day out with your family all the ones listed below are near to the park.

Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester, Essex

Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester, Essex

William the Conqueror's first stone castle, largely intact. Building began around 1069 but halted in 1080 due to the threat of Viking invasion, the castle was completed by 1100. The castle was besieged and eventually captured by King John in 1215. Much of the castle was in ruins by the 16th century, although in 1645 it was serving as the county prison and the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins interrogated and imprisoned suspected witches here.

Rochester Castle, Rochester-upon-Medway, Kent

Rochester Castle, Rochester-upon-Medway, Kent

One of the best preserved Norman keeps in England. The tower-keep was built around 1127, and stands 113 feet high. Held by rebel barons, the castle endured an epic siege by King John in 1215. John's engineers used the fat of 40 pigs to fire a mine under the keep, bringing a corner crashing down. The desperate defenders held on for another two months before being starved out. Rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I, the castle remained as a viable fortress until the 16th century. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Tower of London, London, Greater London

Tower of London, London, Greater London

After the battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, William the Conqueror spent the rest of the year fortifying key strategic positions across southern England. Originally a Roman fort William rebuilt the castle to ensure his control over his new kingdom. Started in 1087, the White Tower was the earliest stone keep to be built in England. Around 1240, Henry III made the Tower his home, whitewashing the walls, extending the grounds and adding a great hall. Since then the tower has been used as a home for kings and queens, a royal mint, treasury, prison and royal zoo. Today it houses the Crown Jewels and the Royal Ravens. Restricted opening times and entrance charges apply.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent

Dating back to 1119 when it was built as a Norman stronghold. It was in 1278 however when the castle became the property of King Edward I. He now greatly enhanced its defences and created the lake which surrounds the castle. Henry VIII was also a great fan of Leeds, and made many Tudor additions.

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