Fairytale castles

We look after some of the most enchanting castles in the land. They are perfect places to take little knights and dragon-slayers for a family day out. Here’s our pick of our favourite fairytale castles.

A man aiming a crossbow at Corfe Castle
The crossbow is a fearsome weapon in the right hands National Trust Images / David Levenson

Fairytale Castles Corfe Castle, Dorset

'My boys love visiting Corfe Castle as it fires their imaginations. Suddenly they are fighting dragons and charging the gatehouse.’ - Sarah H, visitor

Young girl climbing on a stone dragon statue by the door at Croft Castle
An apprentice dragon rider National Trust Images / John Millar

Croft Castle, Herefordshire

Strictly speaking Croft Castle is a castellated manor house, but little knights won’t be put off by a minor detail like that. There's a mini version of the castle for children to storm and in the family room, would-be dragon-slayers can play dress up.

Visitors on a bridge over the moat at Scotney Castle
A family peer down into the moat at Scotney Castle National Trust Images / John Millar

Scotney Castle, Kent

What could be more in keeping with a fairytale than a moated castle? This 14th-century ruin is surrounded by romantic gardens. Roses and wisteria adorn the castle walls. Children can make up their own stories about who used to live here and there’s plenty more to keep little ones busy.

Visitor in the ruins of the old tower-house at Crom
An eerie light shines through the mist at Crom's ruins National Trust Images / John Millar

Old Crom Castle, County Fermanagh

The ruins of the castle lie at the heart of Crom’s demesne. Old Crom Castle survived two sieges but was accidentally burnt down in 1764. Today the ruins are a secluded monument, waiting for brave adventurers to discover.

The east and north fronts of the Great Tower at Tattershall Castle
Tattershall Castle's impressive Great Tower National Trust Images / John Hammond

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire

Climb all 149 steps up the staircase to conquer the Castle. Try your hand at spinning wool under the tutelage of Lady Maud and dress up as a knight, a princess, a jester or a dragon. Kids can even have a go at holding our great sword.

View of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north west
An imposing view of Dunstanburgh Castle National Trust Images / Joe Cornish

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

‘When we visited Dunstanburgh Castle my children were three and six. They battled pretend Vikings with wooden swords, hiding around corners and behind masonry and jumping out at each other.’ - Kate A, visitor

A costumed knight firing an arrow from the battlements at Chirk Castle
Bowmen can achieve an impressive range when firing from the battlements National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

This fortress includes a medieval tower, a dungeon and murder holes. Youngsters can transform themselves into a knight by trying on the armour and taking part in a pike drill. Warn them to be careful not to get put in the stocks!

Little boy dressing up in armour at Bodiam Castle
A young knight ready for action at Bodiam Castle National Trust Images / John Millar

Bodiam Castle, Sussex

When it comes to fairytale castles, Bodiam ticks all the boxes. It’s stuffed with spiral staircases, battlements, towers and windows where arrows were once fired. A real knight once called this castle his home.