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Family-friendly castles to visit

A family picnicking at Wray Castle, Cumbria
A family picnicking at Wray Castle, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Steven Barber

We look after some of the most enchanting castles in the land, from fairy-tale fortresses to medieval ruins, where little knights and dragon-slayers can let their imaginations run wild. Here are our top picks for fairy-tale castles to visit with your family.

Bodiam Castle, Sussex
When it comes to fairy-tale castles, Bodiam ticks all the boxes. It’s stuffed with spiral staircases, battlements, towers and windows where arrows were once fired. Did you know a real knight once lived in this castle?Visit Bodiam Castle
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
This fortress includes a medieval tower, a dungeon and murder holes. Youngsters can transform into a knight by trying on the armour and taking part in a pike drill – but warn them to be careful not to get put in the stocks!Visit Chirk Castle
Corfe Castle, Dorset
Discover a 1000-year-old castle ruin with fallen walls, secret hiding places, and tales of treachery and treason around every corner. With a history shaped by warfare, Corfe Castle is the perfect place to slay some dragons with the family.Visit Corfe Castle
Two children pretending to be stuck in the stocks in the courtyard at Chirk Castle; one with their feet through the foot holes and another child watching.
Children playing in the stocks at Chirk Castle | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart
Croft Castle, Herefordshire
Croft Castle is actually a castellated manor house surrounded by medieval parkland, great for little knights to explore. There's even a mini version of the castle for children to storm, and a family room where knights, princesses and dragon-slayers can dress up.Visit Croft Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
This impressive castle dominates the Northumberland coastline and is one of the largest and grandest fortifications in Northern England. With secret trails and ocean views, it's a great place to imagine what life what like in these ancient castles.Visit Dunstanburgh Castle
Old Crom Castle, County Fermanagh
The ruins of Old Crom Castle lie within a magical 2,000-acre estate, complete with ancient woodlands and tranquil islands. The castle survived two sieges, but was accidentally burned down in 1764. Today the ruins are a secluded monument, waiting for brave adventurers to explore...Visit Old Crom Castle
A parent and child looking over a stone wall down towards the moat that surrounds Scotney Castle, with a view of part of the castle in the background.
A family exploring the moat at Scotney Castle | © National Trust Images/John Millar
Scotney Castle Kent
What could be more in keeping with a fairy tale than a moated castle? This 14th-century ruin is surrounded by romantic gardens, with roses and wisteria climbing the castle walls. With plenty to keep little ones busy, children can use their imaginations and make up their own stories about the people who once lived here.Visit Scotney Castle
Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire
Can you climb all 149 steps up the staircase to conquer Tattershall Castle? At this family-friendly castle you can try your hand at spinning wool under the tutelage of Lady Maud, or dress up as a knight, a princess, a jester or a dragon. Kids can even have a go at holding the great sword.Visit Tattershall Castle
A man and child explore the ruins of Fountains Abbey. The man is holding the little girl as they look up at the stone walls of the abbey.

Enjoy some family fun

Looking for places the whole family will enjoy? Discover family-friendly cycling trails, places to get closer to nature and historic buildings where you can learn about the past.

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Morning view of Dunster Castle and Gardens, Somerset

Castles and forts 

Immerse yourself in centuries past at one of the castles and forts in our care and discover fascinating tales of previous residents.

A family of four are strolling through woodland at Rowallane Garden, County Down, where the leaves on the trees have turned yellow. The family is looking at something out of the shot.

Enchanted forests to visit with the family 

Looking for magical days out with the family? Discover our best enchanted forests where children can let their imaginations roam.

Children dressing up in period costume at Sutton House, London

Places for kids to dress up 

Dressing up is a fun way for children to get in touch with the past. We've picked our top places to try on costumes and play make-believe.

The Long Gallery at The Children's Country House at Sudbury, Derbyshire

Kids' indoor activities for rainy days 

How do you keep the kids entertained on a rainy day? Here's a selection of indoor activities at the houses in our care that won't be ruined by a sudden downpour.

An adult and group of children walk through the grounds at Stourhead, Wiltshire with the bridge in the background

Family-friendly gardens 

Planning a day out that the whole family will enjoy? Let children's imaginations run free as they explore our gardens. The kids will love connecting with nature and it's a great way to feel refreshed.