A royal day out: Five spectacular castles by the sea

Published 1 February 2021

In a regal tour of Britain’s coastlines, we bring you our must-see list of coastal castles, perfect for a historical day out by the sea.

Be the king or queen of your own fortress at some of these splendid royal residences, with activities and sights for the whole family to experience.

From ancient Norman to Gothic Revival, impenetrable fortresses to charming castles moonlighting as family homes, these impressive buildings all share stunning coastal locations and are perfect for visiting year-round with the family. Tick these five sensational castles off your historical bucket list, for a very royal day out.

Mi castle es su castle.

Outdoor spaces at some museums, galleries and historic houses are reopening in April. Check their websites to see what's open when, or get planning a future day out when indoor visiting resumes.

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Pendennis Castle

  • Cornwall
Free entry

With spectacular views out to sea, this impressive coastal fortress has defended Cornwall since the Tudor times, playing a major role in two World Wars. At Pendennis you can experience the sights and sounds of battle, tune in to the daily firing of a historic gun, or meet costumed characters from the castle’s eclectic history.


Penrhyn Castle

  • Gwynedd
Free entry

With its towering stone façade, unique architecture and opulent interiors, Penrhyn Castle tells the story of the longest-running industrial dispute in British history. Known as the ‘Great Strike’ a bitter dispute between Lord Penryhn and the quarry workers over pay and working conditions, changed the landscape of this North Wales community forever. Seeped in a turbulent history, some of the castle’s cosmetic features include its neo-Norman stairways and authentic Victorian kitchens, as well as the dazzling daffodils that dominate the castle grounds in spring. Expect the unexpected from this unusual Welsh castle.


Powderham Castle

  • Devon
25% off entry

This charming castle come lavish family home is set in the beautiful surroundings of a deer park, with spectacular grounds, delightful Victorian, American and rose gardens with a gothic-style summerhouse, and a range of events year-round for the whole family to enjoy. Wander its many gardens, marvel at its elegant interiors or take a long walk on the land with your pooch as this castle is dog-friendly – there’s plenty to keep you entertained at the family run fortress.


Lewes Castle and Barbican House Museum

  • East Sussex
Free entry

Full disclosure – you can’t quite see the sea from this ancient Norman fortress, but Lewes Castle offers sensational panoramic views of the Sussex countryside, accompanied by a fascinating archaeological collection at the Barbican House Museum of Roman pottery, Saxon weaponry and medieval jewellery. With events and exhibitions running year-round, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on a historical day out in East Sussex, just a short drive from the coast.


Dunninald Castle and Gardens

  • Angus
50% off entry

A few miles from the Angus coastline, Dunninald Castle and Gardens is a gorgeous Gothic Revival castle – highlights include collections of furniture, paintings, photographs and even needle and plasterwork. Plus, you can go on a range of walks littered with wildflowers as snowdrops take over the grounds in spring, with bluebells taking their place in May.

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