'Real' castles for young kids in the South West?

(20 Posts)
droid400004 Fri 12-Apr-13 11:10:13

Any recommendations for a castle that's suitable for a boisterous 3 year old?! Travelling from Bristol, so hopefully not too far for a day out. We'd like to take DS to visit a castle, but NOT a stately home (that way lies disaster!) So needs to be one where they can run wild!

LIZS Fri 12-Apr-13 11:12:59

Chepstow ?

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 12-Apr-13 11:19:40

Raglan? Not far from Monmouth.

CokeFan Fri 12-Apr-13 11:26:07
HumphreyCobbler Fri 12-Apr-13 11:35:52

Raglan is great but it has terrible drops off walls and into moats everywhere - so fine if you have slightly older children but not ideal for a bolting toddler!

kiwigirl42 Fri 12-Apr-13 11:40:18

Berkeley Castle is just up the M5 and is a nice little place to visit

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 12-Apr-13 11:41:23

Fair point, Humph. I remembered it v fondly as a child. Such a wonderful place for scrambling and imagining, so I took DC4 and friend there and they loved it. They were 11 though. Perhaps not suited for toddlers. Put it on the list for later, OP!

Gerrof Fri 12-Apr-13 11:41:55

Dunster, which is near Minehead. A windy drive but it is a lovely one, and Dunster itself is very quaint.

OnTheNingNangNong Fri 12-Apr-13 11:42:06

Dartmouth Castle? A bit of a trek, could involve diesel trains and a steam train if your DS likes that sort of thing?

HumphreyCobbler Fri 12-Apr-13 11:43:38

Marjorie it is a brilliant castle I am just scarred from a visit with DS aged 2

Startail Fri 12-Apr-13 11:45:32

Raglan is beautiful, I agree it has nerve wracking areas.

I haven't been to Chepstow for years, but I think you can run around the central area slightly more safely.

Castles are always a bit stressful with DCs, I had to take DH camping in Pembroke just to climb the highest keep, because years and years before my GPs wouldn't let me.

Gerrof Fri 12-Apr-13 11:46:10

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle/

Also Sudely Castle which is is Winchcombe, just north of Cheltenham. A lot quicker drive from Bristol, and they do kids activities (just read that you have a 3 year old) www.sudeleycastle.co.uk/

Gerrof Fri 12-Apr-13 11:49:33

Go to ilfracombe and go to Watermouth Castle! I used to live near and went all the time. It is a tourist attraction and the castle was built as a folly in the 1800s iirc but it is great fun. Not so much for a day trip as it will be too fat but it is very funny in a bizarre, West Country theme park kind if way. www.watermouthcastle.com/

Pantah630 Fri 12-Apr-13 11:51:48

Corfe if you'd like a blown up one.

Callofthefishwife Fri 12-Apr-13 12:17:32

If you dont mind paying the £6 odd to go over the bridge to Wales then this websiteWelsh Castles may have a few suggestions. It covers all of Wales though and I imagine you would want to stay in the South.

Off the top of my head:
Caerphilly Castle
Caldicott
Caerleon
Old Beaupre Castle Free and good imo - but be aware you need to walk through field of cows. Quite remote, no toilets or facilities so stop off before and take a picnic perhaps.
Barry Castle
Llanblethian Castle
St Donats

Please research some of these before travelling to check when they are open/how much access and costs. There are loads and loads of castles in south Wales and some are real gems to explore and free.

Also I would highly recommend St Fagans. It does have a castle but also has lots of rebuilt cottages,farms etc from all over Wales. You can wander the grounds and explore at leisure. Some properties have people inside doing demonstrations and craft from the old days for children to interact with. Its a whole day out. £3 to park, free to get in. Take a picnic (beautiful grounds)or enjoy the welsh cakes from the traditional bakery. Its ideal for children of all ages. The castle is more like a stately home but children are welcome and somedays staff dress up inside. Its about an 30/40 minute drive from the bridge.

ExitPursuedByYoniBear Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:24

Another vote for Corfe Castle

HeyYoniYoni Fri 12-Apr-13 13:55:35
Hadagutsful Fri 12-Apr-13 14:03:15

Another vote for coming over the bridge and visiting Caerphilly or Cardiff castle. DS1 loves them. smile

Gerrof Fri 12-Apr-13 14:17:13

fishwife thank you for a wonderful post - I have just pored over those links and the look great. South Wales isn't a million miles away so I think I might drive down there this weekend. Caerphilly Castle looks amazing!

PicaK Sun 14-Apr-13 18:18:29

Astley Castle is having a FREE open weekend on 28-30 June. With dressed up Tudor soldiers. It's small but castle and has a moat and room for picnics.

Check it out on the Landmark website.

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