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Wilton Castle

Visited July 2012

Location Wilton, Near Ross-on-Wye
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Light Refreshments


Wilton Castle is situated on the river Wye, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. There has been a castle on this spot since the Norman conquest, due to the strategic position next to the river, and the need to suppress the newly conquered population. Originally built by the Longchamp family, the castle has had many owners, including the Trustees of Guys Hospital who bought the estate in 1731. The castle as it is today is a stunning ruin, rescued from decay and restored by the present owners, Mr & Mrs Parslow. Although privately owned, the castle is open on selected days during the summer. It is certainly well worth a visit as the owners are extremely child friendly.






Once the need for a stronghold in the area diminished, a house was built on the site, using the stone from the castle walls. This house was burned down by the Royalists in the Civil War, causing the then owner Sir John Brydges to declare for the Parliamentarians! That house was never re-built, and the ruins have been incorporated into the gardens of the present-day owners house, which was  added in the nineteenth century.


Although not the biggest castle in the world, there is a surprising lot to amuse children. First and foremost are the owners two dogs, who loved all the relentless stroking they were subjected to by our children.  Secondly there is the restored North West Tower, now used as a summer house . It has a ladder up to the second floor, where a small balcony lends itself well to Rapunzel type re-enactments. Climbing up & down then up & down constantly for about 20 minutes was certainly one of the children's favourite past times.


Finally, a swing and rope ladder tied to an old apple tree completed the afternoons entertainment. They both declared that they would like to stay at Wilton Castle forever!





There is a lot for the adults to see too. The gardens are amazing, very well planted and maintained- not by an army of gardeners as in a National Trust property, but by the owners themselves. A pleasant walk around the outside of the castle, along the course of the now- dry moat is possible. The family provide teas in the garden, under the shade of a large canopy. The East Tower has also been renovated, at one time is was converted to a dovecote and the holes in the wall are still visible. Finally, there are plenty of strategically placed benches and seats to allow for some peaceful rest to take in the beautiful surroundings.





To sum up, we thoroughly enjoyed this castle visit . There is an entrance fee for adults, but English Heritage members and children under 11 are admitted for free, so it works out as quite reasonable. The castle is only open on certain days from June-end August though, so do check on the website before you embark on a trip. 


UPDATE 2018: The castle seems to have new owners and it is not clear if they are still opening it to the public. We will leave the review up whilst we try and found out more about visiting the site. Please check for yourselves if it is open if you do decide to visit.




More info:  Wilton Castle

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