Caernarfon Castle

Caernafon Castle, Wales

Thirteenth Stop: Caernarfon Upon entering the seaside town of Caernarfon we were astonished and delighted by the sheer grandeur of its castle. There were eight massive towers (with smaller turrets crowning those towers), an impenetrable gatehouse, a colossal curtain wall with many twisting passages, two main gates, and even a water gate to the Seiont River– … Read more

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle, Wales

Twelfth Stop: Beaumaris Beaumaris Castle Catching the ferry from Dublin, Ireland we arrived in Holyhead, Wales and were promptly greeted by an extra-friendly Welshmen who informed us (in an amusing accent) of all the amazing castles there were to see in the area. We met up with Ashleigh’s brother, Braeden, (who had been on his … Read more

Cuchulainn’s Castle

Cuchulainn's Castle, Dundalk, Ireland

Eleventh Stop: Cuchulainn’s Castle Cuchulainn’s Castle Following the path of “Cuchulainn”, an Irish folk hero and mythological warrior, was one of the many exciting adventures we experienced on our quick jaunt through the Emerald Isles of Ireland (read more about it here). From birth to death we followed Cuchulainn’s epic story to real life places … Read more

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Scotland

Tenth Stop: Urquhart

Urquhart Castle overlooking the beautiful Loch Ness

Our final stop in Scotland was at the ultra-famous Loch Ness. Interested in the idea of spotting the Loch Ness monster, we decided to spend the night camping along its shores. We found a lovely, not-so-legit camping spot with a pebble beach, grassy knolls, possibly some grazing sheep, and immediately next to us were the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Despite being surrounded by Japanese tourists, Urquhart is a picturesque beauty resting on an outcrop of land, called “Strone Point”, jutting out into the loch. The castle, though in a bit of a ruined state, is a massive tourist attraction– second to “Nessieland”.

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Muness Castle

Muness Castle, Unst, Shetlands

Ninth Stop: Muness Arriving at the gloomy, stormy Shetland Isles on a rocking boat of sea-sickness, our high hopes for an exciting and eventful stay were soon dimmed. The tiny and most northern island of Unst at first glance seemed barren of life, trees included. For the first few weeks the weather was the absolute … Read more

A Crash Course in British Castles

Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Before coming to Britain, even before embarking on our European journey, I would often sit and dream of treading through stone passageways, patrolling the length of rocky defences, and keeping watch from the tallest turrets on a windy night. Castles were raised by the ruling powers through the blood and sweat of their toiling subjects; impenetrable fortresses of carved stone blocks atop rocky crags, castles are truly an awesome sight to behold. They were, at many times, scenes of bloodshed: from sword clashing medieval battles to the assassination of nobles. They were once the seat of lords and kings, protecting, as well as dominating, the countryside. They have stood for hundreds of years and will hopefully continue to stand for centuries more (partially thanks to the National Trust).

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Direlton Castle

Direlton Castle, Scotland

Eighth Stop: Dirleton Dirleton Castle. Dirleton Castle was the second stop on our tour generously hosted by Mike, only a 14 minute drive from Tantallon Castle. After passing through the gate into the grounds, we gazed about us in wonder as we trotted through the beautiful garden, full of marvellous flowers, up a path to … Read more

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon, Scotland

Seventh Stop: Tantallon Hairy stud blocking Tantallon Castle. It was only through the generosity of our friends and neighbours that Ashleigh and I were able to visit more amazing castles than we were originally planning on. Roger brought us over to his friend Mike’s house one evening for tea and cookies. We sat in front … Read more

Rosslyn Castle

Rosslyn Castle, Scotland

Sixth Stop: Rosslyn The ruin of Rosslyn Castle Rosslyn Chapel, made more well known by Dan Brown’s popular book “The Da Vinci Code”, is a Catholic chapel, built by the Sinclair family, filled and covered with intricate carvings created to tell stories to the unlearned and illiterate. As marvellous and interesting as that is, many … Read more

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh castle

Fourth Stop: Edinburgh Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh is a sprawling, grey-stone, cobble-road city. Built on seven hills, its landscape dominated by an extinct volcano called Arthur’s Seat. Strolling up on a slow incline, Ashleigh and I passed restaurants advertising their tasty haggis, souvenir shops selling far too many knock-off kilts, and marvellous stone-work buildings. The Royal … Read more

Newcastle… er, Castle


Third Stop: Newcastle Newcastle Keep. En route north to Edinburgh, we decided to spend a night in the quaint town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne before crossing the Scottish border. We enjoyed running around the city all night, exploring the many levels of cobblestone alleyways and bridges. We especially liked the Castle Keep and the Black Gate, all … Read more

Tamworth Castle

Tamworth Castle and gardens.

Second Stop: Tamworth Tamworth Castle. Next on our list was Tamworth Castle, a fine example of Norman construction located next to the River Tame, in the town of Tamworth in Staffordshire, England. While we were staying in Stoke-on-Trent we chose to visit Tamworth simply because it was the closest castle we could find, and still being virgin castle seekers we … Read more