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Castles I Cannot Visit

A photograph of Whittington castle, which you can visit

My life goal of visiting all the castles in England is one I love. It’s one I spent a summer trying to get further along. But it’s become apparent that it may not be the best ‘blanket’ goal in the world.

I visited Netley Abbey a few years ago. I realised Netley Castle, near the abbey, had been turned into private apartments. When I went to Ludgershall, I saw signs for Devizes Castle. “Great”, I thought. I looked it up on Wikipedia. Private apartments.

I’ll be honest, part of me is miffed that such historical buildings have been turned into units, even if we’ve dozens we can visit and the ones that are renovated tend to be the younger ones. Indeed Netley Castle is a sham Victorian castle, so its raison d’etre differs from others; however in the grounds are the remains of a one built in the 1500s.

I know what you’re thinking, and it was my next thought – but there are castles privately owned by Lords and Earls and what not, and I can’t really go visiting those. Maybe my thoughts here will sound strange, especially given my feelings on renovation, but a family owning a castle as a private residence is appropriate. Castles were used by families, and you tend to find that these modern families haven’t changed much of the interior. Many of these castles are open at select times or can be toured by prior arrangement.

So should I make a list of all the castles that are impossible and strike them off my list? Should I see if any of the private apartment castles come with a publicly accessible vestibule? Should I do what some photographers have done and find a gap in the fence to take a photograph? (I’m not sure of the legality of this, though given that Google has street view above fences and people take photos of houses in villages, I expect it may be okay.)

I admit to being disappointed that my goal may not be achievable. Perhaps this shows my ignorance, but with the number of buildings owned by English Heritage, The National Trust, private groups, families and local councils, having some not be on the cards in any way is a surprise.

What would you do in this case?


Jenny @ Reading the End

July 14, 2015, 6:14 pm

Yep, I’d just strike the unavailable ones off the list. I think it is fine! You are visiting the visitable ones!


July 20, 2015, 2:21 pm

Jenny: I’ve taken that you think it’s fine on board – it’s hard, since deciding to visit them all, to see not doing so as valid. Ditto the visiting visitable ones – an excellent point.



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