The 10 Best Castles in Yorkshire

Scarborough Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an Iron Age fort
Scarborough Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an Iron Age fort | © Loop Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nicholas Grantham
10 August 2020

Yorkshire is known for its history. From William the Conqueror to the War of the Roses, Yorkshire has featured prominently throughout England’s past, and its plethora of castles stand as proof of its importance in England’s story. Here are the best castles and keeps to explore on your next trip up to the good old North.

Conisbrough Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
CONISBROUGH CASTLE, South Yorkshire. General view.
© Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Slap-bang in the middle of the South Yorkshire village of Conisbrough, this impressive castle has been around since the 12th century. The castle is a great destination for families, as there are several educational exhibits in both the keep itself and the nearby visitor centre.

Knaresborough Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

Overlooking the nearby River Nidd, Knaresborough Castle has some spectacular views of the local countryside. Playing a key role in the civil war, Knaresborough castle has a rich history in the local area. Although the castle is closed to the public during the winter’s months, its grounds are open as a public park all year round.

Scarborough Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

With its stone walls first built in the 12th century, Scarborough Castle has a commanding presence along the jagged northeast coastline. The castle has been featured in plenty of historical events, from Viking invasion to civil war sieges. Be sure to stop off at the former Master Gunners House, which has now been converted into a charming tea room.

Helmsley Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

Surrounded by the sweeping North York Moors, Helmsley Castle has a foreboding aura. Don’t be fooled by its harsh exterior, though: it has a wonderful visitor centre and friendly staff. If you are looking to extend your trip, why not take a visit to the nearby Byland Abbey for a further slice of history.

Middleham Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Middleham Castle between Wensleydale and Coverdale North Yorkshire
© Jon Sparks / Alamy Stock Photo
Just outside the village of the same name, Middleham Castle offers its visitors some fantastic views of the Yorkshire Dales. Once home to the infamous king Richard III, the castle is now mostly ruins set amongst a beautiful natural backdrop.

Pontefract Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

Once known as the ‘Key to the North’, Pontefract Castle is a must-visit destination on our list. With the fortress’s history dating back to the Norman conquest, the building itself has been an essential part of English history. Outside of it’s impressive stone walls, the castle has plenty on offer for guests, such as events, activities and workshops running throughout the year.

Ripley Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
England Yorkshire Ripley castle
© Rolf Richardson / Alamy Stock Photo
Another Grade 1 listed building, the castle has been home to the Ingilby family since the 14th century. Nowadays however, outside of the pristine castle walls, the grounds are home to an over-abundance of outdoor activities including zorbing, archery and kayaking.
These recommendations were updated on August 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.