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Croft Castle

Visited August 2012

Location Yarpole- Herefordshire
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Gift Shop, Cafe








Although on the face of it Croft appears to be more of a stately home than a castle, if you look carefully at the above picture you may notice a difference in the brickwork between the two towers on each end, and the bay window towers towards the middle. This is because the window towers were added during a rebuild of the original castle in the 18th century. The two end towers belong to the castle constructed in the 1400's. So an original castle was turned into a stately home when the need for heavily fortified properties decreased.


There has in fact been a castle here since the Norman conquest. Built originally by Norman de Croft, there is nothing left of the original castle, except perhaps the name, which lives on as does the Croft family who still reside here.


There is a mock gatehouse which was also added during the later remodelling of the castle, it is now incorporated into the gardens and makes a very attractive backdrop. The main gardens are to the back of the castle, and are very pleasant to stroll around. Adjacent to the castle is the church of St Michael, once the private church of the Croft estate.










The interior of the castle is open to the public , there are no tours as such but some rooms host talks by the staff. There did not seem to be anyway of knowing when a talk was taking place, so sometimes it felt like we were barging in on a talk with noisy children, when in fact we would not have gone into the room had we known a talk was in progress. It did not help that there was a children's trail, based on finding dragons around the house. The children were looking for the dragons in rooms where the talks were taking place, which was a bit awkward. There was however a room downstairs which was a dedicated children's room, with toys, books & dressing-up clothes. It is probably suitable for children up to about 8 years old, any older than that would probably be a bit bored by the activities.


The saloon in the castle is dedicated to the 1920's period, and it has an informal feel as visitors are allowed to sit on the sofas and enjoy the sound of Charleston being played in the background. There was even a drinks table stocked up with what looked like G & T's, but as I did not want to get myself thrown out of the castle for attempting a surreptitious swig, I would presume that it was for display purposes only!






There is a lot of open space at this castle, the estate is 1,500 acres so the children can certainly run around. Close to the castle is an ornamental lake, it is about a five minute walk. Not so close is the hill fort of Croft Ambrey- a two hour round walk through the estate. This was too much for our children but may appeal to some.


Finally, near the entrance to the castle and conveniently next to the tea rooms is a small play area. It consists mostly of a play castle, a few swings and a see-saw. It is probably suitable from toddler age up to about 8 years, but is not huge so may not amuse for very long. It was also very muddy on the day we went , so wellies are recommended if the weather has been wet.





More info:  National Trust Croft Castle

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