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Tamworth Castle

Visited April 2018

Location Tamworth, Staffordshire
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby Tamworth- 1/2 mile
Parking Yes- town centre car parks
Facilities Gift shop, Tea room, Toilets


Tamworth Castle bills itself as 'The Great Little English Castle' and I must say I agree with this sentiment. The castle is well presented and organised with interesting displays and lots to see and do.






The castle was built originally as a timber motte and bailey shortly after the Norman conquest, and the town that grew up around it is convenient to navigate through for the modern castle visitor- it is a ten minute easy stroll from the railway station and has a car park situated at the back for those arriving by road.


Entering the castle grounds from the market side, you pass the site of the gatehouse. Once a double tower construction, there is just the foundations left today. A more modern gatehouse was built in 1825 , this is used as an ice cream and souvenir shop. 


Alternatively you can enter via Holloway Lodge which is next to the car park. Although it looks quite old it was built in 1810 by the 2nd Marquis Townsend, the then owner of the castle.


The path that leads up to the castle is next to a herringbone style wall which is the only surviving part of the original curtain wall. The castle is entered through the warders lodge, straight into the courtyard. In the courtyard is the dungeon, with a rather gruesome severed head half way up the wall. Also here is the entrance to the armoury, which has displays of various weapons and armour which can be handled. In fact all of the displays in the castle can be touched, which is good news if you have the sort of children who need to handle things as well as look at them.






As you pass through the castle you see the interior set up in the style of different eras in the castle's history, from medieval through Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian. The Staffordshire Hoard, an archaeological find of Anglo-Saxon gold is also housed at the castle, although the display was temporarily closed the day we visited.


It is also possible to climb up to the top of the tower, which affords views over the town. It was quite breezy on the day we were there, and the wind was colder up on the tower roof than it was at ground level, where it was quite pleasantly warm.


The route up through the castle and then back down again via the different rooms is well signed, and the map is easy to follow. One place my children found fascinating was the haunted staircase, where a photo of a ghost was allegedly taken in the 1940's. Much debate followed about whether the picture was fake and if so how it had been done. The Victorian nursery on the top floor was actually more scary than the haunted staircase, there were some porcelain dolls in a pram that looked so creepy! 





Once back to ground level there is a gift shop and small cafe, although we did not eat there so cannot vouch for it. Once out of the castle we walked around the castle park, which had a nice tea room which we did sample and enjoy. The park has a large play area, landscaped garden areas and crazy golf and a cycle hire shop. It is also close to the river Tame, and there is a pleasant walk along a traffic free bridge, with views over the river towards an old wartime pillbox.


As the castle is situated near the market square there is plenty of shopping opportunities and places to eat so it is easy to make a whole day of it. 









More info:  Tamworth Castle

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