Stokesay Castle, located in Craven Arms, Shropshire, England, is a remarkable medieval castle that has stood the test of time. This historic site is a testament to the rich history of England and is a must-visit tourist attraction for anyone interested in English heritage. As one of the best-preserved fortified manor houses in England, Stokesay Castle offers a unique glimpse into the past and is one of the top things to do in Shropshire.
History of Stokesay Castle
Stokesay Castle was built in the late 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, a wealthy wool merchant. The castle was designed not only as a private residence but also as a statement of wealth and power. Despite its fortifications, Stokesay was never intended to be a serious military fortification. It was more of a comfortable, secure, and grandiose home. The castle has seen several owners throughout the centuries, each leaving their mark on the property. Today, it is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public.
Attractions at Stokesay Castle
Stokesay Castle offers a variety of attractions for visitors. These include:
- The Great Hall: This is the heart of the castle, where banquets and social events would have taken place. It features a magnificent timber roof and a unique 17th-century carved screen.
- The North Tower: This is the oldest part of the castle, offering stunning views of the Shropshire countryside.
- The South Tower: Also known as the Solar, this was the private living quarters of the Lord and Lady. It houses a beautiful 17th-century fireplace.
- The Gatehouse: Built in the 16th century, the gatehouse is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture with its intricate woodwork.
What to Expect
Visitors to Stokesay Castle can expect a journey back in time. The castle is well-preserved, and many of its original features are still intact. Informative plaques and displays throughout the castle provide insights into its history and the lives of its past inhabitants. The castle is surrounded by peaceful gardens, perfect for a leisurely stroll. There is also a tearoom on site, offering a range of refreshments.
Tours and Admission
Stokesay Castle offers self-guided tours, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace. Audio guides are also available for those who want a more detailed understanding of the castle’s history. Admission prices vary, with discounts available for English Heritage members. It’s advisable to check the official website for the most up-to-date information.
Tips for Tourists
Here are some practical tips for tourists planning to visit Stokesay Castle:
- Wear comfortable shoes as there is a fair amount of walking involved.
- Check the weather forecast before your visit. The castle is best enjoyed on a dry day as many areas are outdoors.
- Allow at least two hours for your visit to fully explore the castle and its grounds.
- Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for a range of souvenirs and local products.
In conclusion, Stokesay Castle is a fascinating historic site that offers a unique insight into England’s past. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of architecture, or simply looking for a fun day out in Shropshire, Stokesay Castle is a must-visit destination.