Castles in Shropshire

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From the incredible Ludlow Castle and the eye-opening Acton Burnell Castle to the astonishing Stokesay Castle the castles and fortresses of Shropshire are absolutely mind-blowing places to discover. While first-time visitors may just want to hit the highlights, for those who wish to delve deeper into Shropshire's castles  other unique sites to explore shouldn't be missed, such as such as Shrewsbury Castle, Clun Castle and Alberbury Castle. We’ve put together an expert guide to the castles of Shropshire with our top places to visit as well as a full list of Shropshire castles which shouldn’t be ignored if you have the time.

What are the top Castles in Shropshire to Visit?

1. Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle, the finest of medieval ruined castles, set in glorious Shropshire countryside. Initially a Norman stronghold it then turned royal castle, the imposing ruins of which can be seen today. The castle’s origins can be traced back to the 11th century and to Walter de Lacy, a Norman nobleman who is said to have been given the land by a prominent supporter of William the Conqueror. The exact date on which Ludlow Castle was founded is unclear, but the earliest parts still standing today were the work of de Lacy’s sons, Roger and Hugh. In the 15th century, Ludlow Castle became property of the Crown, to be abandoned in 1689 and fall into decay. Having been acquired by the Earls of Powis in 1811 and still under their ownership, Ludlow Castle is now open to the public.

2. Acton Burnell Castle

Acton Burnell Castle is a ruined 13th century English fortified manor located south of Shrewsbury, UK. Made up of partially-preserved red sandstone walls, the site is a picturesque shell which makes for a peaceful, atmospheric visit. Originally built around 1284, Acton Burnell Castle belonged to Robert Burnell, a powerful local landowner and close friend of the English King, Edward I. In fact, Burnell served as Chancellor of England under Edward and was also the Bishop of Bath & Wells. When constructed, Acton Burnell Castle had walls standing up to 40ft high, with three-storey towers at each corner. It was clearly a well-appointed manor house, as witnessed by the fact that it played host to King Edward I and his retinue on several occasions. The initial hall, which was attached to Acton Burnell Castle, was even used to host one or two meetings of the English parliament. Today, Acton Burnell Castle lies in ruins, having been slowly abandoned through the middle ages and finally replaced altogether by the nearby 19th century Acton Burnell Hall. The site is now operated by English Heritage and is open to the public.

3. Stokesay Castle

Stokesay Castle is one of the finest surviving fortified manor houses in England, and situated at Stokesay in Shropshire. It was largely built in its present form in the late 13th century by Laurence de Ludlow, on the earlier castle (some of which still survives) founded by its original owners the de Lacy family, from whom it passed to their de Verdun heirs, who retained feudal overlordship of Stokesay until at least 1317. Architecturally, Stokesay Castle is "one of the best-preserved medieval fortified manor houses in England", according to historian Henry Summerson. The castle comprises a walled, moated enclosure, with an entrance way through a 17th-century timber and plaster gatehouse. Inside, the courtyard faces a stone hall and solar block, protected by two stone towers. Originally designed as a prestigious, secure, comfortable home, the castle has changed very little since the 13th century, and is a rare, surviving example of a near complete set of medieval buildings.

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4. Shrewsbury Castle

Shrewsbury Castle is a red sandstone castle in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. It stands on a hill in the neck of the meander of the River Severn on which the town originally developed. The castle, directly above Shrewsbury railway station, is a Grade I listed building.

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5. Clun Castle

Clun Castle is a ruined castle in the small town of Clun, Shropshire. Clun Castle was established by the Norman lord Robert de Say after the Norman invasion of England and went on to become an important Marcher lord castle in the 12th century, with an extensive castle-guard system. Owned for many years by the Fitzalan family, Clun played a key part in protecting the region from Welsh attack until it was gradually abandoned as a property in favour of the more luxurious Arundel Castle. The Fitzalans converted Clun Castle into a hunting lodge in the 14th century, complete with pleasure gardens, but by the 16th century the castle was largely ruined. Slighted in 1646 after the English Civil War, Clun remained in poor condition until renovation work in the 1890s. Today the castle is classed as a Grade I listed building and as a Scheduled Monument. It is owned by the Duke of Norfolk, who also holds the title of Baron Clun, and is managed by English Heritage.

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6. Alberbury Castle

Alberbury Castle is in the village of Alberbury, some nine miles north-west of Shrewsbury, Shropshire and very close to the border with Wales. The building has been constructed from locally available red sandstone. It is a Grade II listed building.Its origins are uncertain but it was probably built in the 13th century by Fulk FitzWarin during the reign of Richard I. The castle has had a number of owners over the years. In 1842, the ruins of the castle were owned by Sir Baldwin Leighton according to Charles Hulbert. It's not currently possible to visit the castle as it lies on private land.

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7. Caus Castle

Caus Castle is a ruin of a hill fort and medieval castle in the civil parish of Westbury in the English county of Shropshire. It is situated up on the eastern foothills of the Long Mountain guarding the route from Shrewsbury, Shropshire to Montgomery, Powys on the border between England and Wales. It was destroyed during the English Civil War and has been in ruins since.

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8. Tong Castle

Tong Castle was a very large mostly Gothic country house in Shropshire whose site is between Wolverhampton and Telford, set within a park landscaped by Capability Brown, on the site of a medieval castle of the same name. The original castle was built in the 12th century. During the Civil War it was defended for the King by William Careless, and afterwards by George Mainwaring. The original structure was demolished in 1765 after the estate had been purchased by George Durant who built the house illustrated. Tong Castle is a Grade II Listed site for its special architectural or historic interest.

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9. Charlton Castle

Charlton Castle was a fortified manor house situated in Shropshire between Shrewsbury and Telford. Sir John Charlton was licensed to crenellate his dwelling at Charlton in 1316. This defended manor house was known as Charlton Castle, and was apparently still used as a residence of the Lords of Powys in the earlier part of the 16th century. In 1588 it was sold to Francis Newport but then fell into disrepair. The site is on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register due to being very overgrown .

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10. Cheney Longville Castle

Cheney Longville Castle was in the village of Cheney Longville to the north of Craven Arms, Shropshire. It is a much restored 14th century fortified manor house. The house is quadrangular in shape, 30.48 x 36.58m, and has the remains of its moat to the south and east. The entrance is on the north side through a modern archway. The residential apartments form the north, and part east and west sides which were originally separated from the stable court in the south by a wall.

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Full list of Castles in Shropshire

Beyond the most famous Shropshire castles there are many similar places to visit, including Caus Castle, Tong Castle and Charlton Castle to name but a few. In fact, our list already runs to 21 and counting! This list of Castles in Shropshire covers a number of impressive sites to visit and you can view the current selection below.

Apley Castle

Apley Castle was a medieval fortified manor in the village of Hadley, Shropshire, England.

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Bridgnorth Castle

Bridgnorth Castle is a castle in the town of Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

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Bryn Amlwg Castle

Bryn Amlwg Castle is in Shropshire near the Welsh border and the hamlet of Anchor which lies between Newtown and Clun. Only earthworks now remain.

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Cleobury Castle

Cleobury Castle was sited by the River Rea in the small town of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire which lies between the towns of Ludlow and Bewdley (grid reference SO681761).

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Ellesmere Castle

Ellesmere Castle was in the town of Ellesmere, Shropshire. It alternated between the English and Welsh crowns until the 1240s when it passed to the le Strange family whose origins were in Knockin, Shropshire. The castle was destroyed in the English civil war. Today the sides of the motte are clad with trees and its summit is occupied by a bowling green.

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Hopton Castle

Hopton Castle is situated in the village of the same name which lies approximately halfway between Knighton and Craven Arms, in the English county of Shropshire. Hopton Castle featured in the British TV series Time Team in 2010. A ruin since the early 18th century, it was partially restored between 2006 and 2011, and was officially re-opened to the public as a visitor attraction in December 2011 by the Duke of Gloucester.

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Knockin Castle

Knockin Castle is situated in the village of Knockin on Shropshire between Oswestry and Shrewsbury. The castle was damaged in the First Barons' War during the reign of King John and then repaired by John le Strange. It was described as being 'ruinous' in 1540. All that remains of Knockin Castle today is a large tree-covered mound of earth.

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Moreton Corbet Castle

Moreton Corbet Castle is an English Heritage property located near the village of Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England, 8 miles northeast of Shrewsbury. It is a Grade I listed building. The ruins are from two different eras: a medieval stronghold and an Elizabethan era manor house. The buildings have been out of use since the 18th century.

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Rowton Castle

Rowton Castle, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, is a Grade II* listed country house that was once the home of the Royal Normal College for the Blind before it moved to its present location in Hereford. This 17th-century castle is surrounded by 17 acres of gardens, and is approximately six miles (9.7 km) from Shrewsbury. Since bought It is currently used as a wedding venue, hotel and restaurant.

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Wattlesborough Castle

Wattlesborough Tower is a ruined fortified 13th-century manor house or Tower House in Shropshire.

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Whittington Castle

Whittington Castle is a castle in northern Shropshire, England, owned and managed by the Whittington Castle Preservation Fund. The castle was originally a motte-and-bailey castle, but this was replaced in the 13th century by one with buildings around a courtyard whose exterior wall was the curtain wall of the inner bailey.

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We’re constantly expanding this list of fortresses of Shropshire and if you do notice any omissions then please feel free to contact us with further information and our editorial team will look to expand this collection further.