Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle

Dating back to around 1085, Ludlow Castle in Ludlow has a rich and colourful past. Now mainly ruined, it was once of great historical importance, being the headquarters of the Council of the Marches in the late 15th century. The Marches, or Welsh Marches, is the name given to the land that runs along the Welsh border, mainly through Herefordshire and Shropshire. 


Situated in a dominant position high above the River Teme, the castle was carefully built to withhold invasion from over the border in Wales. Over time, the castle has also witnessed many events imperative to England’s progression. One of the castles’ owners, Roger Mortimer, helped overthrow King Edward II by assisting Queen Isabella, whilst in 1473 the Prince of Wales and his brother (the infamous ‘princes in the tower’ were kept here before their unexplained deaths in the Tower of London. 


In 1502, Prince Arthur, heir to the throne and son of Henry VII, stayed here with his new wife Catherine of Aragon on their honeymoon. However, he unfortunately died of the ‘sweating sickness’ whilst holidaying here, leaving his brother to become king – the astonishing ruler Henry VIII – who also married his brother’s young widow. 


Norman in style with later additions during the medieval and Tudor periods, today the castle is an impressive sight, and being set in the heart of the town is well worth a visit. Fascinating to explore, a climb up the ramparts is a must for the views of the surrounding town and the countryside beyond.  One of the highlights is the 11th century circular Norman Chapel, one of the oldest to survive in Europe.


If you happen to be visiting on one of the first three weekends of the month, local archaeologist and historian Leon offers fascinating guided tours of the castle, at 12 noon and 2pm – speaking from experience, we can thoroughly recommend accompanying him for a fascinating glimpse into the castle’s past. 


Leon also leads historic walks through the town which developed because of the castle. Built within the town boundary walls which went up in 1233 onwards, the town continued to prosper long after The Council of the Marches was dissolved in 1689, after which the castle began to fall into disrepair.


Ludlow Castle is also host to a fabulous array of festivals and things to do, such as the Spring Festival, the Food and Drink Festival (the oldest running in England and takes place in September) and the fabulous Medieval Christmas Fayre – if you can time your visit in conjunction with one of these, you won’t be disappointed!

The castle also has a gift shop, gallery, and café if you need a little refreshment.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in and around Ludlow here.

Castle Square, Ludlow SY8 1AY | Website | 01584 873 355

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